Thousands of children lead healthier lives thanks to Dr. Chuck //
Charles Cappetta, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and children’s health advocate has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Sandi Van Scoyoc Legacy Award by the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation. The award is named for and presented annually in honor of the Foundation’s founding president.
Dr. Cappetta, or simply “Dr. Chuck” to countless patients and families, schoolchildren and others who have had the good fortune to encounter him, has been practicing pediatric and family medicine in Nashua for more than 30 years.
He completed his pediatric residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon in 1993 and joined the pediatric practice at Hitchcock Clinic in Nashua, now Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Nashua, in 1993, where his practice has thrived.
As Karen Borgstrom, director of external affairs at Dartmouth Health, detailed in her award nomination, from the beginning of his career, Dr. Chuck’s practice has been guided by his belief that each child is unique and special. His passion for helping children thrive has helped countless children become well-rounded, healthy and thoughtful adults.
Like Sandi Van Scoyoc, with whom he collaborated over the years, what sets Dr. Chuck apart, Borgstrom noted, is his selfless and unwavering commitment and dedication, not only to his patients and families, but to all children of New Hampshire and beyond.
Recognizing the importance of educating and supporting new fathers, Dr. Chuck got his start in community outreach and education by beginning a “New Dads’ Support Group” in 1994. He developed the programming, and facilitated monthly drop-in meetings for new dads and their babies through 2004.
Thousands of children lead healthier lives
He has devoted, and continues to devote, his expertise, energy and personal time to the health and well-being of thousands of children through his participation and leadership in numerous professional and civic organizations, committees, councils and boards, and other advisory and hands-on roles locally, regionally and nationally.
He has served as School Physician for NH SAUs 41 and 42 for the past 28 years and he has visited schools throughout the region each Monday (his “day off”) to teach students in Pre-K through grade 12 about living healthy lives.
From his “bag of bones” presentations to pre-schoolers, to “Dental Health Month” chats with kindergarten and elementary school students, to body health, dissections, safe sex and other self-care informational sessions with older students, to career day programs with high school juniors and seniors, to his signature program for fourth graders, Granite State FitKids — in any role and in any setting, Dr. Chuck’s kindness, compassion, humor and his friendly, relatable approach always shines through, Borgstrom stated.
Granite State FitKids
In 1997, Dr. Cappetta founded Granite State FitKids. Geared to fourth graders, the award-winning program teaches children about their bodies and how individual choices and actions affect us, promotes the 5 E’s — Excitement, Enthusiasm, Energy, Exercise and Education at home, in school and in the community, engages children and their families in regular physical activity and promotes lifelong respect for mind, body and spirit, and teaches about older life health risks, such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and drug and alcohol use.
Granite State FitKids has grown from serving three schools in the Greater Nashua area, to more than 25 schools in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, and has taught more than 43,000 children. It became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2000. Dr. Chuck continues to devote his time and energy to all aspects of Granite State FitKids, including serving as chairman of its board of directors.
“The success of Granite State FitKids did not come easy,” noted Marcy Brackett, RN of Southern New Hampshire Health who is a member of the program’s board of directors. “With limited funding and resources, Dr. Cappetta dedicated endless hours of his personal time to make it happen,” she said.
Brackett added, “Chuck has faithfully dedicated Mondays, his day off, to teaching the program, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm., sometimes visiting three different elementary schools in one day.”
During COVID, to keep the wheels moving, Dr. Cappetta created a virtual FitKids for those schools that wanted to continue offering the program to their students. “He also works on making handouts and program props out of his own home on nights and weekends,” Brackett said.
He champions oral health too
According to Nashua Board of Health chair Anthony Storace, DMD, Dr. Cappetta has also spent much of his career focused on children’s oral health needs. “Dr. Chuck knows that the oral cavity is a window to the body and he knows that a good oral exam is vital to the patient’s health management,” Dr. Storace said.
“When he sees a patient in need of dental care, he refers them to a get dental treatment, and helps them find a dental home. Along with their oral health, he advises parents on proper nutrition and the importance of maintaining an active life of exercise,” Storace added.
A recognized leader
In addition to his role as Chairman of the Board of Granite State Fit Kids, Dr. Chuck has served in leadership roles at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua, with the NH Pediatric Society and American Association of Pediatricians, NH Interscholastic Athletic Association, NH Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health, and he has served on the City of Nashua Board of Public Health for eight years.
Although he has received many, many accolades throughout his career, Dr. Chuck’s greatest achievement is the profound positive impact he has had on thousands of children and families throughout New Hampshire.
It is with great appreciation and respect that the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation honors Dr. Chuck Cappetta with the Van Scoyoc Award for his tireless and far reaching work with children and families.