Martha McLeod is the community engagement coordinator for the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging (AHA) for New Futures. She works to engage, train, and mobilize older adults in advocacy efforts to improve healthy aging in New Hampshire.
Martha comes to New Futures after a 30-year career in community and public health, which included serving as the Executive Director of a rural health network, as a nutrition consultant in the Division of Public Health Services at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, and working directly with young parents providing nutrition education in a community food program. Most recently, she has worked as a consultant providing project management, grant writing, and other services to not for profit organizations and a government agency
Martha was elected to the NH General Court as a state representative for two terms and served on the Commerce and Finance Committees. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and her Masters in Occupational Education with a concentration in Adult Education from the University of New Hampshire.
After raising her family in the seacoast community of Portsmouth, Martha returned to her native north country home in Franconia where she enjoys hiking and skiing. She and her husband have two grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Mary Ann Aldrich
Mary Ann Aldrich is a registered nurse with a specialty in healthcare administration and community relations. She works for Dartmouth Hitchcock and serves on the board of directors for multiple elder support organizations in the community. Mary Ann is a vocal advocate for seniors, and is interested in maintaining current knowledge of issues facing this segment of the population which in turn prepares her to be able to advocate for this segment of the population in which she is also an active member.
As a member of the steering Committee, Mary Ann recognizes that meeting with other members of the committee with varying backgrounds and experiences will enable her to learn about issues in the community that go beyond her professional scope. Being an active member of the community advocating for positive change and increasing needed services for seniors is a priority that is both a personal and professional for Mary Ann.
When she is not advocating for others in the community, Mary Ann enjoys travelling outside of the United States, which broadens her scope of community to worldwide.
Catholic Charities New Hampshire
Tom Blonski is President and CEO of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, which aims to protect the needs of aging individuals across all corners of the state. Since 1945 Catholic Charities New Hampshire has been helping seniors, either living at home or requiring extra support, preserve their health, well-being and wishes to remain as independent as possible, which has been the core mission from the start. Blonski’s team provides food distribution and rides to medical appointments for homebound seniors in Greater Manchester and Greater Nashua through their Care Givers program, and statewide, offer emotional support for mental health struggles through Mental Health Counseling, emergency assistance for seniors facing financial hardship and bereavement support groups for those dealing with the loss of a loved one through their Community Services program, and food distribution through the New Hampshire Food Bank. They also provide compassionate, person-centered care for more than 1,000 seniors annually through their seven senior living communities in Manchester, Windham, Laconia, Berlin, and Dover, including short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, assisted living, and independent living programs.
Tom brings invaluable experience to the Steering Committee and will be a key member. Recognizing that there is a duty to protect and serve seniors, as many don’t have the voice they need, he looks forward to working with the committee on a shared vision and commitment to be that advocate – and create a wider set of resources that foster healthy aging in a life-affirming manner for all those in communities across New Hampshire.
When Tom is not leading Catholic Charities New Hampshire, he enjoys running, particularly near the ocean. Before he spent his time giving back to the community, he once ran two marathons in two weeks!
Rockingham Planning Commission
Scott Bogle is a transportation planner for the Rockingham Planning Commission, where he focuses on assisting communities to improve options for people who cannot drive or choose not to drive, for twenty-seven of thirty-six Rockingham County communities. This includes working to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety as well as public transportation and options like volunteer driver programs. Like many others on the Steering Committee, Scott recognizes that the strategy of aging in place only works if people can get from their homes to medical appointments, grocery shopping, social/civic opportunities, and other basic life needs.
Scott chose to work with AHA because of the opportunity to learn about innovative work around the state to make communities more age friendly. He also understands that the unmet needs of elders is a growing disparity in New Hampshire, and as a senior caregiver himself, he is keen on bridging the gaps to ensure that the seniors of New Hampshire have the tools they need to continue to live a full life.
When Scott is taking a break from his work with the Rockingham Planning Commission and Steering Committee, he enjoys some quality family time with his wife and kids, and their tandem bikes!
Department of Health and Human Services
Dick Chevrefils is an AARP volunteer and has a background in social work. He worked with the Department of Health and Human Services (NH) for 35 years, as well as 9 years with AARP in both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
Dick has a strong background in volunteering as well and actively works with AARP (NH), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI NH), Adoptive Families for Children Foundation, and serves on the advisory board to the Center for Aging and Community Living. In addition to these roles, he is also a part of the AHA Caregiving Group. He shares his seat on the Steering Committee with Todd Faney, the State Director of AARP (NH).
When he has spare time from all of his volunteer efforts and hard work, Dick enjoys travelling, which he hopes to do more of in 2022!
NH Department of Military Affairs & Veterans Services
Amy Cook works for the New Hampshire Department of Military Affairs & Veterans Services, where she represents the interests and needs of the military and veteran population statewide.
Amy brings a wealth of experience to the Steering Committee, recognizing that over 50% of the New Hampshire veteran population is over the age of 65. As a result, Amy and her team at the New Hampshire Department of Military Affairs & Veterans Services have key experience in advocating and executing solutions to aging related difficulties, which will be an incredible asset to the Steering Committee.
When Amy is not advocating for one of the most vulnerable New Hampshire populations, she passes the time by advocating for our furry friends. Amy and her family recently rescued three pregnant mini-Rex rabbits and has found a loving home for all of the babies!
NH Alliance for End-of-Life Options
Nancy Dorner is a member of the New Hampshire Alliance for End-of-Life Options, where she assists the senior community of New Hampshire ensure that they have the resources and information they need to make some of the most important decisions of their life.
Nancy also has experience in the mental healthcare field, and worked for a Community Mental Health Center, where she was their point person for the Referral, Education, Assistance, and Prevention (REAP) program which provided short-term home counseling services for older adults.
Nancy participated in the last state Senior Leadership Training group and is pleased to be working with the AHA Steering Committee, which has allowed her to contribute and learn more about the issues affecting the state’s growing aging population. In addition to these roles, Nancy is also a part of the AHA Advocacy Workgroup.
When Nancy is not aiding the senior communities of New Hampshire, she enjoys birdwatching and has been an avid birdwatcher for years.
Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County
Jon Eriquezzo works for Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County, where he helps meet the needs of seniors who are at risk of food insecurity or isolation.
Recognizing that food insecurity is a growing issue among the senior population and already working in a role that looks to bridge the gap, Jon brings vital experience to the Steering Committee.
In his free time Jon enjoys doing stained glass art.
NH Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health
Larry Flint wears a multitude of hats in his local health and wellbeing communities. He is a member of the NH Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health, the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network, the New London Hospital Wellness Coalition, the Dartmouth Hospital Partners for Community Wellness, the VP Newport Senior Center Board of Directors, and the Town of Newport Recreation Advisory Committee. On a statewide level Larry is a part of the Granite State Games organization.
Larry chose to be a member of the Steering Committee because he makes sure to not represent any one organization. He considers himself a volunteer community activist, and being affiliated with many organizations – on each, he is the older adult promoting healthy aging.
Larry also brings valuable internal AHA experience, as he has been involved with AHA since its very first meeting decades ago.
Tri County Community Action Program, Inc.
Betty Gilcris works for Tri County Community Action Program, Inc. where she is the Health & Nutrition Department Head, and oversees the TCCAP Family Dentistry, Senior Meals, RSVP, ServiceLink and Head Start programs within the agency.
She decided to become a member of the Steering Committee because in order to support our Senior programs, it is important for her to be knowledgeable and an active participant in the field to better support our staff and senior clients. She recognizes that having a full understanding of the needs of the community one is serving is the key to any aid groups.
In her free time Betty also enjoys trying her luck on slot machines and considers herself a slot machine enthusiast.
Todd Hanson is a member of the JSA Designs organization on the national level, which consists of architects specializing in senior living communities, as well as the Access Navigators Organization on a Northern New England regional level, which is a non-profit that advocates for equitable and inclusive communities.
Tom was inspired to become a member of the Steering Committee after his experience at Access Navigators, where he saw firsthand the social isolation caused by both physical and attitudinal barriers that exist in every community. He hopes to bring his experiences and work on the beginning of solutions to create better equity for individuals of all ages and abilities. He is proud to be a member of the committee, and his drive and experience will be a great addition to the committee.
The Stephen Group
Brooke Holton is a Senior Consultant with The Stephen Group where she leverages high quality relationships with clients in human service areas. Brooke has been engaged for more than a decade with nonprofit human service providers. She has run the operations of a large human services non-profit where she was responsible for the execution and management of organizational strategies, operations, programming, finance, contracts, development, external relationships and collaborations. In addition, Brooke has more than 20 years of experience in state and municipal government, serving in a variety of roles in public safety and justice environments as well as years of volunteer work and service on boards of charitable organizations.
Brooke will be an invaluable asset to the Steering Committee. In addition to her decades of experience, she holds the belief that the collective impact of those involved in the aging field is essential to move the continuum forward. Brooke is also not a stranger to the AHA team, as she was a part of our Advocacy workgroup and also chaired the “Fundamental Needs Are Met” workgroup.
Brooke is no stranger to helping others, before her days of nonprofits and volunteer work, she works as a dispatcher for the State Police Headquarters before 911 and mobile phones were accessible.
NH Council on the Arts
Cassandra Mason works for the NH State Council on the Arts, whose mission is to ensure that every citizen and community in New Hampshire enjoys the cultural, civic, economic, and educational benefits of the arts.
Cassandra and her team bring incredibly valuable experience to the Steering Committee, as their programs bring creative experiences to schools, nonprofit organizations and communities across the state. Specifically in 2006, their Arts in Health program focused on bringing artist residency programs into NH residential healthcare facilities. They now partner with health agencies, organizations, and artists to support effective and accessible arts experiences that serve NH’s most vulnerable populations: individuals and families whose lives are impacted by chronic disease, disability, behavioral health, substance misuse, aging and dementia, and incarceration. They continue to explore opportunities to expand their support of key public health priorities that affect the well-being of NH citizens, including trauma, racism, social isolation, and income instability.
Cassandra was drawn to the Steering Committee after attending quarterly meetings as an opportunity to inform her work and engage health professionals. Then, after becoming a care partner for a parent with early onset dementia herself, she knew she could bring that lens of experience to the work of the committee. With both her professional and personal experiences, Cassandra will bring a wealth of knowledge to the table.
When Cassandra is not seeking new ways to support the state’s most vulnerable, she loves trying new foods. She recently discovered that she loves brussels sprouts despite sharing a disliking for them with her mother while growing up.
Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of NH
Janice McDermott has recently retired from Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of NH, where she ended her 35 years of experience of working in hospice and palliative care. During her career she recruited, trained, and supervised hospice staff and volunteers. She also helped form Hospice House in Merrimack. In addition, she also provided ongoing education and advocacy work to hospice providers statewide as State Hospice Associate Director, and also served as hospice social worker and has been certified as an end-of-life Doula.
Janice got involved with the Steering Committee after attending AHA quarterly meetings for a few years and quickly loved the goals of the group. Janice’s decades of experience in the senior care field will prove invaluable to the committee, as she has first-hand work with countless senior citizens and has a broad scope of their needs and requirements when providing care and services.
Janice is a natural born caregiver to all and rescued and raised a pet tortoise in her family’s backyard for almost 30 years.
Manchester VA Medical Center
Ritamarie Moscola works in the Geriatric Medicine department for the Manchester VA Medical Center which covers the greater Manchester area. She is well versed in both routine senior healthcare, as well as aging related illnesses.
Ritamarie chose to get involved with the Steering Committee because she knew that she could bring valuable insight to the committee as well as her passion to make positive impacts on the quality of life of New Hampshire’s elderly population.
Ritamarie loves to keep herself occupied and has dedicated 2022 to helping others and hopes to dedicate 2023 to becoming certified in Morse Code transmission.
Portsmouth Senior Activity Center & National Council on Aging
Marueen O’Leary has retired from her career, and now volunteers at the Portsmouth Senior Activity Center as a watercolor teacher. In addition to her volunteer work, she also is a part-time consultant for the National Council on Aging, where she coordinates the national senior center accreditation program.
Maureen has been involved with the NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) for the past 15 years. NISC focuses on sharing best practices, standards, and networking with senior center professionals to strengthen these community focal points. Prior to that she was the Director of the Portsmouth Senior Center where she saw first-hand the importance of this older adult community engagement resource. She chose to get involved with the Steering Committee after hearing their mission to make NH a great place to live as you age.
Maureen is not only an advocate for the elderly community, but also an entertainer! She plays ukulele in a rock band made up of 50- and 60-year-olds called June and the Honey Badgers.
Anne Marie Olsen-Hayward
Seacoast Mental Health Center
Anne Marie Olsen-Hayward works as the REAP Director for the Seacoast Mental Health Center. There she specializes in working with older adults with cognitive disorders and their care partners on the statewide level.
Anne Marie came to the Steering Committee after having loved the work AHA does around identifying and addressing systems issues which impact older adults and their loved ones. Having an opportunity to raise awareness and create positive change is important to her. The diversity of agencies and programs which are represented within the AHA community was also a huge draw for her as it affords a positive space to learn from and support each other in this changing landscape.
When Anne Marie is not committed to helping the senior community and their care partners live their lives to the fullest, she enjoys creating and has quite the green thumb. During COVID she maximized her time and did almost a complete upgrade of her backyard including constructing a pergola and benches as well as over 600 sq ft of garden beds!
Renee Pepin, PhD
Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging
Renee Pepin, PhD is trained in geropsychology and works with the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging, which serves the Upper Valley, Northern New England, and the general United States. Here she does research on the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based social connectedness and depression treatments for older adults using innovative, brief, and practical strategies to delivery through a combination of community-based aging service providers and technology.
Renee was drawn to the Steering Committee by her interest in expanding access to mental health services for older adults in community-based settings. She is committed to the mission and work of AHA and looks forward to bringing her experiences in geropsychology to the team.
After her days in the office helping expand mental health coverage for seniors, Renee manages her own cut flower farm in Windsor, Vermont.
Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels Program
Debra Perou works for the Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels program, which covers Rockingham County. In addition to this program, she is also involved in a number of statewide and national nutrition organizations, and transportation regional coordinating councils.
Debra brings countless years of experience in working in aging fields, specifically meals on wheels, senior community dining, older adults’ transportation, and older adult support services. She chose to become a part of the Steering Committee because she took a liking to what AHA does and felt that working on the AHA Steering Committee would further her knowledge and expose her to new strategies on how to be a better provider of service to older adults in New Hampshire. In addition to the Steering Committee, Debra also works on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work group.
Debra is not only an excellent senior advocate and care provider, but she also has a knack for animals and is the caretaker of five parrots and two dogs.
Memorial Hospital, North Conway & MWV Health Collaborative
Sue Ruka works for North Conway’s Memorial Hospital and the MWV Health Collaborative, which serve the Mount Washington Valley region. Her work in healthcare and rural communities, as well as a specialty with quality-of-life care for individuals with dementia and memory loss.
Sue was drawn to the Steering Committee by her passion for working on issues impacting older adults. She believes older adults have a wisdom and expertise that adds richness and value to our communities. She was interested in working with other individuals and organizations within the state to listen, share, and work collaboratively to enhance quality of life and enable people to remain in their communities of choice on a wide scope. She hopes to bring representation of issues that particularly concern more rural communities in which aging seniors hope to stay. She is also a member of the AHA Advocacy work group.
Sue is no doubt hard working, and definitely has her hands occupied at home as well with her two greyhound dogs, who bring the same warmth and love to her home that she hopes to help seniors maintain as they age.
NH Care Collaborative & NH ServiceLink
Jennifer Seher works for the New Hampshire Care Collective and the New Hampshire ServiceLink, who serve the Southwestern New Hampshire Regions. Here she specializes in care coordination and access to care, which allows all individuals and families regardless of age or disability, to have access to community-based information, services, and support. Additionally, she works on cross partner care coordination, particularly during the transition from a hospital or nursing facility to home.
Jennifer chose to become a member of the Steering Committee because she knows the importance of all those hoping to make options for healthy aging in New Hampshire coming together to understand all perspectives, plan for system changes collaboratively, and to raise awareness about age discrimination, barriers to healthy aging, and ways that to be an advocate. She is also a member of the AHA Reframing Aging work group.
Jennifer is a multi-faceted person and is not only vocal about doing what she can to help the aging community of New Hampshire, but also is a musician and plays the viola.
Community Care of Lyme & WIN (Well-being in the Nation) Network
Martha Tecca works for Community Care of Lyme and the Well-being in the Nation Network, where she focuses on building community – connections, partnerships, and a generous neighborly spirit – so that everyone can live the healthy life they choose. Additionally, she has experience in measurement and management to improve individual and collective well-being, as well as organizational start-up and strategy. She has a specialty in rural communities, aging and intergenerational populations, and end-of-life care.
Martha joined the Steering Committee because of it’s positive, well-coordinated, and powerful network of leaders, who are committed to listening and learning together. She aims to make a difference where it matters in New Hampshire and across New England and serves as a model for collaborative efforts across the country. Martha is no stranger to AHA’s efforts, as she also is a member of the Measurement and Strategic Planning work groups.
Martha is committed to helping the senior community of New Hampshire maintain their quality of life as they age, and she also practices what she preaches! She is a part of the “Wild Mountain Mama” group which consists of herself and fifteen other 25+ year old women who enjoying hiking, sharing experiences, and growing older together.
Sylvia von Aulock
Southern NH Planning Commission
Sylvia von Aulock works for the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, which serves fourteen communities in the Greater Manchester area. Here she works on land use planning and collaboration, in order to help guide communities in becoming age friendly.
Sylvia is thrilled to be joining the Steering Committee and has a special interest in age-friendly collaboration and jumpstarting the discussion to expand age-friendly community planning to all of New Hampshire. In addition to being on the Steering Committee, Sylvia also belongs to the Transportation AHA work group.
Sylvia does not just extend her efforts and influence to the senior community, but also to the children’s community, and has even written and illustrated her own children’s picture book titled The First Zebra, which she hopes to publish in the future.