News From Grace Cottage

Brattleboro Drug and Alcohol Conference Slated for June 24

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On Friday, June 24, practitioners and students in the fields of education, health care, and social work are invited to learn together about key topics and approaches to the problem of alcohol, opioids, and other drugs.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tod Miller, MD
Medical Director, Springeld Medical Care Systems, Inc.

Additional Workshop Topics will include:
– Understanding Opioid Dependence and Treatment
– Addiction and Co-Occurring Issues: The Brain
– Cannabis in the Year 2016
– Key Concepts in Motivational Interviewing
– Cultural Considerations in Building Relationships
– Zero Suicide

Full workshop descriptions can be found here.

Time & Place:
Union Institute & University
28 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301

$60 – Includes: Keynote, Participant Groups, Workshops and Lunch
Students with ID: no charge.
Note: APA CE credits will be available for selected workshops for an additional $20

For further information contact: | 802.246.5901

A partnership between :
Grace Cottage Hospital        UIU-logo-URL-green       CHL-Final--450px



11th Annual Tour de Grace is set for July 9th

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Tour de grace

Grace Cottage Hospital’s 11th annual Tour de Grace Bicycle Rally will be held on Saturday, July 9. It’s a scenic, mostly-downhill ride for family and friends that helps to raise money for patient care at Grace Cottage Hospital.

Riders start at Stratton Mountain anytime between 8 and 10 a.m., and ride at their own pace to Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend. A Tour de Grace 2016 Route Description is available here. Bus transportation is provided to return riders and their bikes back uphill to Stratton Mountain. If you prefer, ask about taking the bus up the mountain first and then riding down.

Volunteers will be stationed along the 17.7-mile route from Stratton Mountain to Grace Cottage Hospital to provide free beverages, snacks, and maybe even musical entertainment! Free performance t-shirts will be given to the first 100 riders who sign up.

Round up the family, come and enjoy the beautiful scenery, get some exercise, and help support Grace Cottage Hospital!

Registration is $25 in advance, $30 after July 5th. You can register at the event. Sturdy tires recommended; helmets required. Call 802-365-9109 with questions. To register, click here.

Your Summer Camp Health-Wise To-Do List

| Graceful Health, News
Elizabeth Linder

Elizabeth Linder headshot 640By Dr. Elizabeth Linder, Grace Cottage Pediatrician
as originally appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, May 6, 2016

Sleeping bag? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Sunscreen? Check. T-shirts and jeans? Check. What else do you need to be ready for your kids’ summer camp? Whether they are headed to day camp or away camp, here are some tips to make sure they stay safe and healthy.

Many camps require a recent physical exam, within the past 1-2 years. This is a good opportunity to connect with your healthcare provider, review any health issues, and discuss what to expect health-wise in the upcoming 1-2 years.  In addition, your campers’ vaccination record can be reviewed and updated.  Many camps require vaccinations to be current for the benefit of your own camper as well as the other campers and staff.

If your child has a medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, ADHD, food or environmental allergies), or on regular medications, camp physical forms are an important way for healthcare providers from home and camp to communicate.  We want to optimize your child’s camp experience, allowing them to participate as fully as possible and maintain good control of any medical conditions.  We will carefully review any symptoms and treatment plans so the camp staff can be prepared.

To facilitate a positive camp transition, have a discussion with your child about their expectations and your expectations. Will you be able to communicate or not? And if so, how often and what should you say? If you let them know how sad and lonely you are at home without them, it may make them feel guilty and lonely too.  Likewise, if you tell them about all the great adventures (Six Flags! Disney! Homemade ice cream! Grace Cottage Fair Day!) you are having without them, it may make them feel like they are missing out.

Getting homesick is normal, but can get better with time and support from camp staff. And paying attention to staff and following directions are key enjoying the full camp experience.

Don’t forget the bug spray, sunscreen, and tick checks.  No one wants to sunburned and covered in bites on their first day!  And finally, have a great time!

Dr. Elizabeth Linder has been Grace Cottage Family Health’s pediatrician since 1997. A graduate of Pomona College and of the University of Vermont School of Medicine, Dr. Linder completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Stress Does Not Have to be a Way of Life

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Caroline ChaseBy Caroline Chase, Grace Cottage Behavioral Health Specialist, as originally appeared in the April 22, 2016 Brattleboro Reformer’s “Graceful Health” column.

When I was asked to write an article on stress, it gave me an opportunity to deliberately examine the role of stress in my own life and in the lives of clients I see in my career as a psychotherapist.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Stress is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down.” As much as we would like to avoid it, stress goes hand in hand with life. However, it is possible, and indeed vitally necessary, to learn how to manage it. For the degree to which we effectively manage and cope with stress will determine our degree of health – in body, mind, and spirit.

A recent APA-commissioned study on stress in America found that 48% of Americans said they regularly experience physical and psychological symptoms of stress. If left unmanaged, high stress can become a chronic condition that can lead to serious problems such as obesity, insomnia, high blood pressure, chronic plain, and a weakened immune system. Moreover, research shows that stress plays a role in the development of major illnesses like heart disease, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Interestingly, a new scientific analysis confirmed what I have observed during my 37 years of counseling: there is more stress in people’s lives now than there was 25 years ago. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that, from 1983 to 2009, 6,300 people who participated in the study experienced a marked increase in stress, 18% for women and 28% for men. According to David Spiegel, a psychiatrist and Director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, the “results made sense when you compare the early 1980’s to today’s economic pressures; and it’s harder to turn off information and to buffer ourselves from the world.”

So, if stress is an inevitable part of life, and if it is becoming more prevalent, does that mean we must succumb to its ravages? Absolutely not! However, if we are to effectively manage it, we must be willing to make a commitment to change certain habits that are harmful to us if left unchecked.

The following lifestyle routines can help us to counter the negative effects of stress:

  • Exercise: Exercise and physical activity produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep which, in turn, reduces stress.
  • Meditation: Meditation is nothing more than putting your mind at ease by controlling the focus of your attention. Meditating is a skill that can be learned by anyone, no matter his/her religious or spiritual point of view.
  • Prayer: Spirituality is not the same for all people. For some, it may be a belief in God; for others, it may be a higher power or higher purpose, or the belief in such values as the human spirit, human community, or nature. Regardless of one’s religion, prayer can bring peace and comfort during stressful times.
  • Eating a balanced, nutritional diet: A healthy diet can counter the impact of stress by shoring up the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
  • Yoga: Aside from the physical benefits of yoga and relaxation exercises, yoga can also produce a sense of calm which will help boost the immune system.
  • Getting adequate sleep: Stress interferes with sleep. Try to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Cut back on caffeine and stimulating activity. Eliminate the use of computers and television before bed. Even better, take the T.V. out of the bedroom entirely.
  • Spend time with people (and animals!) that you enjoy: Relationships can either be a source of stress or a stress reliever. Reach out to people who are close to you, whether they are family or friends. They may be able to offer you emotional support and perhaps a different perspective on the stressor.
  • Journal: If you feel stressed, write down the cause, your thoughts, and mood. When you know what’s bothering you, you can develop a plan for coping. That may mean more realistic expectations of yourself and others, and perhaps asking for help in your job or your home. Determine your priorities and eliminate nonessential tasks. Make sure you have some time each day that is your own and nobody else’s.
  • Professional help: A mental health professional can teach you how to identify situations or behaviors that act as stressors and can help you develop an action plan for change.

Though we live in a materialistic age, with constant change swirling around us, at times seeming chaotic, we do have choices about our perception of what’s happening around us and to us. That is the beauty of the human brain – we have choices! We can choose how to behave, respond, or think in the face of stressful situations.

The words of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer may help: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Elegant in its simplicity and wisdom, its message is profound in relation to stress.

While we can’t always control the stress that comes into our lives, we can control how we respond to it. Stress is a fact of life, buy it does NOT have to be a WAY of life!

Caroline Chase, M.S., LHMC, is a licensed Mental Health Counselor who lives in Massachusetts. She is currently working as the Behavioral Health Specialist for the Community Health Team at Grace Cottage Family Health in Townshend, Vermont.

Grace Cottage Golf Benefit at The Hermitage Golf Club at Haystack Mountain on June 11

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GCH Golf Benefit 2013

Support a great cause and enjoy an afternoon of golf on Saturday, June 11, at the spectacular Hermitage Golf Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington.  Now in its seventh year, Grace Cottage Hospital’s Tee It Up for Health golf benefit helps to support Grace Cottage Hospital’s Patient Care Fund.

The tournament starts with a buffet lunch at noon and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded, including longest drive, closest to pin, lowest and highest-scoring teams, and many more; there will be two hole-in-one contests for a 2016 Crosstrek provided by Brattleboro Subaru, and a one-year trial membership to The Hermitage Club at Haystack (golfing and skiing). The player fee is $150, and this includes lunch, greens fees, golf cart, logo wear, contests, and an awards dinner served in the clubhouse following the tournament.

The Tee It Up for Health Event sponsor is The Richards Group; Platinum Sponsor is Elizabeth Walker; Silver sponsors are Andy & Linda Barber; Brattleboro Memorial Hospital; Brunelle & Son; Cerner Corporation; Lawrence & Lober Electric, Inc.; and People’s United Bank; hole sponsors (to date) are Baker, Newman, Noyes; Durand Motors; Five Maples; G.S. Precision; G.S. Precision Powders,; Homestead Landscaping; Howard Printing; Irving Fuel; Northeast Delta Dental, Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC; River Valley Credit Union; Southern Vermont Podiatry; West River Family Dental; and The Windham Foundation.  Business sponsor is Lawton Floor Design.

The Hermitage Golf Club at Haystack Mountain, designed by acclaimed architect Desmond Muirhead in 1972, is located at 70 Spyglass Drive in Wilmington, VT; visit for more information about the course.

Registration closes when all team slots are filled or at 5 p.m. on June 8th. For more information about becoming a sponsor for this event or playing on a team, call Andrea Seaton at (802) 365-9109, e-mail at, or visit (you can register online).

Gearing Up for a 5K

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Moss Linder headshotBy Dr. Moss Linder, Grace Cottage Family Health, as originally appeared in the April 8, 2016 Brattleboro Reformer’s “Graceful Health” column.

About a year ago, the Reformer published an article I wrote about the importance of fitting exercise in to your daily routine. I titled that article “Make Sure Exercise is in Your Pill Planner” because I wanted to emphasize the point that having a good, regular exercise program is vital to your health.

Today, I would like to dovetail those thoughts with some specifically focused on how to get ready to run or walk a 5K. Read more

Spring into Health 5K Set for May 7th

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5K Runners

Enjoy a morning of good, healthy fun in the great outdoors at the 7th Annual Grace Cottage Hospital “Spring into Health” 5K on Saturday, May 7th. The family-friendly 5K starts at 8:30 am on the Townshend Common. The race will be timed for competitors, but is open to all, whether you run, jog, walk, roll, or stroll.  The course is 3.1 miles of mainly flat, paved road along Grafton Road (Route 35).

After the race, there will be awards, raffles, and general merriment. There is also a free Fun Run for kids 8 and under on the Common at 9:15. The event, held rain or shine, wraps up around 10:30.

Register online for an early bird rate of $15/13 & up (free for those 12 and under!) at or by calling (802) 365-9109. Online registration closes at noon on Wednesday, May 4. The first 100 to register will receive a free performance t-shirt designed by Leland & Gray student Joel Emmons. You can register at the race for $20/13 and up (still free for 12 and under), but no guarantees on getting a t-shirt!

This event, sponsored by People’s United Bank, raises funds for patient care at Grace Cottage Hospital. For more information, visit or call (802) 365-9109.


Free Fraud Prevention Workshop: April 12th

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identity theft

Join AARP Vermont at Grace Cottage Hospital on Tuesday, April 12th at 7:00 pm for a free hour-long workshop on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from frauds, scams, and identity theft. Last year, 13 million people were the victims of identity theft alone. Don’t let one of them be you!

Read more

Physical Rehab Can Help with Vertigo

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Melissa WalkerBy Melissa Walker, Grace Cottage Physical Therapist
as originally appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, March 25, 2016

Vestibular rehab is physical therapy for your vestibular system, one of the body systems that helps you maintain your balance when you stand and move. The system is made up of several parts within the inner ear that tell you whether you are standing upright or not, and that provide information on the position and motion of your head, stabilizing you as you move.

Ideally, the vestibular system helps you maintain your equilibrium, keeping your center of mass over your base of support. But sometimes there are problems with this system. Read more

Poison Prevention: It’s Not Just About Children

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Kenny Rudd in ER

By Dr. Kenneth Rudd, Grace Cottage Hospital Emergency Department Co-Director
as appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer’s Graceful Health series, March 11, 2016

National Poison Week is March 20-26 this year. For the past 55 years, this event has been held to raise awareness and provide strategies for poison prevention.

The headline used by the National Poison Week Council to announce this year’s event isn’t surprising: “Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons.” Over 90% of poison exposures occur in the home, and certainly, we do need to keep our homes safe so children don’t gain access to dangerous chemicals and medicines. But there’s more to this story than children.

Poisoning is a serious and persistent problem. The Institute of Medicine estimates that the incidence of poisoning in the United States is approximately 4 million cases per year, with 300,000 cases leading to hospitalization. In 2013, 43,982 deaths were caused by drug poisoning. In addition, the U.S. poison control centers received calls for poison exposures for 80,266 animals, so be mindful of your pets too. Read more