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Woodstock Magazine

Local Spotlight: Get to Know the Ottaquechee Health Foundation

Aug 10, 2016 03:08PM ● Published by Finn McFarland

Step into the offices of the Ottauquechee Health Foundation, and the slobbery face and floppy ears of Golden Retriever puppy Dallas meet you at the door. After a friendly greeting from Dallas, Executive Director Sherry Thornburg and Program Coordinator Beth Robinson are poised to lend a helping hand with your health care needs.

The Ottauquechee Health Foundation in Woodstock is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes and supports programs that identify and help meet the health care needs of residents of Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Quechee, Reading, and Woodstock.

The foundation began as a health center in the 1950s and was relocated from the Simmons House to the current location of the Ottauquechee Health Center in 1974. After a local hospital took over the health center in 1996, the foundation was created with the goal of providing grants for low-income individuals and supporting community health needs.

OHF’s Good Neighbor Grant program is a funding effort dependent largely on donations through which grants are awarded to individuals who cannot afford the costs of health care. In 2015, the OHF raised $15,000 for their Good Neighbor Grants program that went directly to funding 133 grants. Nearly two-thirds of the grants are awarded for oral health needs because of the oral health crisis affecting the country today. The remainder of the grants help fund medical equipment, mental health, pharmaceutical, and other health care costs.

OHF also runs an oral health-screening program for adults called the SMILES Program, which provides screening, a fluoride varnish, and oral health education to adults in the community free of charge. Participants visit with a licensed dental hygienist at either the OHF office in Woodstock or the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction. The program also aims to connect adults with dental offices to promote prevention-based care, which is much more effective and less costly than urgent treatment. Over 100 individuals have participated in the SMILES program in the last year.

The Caregiver Referral Service connects community members with a caregiver from OHF’s registry of experienced caretakers to help with bathing, cooking, cleaning, and household tasks and chores. The referral service is free, and grants are available for those who cannot afford caregiver services.

The Ottauquechee Health Foundation serves hundreds of community members each year through its various community health programs. To learn more about the OHF, volunteer, or sign up for a program, visit ohfvt.org or call (802) 457-4188.

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