LGN Class 2023-24: Healthcare Day by Beth O’Brian & Dave Giarrusso

By March 11, 2024No Comments

Beth O'Brian

Bank of New Hampshire

Dave Giarrusso

Bishop Guertin High School

Today we focused on our heart, caring for it and filling it.  We began our day at the beautiful Hunt Community!  Our day started off with a wonderful morning spread compliments of The Hunt Community.  With coffee and teas in hand, we began with a familiar face, Brett Pomeroy.  Brett is not only a current LNG member but he is also the Executive Director of the Hunt Community.

Dr, Zach Zhang was a great speaker to start our day off.  It was clear from the start that Dr. Zhang not only loves what he does but he also has quite the comedic side.  It’s a shame he didn’t become an orthopedic doctor since he has quite the funny bone. Dr. Zhang gave a great presentation of heart health.  He went over functions of the heart as well as how it works.  We learned some jaw dropping stats such as:


  • 1 person every 33 seconds from cardiovascular disease
  • 1 person every 40 seconds has a heart attack.
  • 805,000 people have a heart attack each year/ 605,000 of which is their first heart attack


Fear not those numbers, because Dr. Zhang came prepared with a list to save us from becoming part of those statistics.  Here is the list of prevention i.e. “The essential 8”


1)         Eat better – choose lifestyle diets such as the Mediterranean Diet or DASH

2)         More activity– it is recommended 150 min of moderate exercise or 75 of vigorous exercise a week

3)         Stop smoking– educate and make a plan to quit.  There are 480,000 deaths a year from smoking (1 in 5 people)

4)        Sleep– Adults need 7-9 hrs, Night Shift workers tend to be continually sleep deprived

5)         Weight– Keep waist circumference below 40 inches for men & 35 for women

6)         Cholesterol– Screening as early as 9.  You should know your LDL/HDL & Triglycerides

7)         Diabetes– Test for A1C levels.  >5.7 normal, 5.7-5.4% pre-diabetic, <6.5% is diabetic

8)         Blood pressure– if high this shows a risk factor for stroke or heart disease.

Next, we had the pleasure of a panel discussion with three leaders in the greater Nashua Healthcare field.

Kerry Ann Hayon, VP of Clinical and Support Services-Colin McHugh, President/CEO Southern NH Health Services-Greg White, CEO Lamprey Health.  It was so enlightening to hear each of their journeys to their current roles.  The common theme in listening each one of these leaders of their organization is that they are extremely knowledgeable, very strategic regarding how to keep their business up and running through the most challenging of times but also very humble.  With that humility, I found a common thread of why they are so successful and hold the positions that they do:  the team members come first. They all agreed that their biggest challenge since the beginning of the pandemic has been staffing.  Employees were so burnt out that they were leaving for entirely other fields.  They focused on hiring and retaining and with that they each shared their thoughts on their first rule of great leadership:


  • Kerry- Supporting your team even if it differs from your own idea
  • Colin- Know what you know and what you don’t. If a group can’t come to a decision then a leader has to be able to pull the trigger.
  • Greg- Transparency is key and rebuilding trust with partners and the community

After all that enlightening information, we got to take a tour of The Hunt Community hosted by Bret Pomeroy and Marie Tenney, Director of Nursing.  All I can say is WOW!  They have memberships that are from your own home, “Home by Hunt” all the way to end of life care.   Through ever stage the Hunt will take care of their residents.  The have social gatherings, art classes, shared indoor pool, walk and hiking trips, continuing education, fitness plans and a dining plan that puts some of the top restaurants in NH to shame.  Every team member we met was friendly, engaged and really seemed to love what they do.  I have to admit that I think most of the LGN class members were already thinking of how nice it would be to retire to such an amazing place.

Preparing for end of life is never easy.  It’s not easy for the patient or their family. The Home, Health, & Hospice care group will help both with this delicate change.  HHH& C’s roots stem back to 1883 with the “Good Cheer Society”.  They were a society of Nashua women for the welfare of the community’s poor and disadvantaged mill workers.  Barbara said something very impactful, “Death is not about dying but rather about living well until you pass”.  It’s evident that they have the best care for their patients whether at their own homes, in a nursing home or in their hospice house.  They are the only hospice home that not only has therapy for the patient but also for their family during the time at hospice but also after their loved one passes.

Our last panel discussion was surprising. One would think that employees of the Division of Public Health and Community Services would be clipboards, and all business but I was so wrong.  Kim Bernard, Chief Public Health Nurse, and Bobbi Bagley, Director, were vibrant and made learning about Emergency Preparedness, Food Service programs, and Syringe swap programs to help prevent the spread of diseases, amongst many other things.  Usually, our group is getting a little tapped out with so much information packed into our brain for the last 4 hours but Bobbi had such an infectious energy that she kept us attentive and wanting to learn more.

My morning summary is this: Whether is caring for your heart but taking care of yourself, or living life well while sitting back to others can take care of you or at the final stages of life and just need the right people around you, it’s a great feeling that we are in great hands right here in Nashua but these amazing people and organizations.


Beth O’Brian

Bank of New Hampshire

In the spirit of fostering a holistic approach to health and wellness, the Leadership Greater Nashua class of 2024 embarked on an educational journey at YMCA Westwood Park on the afternoon of March 6th. This year’s activities delved deeper into mental health awareness, community partnerships, and physical fitness.

The afternoon session began with a tour of the YMCA Wellbeing Center at Westwood Park. The class explored the facilities designed to promote physical and mental fitness. The emphasis on total wellbeing was evident, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Dr. Cynthia Whitaker, President & CEO of Greater Nashua Mental Health, took the stage to provide a comprehensive overview of the statewide mental health care system. Drawing on her expertise, Dr. Whitaker shed light on the challenges and opportunities within New Hampshire’s mental healthcare landscape. The session underscored the urgent need for more accessible mental health resources in the community.

Mike LaChance, President & CEO of YMCA of Greater Nashua, shared insights into the Wellbeing Center’s initiatives and the crucial role of community partnerships in supporting overall wellness. This session highlighted the Y’s commitment to collaborative efforts that extend beyond their walls to make a positive impact on the community.

The afternoon took a lively turn being able to sample the Ninja Obstacle Course located at the YMCA and participate in some friendly yet competitive Pickleball.

To conclude the day on a serene note, Jay Gupta led a rejuvenating yoga session. Reflecting on progress over perfection, the class embraced the mindful practice, finding relaxation and balance at the end of the day’s activities.

As the afternoon unfolded, it became evident that the focus on total well-being encompassing mental and physical fitness is crucial for individual and community health. Insights from speakers like Dr. Cynthia Whitaker and Mike LaChance reinforced the importance of collaboration and community partnerships in addressing the pressing need for accessible mental health resources.

The day’s activities were not just a sequence of events but a collective journey toward a healthier and more resilient community. It was a good reminder for the leaders of Greater Nashua of their responsibility to champion positive change. Together, as a united community, we can strive to bridge the gaps in mental healthcare and create a healthier, more supportive environment for all.


-Dave Giarrusso

Bishop Guertin High School

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