The Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Valley Regional Healthcare, New London Hospital, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, Fall Mountain Regional School District, and the Medical Reserve Corps. met on October 2 at the Fall Mountain Regional High school to kick off the first school-based flu clinic of the season providing 101 students with their annual flu immunization. The agencies collaborate to offer school-based flu immunizations to potentially thousands of local students during the fall months.

“This is a fantastic program and Valley Regional is proud to be a part of it,” said Peter Wright, President and CEO of Valley Regional Healthcare. “We have a long tradition of partnering with the schools in our community to keep our children healthy so they can maximize their learning opportunities. Good health and a top education go hand-in-hand!”

The school-based clinics offer free flu immunizations to students in the hopes of reducing influenza outbreaks and increasing access to care. “Flu vaccinations are an extremely important component of community health,” said Jim Culhane, President and CEO at Lake Sunapee Region VNA and Hospice. “Each partner brings such value to the communities, and together, that value is exponentially greater.”

The school-based flu clinics began in 2013 thanks to a grant from the NH Department of Health and Human Services to the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network. The first year the program vaccinated 200 students in 9 schools. Over the last five years the program has grown as a result of increased partnerships with Valley Regional Healthcare, New London Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and local schools including school nurses, and administration. As a result of these partnerships, over 700 students annually receive vaccinations in upwards of 21 schools across the region.

The Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network appreciates the time and efforts of all agencies involved in the school-based clinics. “NLH is proud to join our partners for this preventative initiative. A flu outbreak can place a tremendous amount of strain on a community and a hospital,” said Bruce King, President and CEO at New London Hospital. “We view our participation in the school based flu clinics as a responsibility to the families in our region.”