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September Newsletter

Image of blackberry bush with Health Ministries Network logo


September 2023 Newsletter

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

What an amazing summer it has been here in The Pacific Northwest! It is hard to believe fall is right around the corner this month!

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Health Ministries Network, but plenty more excitement is yet to come! Check out the events that have happened including celebrating Chuckanut Health Foundation, NSACH Partner Convening and the Back-to-School Block Party. And make sure to look at the upcoming opportunities to learn about caregiving leadership, kidney donation, and offerings from the North Sound ACH and our partner, Mt Baker Foundation.

AND Please share and mark your calendar's for the 2023 Fall HMN Foundations in Health Ministry (for prospective Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) and Health Ministers (HMs) and Community Health Advocates (CHAs)! The link is available on our website and below. This is an on-line instruction only and begins September 23rd. If a scholarship is needed, please do not hesitate to apply for one, we have plenty available!

Deadline to Register is September 16th!

We hope you enjoy our new feature "Our Amazing Volunteers" and if you know of someone who is deserving of this recognition, please let us know!

HMN's prayer for you this month is for calming peace with the changing of the seasons. There is a lot of noise in lives around this time of year with kiddos going back to school, and vacations wrapping up. We hear you, and we are praying for you in this busy but exciting season!

With gratitude,

Ali de La Bruere/Blake, Executive Director

and The HMN Board of Directors:

Dick Cathell, Interim Board Chair

Joni Hensley, RN

Kate Massey

Charles (Chaz) Nelson, Secretary

Melanie Cool

Sunny Garza, RN

Rebecca Cavanaugh, RN, Interim Treasurer

Bill Lonneman, DNP, RN

Anita Busby, LPN


Registration is OPEN For the Fall 2023 HMN Foundations Course

Foundations Course FAll 2023 is 23 September - 18 November 2023. Become a faith community nurse or health minister. Learn more at

Congratulations to The Chuckanut Health Foundation!

Last month, The Chuckanut Health Foundation celebrated 40 years of giving to the community! HMN Board Chair, Dick Cathell and Director Ali were able to attend this celebration! Congratulations to the team at The Chuckanut Health Foundation. Your hard work serving in the community does not go unnoticed and we are excited to see what you do in the next 40!

The Chuckanut Health Foundation is Health Ministry Network's fiscal sponsor, and we are looking forward to our continued relationship with this amazing organization. Congratulations!


Back to School Block Party

On August 19th new Executive Director Alison de La Bruere/Blake and Faith Community Nurse, Joni Hensley, BSN-RN, were excited to attend The Back to School Block Party at Bellingham High School. During this four hour event, partners from around the community gathered to support kids returning to school. This included: school supplies, resources for both children and parents, and more! We were honored to be at the event again this year. This year we took an estimated 60-70 blood pressure readings including pediatric measurements and entire families could and did line up for this service! What an amazing event to table, and a great place to see how and where the community needs support.


HMN September Meeting

We hope you are excited for our HMN monthly meeting on September 15th at 12:30pm via Zoom. This month we will hear from the Washington State Dept of Health-Naloxone Program. They will give us an update on the state of the Opioid epidemic and tips on how to administer the various forms of Naloxone. HMN is proud to participate in this program and has received doses of the nasal spray. Please contact Joni if you have any questions:

Please use the following link, bring your questions--and invite a friend! All are invited!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 870 3130 1954

Passcode: 780083

One tap mobile

+12532050468,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US

+12532158782,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 870 3130 1954

Passcode: 780083

Find your local number:

We look forward to seeing you there! Please send questions to


Our Amazing Volunteers

This month we are featuring our amazing Celeste Hilde. Celeste has been attending the United Church in Ferndale for over 70 years so is well known and trusted in her faith community. Because of this trust, people have dropped by wanting a nursing assessment of a health concern and she has given advice about what to expect from surgeries and how to take care of yourself in the healing process. One such visit resulted in a trip to the Wound Clinic, a wound vac and incision care for 6 weeks. Celeste has been known to pick up and deliver special equipment from the Lions Club for house-bound patients and has even taken individuals in her transport wheelchair to their healthcare provider. She is planning soon to accompany a cancer patient to their chemotherapy sessions to answer questions and support the family. Celeste stated, based on personal experience, "I know how scary the first infusion can be."

Celeste has assisted in completing Healthcare Directives, helping to interpret lab results and has graciously made home visits. She shared about checking one 97 yr-old's blood pressure (BP) who had not left their home since before COVID, was hesitant to go anywhere and refused to go to the doctor despite being told that their BP was high. Celeste eventually convinced them to go to the doctor and now the BP is stable because of medication. In another situation she received a referral from her minister about a burn patient with poor vision. Multiple home visits resulted in this burn healing well and routine contact now with Celeste.

Not only does she provide direct care and support but is also in the process of arranging guest speakers to come to the church to talk about dementia and diabetes in the next few months. Celeste's work is invaluable and appreciated as noted in an email from congregational members who relocated to another state saying “It doesn’t seem like our church has anyone do what you do. I miss that. I think it’s so helpful-to give info in various ways.”

Only a portion of Celeste's activities are listed here because of space constraints and when asked to help with this article she stated, "I knew I have been busy, but you do not realize how busy until someone asks you to write up what I have been doing."

Thank you for all you do, Celeste! You are a true blessing to all.


Class Leader Training

Event: Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class Leader Training (virtual) taught by Kate Massey! Date: Monday, Sept 25 – Friday, Sept 29

Time: 9 AM – 12 PM

Location: online via Zoom

The Class Leader training program includes:

  • Scripted curriculum, video, and audio resources

  • The Caregiver Helpbook

  • Networking connections with other Class Leaders

  • Intensive and interactive training provided by a team of PTC trainers

Space is limited – apply for your spot in the training today! Apply HERE


Learn about Living Kidney Donation!

Join use to mearn more about living kidny donation. A panel of kidney donors, recipients, and medical experts will discuss the journey of living kidney donation on Sept. 10, 2023, from 12-2PM. Location: Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 N Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225

Click on the flyer above, scan the QR code or email

Collaborating for a Dementia-Friendly Washington: Moving Forward Together. Two-day virtual event September 19-20. Learn more at
Virtual Continuing Education Event: Depression, Suppression, Obsession, and Related Disorders. Hosted by NID Parish Nurse Network in collaboration with Lutheran Parish Nurses International, NFP, on September 23, 2023 (8:30-3:00) Central Daylight Time

Mary Stuckey who was a Faith Community Nurse in our community a few years ago wanted to share this event. She highly recommended this educational offering! Thank you, Mary!

"Prediabetes is Not Benign," with Sandhya Gelou, MD, at 10:30 on September 12, 2023, at the Blaine Senior Center, 763 G Street, Blaine, WA. For more information: or 360-201-7840.

News and Offerings From Our North Sound ACH Partners

The August Partner Convening at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge brought almost 200 people and 80 organizations together! Thank you to everyone who came out to share your work and passions. We're still gathering pictures and videos, and as they come you can review them and resources from the event on our Resource Library, click here. Already planning for January, so hope to see you soon again!

Join the Next Network Learning Session on Sept 20 - Incarcerated and Justice-involved Equitable Solutions. Register here.

The CDC will be hosting a preventive medicine lecture on September 6, Disease Ecology, Planetary Health, and Human Rights: The Critical Nexus to Save our Planet. Join Daniel Bausch, MD for this free and virtual event, Continuing Education Credits are also being offered! For more information and to get the webinar link: click here

Supporting Individuals Through Day-to-Day Crises | September 13 It is common for situations to arise that can increase an individual's stress levels and feel like a crisis. Often, these crises can be navigated and resolved, with the right methods. This webinar will explore different day-to-day crises that supportive housing service recipients might face and discuss how supportive housing workers can teach problem-solving methods to support individuals in navigating these crises. For more information and to register click here.

North Sound Oral Health Local Impact Newsletter shared updates about recently passed legislation, upcoming meetings, a new dental school being built in Washington, and more! Check out their newsletter and please reach out to Lisa Sohni ( with interest and questions.


Aging Well Whatcom Opportunities for Input

1) GIVE YOUR INPUT via the Opportunity Council's Value of Home Survey. What's important to YOU in housing?

Whatcom County residents are invited to complete this survey until Sept 25. Responses will be used to help the Opportunity Council design future residential developments. Each respondent is eligible to be included in a drawing for up to a $100 gift card just for participating! Take the survey online, or download and fill out a paper copy. It's available in Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Punjabi in addition to English.

2) LEARN with the LGBTQ+ Elder Housing Services Virtual Symposium,Tuesdays in Sept, 11AM-2PM (Eastern Time)

Community advocates, housing and aging experts, and service providers will come together to discuss the housing service needs and models to equitably address LGBTQ+ aging in housing. A range of experts will discuss specific challenges facing LGBTQ+ elders of color, various service and housing models to address disparate aging experiences, and unique community-based solutions for the holistic health of LGBTQ+ communities in housing.


FCLs: Does Your Faith Community Need Mental Health First Aid Training?

UPDATE: We have heard from a number of you, regarding the need for Mental Health First Aid to Faith Community Leaders and FCNs/HMs/CHAs. Thank you for your interest!!! It is looking like we will likely have enough folks to offer the class this fall. If you have not responded yet, please do!

The Class: Mental Health First Aid for Adults teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary.

  • In-person trainings: consist of a full 8-hour day (usually from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm) with a lunch break.

  • Virtual trainings: required about 2 hours of pre-work through a set of online modules. The live virtual training is 6 hours (usually 9:00 am to 3:00pm) with a 30-minute lunch and short breaks.

Those who successfully complete the full day are eligible for a Mental Health First Aid certificate issued by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Continuing Education Credits.

Participants who complete the MHFA course may be eligible to receive continuing education credits (CEs) for Mental Health First Aid courses. After completion of a MHFA course, participants will receive a certificate of completion which they can submit to their board of choice. Learn more at

If you are interested, please send a quick email to If we request this training, we will have room for up to 30 participants, and these individuals must complete a simple registration with us.

If you believe that your community of 20-30 individuals could use this training, you can also inquire specifically for your community. In this case, contact


Resources & Info

In an effort to connect our volunteers with relevant resources, we publish community events and information in our monthly newsletter and on our website. Email to add your own.

From the CDC: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

What you need to know about ovarian cancer.

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

Learn more about ovarian cancer and how to lower your risk through the CDC.


Learn about Resources from the Mount Baker Foundation



More resources from the Mount Baker Foundation


All about 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline from SAMSHA

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat


Support HMN

Help us support the invaluable work of faith community nurses and health ministers in northwest Washington by donating today!

And thank you to our fiscal sponsor,

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