New Hampshire Women Magazine

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WO M E N MAGAZINE celebrating the women of New Hampshire

NASCAR Meet Melissa Fifield


Inside: Do Your Research Before Adding Accessories to Your Baby’s Car Seat

pg. 8



The Power of Honesty.


read a great article on personal achievement this weekend and it got me thinking about the characteristic I admire most in people. I believe that one of the greatest personal characteristics a person can hold is honesty. Not just with how they live their external persona, but how they conduct their inner most workings. Honesty is not always easy, in fact, in the short term it can often be quite difficult, but the rewards of consistent, authentic honesty are bountiful. Before my dad passed away, we talked about a lot of things - specifically related on how to live the best life. One of the most powerful conversations we had was about always doing the right thing. “It may not feel like the easiest thing to do,” he said. “But in the long run, it always is.” And, it’s not easy. We all make mistakes and we fumble throughout the day - I mean - we’re human! But, making pure and simple honesty a fixture in your life’s work is contagious. Living a life that is honest means living a life that is empowered. It’s what, at the end of our life, may be one of the more powerful accomplishments we make.

Jill Sullivan Grueter

PUBLISHER Sullivan Grueter Communications, LLC PUBLISHER Jill Sullivan Grueter BUSINESS DEV. EXECUTIVE Melissa Diorio: CONTRIBUTORS

Crystal Ward Kent, Freelance Writer Julie Dietrich, CPSTI DartmouthHitchcock

Elizabeth S. Soukup, Elliot Health System Jacqueline Clancy, Southern NH Health Samantha Wingate, World Academy PHOTOGRAPY Nigel Kinrade for Melissa Fifield’s racing photos

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racing to her future

Melissa Fifield talks cars & dreams

6 FEATURE STORY: Melissa Fifield: racing to her future When

Melissa Fifield punches into the straightaway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire at up to 170 mph the feeling is pure exhilaration.



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8 Do Your Research Before Adding Accessories to Your Baby’s Car Seat Did you know there is

no federal safety standard for car seat accessories, such as toys that hang off the handles, shoulder pads, strap covers or seat mats?

9 Creativity: The most critical skill for future jobs: As valuable as this highly sought-after technical education may be, it may just be missing what many business leaders are now calling an extremely valuable skill for tomorrow’s employees to bring to the table: creativity.

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11 Ask the pediatric surgeon:

Method of Payment: Checks should be made out to Sullivan Grueter Communications LLC.

Dear Dr. Soukup, My 7 year old daughter has had a mole on her leg since birth that my pediatrician has been watching. Should this be biopsied?


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Meet Melissa Fifield a



Racing to Her Future When Melissa Fifield punches into the straightaway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire at up to 170 mph the feeling is pure exhilaration. For that blazing moment, she is one with the car and knows she is doing what she was born to do. Just 26 -years-old, Fifield, who hails from Wakefield, New Hampshire, is already a rising star on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. She drives the striking pink and black 01 Truck Stop Northeast Chevrolet for her family-run team and is the only New Hampshire driver and team owner on the tour. Some might say it is in Fifield’s DNA to drive fast. As a child, her family went four-wheeling and snowmobiling so she grew up loving the thrill of speed and the sound of engines. They also made family outings to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and other tracks and Fifield fell in love with the cars roaring by. At the age of five, she already knew that she wanted to race cars. “At first my family didn’t believe I was serious, after all, I was a little girl,” she says. “But I begged to race and they finally gave in and let me start racing Junior Champ Karts at age 12. I did well, and when I showed no signs of losing interest, they gave me their full support. They have totally had my back as I have moved up the rankings.”

driver from Wakefield, NH WRITTEN BY CRYSTAL WARD KENT

fast car.” Fifield chose NASCAR because she grew up watching NASCAR modifieds at the Speedway. “That was always the dream--to race these cars. And now, here I am, living it. It’s been amazing.”

Road to the Top Fifield raced karts for two years starting at Londonderry Raceway; she then competed in the Northeast Pavement Series and the World Karting Association., where she ranked fourth nationwide before moving up to the Allison Legacy Series in 2007. The Allison Legacy Series is a stock car racing series that uses an 3/4 size, scaleddown NASCAR Sprint Cup Series chassis utilizing a Mazda B-2200 truck engine. The cars were designed in 1996 by NASCAR driver Donnie Allison’s sons Donald, Kenny, and Ronald Allison. The series is often used as a stepping stone to higher divisions, which was the case for Fifield who next transitioned to open-wheeled modifieds and then to modifieds. In between, there was lots of travel--first all around New England, and then up and down the East Coast as each racing series grew bigger in stature. During this time, Fifield was busy not only learning her craft, but also working full time to support her dream. “If you really want something, you go for it,” she says. “There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of sacrifices, but it’s all been worth it.”

Fifield notes that she never really had any racing coaches per se, but rather learned from experience and from talking with other PHOTOS BY NIGEL KINRADE drivers. “The best way to learn is to get as much track time as possible,” she says. “It’s only by driving that you For Fifield, racing is why she gets up in the can really get the feel of the car in different conditions and know what morning. “I can’t live without it. I love the speed to do in different situations. I don’t think you can really be taught and the competition. I love the adrenaline rush I those things; you have to be out there.” get when I’m driving. Other drivers say once you She achieved NASCAR status in 2014, which is no easy start you’ll never quit, and I believe that. I love accomplishment. “NASCAR looks for a certain resume,” Fifield the side by side racing, the turns, the strategy explains. and that big rush to get to the finish first. Nothing else equals being behind the wheel of a

Continued on page 12.


Do Your Research before Adding Accessories to Your Baby’s Car Seat! By Julie Dietrich, CPSTI, is the New Hampshire Child Passenger Safety Program Coordinator


Julie Dietrich, CPSTI

arents and caregivers spend time meticulously researching which car seats to use when they bring their baby home from the hospital, making sure they have chosen one that will keep their baby safe. But, what about the toys, pads, mirrors and other accessories that can be added? There is no federal safety standard for car seat accessories, such as toys that hang off the handles, shoulder pads, strap covers or seat mats. Instead, individual standards are developed throughout the industry that recommend how these items should perform. This information can be misleading and it is important to know how crash tests are performed with each of these items. Also, most people are unaware that if you add an accessory that did not come in the same box as the car seat, the car seat manufacturer is not liable for any injuries or failure of the car seat if a crash occurs. Just because these accessories are on the market, it does not mean they are made to work with every car seat or vehicle. “I assumed if it was being sold at Babies ‘R Us it was safe…until I did more research and learned how dangerous these items can be,” says Nicki a mom of three from Hampstead, NH. The question I most frequently receive is, “Well, then what can I use?” Let’s look at the need behind each item parents flock to, and the recommended adjustments: New England winters can be some of the harshest, making bundle covers a very common accessory. To keep your baby


warm it is recommended that you use a bundle cover that goes over the shell of the car seat not in the car seat. Anything that comes between the straps of the car seat and the child poses a hazard if it is too fluffy. This includes winter coats. Skip hooded jackets entirely and trade it for a cute winter hat. Use a thin fleece or put a child’s jacket on them backwards once they are buckled. We may get a reprieve with our sunshine during the warmer months, but most children do not enjoy having the sun in their eyes. We are all quick to purchase window shades for the car to protect our children from the sun. However, the suction cup shades can detach in a crash becoming a projectile for all occupants in the car. Recommended instead are window clings, which do not pose a projectile hazard. You can purchase a window cling at a hardware or automotive store for a fraction of the cost of a suction cup shade. Many children get bored in the car, and when they are rear facing you cannot see them either. Activity mirrors attached to the rear-head restraint—which takes your eyes off the road when you are checking on your baby—or toys dangling from the handle of the car seat can also detach in a crash. Soft cloth books or a set of soft toys designated for the car are alternatives. “My kid hates the car because she gets bored, but you know what she would hate more? Dying,” says Katie, a mom of one and medical device engineer. Kids are messy, and car seats can be hard to clean! If you’d like to use a car seat

protector mat or add an accessory, call the manufacture of the car seat (not the manufacturer of the after-market item) to find which one was crash tested with your specific car seat. It’s all about using the right item for your child’s car seat. Some manufactures let you use a thin towel, which is a cheaper alternative to a seat protector. Think of how great an option this is when it comes time for cleanup! Companies may have their own add on products such as Britax who makes a protector mat and activity mirrors that are crash tested with their child restraints, or Graco, which partners with another manufacturer for seat protector mats, support cushions and other accessories. If you call a car seat manufacturer, tell them the exact item you would like to use such as “X Company’s bundle insert” or “Y Company’s mirror.” If they say their child restraint does not support this accessory, ask a follow-up question about what kind of product they would recommend to address your need. Explain that you want to know what works, and what has been tested and approved for use. As a child-passenger safety specialist, instructor and educator I recognize that some accessories are helpful to add to car seats and vehicles. Children can be messy, and it can be helpful to have toys that can entertain them in the car, keep them warm and even protect the car seat while potty training. It’s always a good idea to make sure that if it’s going in or near the car seat and your baby, it’s been approved by the manufacturer. When we know better, we do better. For more information on traveling safely with your littles visit Safe travels.


CREATIVITY: THE MOST CRITICAL SKILL FOR FUTURE JOBS? By Samantha Wingate, Director Of Admissions, World Academy


hat do we really mean when we talk about “helping students build skills for their future careers?” For many parents, the answer has been relatively straightforward: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.) In recent years, educators and parents alike have placed high pressure on students to master STEM skills, with more and more students each year funnelling into increasingly competitive technical and engineering courses. But as valuable as this highly soughtafter technical education may be, it may just be missing what many business leaders are now calling an extremely valuable skill for tomorrow’s employees to bring to the table: creativity. With the rise of automation making more and more purely technical jobs disappear, creativity - and the ability to think around roadblocks and imagine new solutions to existing problems - will likely command a premium in the job market of the future. This search for creative, inventive thinkers poses a challenge to educators and parents alike: how (and why) do we effectively foster creativity in young students just starting on their educational journey? Tomorrow’s Leaders Will Need To Know How To “Think Outside The Box” According to a report released by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting in January, nearly 1 million Americans will likely lose their jobs due to automation by 2026, and may be unable to find similar-paying jobs in tomorrow’s labor market.

Samantha Wingate, Director Of Admissions, World Academy

What will make tomorrow’s employees invaluable to their businesses, however, may be the very element that machines and automation simply cannot replace: sheer human creativity and inventive thinking. Already, several major business leaders have expressed their desire/need to seek out team members who have not only the knowledge needed to push boundaries, but also the critical thinking skills to challenge assumptions, break from tradition, and discover new and inventive solutions to difficult problems. Already, several major business leaders have expressed their desire/need to seek out team members who have not only the knowledge needed to push boundaries, but also the critical thinking skills to challenge assumptions, break from tradition, and discover new and inventive solutions to difficult problems. Personal and Professional Benefits to Creative Thinking The value of developing creative thinking skills tells a similar story. By teaching students not just solutions to problems, but how to reach those solutions on their own, we better prepare tomorrow’s workers to meet and overcome challenges we may not even be able to imagine.

In addition, taking time to develop and pursue creative skills can also have deep personal benefits for students as well. Creativity and empathy can be deeply intertwined, and creative thinking can inspire a fuller appreciation for life itself.

Nurturing Creative Skills At A Young Age Far from setting students back, creative thinking exercises can be the factor helping students to break through and distinguish themselves among their peers, all while helping to foster cultural communication and improve self confidence. Educators can employ a wide variety of activities and challenges to help students develop their creative thinking skills. Whether it’s posing open-ended questions for students to work out and answer for themselves or providing challenges that draw on STEM education to find unique solutions, providing students with the opportunity can help young learners develop new ways of looking at and solving real-world problems. A creative thinker is a unique thinker, and that’s one skill that automation simply cannot replace. Are your students flexing their creative muscle enough to meet the challenge? Ours are!



Ask the pediatric surgeon Question: Dear Dr. Soukup, My 7 year old daughter has had a mole on her leg since birth that my pediatrician has been watching. Should this be biopsied? -Mandy D.

Dear Mandy, Freckles and moles are very common in children, and it may help to start out with some definitions. The fancy name for a simple mole is “nevus”. The brown color is called pigment and is made by cells in the skin called “melanocytes”. These pigment- producing cells may increase in number (often from sun exposure) and make more pigment, which causes brown spots in the skin. Most of these, like freckles and moles, are benign and no biopsy or treatment is necessary. Atypical moles are less common in children but are at higher risk for developing into a skin cancer and should be recognized and watched closely by your pediatrician or dermatologist. Melanoma in children is incredibly rare, but even that small risk is what prompts a biopsy when there are concerns. We use the mnemonic ABCDE to help identify moles that should be biopsied. A = Asymmetry (when half of the mole does not match the other half). B = Border (when the edges of the mole are irregular instead of smooth). C= Color (when the color varies throughout the mole). D = Diameter (if the size of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser

or approximately 6 mm). E = Evolving (when the mole changes the way it looks). Dermatologists and pediatricians are trained to recognize moles that should be biopsied or observed closely. Once a biopsy is recommended, I will see children and their families to discuss this procedure. A biopsy simply means removing part (or all) of a mole and having it reviewed by a pathologist for diagnosis. Some children can tolerate this type of procedure in the office, but many need a sedation or anesthesia to do this safely. This is a big reason why an appropriate decision for biopsy is so important in children. A final category of moles that I should mention are the “congenital” moles, which means they are present at birth. These can range in size from tiny to very large, covering the entire trunk or limb. They will also grow proportionately in size with the child. As long as they are followed closely by your pediatrician or dermatologist, they do not need to be biopsied unless there are changes or concerns. So remember your sun protection, especially in those hot summer days! Thanks for your question! -Dr. Soukup

Elizabeth S. Soukup, M.D., M.M.Sc. Pediatric Surgeon

Dr. Soukup is a Pediatric Surgeon at the Elliot Hospital and has an interest in educating families about pediatric health and wellness. Her mission is to provide expert specialty care for children of all ages in New Hampshire - newborns through teenagers striving to keep them close to their families and communities. If you would like more information, call 603-663-8393 for an appointment, or visit our website at http:// Check out previous articles at #askthepediatricsurgeon. Dr. Soukup earned her Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where she received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Medicine, graduating first in her class. She completed her General Surgery training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston. During her time in Boston, she also completed a Masters of Medical Sciences degree in clinical investigation from

Harvard Medical School. She is board-certified in both Pediatric Surgery and General Surgery. She has specialized training and experience in minimally invasive surgical treatment for babies, children and teenagers. Her practice includes all areas of general pediatric surgery, including common pediatric surgical problems as well as neonatal surgery, congenital anomalies, minimally invasive surgery, and complex thoracic surgical problems.

Please send your questions to:


“I think the first women drivers probably endured more prejudice, but I have found the people in NASCAR to be like a family. They are eager to help young drivers and want you to succeed.”

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“They want to see quality finishes, what your driving style is like, and do you have people who will vouch for you--your fitness as a driver and how you handle yourself. It’s an honor to make NASCAR.” Spectators may not realize it, but racing is physically and mentally demanding. As Fifield roars around the track, she is pulling significant G-forces, especially on higher-banked tracks such as the one at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. On the southern racing circuit, heat and humidity dominate summer weather, and inside the car, it’s even hotter. The temperature can rise to 140 to 160 degrees F and Fifield is wrapped in layers of fire-resistant clothing. “You have to have stamina to race,” she says. “You have to have a strong core and upper body to hold the car steady and cope with the G-forces and you have to endure all kinds of driving conditions.” Fifield must also be mentally sharp, even as fatigue sets in, her muscles ache and she is bathed in sweat. “Your mind must be in the right place. You need to be alert to what is going on around you. You have to concentrate on what your strategy is and be focused so you hit your marks. You have to interact with the car and pay attention to how it’s functioning. There’s a million things going on and you’re reaching incredible speeds, so a lapse could be disastrous.” At the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with its long onemile straight-away, Fifield can easily hit speeds of 170 mph. On a half-mile track, like at Bristol Motor Speedway, speeds of 150 on the straightaway are not uncommon, and even the quarter-mile speedways see drivers clocking in at around the century mark.

“Racing is pretty much a 24/7, 365-day-a-year occupation,” she laughs. That’s why you have to love it.” Full Speed Ahead This year, on the Whelen Modified Tour, Fifield will drive 17 races. The series started in March in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and will end in October in Connecticut. In between races, she’ll have a few weeks off where she can test some things on her home tracks and make any necessary car adjustments. When winter comes, it’s time to head to the shop to refurbish the engine and rebuild her car’s body. “Racing is pretty much a 24/7, 365-day-a-year occupation,” she laughs. That’s why you have to love it.”

She works on her own car so she has a better understanding of how it functions, and also runs her own NASCAR team, which comes with another set of obligations. “You have to constantly look for sponsors, and that can be challenging, but really, I love everything about NASCAR, from the business end to getting under the hood to driving--of course, my passion is getting on that track!” With the retirement of Danica Patrick, who raced Indy Car, there are now just two women racing in a NASCAR National Series, Fifield and Jennifer Joe Cobb who races trucks on the Camping World Truck Series. Despite it being such a male-dominated field, Fifield says she has not experienced much discrimination. “I think it was worse in the early days,” she says. “I think the first women drivers probably endured more prejudice, but I have found the people in NASCAR to be like a family. They are eager to help young drivers and want you to succeed. Sometimes I see some cracks made about me online, but I ignore them. And those people who are overly aggressive are that way to everyone not just to women. I hope more women get into racing. When I was in karts, there were five of us, but the others dropped out, which is too bad. If you love racing, don’t let being female stop you.” For Fifield, racing is not just a youthful passion. She sees this as her long-term career and jokes that she won’t stop racing until “I’m seventy at least!” She plans to continue racing modifieds for the next year or two, and would then like to move up to the Camping World Truck Series and have a team on that circuit. She also plans to continue her many civic duties and her involvement with fans. (She has been voted Most Popular Driver on the Whelen Modified Team series for three consecutive years.) Fifield is a spokesperson for New Hampshire Highway Safety and also works with their Teen Driving Program to promote good choices, efforts that have led to a commendation from Governor Chris Sununu. She is also actively involved with several school reading programs. “I want to give back as much as I can and show that if you work hard and make good choices, great things can happen,” she says. Fifield sees the future as one wide open speedway, and she is determined to accelerate toward all those shining possibilities. “Go for your passion, whatever it may be,” she says. “Whether it’s racing or a career in business, it doesn’t matter. If there is something out there that you want to do, do everything you can to make it happen. You won’t regret it. There will be obstacles ahead, but they can be overcome if you put your heart into it. If a girl from a small town in New Hampshire can grow up and race NASCAR, anything is possible!”

Author’s Note: You can catch Fifield’s races on NBC Sports. Her NASCAR team is also always looking for sponsors and marketing partners. To learn more, contact her at (603) 986-7574 or visit




Recovering from substance use disorder or addiction is an incredibly challenging process, and it might take a few tries before finding the right program. The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Southern New Hampshire Health is a program specifically designed for individuals in the early stages of recovery from substance use issues. This four-week program helps move patients through the early stages of the recovery process and provides much needed support for participants. How Can IOP Help? IOP provides intensive support, education, and treatment during the early stages of recovery. The program teaches participants about the science behind addiction and offers different types of coping and emotional regulation techniques, as well as stress management skills. “We help individuals identify triggers or risk factors associated with their alcohol or drug use,” explains Lisa Madden, Associate Vice President of Behavioral Health Administration at Southern New Hampshire Health. “We then put together a relapse prevention plan and identify ‘sober supports’ that participants can tap into to help maintain recovery.” Because the program lasts four weeks, patients leave with 30 days of sobriety, which helps set a solid foundation for future recovery. If a participant is interested in continuing with the group, an aftercare program is available once a week, which participants 14 | MAGAZINE CREATIVE 2013

can attend for as long as they’d like. Who Might Benefit from IOP? IOP is available to anyone 18 years of age and older who is attempting to recover from addiction, whether they struggle with alcohol, opioids, or prescription drug misuse. All participants must have recently completed an inpatient program or residential substance disorder program. “Our program is open to anyone who has identified they have a problem and are looking for a path to recovery,” says Madden. “It’s a wonderful tool for those who need support and might benefit from a more structured program.” Because the focus of the program is abstinence, it is not ideal for folks who are interested in learning to drink or use in moderation. How Does the Program Work? Because this issue is very time sensitive, the IOP at Southern New Hampshire Health tries to accommodate all appointment requests within 24 to 48 hours of initial contact. The participant and clinician complete an assessment and discuss any problems or concerns that led to the participant reaching out to IOP. The official program meets four times per week for four weeks, totaling sixteen sessions. Each session is broken up into two parts: the daily check-in and the educational segment. The check-in gives participants the opportunity to discuss how their day is going and whether or not they experienced any triggers, cravings, or urges to use. If necessary, participants can also discuss any relapses that may have occurred that week. “During the first half of the session, we talk about how participants were

or were not able to use our relapse prevention and coping techniques to avoid a relapse,” shares Madden. “Throughout the course, we teach them skills and techniques to avoid a relapse, and we check in to see if they’re able to practice self-care.” The second part of the evening is more educational with handouts, videos, and recovery activities based on topics such as relapse prevention, the disease model of addiction, and aftercare planning. Building a Support System Though friends and family members are absolutely critical to the success of the participant, the group sessions are only open to those struggling with addiction. However, depending on patient needs, family members may be invited to individual sessions with the clinician. “The program as a whole has proven to be very successful,” notes Madden. “We’ve seen a number of people achieve sobriety and maintain their recovery for several years. It’s really a great program for those who are looking to treat their substance use issues in a structured, educational way.” For more information on the IOP program and care for substance use disorder, please visit **To listen to an interview with Lisa Madden, Associate Vice President of Behavioral Health Administration at Southern New Hampshire Health, visit podcast


Pediatric Care at Southern New Hampshire Health

Now accepting new patients! Trusting us to care for your child is a privilege we strive to earn every day through family-centered, compassionate pediatric and adolescent care. Patients and families benefit from the resources of Southern New Hampshire Health, including an affiliation with Mass General and MassGeneral for Children pediatric specialists onsite at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. Need help finding a new Pediatrician? Call 603.577.2255 for help finding a provider who is right for you.

Foundation Pediatrics 280 Main Street - Suite 111, Nashua Judith Holt, APRN Anindita Das, MD Main Street Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 280 Main Street - Suite 410, Nashua John Anderson, MD Susan McNamee, APRN Karen Morgan, DO Merrimack Pediatrics 696 DW Highway, Merrimack Danielle Dunetz, DO Christine FitzGerald, MD Jennifer Lavallee, APRN Laura Miller, DO Partners in Pediatrics 116 Spitbrook Rd, South Nashua Jane Glidden, MD Lila Monahan, MD Bridget Olsen, MD

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