LACONIA — It's the end of one chapter and the beginning of another for nurse practitioner Nancy E. Dirubbo as she prepares to close the Laconia Women's Health Center to concentrate on a new venture, the Travel Clinic of New Hampshire, which will provide preventive medical care to international travelers.
Dirubbo said when she started the Women's Health Center in 1985 on Union Avenue, the attitude toward women's health issues was very different.
"Nobody was doing much in those years," she said, noting she had been working at at clinic in Plymouth and the law had recently changed to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medicines.
"I was making money for someone else and I thought, I could be doing this for me," she said.
But her mission in opening the Women's Health Center — one of the oldest and longest lasting nurse-practitioner-owned clinics in the country — was something other than the financial benefits of owning her own business. She said she was able to give women the educational and emotional support they needed as well as the medical care.
"I didn't just treat 'em and street 'em," she said.
In the 1980, said Dirubbo, there was no information out there for women about their own bodies. She said the public libraries wouldn't carry the book "Our Bodies Ourselves" so she started a small lending library from her office so women could get some information on their own. "Women were starved for information," she said.
Over time and with the advent of the Internet, Dirubbo said women gradually became more knowledgeable about their own bodies.
"I think women are much more informed, but now they are on overload," Dirubbo said.
The problem she sees in many cases is that too much information comes direct from the advertisers to the consumers and not enough people let the medical experts make the medical determination.
"In my generation we had anxiety because we didn't know what was happening. This generation has anxiety because they think everything they see will happen to them," she said.
"Sometimes they'll see a commercial and come in and ask for a specific drug," she said, noting that most of the time, the patient has no idea why they want this particular drug. "Kids today learn that all solutions come from a bottle."
When asked what is most noteworthy in women's health other than awareness, she said she sees far fewer unplanned pregnancies than she did in the 1980sand credits that to advances in long-term birth-control medicine.
She said that she decided to make the business transition from women's health to adult immunizations because of her own personal travel experiences, recent education achievements, and a friend who has a similar clinic in New York state.
"I thought, that's what I can do when I grow up," said Dirubbo, who noted that Travel Clinic of New Hampshire will operate from the Women's Health Center's present location.
Dirubbo recently earned her doctorate in Nursing Practice from Northeastern University and her work was focused on adult and geriatric immunizations. She spent two weeks in Dublin, Ireland, participating in the International School and was an invited speaker to the International Council of Advanced Practice Nursing in Helsinki, Finland.
She noted that most colleges require some type of student trip, people are traveling for adoptions, and visiting friends and relatives. Dirubbo said she has clients who own second homes in other parts of the world that still struggle with diseases like malaria, hepatitis A, yellow fever, and diphtheria.
She said even people who have been immunized against many of these diseases years ago should consider updates or boosters when traveling for pleasure to certain areas of the world.
As an example, she said people traveling to Pakistan would need a polio booster, and most people don't know that a diphtheria vaccine is only good for five years.
"Parents will come in and know every vaccine their children have, but when I ask them about themselves, most can't remember," she said.
Dirubbo said the recent measles outbreaks in the United States stemmed from European travelers coming for vacations and to visit family.
"It's not just a issue of whether the traveler stays well, it's also a public health issue," she said.
Dirubbo said in order to store and offer the vaccines, she had to pass a test offered once a year by the International Society of Travel Medicine but she was fortunate because the year she passed, the test was offered in Boston. She started Travel Health N.H. in 2008.
She said at one point the U.S. State Department contacted her because they were out of yellow fever vaccine and she had some.
Dirubbo will continue with the Laconia Women's Health Center until March 31 and is working on finding primary care doctors for her clients.
After that, her company, which will continue on in the same Union Avenue location as Travel Health of New England will be doing only travel vaccinations and advisories.
Each visit, she said, lasts and hour and, unfortunately, most of her vaccination services won't be covered by insurance. She said a couple traveling or a family traveling will be counted as "one visit" although they will have to pay for each vaccine.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 December 2014 02:08
GILFORD — "We've got plenty of snow and I'm pretty optimistic there will lots of good skiing over the holidays," Greg Goddard, general manager of Gunstock Mountain Resort, said Wednesday.
Recalling the heavy snowfall on Christmas Day a year ago, Goddard confessed that changing temperatures, rainy forecast and overcast skies "is not the scenario we would have wished for, but we've been making lots of snow." He said that 22 trails are open and another seven will be ready for skiing on Friday. There will two routes of descent off every lift. The Thrill Hill Tubing Park, which at 1,068 feet offers the longest run in the state, will have its four chutes open on Saturday.
Goddard said that most ski areas have between 20 and 40 trails open and Gunstock will have skiing on near 30 before the weekend. "We'll be making snow and waiting for it to get cold again," Goddard said.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 12:17
LACONIA — Police are continuing to investigate the case of a man who robbed D'Angelo's Restaurant on upper Union Ave. on Tuesday night, shortly after closing.
Police said the robber, wearing dark clothing, forced his was into the restaurant at 1056 Union Ave. as an employee was taking trash out through the back door. He ordered employees to open the cash draws and took an undisclosed amount of cash.
One employee was able to run out of the restaurant during the robbery and make a call to 9-1-1 at 9:04 p.m.
Police arrived within 90 seconds of getting the call, but learned the suspect had fled on foot in an unknown direction.
A K-9 track was initiated however no scent could be found.
Police said no weapons were shown and no employees were injured.
There were no new developments in the case, police reported Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 12:11
GILMANTION — A group of townspeople have submitted petitions to have the town and School District return to the traditional town-meeting style of governing, Town Clerk Debra Cornett confirmed Tuesday.
She said the Supervisors of the Checklist have met and determined that the minimum number of signatures needed to put the measure on the 2015 town and school warrants has been met.
Gilmanton has been governed the Official Ballot Act — also known as SB-2 — since 2012. Under SB-2, which was enacted into state law in 1996, towns and school districts approve their budget and decide other matters through standard day-long balloting, compared to the traditional town meeting format where voters debate the budget and other issues then vote on them in a open forum.
Needing a three-fifths majority to pass, Gilmanton voters passed SB-2 by 10 votes. The result was 519 in favor and 328 opposed. The turnout in that election was 38 percent of registered voters, high by local election standards.
Under SB-2 voters also have to choose between a proposed town budget and a "default" budget that consists of the previous year's budget minus one time expenditures plus the cost of new contractual agreements.
According to a story written in early 2014 by the Union Leader, in 2012 there were 67 towns using SB-2 and 19 school districts.
Those who favor SB-2 argue that it cuts down on spending and takes the intimidation factor out of annual town meeting where, in most cases, townspeople can see who supports various measures. Advocates also said that, in a perfect world, voters would come to the deliberative session, discuss and alter the proposed warrant articles as they see fit, and then be well-informed about how they cast their ballots.
Those who are against SB-2 say not enough people attend the SB-2 deliberative sessions and on town election day are voting on items they don't completely understand.
It will take the same 60 percent majority of Gilmanton's voters to undo SB-2 as it did to enact it in 2012.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:56
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