Better health care on the menu for New Hampshire families

Child Health Services holds 11th annual fundraiser.

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Childhood health advocate Dr. Susan Lynch will keynote the 11th annual Morning Matters breakfast hosted by Child Health Services at Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) later this month. The event, to be held at The Manchester Downtown Hotel (formerly the Radisson Hotel), takes place on Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 a.m.

According to MCHC’s CEO Kris McCracken, the event serves as a critical fundraiser for Child Health Services, which provides care for more than 6,500 children in need each year. She added that the event will be attended by more than 300 business and community leaders.

Dr. Susan Lynch

Serving Manchester and nine surrounding towns, Child Health Services provides a comprehensive range of health care services to those it serves. A critical focus of its work is childhood nutrition which ties in nicely to the 2018 speaker Dr. Lynch. A local pediatrician and spouse of former NH Governor John Lynch, Dr. Lynch has been recognized by the NH Pediatric Society, the NH School Administrators Association and NH Women’s Lobby. In her clinical practice, she focuses on the promotion of healthy lifestyles and nutrition issues in children.

“The rates of obesity in the United States continue to climb, making childhood nutrition an important issue. Since 1980, Child Health Services at MCHC has integrated nutrition screening and services into our pediatric health care to meet the needs of families, said McCracken. “With over two decades of expertise, Dr. Lynch has seen, first-hand, the importance of approaching nutrition from a family perspective. She understands that when a family works together to improve nutrition, the health outcomes for children are greatly improved. We are very excited to have Dr. Lynch, an early leader in the field, share her knowledge, experience, and passion with us.”

McCracken – who began her career at Manchester Community Health Center over two decades ago as a crisis outreach counselor –  noted that Child Health Services at Manchester Community Health Center faces a broad range of funding challenges as it works to fulfill its mission.

Kris McCracken

“Events like Morning Matters provide vital support,” she said. “The need continues to grow in in our community. Nearly 50 percent of the children in Manchester live at or below the poverty level – that’s a higher rate that even New York City or Boston.”

Helping bolster the work of Child Health Services and The Manchester Community Health Center is a dedicated core of volunteers. McCracken also referred to the agency’s volunteer base as “mission critical” citing the important work of community volunteers, board members and college interns from the medical field.

“They really make the difference between night and day, we have been blessed by having an amazing board of directors which has put in countless hours to support the work of the organization,” McCracken said. “There’s so many good things that we couldn’t do without volunteers, we’re dependent on them.”

McCracken said the work of the board was particularly important when Child Health Services and Manchester Community Health Center came together as one entity nearly four years ago. She said the merger has led to efficiencies on the administrative side while leading to the larger agency being able to offer a more comprehensive range of clinical care.

“It was a great decision for our two organizations,” she said. “We were able to leverage one another’s strengths.”

The agency, which also cares for about 10,000 adults, has a staff of 220. As the agency looks ahead, McCracken said that the opening of a new optometry clinic is on the horizon. The project is a collaboration with the Mass College of Pharmacy and is slated to open later this month.

McCracken stressed that all funds raised at the event go directly to provide medical care and services for the Center’s 6,500 pediatric patients. To learn more, please visit

Manchester Community Health Center is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) federally qualified health center offering high-quality, comprehensive, and family-oriented primary health care and support services since 1993. Founded in 1980, Child Health Services at MCHC is the pediatric practice of Manchester Community Health Center, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of at-risk children. Through all its programs, Manchester Community Health Center serves over 16,000 active patients at four locations in Manchester, including the West Side Neighborhood Health Center. 

Chris Dugan is Principal at Dugan PR, where he provides strategic communications, public relations and marketing/communications support to a broad range of non-profit and for-profit clients across New Hampshire. Prior to starting his consulting practice, Chris held senior leadership communications roles at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Lung Association of NH, Optima Health and St. Joseph Hospital. A New Hampshire native, Chris is an active community volunteer and is a member of the Queen City Rotary Club. He is a graduate of Leadership Greater Manchester and Leadership Greater Nashua. Contact him at