FamilyWize – Health and Wellness Newsletter – April, 2017


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Health and Wellness Newsletter – April, 2017

Ask an Expert

Ask an Expert: What is the difference between Generic and Brand Name drugs?

In our new “Ask an Expert” Blog Series, Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D and Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, addresses some of the most common questions consumers have when it comes to prescription drugs and drug costs. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital, and home care. Read his full bio here.

Patients are often unsure about the differences between generic drugs and brand name drugs. Let’s address the basics.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that brand name drugs have a generic name as well. When a brand name drug goes off patent, another manufacturer can make a generic equivalent of that drug. There are also therapeutic equivalent drugs, which are made of different chemicals, but work similarly to each other.

For example, Lipitor is a heavily advertised drug used to treat high cholesterol. Lipitor is the drug’s brand name.

Atorvastatin (a TOR vas ta tin) is the generic name. Since Lipitor lost its patent, several other drug companies now make a generic equivalent of Lipitor. That means the FDA requires the generic equivalent to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name product. They are almost identical (other than possibly some inactive ingredients). Generic Atorvastatin has been proven to be bioequivalent to Lipitor and should work just as well as the brand name product.

Mevacor, on the other hand, does not have a generic equivalent. It is considered to be a therapeutic equivalent of Lipitor. A therapeutic equivalent drug may be in the same class of drugs and may treat the same condition in much the same way, but it is made up of different chemicals.

Why does this distinction matter? When you give your pharmacist a prescription written by your doctor, it is considered both safe and legal for your pharmacist to dispense a generic equivalent drug for the brand name drug named on the prescription (**unless your doctor specifically says not to**). And that is a good thing, because sometimes the cost of a generic equivalent drug is 80 to 85 percent lower than the brand name product. So you will get a product that is proven to work just as effectively as the brand name drug for significantly less money.

However, your pharmacist cannot dispense a therapeutically equivalent drug in place of a brand name drug. Using our example, if you have a prescription for Lipitor, your pharmacist may offer you generic Atorvastatin, but you would need a new prescription from your doctor if you wanted to switch to Mevacor.

As a patient, you can rest assured that generics are safe. Generic drug recalls are rare, and the FDA closely regulates generic drug producers to protect us from quality issues and adverse effects. For more information, check out the FDA’s website here.

Regardless of whether you take a brand name drug or a generic drug, the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card can help you to save money on your prescription drug costs.

Do you have another question for our pharmacist? Visit FamilyWize on Facebook and let us know. Find us at


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Physical Activity and Nutrition News – Spring 2017 Newsletter



At a recent meeting, we were reviewing the data from last year’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). We learned that fruit and vegetable consumption, one of the key indicators to whether Vermonters are eating healthy foods, is lower than we would like it to be. It is recommended that children and adults eat at least two servings of fruit each day and at least three servings of vegetables. In 2015, 32% of Vermonters ate 2 or more servings of fruit per day, down from 35% in 2013. Vegetable consumption is even lower, although we saw a 2 point increase between 2013 and 2015: 20% of Vermonters ate 3 or more vegetables a day in 2015 compared to 18% in 2013. We are concerned about these numbers because we know consuming fruits and vegetables can protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and many cancers, as well as help with weight control.
We need your help. In this newsletter you will see strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption aimed at each sector we work with: schools, communities and worksites. Use these as inspiration to help encourage your coworkers, students and neighbors to eat better. Together, we can strengthen these numbers and positively impact the health of our fellow Vermonters.


Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption at Work

Healthy eating improves overall wellness and decreases obesity and other chronic disease risk. Because most Vermont adults spend a large part of their week at work, worksites play an important role in promoting healthy eating and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Worksites of all sizes can find a strategy that fits their needs and the resources they have available to promote eating fruits and vegetables. Here are four possible strategies…

School Gardens Help Students Get

More Fruits and Vegetables

Everyone knows the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now research is indicating that healthy students are better learners, too. A significantly higher proportion of high school students who ate 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day (81%) got A’s and B’s in school than students who ate less than 5 fruits and vegetables a day (79%). More…
Food is Medicine: Pilot Project Fills the Prescription
We all tend to listen a little closer when a health care provider suggests we make lifestyle changes to improve health, such as increasing physical activity or making healthier food choices. However, when money is tight, healthier eating, especially eating more fruits and vegetables, can be challenging when these items appear to be more expensive than less healthy options. Vermont is currently piloting a program to address this challenge.

Vermont Department of Health: Physical Activity and Nutrition, 108 Cherry Street, Suite 203, Burlington, VT 05401
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April News – Building Bridges in our Communities!


Spring is here, so are new training opportunities, events, and reasons to support Green Mountain United Way’s Annual Community Campaign!


We talk a lot about living UNITED and a large part of that is having a shared understanding of how everyone in our community is impacted. To help foster a better understanding of those who are living in poverty right here in our communities, we are so fortunate to be able to host Prudence Pease, a National Trainer for the aha!Process, to bring us two Bridges Out of Poverty trainings in our area. She will be in Barre at the Canadian Club on Thursday (a few spots are still available!) and in Newport at the Gateway Center on May 12. We invite all of you to attend. It is our hope that this training supports the shared goal of reducing poverty and creating greater empathy to help mitigate the life issues caused by poverty. These determinants impact each of our United Way Priority Areas of Health, Education, and Financial Stability and there is so much work to be done. Please join us in this training and in this important work.

With your help, we can build the bridges our community needs!

In gratitude,
Tawnya Kristen
Executive Director

Just $40,00 to go!
Help us reach our $500,000 Goal with your gift today!

Join our Community Campaign to help bring resources and solutions to your community


Green Mountain United Way Events


Green Mountain United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring is May 24! We will have two great projects at the Family Center of Washington County and at the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre. Learn more….

Bridges Out of Poverty trainings will take place on April 27, May 12 and June 2, these sessions are open to businesses and nonprofits. Learn more…

Volunteer Opportunities

Community Resources


We are proud to offer Familywize Prescription Discount Cards. Find out what you can save with the Familywize prescription tool at

Nonprofit partners, check out this great series of workshops from Common Good Vermont about finance, board and organizational development. Learn more…

Upcoming Events

Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope Community Screening – May 24 in Central Vermont. Watch the trailer here: and ….read more
Bridges Out of Poverty Workshops – Join us and national trainer Prudence Pease in Central Vermont, Newport or Burlington for a one-day Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop in April, May and June …read more
13th Annual Green Mountain United Way Golf Tournament – Save the Date for Saturday, July 29th at the Barre Country Club!

Copyright © 2017 Green Mountain United Way, All rights reserved.

Phone: 802-613-3989


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Green Mountain United Way Announces 2017 Day of Caring Projects and Seeks Volunteers

Green Mountain United Way Announces 2017 Day of Caring Projects and Seeks Volunteers

Montpelier, Vermont – April 21, 2017When people come together for a special day of volunteerism, helping local organizations with much needed projects and giving their time and talents to the community good, it is more than just a normal day, it is a “Day of Caring.”

Green Mountain United Way’s annual Day of Caring is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24 in Central Vermont and volunteers are still needed to help on the two projects planned for the day.

“My favorite part of Day of Caring is being able to see individuals come together to work hard together and support the organizations that do so much for our community while also building new relationships through the joy of volunteering,” Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way, said. “The Day of Caring is one of the best ways we have seen to mobilize and energize people to give back to their communities while having a lot of fun doing it.”

This year’s projects are scheduled at The Family Center of Washington County in Berlin and the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre.

The day will begin at The Family Center of Washington County where volunteers will help to rebuild and rehab the children’s playground and community garden, then continue in the afternoon at the Good Samaritan Haven shelter in Barre with indoor and outdoor clean-up work.

Some of the project activities include landscaping, painting, minor building repairs, office organization, pressure washing buildings and more.

“Business volunteers are a key part of Day of Caring. We are fortunate to have so many great businesses who support their community by giving employees incentives to volunteer their time. In 2016 we were supported by businesses such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Northfield Savings Bank and Keurig Green Mountain. We are hoping they, and many others, will join us again this year.”, said Carrie Stahler, Director of Funding and Program Development at Green Mountain United Way and the lead organizer of the Day of Caring.

Aside from helping the organization, Stahler is hoping those volunteering will learn more about the important work these organizations are doing.

Volunteers are being accepted and will be accepted the day of the event. Those interested in volunteering for Day of Caring, should contact Carrie Stahler at 802-613-3989 or by email at More information and registration can be found at

About Green Mountain United Way: Green Mountain United Way is a Vermont not-for-profit organization in operation since 1976.  They work to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties by mobilizing the caring power of communities around our region to advance the common good. No other single organization has the scope and influence to bring together human service agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.


Contact: Carrie Stahler, Green Mountain United Way, 802-613-3989 or


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The 25th Annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive —Saturday, May 13, 2017—

The 25th Annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive—

Counting down to Food Drive No. 25

NALC’s 25th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive is just weeks away—on
Saturday, May 13—and with that date drawing ever closer, food drive coordinators in hundreds of NALC branches across America are finalizing their preparations for the nation’s largest one-day food collection event designed to help replenish local food banks in the communities we serve.

“Too many people in this country are going hungry,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We know this to be true because we see it as we deliver to every address in America at least six days a week.”

Sadly, statistics back this up. Nearly 49 million Americans—1 in 6—are unsure where their next meal is coming from. This includes 13 million children as well as about 5 million seniors over age 60—many of whom live on fixed incomes and often are too embarrassed to ask for help.

Since 1993, when the national food drive began, letter carriers in every part of the country have worked with family members, friends, other postal co-workers and allies to use the second Saturday in May as a day to give something back to the communities that know and trust us.

Last year, the food drive collected a record 80 million pounds of nonperishable food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the quarter-century history of the drive to more than 1.5 billion pounds.

By the time our national food drive rolls around each year, the shelves of food pantries and other charitable organizations often are nearly empty, turning our hard work on Food Drive Day into a much-needed replenishment with summer fast approaching.

“Letter carriers lead this massive collection effort,” President Rolando said, “but we couldn’t make the food drive a reality without the help of our national partners.”

This year’s partners are the U.S. Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Valpak, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, the AARP Foundation and Valassis.

“These partners provide tangible support that helps to encourage the generous participation of our postal customers,” Rolando said.

For example, local United Way agencies often help branches coordinate distribution of food to local food banks, pantries and shelters. Countless NRLCA members volunteer their time to work with their brothers and sisters in the city carrier craft to help collect and distribute non-perishable food donations in the country’s rural and underserved areas. AFL-CIO’s community services liaisons work with field mobilization staff members, state federations and central labor councils (CLCs) to coordinate support and
recruit volunteers.

“Our extraordinary history of filling local food pantry shelves in communities across the country is made possible by our partnerships with these national organizations in conjunction with the dedication and hard work of letter carriers,” Rolando said.

“The food drive is just one of the many ways letter carriers give back to our communities,” he said. “It’s almost time for us to shine once again.”

Be sure to keep in touch with the food drive’s official social media accounts—on Facebook, “like”, and on Twitter, follow @StampOutHunger.

You can Download the Poster HERE or view it below

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”2017 NALC Food Drive Poster”]

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Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Update – Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Vermont 2-1-1

Wishes for a happy and healthy spring from all of us here at United Ways of Vermont/Vermont 2-1-1!

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

March 2017 holds the record for Vermont’s second largest snowstorm and the March call total of 5,679 shown on this month’s statistical report also holds a similar record! This is Vermont 2-1-1’s second largest number of contacts ever in a single month! Our Contact Specialists rose to the challenge of this record call volume month by providing their customary professional needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services, including: homeless shelters, housing organizations, rent and security deposit assistance, food, clothing, transportation, health and mental health services, and domestic violence services.

Also worth noting are this year’s first quarter record-setting “call volume seconds,” reflected in the number of requests for referrals to housing/shelter, public assistance programs, and tax filing assistance. March numbers are second only to January 2017 totals in these sub-categories.

The most referred to services under sub-category Housing/Shelter include homeless motel vouchers (653), extreme cold weather shelters (48), and community shelters (42). In spite of the commendable efforts by local communities across Vermont to address the needs of their most vulnerable members, there was a 28% increase in referrals over March 2016.

General Relief (GA), 3SquaresVT, and Medicaid, Public Assistance Programs that provide emergency aid and serve as a social safety net for vulnerable Vermonters, make up the top three referred services in this sub-category in March.

Perhaps the most encouraging note during this month of record-setting seconds is that the growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help the low- and moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing. In March, 582 contacts were made to 2-1-1 for tax filing assistance and tax information.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report here.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, which is a major public health, human rights, and social justice issue. It also serves to educate communities on how to prevent it.

There are over 50 agencies in the Vermont 2-1-1 database that deal with the issue of sexual assault, and many terms.  Here are a few terms to search under:

The Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault ( is a network of 15 prevention and advocacy organizations throughout the state. Its mission is to end domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking. The network’s purpose is to facilitate cooperation, share resources, to raise public awareness, and promote effective public education.

Reminder: National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Is April 29th!

(Please note: we ran an article on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in last month’s newsletter. However, we misreported the date of the event as April 27th. The date for this year’s take-back initiative is actually April 29th, as the headline indicates. We apologize for the error.)

If your prescription medications have expired or you are no longer taking them, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day offers you the opportunity to participate in the largest, confidential, environmentally safe, and secure disposal of prescription medications initiative that the United States Department of Justice offers. It has become clear to law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals that medications no longer being used that remain in the home pose grave and unnecessary dangers to families and the people visiting their homes. This national  prescription drug take-back program’s one-day initiative, in partnership with local communities, is a big step toward preventing unnecessary deaths to accidental medication exposure, and its importance is underscored when we think about the growing epidemic of abuse, misuse, dependence, and overdose of opioids in our nation. Click here to find out the hours and location of a collection site nearest you.

There are also many options for convenient and safe medication disposal available year-round in Vermont. Local police departments, county sheriffs, and many local pharmacies now offer this important service to community members. For more information about year-round medication disposal programs near you, call 2-1-1 or search the Vermont 2-1-1 database using the keyword Medication Disposal.

Take back your meds! Together we can make a difference!

Help Me Grow Update

This month we will continue our series exploring the Five Protective Factors. In our past few columns we covered Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Social Connections, and Concrete Support in Times of Need. This month we will take a look at Social and Emotional Development.

We all want our children to be healthy and happy. Supporting children’s emotional and social development is just as important as supporting their physical development.

So, what is social and emotional development?

Social and emotional development is a child’s ability to:

  • Understand the feelings of others
  • Recognize, express and manage a wide range of feelings and behaviors
  • Get along with other children, and build relationships with adults.

Children need social and emotional skills in order to develop the basic skills they need such as cooperation, following directions, demonstrating self-control and paying attention. Feelings of trust, confidence, pride, friendship, affection and humor are all a part of a child’s social and emotional development. Social and emotional skills can positively impact how your child functions at home, school and in the community.

You can support you child’s social and emotional development by:

  • Establishing and following a predictable, daily routine. (You provide security for children by being consistent and predictable.)
  • Identify and name feelings with your child so he/she can practice using words to identify emotions. 
  • Teaching your child strategies to calm down when he/she is angry or upset. Be comforting and help your child to manage their feelings.
  • Encouraging your child to explore, play and try new things. Provide opportunities for interactions with others (e.g., going to play groups with other children, inviting a child to your home for a play date, going to the park where there are other children playing).
  • Responding to your child’s signals and preferences (e.g., knowing when to stop playing when your baby turns away signaling they have had enough for now)

When you call Help Me Grow VT you can request a free Milestone Moments booklet to track your child’s developmental milestones up to age 5, including social/emotional milestones. The booklet contains tips on ways to play and interact with the young children  in your life that can not only help their healthy development, but create everyday shared moments that can strengthen your family as well. For more information call HMG VT Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-6 dialing   2-1-1 ext. 6. 

Vermont 2-1-1 Web Statistics

In addition to the contact statistics, the following data is from the 2-1-1 website and shows how the public used the database search engine during the month of February:

Top Services: Christmas Programs; Household Goods Donation ProgramsAssistive Technology Equipment Loan; Needle Exchange/Distribution Programs; Clothing Donation Programs;

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Department for Children and Families – Economic Services; Vermont Center for Independent Living; CVOEO; Department of Motor Vehicles

Top Search by City: Whiting; Hancock; Morrisville; New Haven; Burlington

Total Site Visits: 3757

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1570

Emergency Housing in Vermont

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 651 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for March here.

United Ways of Vermont on Amazon Smile!

Did you know that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the United Ways of Vermont? Support the United Ways of Vermont today by starting your shopping on Amazon Smile. Click on the image above to get started! 





Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA



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2016-17 Campaign Hits $470k

We are celebrating as we cross the $470,000 mark for our Annual Campaign! Thank you to everyone who made this possible so far!

We could not do the great work we do without the support of hundreds of individuals and businesses in the region, so thank you if you have contributed to this or any of our campaigns!

Haven’t made your contribution yet this year? It’s not too late – our Community Campaign ends on June 30! Just click the Donate button or send your check to our new Montpelier office at 73 Main St. #33, Montpelier, VT 05602 and help our campaign reach our goal of $500,000!


Every Dollar Makes a Difference!

$1/week ($26) buys 11 Literacy Kits for children lacking access to books OR provides new socks to 10 children entering emergency foster care through our Tatum’s Totes program

$2/week ($120) Provides fully-stocked backpacks to 4 children entering emergency foster care through GMUW’s Tatum’s Totes partnerships OR gives 4 working families a 1-hour budgeting workshop to get them on the path to financial stability

$10/week ($520) Supports a community forum that fosters honest conversation on opiate addiction to find long-term solutions to this complex issues like opiate addiction OR helps to bring 50 volunteers together with the supplies they need to clean up and repair a local playground!

In addition to the great work we do, our Community Campaign allows us and our donors to support the nonprofits in our region. Last year we gave over $100,000 to nonprofit organizations; check it out in our 2015-16 Annual Report.

Special Thanks to CVHHH for their stellar bulletin board and enthusiasm in their Workplace Campaign! (as shown in photo)

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