Concord at- nurse, Michael Newell, honored as “Young Person of the Year”


Monitor staff

Published: 10-04-2023 10:56 AM

Four hours in four years.

That’s the amount of time nursing students at the University of New Hampshire spend learning about care specific to the LGBTQ community. And that’s a statistic Michael Newell wanted to change.

For his senior honors thesis at UNH, Newell studied the outcomes of incorporating panels that bring the LGBTQ experience to the forefront of nursing education. His hope was that UNH would diversify its nursing curriculum based on his findings.

As a transgender man, it’s an issue that is personal to Newell. And now, as a home health nurse for Granite VNA, Newell continues to focus on care for LGBTQ people in New Hampshire.

Newell, who lives in Concord, was recently recognized as Stay Work Play’s Young Person of the Year, an award that celebrates young people in the state and the businesses that recruit and retain them.

As an at-home nurse, Newell meets people in their space.

“You truly are meeting them where they’re at,” he said. “You’re going to their home and you’re in their space. They feel more safe and you’re able to connect with them more.”

Newell joined Granite VNA in 2020 after his graduation from UNH. At the time, he was in their at-home nurse residency program, where he was mentored by experienced nurses who taught him about outpatient care.

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The next year, he became that mentor for other new nurses.

Newell always knew that he wanted to go into healthcare. He applied to college as a pre-medical student and shadowed doctors at Monadnock Community Hospital in high school.

“I knew I wanted to go into healthcare ever since I was a preschooler,” he said.

But what he didn’t know was that this work would ground him to the Granite State, where he grew up.

As an infant, Newell was adopted from China. His adoptive parents raised him in the Keene area until he left for Durham to attend UNH.

And in college, Newell found a community through UNH’s CONNECT program, which supports students who historically have been excluded from higher education – like people of color, first-generation and low-income students.

Through the program, Newell connected with a mentor his freshman year. For the next three years of college, he also mentored other students.

With his involvement in the CONNECT program, he was also introduced to the diversity support coalition at UNH – a group that supports other identity organizations, like the United Asian Coalition.

His involvement in these groups sparked an interest in social justice, which is now intertwined in his work in New Hampshire.

Now, living in Concord, Newell affirms that New Hampshire does offer diversity – despite Census data showing that the state is almost 93 percent white.

Look at the Multicultural Festival, for example, Newell said. Last weekend, he spent the day in Keach Park, celebrating an array of cultures with friends.

“It’s amazing that Concord has something like that,” he said. “Things like that create community.”

Day-to-day for the Granite VNA, Newell also works in the Manchester area, where he sees a diverse client base, he said.

This fall, Newell will attend a conference in Boston that focuses on providing gender-affirming care for transgender patients. And in the future he hopes to become a nurse educator – in hopes of providing more of a curriculum about care for the LGBTQ community in nursing studies.