Health news and notes


The Brattleboro July Blood Donor Day was held at the Eagles Club No. 2445, 54 Chickering Drive, on July 13. A total of 46 pints was donated.

Multiple and one-gallon donors included Nancy Shulman, 18 gallons; Robert C. Bingham, 15 gallons; and Luigi J. Palmeri, six gallons. First-time donors included Alsion Cox, Erin M. O'Keefe and William Poulter.

The August Blood Donor Day was held on Aug. 8. A total of 55 pints was donated.

Multiple and one-gallon donors included Stephen D. Brown, 31 gallons; James C. Corman Jr., 11 gallons; Martin Cohn, 10 gallons; Gretchen Harvey and Daniel E. Smith, both at three gallons; and Dawn Petrovsky, one gallon. First-time donors included Rory Foster and Sarah K. Warner.

The September Blood Donor Day is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Club from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

InnerWell Integrative Counseling Services recently announced the addition of Colin Polnitsky, MSW, to their growing private practice counseling group. Colin is now accepting new individual adult clients for daytime and evening psychotherapy appointments, both at InnerWell's Brattleboro offices, and throughout Vermont via secure videoconference.

A longtime practitioner of mindfulness meditation and a former massage therapist, Polnitsky has a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit, and is able to meet people right where they are — and to gently and compassionately help them get to where they want to be. Specialties include anxiety, depression, trauma/PTSD, grief, spiritual emergencies, sexuality, embodiment, men's issues and life transitions.

"We are delighted to welcome Colin to our team and are thrilled to be able to take on new clients again," said InnerWell Founder and Director Rachel Zamore. "Colin is one of those top-notch therapists with a truly great balance of heart and head, and I know he'll be an asset to InnerWell and our community."

Polnitsky holds a clinical MSW from the Smith School of Social Work and has completed advanced professional training in sensorimotor psychotherapy (a leading-edge mind-body approach for treating trauma and emotional distress). Other significant influences include internal family systems (parts work), neuropsychology (how our brains work and how change really happens), and transpersonal psychology (which makes room for the spiritual dimension of healing and growth).

Prior to joining InnerWell, Polnitsky was at Windhorse Integrative Mental Health in Northampton, Mass., and in a multi-year spiritual counseling mentorship program. He has worked in the field of addiction and recovery, conflict resolution, medical social work and college counseling as well.

With the addition of Polnitsky, InnerWell is again welcoming new clients for adult individual psychotherapy and counseling. Daytime and evening appointments are available, and many insurances are accepted. Visit, email, or call 802-231-2550 for more information or to schedule an appointment today.


On Sept. 7 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Grace Cottage Hospital and Brattleboro Area Hospice will host a community screening of the documentary "Being Mortal." After the screening, audience members can participate in a facilitated conversation about the film, including how to identify and communicate one's wishes about end-of- life goals and preferences.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by Dr. Robert Backus, MD. A panel of local healthcare professionals will join the conversation: Susanne Shapiro, RN, Director of West River Valley Cares Assisted Living; Claire Bemis, RN, Clinical Coordinator, Community Health Team; and Joanna Rueter, MSW, Coordinator, Taking Steps Brattleboro.

The event will take place at the Holt Conference Rm at Grace Cottage at 185 Grafton Rd. This event is free and open to the public.

"Being Mortal" delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Gawande's own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient's true wishes can be known and honored at the end.

"Being Mortal" underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of- life decisions.

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of- life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.

The free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

Grace Cottage Hospital is a small, private, 19-bed, community-based hospital known for warm, individualized and professional care and enjoying a well-deserved excellent reputation throughout the region.

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


The Compassionate Friends of Brattleboro, a national self-help organization for families that have endured the death of a child, will hold its next monthly meeting on Sunday, Aug. 20 , from 2 to 4 p.m. at the West Village Meetinghouse, 29 South St.

The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family. Meetings are for all families regardless of race, religious orientation, economic background, or the cause and age of the child at death, from pre-birth up. We welcome all immediate family members including adult siblings.

Meetings are held each month the third Sunday of the month .


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