Thank you for taking an interest in getting to know us. We are a coalition of Burlington residents, businesses, school and college representatives, parents, youth, medical professionals, students, social service representatives, law enforcement officials, court representatives, and more who recognize that the damages of drugs, alcohol abuse, and tobacco effect us all and we work together to create a healthier environment in Burlington.
We believe that the most effective way to support community health and wellness is to bring the community together to address their own problems and enhance their strengths. We believe in evidence-based strategies and long-term strategic approaches. We intend to be in this with Burlington for the long haul, creating
healthy choices through a holistic approach to improving policy and practice, supporting statewide and Burlington specific education and awareness, and engaging young people in our work so they can be empowered to become leaders for prevention and wellness in their own community.
+ More about the history of BPHC…
Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community (BPHC) evolved from the strong foundation built by the Chittenden County Substance Abuse Coalition (CCSAC) that began around 1999. In 2005, the Vermont Department of Health approached CCSAC to develop a coalition to impact substance abuse prevention, across all age groups, specific to the needs of the city of Burlington. In the fall of 2006, the decision was made by the CCSAC Board to focus their efforts on Burlington and the county coalition reformed as the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community.
BPHC maintained many of the same board and coalition members as a new mission and vision were identified and funding for continued sustainabilty was addressed. The board members hired their first staff member and spent significant time and effort to identify and include the appropriate people and organizations that needed to be involved in the work of the coalition for us to be successful in improving health outcomes in Burlington. BPHC applied for and was awarded funding in 2007 from the Vermont Department of Health to build capacity and completed a community needs assessment to help identify priorities. Through this funding and assessment we created our first strategic plan and have continued to evaluate and revise our interventions to support health and wellness in Burlington ever since!
Vision & Mission
Working together for a safe and healthy community; To positively impact the Burlington community by addressing the causes and consequences of substance abuse.
We focus on the following principles to guide our Mission:
+ Education and Public Awareness
We will inform our community of the dangers associated with misuse of alcohol and other drugs and promote the effectiveness of prevention strategies.
Every member of our community can be an effective part of prevention efforts. We will provide opportunities for individuals and organizations to work together to achieve mutual outcomes.
We will be a voice for prevention in Burlington. We will educate our communities and policy makers to make informed decisions to improve local and state practices, policies, and laws.
+ Services & Supports
We will implement evidence-based programs in collaboration with our partners that support community-wide improvements to health and wellness in Burlington.
Our long-term goals for Burlington
- Reduce underage and high-risk drinking rates
- Reduce youth prescription drug abuse/misuse rates
- Reduce tobacco use rates
- Reduce youth marijuana use rates
- Increase opportunities for youth participation and leadership in community prevention strategies and activities
Download our strategic plan
Our Board of Directors
Megan Peek, Chair – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Mitch Barron, Fiscal Agent Representative – LICSW, LADC Centerpoint Adolescent Treatment Services
Karen Tyler – University of Vermont Health Network
Shamura Awayle – student at Burlington High School
Mariah Sanderson, Coalition Director
+ About Mariah
Mariah has lived in Vermont all her life and in the Burlington area for more than 25 years, graduating from the University of Vermont with degrees in Psychology and English. She has worked in the substance misuse field for the past 20+ years as a counselor, case manager and for more than 12 years as the Director of BPHC. In her time with adolescents in a substance use disorder rehabilitation center and with adults in the criminal justice system as a result of their substance use and mental illness, Mariah was impacted by the struggles of the individuals and loved ones dealing with substance dependence. She is passionate about building communities that provide youth and families with the skills and environment that supports healthy choices. Mariah loves to check out local sites and events and find new adventures to explore around the area with her two teenagers. She is always open to new recommendations!
Reagan Murphy, Youth Programming Coordinator
+ About Reagan
Reagan is a self-proclaimed “poster child for prevention work.” After attending the New Hampshire Teen Institute Leaders in Prevention Conference in 8th grade she has been involved in activism, youth empowerment, volunteering, and prevention ever since! Eventually she moved on to intern and then work with the NH Teen Institute, designing workshops and leading teens to become advocates for healthy choices. Born and raised in northern NH, she received a Bachelors in Communication from Southern New Hampshire University in 2018 and moved to Burlington to pursue a career in nonprofit development. After a year of community outreach for Committee On Temporary Shelter, Reagan is excited to return to her roots in prevention as the Youth Programming Coordinator for BPHC. In her free time, she enjoys playing ukulele, painting, skateboarding, and sitting around a fire with her family and friends.
Jessica Summer, Youth Project & Fundraising Coordinator
+ About Jessica
Jessica grew up in North Carolina and currently lives in Essex Junction. She earned a BA in English from Franklin Pierce University in 2009 and a Master of Library Science degree from North Carolina Central University in 2012. She loves working with youth and families and keeping things organized (which is a great fit for her position with us!). When she’s not in our office, Jessica can be found reading, cooking, or crafting with her husband and greyhound.
Tori Muzyk, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
+ About Tori
Tori found her way to Vermont in 2012, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing with a Specialization in Journalism from Champlain College. After spending most of her childhood moving, Tori chose to make Vermont home and entered the nonprofit spectrum professionally. She has spent the last five years working within the affordable housing and substance use prevention sectors. Tori is ecstatic to be part of the BPHC team and can be found reading, writing or cooking when she isn’t in the office.
Balkisa Omar, Youth Group Advisor
+ About Balkisa
Balkisa grew up and attended school right here in Burlington, Vermont. Driven to make a change in her local and global community, she dedicated much of her time in high school to activism and drug prevention. She recently graduated from Burlington High School and will be attending the University of Vermont while she works part-time with our middle and high school youth group as our Youth Group Advisor. For many years, Balkisa has used her skills in public speaking to speak up and to take action to combat the social injustices and support health and wellness in the Burlington community and beyond. She says she hopes this job will help her to engage more youth in doing that work with her to become leaders for change.
BPHC welcomes all organizations and individuals who want to partner with us to create a healthier environment in Burlington, Vermont. Learn more about membership and the special benefits of your annual registration.