Health news and notes


Doucette Joins Grace Cottage

TOWNSHEND — Chiropractor Michele Doucette now offers appointments at Grace Cottage on Tuesday mornings.

Doucette also practices chiropractic medicine at her office in Wilmington three days a week. By adding appointments in Townshend, her goal is to provide easier access for some people.

"I see patients from all over southern Vermont, and some of them travel quite far for the combination of services I offer. I'm happy for this opportunity to offer a new location to existing patients and to see new patients as well," she said. "I really appreciate Grace Cottage for their openness to provide patients with alternatives in complementary medicine and integrative care."

Doucette received her training at the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, earning her doctorate in 1989 with summa cum laude distinction. Her continuing education has included courses in nutrition, pediatrics, neurology, craniosacral therapy, and zero balancing, among others. She is also a Zero Balancing instructor and teaches classes to health care professionals internationally.

She has been certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Vermont Board of Chiropractic since 1989 and has maintained a private practice in Wilmington for over 27 years.

"We are very excited to offer this new service in the Grace Cottage Rehabilitation Center," said Crystal Mansfield, Director of Rehabilitation, Community Wellness, and Community Initiatives. "This allows our patients a greater range of health care choices."

To make an appointment with Doucette at Grace Cottage, call 802-365-3637.

Brattleboro Area Hospice to host reading, song and conversation

GUILFORD — On Saturday, March 11, from 3to 5 p.m., Brattleboro Area Hospice will host a reading, song and conversation event based on Kathy Leo's new book, "On the Breath of a Song; the Practice of Bedside Singing for the Dying." The event will take place at the Guilford Community Church, 38 Church St. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

The community is invited to spend reflective time listening to stories and songs as members of Hallowell share selected readings from Leo's newly released book. The stories invite you into the room with Hallowell as they sing around a bedside where someone is taking their final breath. After thirteen years of visiting people in the Brattleboro community, Hallowell members have learned the practice of being present and kind while standing close to death and in the heart of grief. But perhaps the greater gift after years of being with the dying, is the gift of gratitude, kindness and love that follows them home after each sing.

There are many ways to be with death and dying. Come hear about the possibility of witnessing wellness and beauty at the end of life. Listen. Sing. Share your heart. People will be invited to share thoughts, personal experiences and responses in a safe and guided space.

BAH is 100 percent locally funded, provides services free of charge, and is located at 191 Canal St. in Brattleboro.

For more information or to RSVP, call 802-257-0775, or for Kathy Leo directly call 800-257-0294 or email

Dental clinic celebrates 10th anniversary

BRATTLEBORO — Early Education Services' Dental Clinic recently marked its 10Th Anniversary. In a period of 10 years, over 1,050 visits have been provided to local Early Head Start, Head Start and community children.

The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visit around the time of their first birthday. Dental offices generally start seeing children at age 3.

Ten years ago, dentists in this community did not accept patients under the age of 3. Dr. Jared Rediske of West River Family Dental was new to the Brattleboro area in 2006 and he wanted to provide dental services to local children covered by Vermont's Dr Dynasaur insurance. ThroughA plan for the EES clinic was formed and implemented with key EES staff and Rediske. The newly established dental clinic provided a place for children age 1 TO 3 to be evaluated by a dentist.

The Dental Clinic provides services in a low-key child friendly setting at Early Education Services location on Birge Street, in Brattleboro. Children receive an exam, cleaning and a fluoride treatment, often while seated comfortably in a parent's lap. One of the main focuses of the appointment to provide education to parents and caregivers, and to answer any questions parents may have about proper dental care. The goal is to reduce the risk of cavities early in a child's life, so a lot of attention is paid to high risk behaviors that may increase the chance for tooth decay.

Children are typically seen two to three times in the clinic setting starting at age 1, then they transition to West River Family Dental or another local office around the age of 4. At that time they are used to the process and it makes the transition much easier.

"I love having the peace of mind that my children are on the right track to having healthy teeth," said Bethany Howe, the parent of several children who have been seen at the clinic. "It is very helpful starting early. The only dentist that would see my children so young is Dr. Rediske, and I am very thankful for that."

"Since the inception of the EES Dental Clinic I have had to refer fewer cases to the operating room," said Rediske. "We are able to identify the high risk kids sooner and treat them earlier so their cases are less severe. Through my continued involvement I now have seen some of these kids for 10 years, and they are now teenagers. It makes me proud to continue to support this program and to get these children off to a good start in life."

American Cancer Society Relay For Life kickoff set for March 21

BRATTLEBORO — The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Windham County will host a free community kickoff on March 21 at Jack's Restaurant & Pub located at the Brattleboro Country Club on 348 Upper Dummerston Rd., beginning at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to join the festivities and learn about how to help the American Cancer Society save more lives from cancer.

Guests will have the opportunity to register a team for the Relay For Life event, which will be held on June 10 at Brattleboro Union High School .

The Relay For Life movement is the world's largest fundraising event to save lives from cancer. Uniting communities across the globe, we celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action for lifesaving change. During Relay For Life events, members of each team take turns walking around the track or path. Special activities, ceremonies and entertainment make it a fun and moving experience. Teams participate in fundraising in the months leading up to the event.

"This is our community's opportunity to help save lives from cancer by taking action to move us closer to a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer," said Elizabeth Gardner. "Funds raised from our event helps the American Cancer Society provide free information and support for people facing cancer, and funds cancer research that will help protect future generations."

Visit to learn more about the event.

Hogback Mountain Conservation Area tick report

MARLBORO —Ticks on Hogback? Nope.

Connor Hunt recently shared a report with the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association about research he conducted on the mountain in the fall of 2015 into tick/mouse/Lyme disease. As a student at Lyndon State College, Hunt participated in a state-wide 10-year project to collect information about the distribution of ticks bearing Lyme disease.

How to find ticks? Catch mice. Hunt live-trapped mice near the summit of Hogback in the fall of 2015. He captured 31 small mammals (not all of them mice) and inspected them for ticks. How many ticks did he find? None. Zero. Not a one.

In the spring, high season for ticks, Hunt's advisor, Lyndon State professor Dr. Alan Giese did a "cloth drag" along a mile and a half of Hogback trails and forest edges. How many did he find? One.

This is great news. Of course, conditions may change over time. Let's be sure we don't help ticks get a toe-hold on Hogback. If you walk your dog on Hogback, please be sure your dog doesn't bring any ticks to the mountain. This study gives us good evidence that your dog probably won't be picking up ticks to take away from the mountain. Neither will you.

To read the full report, go to

'In Our Own Voice'

BRATTLEBORO — There will be a free public presentation of NAMI's "In Our Own Voice," at the River Garden on Main Street on March 20 at noon.

"In Our Own Voice" is an educational and recovery-oriented presentation given by trained presenters who are living full and productive lives while personally overcoming the challenges of their mental illness. This program will provide your community or organization with practical, useful information about mental illness.

The presentation takes 60 to 90 minutes and is intimate and candid. It generally includes a short video, personal testimony and a question and answer period that allows for honest and open dialogue. Presenters engage audiences with their brave and gripping personal journeys. They touch on the various phases of recovery including dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, and successes, hopes, and dreams.

Contact Nick Martin, MPA, at 802-876- 7949 or for further information.

BMH included in top 100 U.S. rural hospitals

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Memorial Hospital was recently recognized as one of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Published annually, the list expands on the research presented by a study from CCRH: Rural Relevance: Vulnerability to Value.

The hospitals included on the list are noted as top performers in managing risk, achieving higher quality, securing better outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction, and operating at a lower cost than their peers.

"We are honored to be included in the list," SAID Steven R. Gordon, President and CEO of BMH. "It is a reflection of our outstanding team of providers, employees, and volunteers that are dedicated to providing exceptional care to our local community every day."

iVantage Health Analytics' Hospital Strength INDEX is the industry's most comprehensive rating of rural providers, measuring eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient share ranking, outpatient share ranking, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, and financial stability.

"It is more important than ever that rural hospitals proactively understand and address performance in the areas of cost, quality, outcomes, and patient perspective. iVantage's INDEX was designed to serve as the industry model," said Michael Topchik, national leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health. "Across the spectrum of performance indicators, there are rural providers that are writing the blueprint for success as they transition to value-based healthcare. Our analysis shows that this group of top performers exhibits a focused concern for their community needs."

Effective communication strategies for Alzheimer's disease and dementia caregivers

BELLOWS FALLS — On Thursday, April 27, from 2 to 4 p.m., in Bellows Falls and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Brattleboro, Brattleboro Area Hospice and the Vermont Alzheimer's Association will host "Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: Effective Communication Strategies for Caregivers."

The daytime presentation will take place at the Immanuel Retreat Center and Stone Church Arts at 12 Church St. in Bellows Falls. The evening presentation will take place at the Gathering Place at 30 Terrace St. in Brattleboro. The presentations are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Communication is more than just talking and listening — it's about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. As people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias progress in their disease process and the ability of words is lost, families and caregivers need new ways to connect. During this free program, participants will learn how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer's, learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia, and identify strategies to help connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Patty Dunn, Hospice Program Coordinator at 802-257-0775, ext.102, or

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