Northern Light Health recently became the first healthcare system in the country to have all of its birthing hospitals named Gold Safe Sleep Champions by the Cribs for Kids® National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. The certification recognizes Northern Light Health for its commitment to keeping infants as safe as possible in their sleep environment and eliminating as many sleep-related deaths as possible.
The path to gold level certification began with a comprehensive, systemwide infant safe sleep policy. Other steps to certification included replacing receiving blankets in the hospital with wearable blankets or “sleep sacks,” training the care team on safe sleeping guidelines, developing a plan to educate parents about safe sleep before they leave the hospital, and modeling safe sleep behaviors in the hospital and in the community. Each Northern Light Health birthing hospital also provides cribettes to families in need that do not have the means to provide a safe sleep environment at home.
Northern Light Health welcomes more than 3,000 babies to Maine each year at its five birthing hospitals: Northern Light AR Gould Hospital (Presque Isle), Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (Bangor), Northern Light Inland Hospital (Waterville), Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital (Ellsworth), and Northern Light Mercy Hospital (Portland).
“Caregiving teams from all five of our birthing hospitals made a commitment to together pursue the highest level of certification in this national program,” says Michelle Hood, president and CEO of Northern Light Health. “This achievement represents our dedication to patient safety and is a component of our commitment to providing new parents with resources to create a healthy environment for their new babies. I am proud of our teams for this effort, taking on a national challenge, and demonstrating how we are striving to make healthcare work for each family we serve.”
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, the only national infant safe sleep organization. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cribs for Kids®, is dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation.
“Modeling safe infant sleep in the hospital and providing education to families has a significant effect on infant mortality,” says Devon George, MSN, RN, director of education and outreach at Cribs for Kids®. “As the first system in the country to achieve gold-level certification for all of its birthing hospitals, Northern Light Health is taking an active role in reducing preventable infant deaths in communities throughout Maine and setting an example for other healthcare systems to follow.”
Northern Light Acadia Hospital has joined the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network, a partnership that will strengthen substance use disorder treatment services for individuals and families in Maine.
Hazelden Betty Ford is the national leader in prevention and recovery solutions for youth and adults suffering from substance use disorders. This partnership will provide Northern Light Health members and their communities with access to the latest educational tools, evidenced-based practices, and research. Bangor-based Acadia Hospital is the first collaborative member in New England in the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network.
“Hazelden Betty Ford is the gold standard of care for substance use disorders,” says Scott Oxley, senior vice president of Northern Light Health and president of Acadia Hospital. “With their expertise, we plan to build a strategic and more comprehensive approach to patient care for those with mental health and substance abuse disorders.”
Scott adds that the tools and knowledge that will be gained from this partnership will directly benefit many patients whose lives are affected by substance use disorders. While this partnership will benefit patients under Acadia Hospital’s care who are diagnosed with both mental health and substance use disorders, it will also help patients in Northern Light Health general medical settings. Research indicates that approximately 36% of patients seen in primary care have a substance use disorder, and nearly half of all emergency department visits are related to substance use.
“This patient care network will give our healthcare providers continuous training in the most up-to-date, evidence-based clinical practices,” says John Campbell, MD, Northern Light Acadia Hospital senior physician executive. “We’ll have access to proven tools that will help providers and patients alike; not only at Acadia Hospital, but throughout Northern Light Health’s statewide network.”
In addition to its patient care network, Hazelden Betty Ford operates 17 substance use disorder treatment sites across the United States.
“We have a rich culture of partnership and knowledge sharing with leading organizations like Acadia Hospital,” says Bob Poznanovich, executive director of Business Development for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “We want to ensure our patients continue their care with quality providers like Acadia Hospital and also believe that we can learn from their expertise.”
In addition to being the nation's leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery, Hazelden Betty Ford’s resources include the nation’s largest recovery publishing house, a fully accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals, and a unique children's program.
About Hazelden Betty Ford
Hazelden Betty Ford is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It is the nation's leading nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. Learn more at HazeldenBettyFord.org.
About Northern Light Acadia Hospital
Northern Light Acadia Hospital is a non-profit, acute care hospital and community mental health agency located in Bangor, Maine. Acadia Hospital is committed to providing a safe and positive environment for children, adolescents, and adults with mental health and chemical dependency problems and to advocating for their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Both of Acadia’s hospital-based and community-based mental health and substance use disorder treatment services work toward a unified mission: empowering people to improve their lives.
Maine Kids Count reports that Maine has a higher than average percentage on nearly all measured youth mental health indicators including high rates of diagnosed anxiety, depression, behavioral and conduct problems, and exposure to two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
A $10,000 grant recently awarded by the Maine Community Foundation to Northern Light Acadia Hospital will be used this summer to train and certify two clinicians in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an effective evidence-based treatment for children who have experienced trauma and/or who have social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges.
“We know that children who experience trauma or have untreated—or not adequately treated—behavioral health needs have an increased risk of mental health or substance abuse problems later in life,” explains Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, associate vice president, Community and Pediatric Services at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “We want to make sure we’re offering these children and families as much support as possible and help them to be successful within their communities.”
The goal is to have the trained clinicians specialize in the treatment of these young children ages 2-7 years old who have experienced trauma and/or are diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The model includes skills coaching for parents and caregivers who play an active role in the youth’s treatment. Parent Child Interaction Therapy is one of the strongest evidence-based treatment for kids this age and has positive outcomes in strengthening parent/child relationships, changing negative behavioral patterns, and decreasing caregiver stress.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital has recently moved all its pediatric outpatient services to telehealth video conferencing in response to COVID-19 and plans to leverage this model to expand access to much-needed services for Maine children. “We want these services to be readily available to families in our communities throughout Maine. Referring providers and community agencies will benefit from having more resources available to help them navigate treatment options for children with behavioral health needs and their families,” adds McLaughlin.
We're proud of Acadia’s exceptional nurses who are leaders, educators, experts in their field, and provide compassionate care to their patients. Today is National Nurses Day. Please join us in thanking our nurses for all they do or better yet, leave a message on our Northern Light Health Kudoboard here at:
The University of Maine School of Social Work recently awarded Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, associate vice president, Community and Pediatric Services, Northern Light Acadia Hospital, with its Alumni of the Year Award.
The award was established 22 years ago to recognize outstanding alumni of the University of Maine School of Social Work and their contributions to their field and communities. This award highlights the importance of Maine’s social workers who provide evidence-based behavioral, social emotional, and mental health services. The critical role these professionals play is more evident now than ever as healthcare organizations, schools, and community agencies, draw on social workers’ unique skills to help patients and families through the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Chris has been a phenomenal field instructor for a number of our students,” says Sandra Butler, PhD, professor and interim director of the University of Maine School of Social Work. “We chose him this year because of all the many things he does in the community including being on the advisory board of the Yellow Tulip Project, sitting on the Board of Social Work Licensure, being a member of the LGBTQ+ Affairs sub-committee of National Association of Social Workers, and of course his work at Northern Light Acadia Hospital.”
“This is a well-deserved honor,” commends Dyan Walsh, MSW, executive director of the Eastern Area Agency on Aging and chair of the School of Social Work’s alumni group. “Chris’ work with the Acadia Hospital CARES program highlights crucial youth mental health and wellness issues. It won the Eleanor Clark Award for Innovative Programs in Patient Care for 2019 from the Society of Social Work Leadership in Health Care.”
Walsh further sites Chris' noteworthy accomplishments to include winning both the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care Maine Health Care Social Worker of the Year Award and the Bangor PRIDE Rainbow Award, Orange in 2019.
Chris, who earned his master’s degree in Social Work from the University in 2001, says that being a social worker is incredibly important to him. “I have such fond memories of my time at the University of Maine and am humbled to be recognized by the School of Social Work. I have so much respect for the faculty and staff there. It’s really a great honor to be given this award.”
Angela Macera, BSN, RN, MBA, has recently joined Northern Light Acadia Hospital as its interim vice president of Nursing and Patient Care services. The role was previously held by Wayne Steller, PMHNP-BC, who successfully led Acadia in this executive leadership position since June of 2013 and has recently accepted a new position as Acadia’s first hospitalist.
Ms. Macera comes to the Bangor-based psychiatric hospital with more than 30 years of nursing experience, including clinical and administrative roles at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatric Academy and brings a wealth of experience managing inpatient behavioral health units—pediatric and adult—through effective mentoring, strategizing, and in working collaboratively with teams to enhance clinical quality and patient care.
Nurses—including psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners—are an integral component of Acadia’s interdisciplinary treatment teams for behavioral health and substance abuse care. “The role of nursing is at the heart of the patient experience,” says Scott Oxley, MBA, senior vice president of Northern Light Health and president of Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “Angela is a thoughtful, strong leader who has already earned praise from our nursing team,” Oxley continues. “With her leadership, we’re strengthening our program to be sure our nurses receive an exceptional orientation experience upon their arrival to Acadia, have the proper support to maintain core competencies, and are provided opportunities to grow in their career. If we better support our nurses, they are then able to better support our patients.”
“There is a culture of clinical excellence here at Acadia and a clear passion for their patients,” shares Ms. Macera of Acadia’s nursing staff. “As I begin my time here, listening to staff and understanding the culture, I look forward to working with the nursing teams to provide training and development opportunities, and work together on our vision for the future of behavioral healthcare in Maine.”
On May 29, a group of musicians, poets, and speakers will bring their messages of hope to the Bangor community in a Virtual Hope Day hosted by The Yellow Tulip Project and several Bangor community representatives through a live social media event.
May is Mental Health Month and now more than ever, we need to find ways to stay connected with our community—no one should feel alone. Through musical performances, poetry, and powerful speeches, local teens and community members will speak out about their experiences and help “smash the stigma” that is often tied to mental illness.
Date and time: May 29, 2020 at 12 pm and 5 pm
Where: Facebook: @theyellowtulipproject, Twitter: @yellowtuliporg, Youtube: Yellow Tulip Project, Instagram: @theyellowtulipproject
Show your support: Color and display the attached coloring sheets in the windows of your homes and/or business. We encourage you to join in, get your families and friends involved, and start conversations about mental health.
Last fall, stakeholders from the Greater Bangor area planted Hope Gardens consisting of yellow tulips across the region during Mental Health Month. This year’s event is being held virtually to respect physical distancing restrictions, yet remains a collective effort of Bangor community members to support mental health awareness. Together, The Yellow Tulip Project and its supporters will share a message of hope on social media as they celebrate the blooming of these Hope Gardens.
The Yellow Tulip Project was founded in 2016 by a Portland student, Julia Hansen, who tragically lost her two best friends to suicide—the yellow tulips are a positive symbol of the organization. The Yellow Tulip Project is supported by Northern Light Acadia Hospital, The Bangor Region YMCA Teen Center, Herman High School, John Bapst Memorial High School, the University of Maine, the City of Bangor, and many others.
The Community Health Leadership Board (CHLB) kicked off a regional campaign Tuesday to encourage people to wear and donate masks. As a member of the CHLB, Northern Light Health joins area healthcare organizations, business leaders, and community members in encouraging friends and neighbors to wear a mask when in public, and donate a mask to those in need.
“Mask Up for ME” will include social media components, video, and grassroots outreach. The goal is to help educate everyone about the need to wear a mask in public.
“The CDC recommends wearing a mask or face covering in public, even when more than six feet apart,” said James Jarvis, MD of Northern Light Health. “Our healthcare community agrees, and strongly recommends that everyone follow that recommendation. The science is clear: wearing a mask or cloth face covering in public will help keep others safe. It is a basic common courtesy, just like driving slower than the speed limit in a neighborhood where kids are playing outside. While you could drive faster legally, it’s not the responsible thing to do.”
The primary goal of the campaign is to encourage people to show their care for the community by wearing masks in public. And the campaign is encouraging donations of cloth, reusable masks to help provide face coverings for those who cannot provide their own.
There are several places where donations of washable, reusable cloth face coverings can be made, including Northern Light Acadia Hospital, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, St. Joseph Healthcare on Center Street in Bangor, PCHC - Brewer Medical Center, Darling’s Ford VW Audi, Bangor Police Department, and Gold Star Cleaners in Bangor and Brewer. The donated masks will be professionally cleaned, packaged with wearing and washing instructions, and distributed through a number of CHLB organizations.
A full list of drop off locations for mask donations, as well as wearing and sewing instructions, and other helpful information can be found on the Mask Up for ME section of CHLB’s website at www.chlb.me. Mask Up for ME is also using Facebook and Instagram to further spread the message.
Three-headed space aliens, googly-eyed ice cream cones, and mischievous unicorns are just a taste of the memorizing and whimsical world created by Shane “Mack” McPherson, psychiatric technician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. The longer you stare at his doodle drawings, the more there is to see.
Mack, who works in Pediatric Services at the Bangor-based psychiatric hospital, is offering his daydream-filled doodles to any kid (or kid-at-heart) looking to get lost in the moment.
“Drawing and doodling has helped me since I was very young,” explains Mack, thinking back to the hyper impulses he dealt with as a child. A series of his doodle pages are available on Acadia Hospital’s website, ready to be colored or completed as some are intentionally left unfinished awaiting a new imagination to complete their visual story.
Mack says that doodling has been shown to anchor the brain, “I am colorblind and find no joy in coloring, but I have seen the positive effect that coloring my doodles has on people.” He reinforces with his young patients how positive anchors like music, painting, drawing, dancing, or gardening can always be there for you while you’re working through your struggles. “The Covid-19 crisis is like a series of waves crashing into us all. Kids and adults alike have all been through spurts of crisis and calm. The kids at our hospital are doing a phenomenal job with all things considered—we should be taking some lessons from our patients who have lived crisis and come out stronger.”
At the age of 42, Mack is still amazed each morning that he’s landed in a career where he gets to be a kid again. He says with a smile, “And the very best part of my job is I get to work with the most amazing children. They are so strong, resilient and brave—they are my heroes.”
Find Mack’s doodles at www.northernlighthealth.org/download-doodles. Once you’re done, share your doodle on the Mack-a-Doodle message board.
At Northern Light Health we’ve always been here to care for our communities, and we’re still ready for you. COVID-19 has changed many parts of our lives, but it is safe for you to access the care you need now, from a visit to your primary care provider to emergency care at any one of our hospitals.
Just like we have all made changes at home, Northern Light Health has changed to meet specific challenges to providing care and has implemented policies and procedures that ensure the safest environment possible for you and our staff.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to not delay care, delaying healthcare can cause conditions to worsen and create the need for more serious treatment. Most importantly, if you need emergency care, please call 9-1-1 immediately, access to emergency care has not changed.
We don’t want you to be surprised by the changes we’ve made so we’ve developed a series of short videos to show what you can expect during your visit at any Northern Light Health facility.
Ways We Are Keeping Our Patients Safe
Masking: Masks or other personal protective equipment are worn by all caregivers and doctors. We’re also asking all patients and visitors to wear masks or face coverings upon entering a Northern Light Health facility.
Hand Sanitation: We continue to wash our hands and use hand sanitizer frequently and encourage you to do the same.
Screening: Pre-screening happens before appointments, with temperature checks and a series of symptom check questions for anyone visiting our facilities.
COVID-19 Patient Care: Patients with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are treated by dedicated staff in designated areas. If you are at home with COVID-19 the Home Care COVID-19 team will care for you.
Cleaning/Disinfecting: All spaces are cleaned and sanitized per strict Northern Light Health medical standards. Our Environmental Services teams have always used checklists to ensure all areas are cleaned thoroughly. We disinfect every exam room and patient care area after each patient visit.
Reception Areas: Reception areas may look a little different. In many areas, we’ve placed stickers on the floor to remind people to maintain safe distancing, and we’ve installed plexiglass barriers in locations where patients and visitors may encounter staff.
Visitation Policy: We’ve had to restrict visitors because of the spread of COVID-19. This is hard because visitors have always been an important part of our patient care. We have very specific guidelines on which patients can have visitors and how many they can have. Your healthcare team can share more information about visitation restrictions.
Expanded telehealth services: A tool we’ve used for years to meet patient needs from home using a phone, tablet, or computer, telehealth appointments are available to meet more needs than ever. If you think a telehealth appointment might be right for you, ask your healthcare provider about it today.
You should always feel comfortable asking questions about your care. You can learn more on any of our websites and speak with your healthcare team to ask specific questions. Thank you for choosing Northern Light Health, it’s an honor to make healthcare work for you.
How Northern Light Health Supply Chain teamed up with the University of Maine during COVID-19
Northern Light Health and the University of Maine have collaborated for many years on endeavors like training nursing students and providing healthcare to students at Northern Light Primary Care, Cutler Health Center. So, it’s no surprise that community need during the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed another opportunity for this relationship to shine. This time, the Supply Chain team at Northern Light is working with the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the university to do something neither has ever done before.
The university’s Process Development Center—known for its leading-edge pulp and paper research capabilities—has temporarily turned to production of hospital-grade hand sanitizer. The sanitizer is delivered to Northern Light Health in 55-gallon drums, and from there an employee team pumps it into smaller containers and ships it to sites all over the health system.
“It’s a simple but very precise recipe,” comments Donna Johnson, research manager at the Process Development Center. “We are hand-mixing hydrogen peroxide, water, ethanol, and glycerol and shipping it out all over the state. Northern Light Health has been one of the larger customers.”
The team working at the Northern Light packaging facility is comprised of people who don’t typically work together, much less work on an assembly line. The system has avoided having to lay off staff during the pandemic. “These are administrative and clinical employees who have needed to be reassigned from their regular work duties,” observes Johanna Libby, manager of Support Services, Informatics, who is overseeing the operation. Receptionists, radiology technologists, medical technologists—employees from all over Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and the Northern Light Health Home Office—are filling large and small containers with hand sanitizer, labeling and boxing up bottles for shipment to the hospitals and other sites in need of the product. “The folks on this team may not even know each other, but they are doing a great job. They know the work is very important for the safety and health of both our employees and our patients,” adds Johanna.
At the Process Development Center in Orono, Johnson says her team is feeling very good about the opportunity to help during a time when so much has changed so quickly. She says, “The idea caught the attention of a couple of faculty members in the department, and we said ‘Yes, we can do this!’” The distribution of the sanitizer produced at the center is a part of the statewide response to the pandemic managed by the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Northern Light Health is not the only organization receiving the product, though it’s one of very few receiving sanitizer in 55-gallon drums.
“We have processed and distributed more than 1,900 gallons of hand sanitizer from Presque Isle to Portland,” says Libby proudly. “And we are meeting the demand thanks to this great partnership with the University of Maine. We will be here distributing as long as our members, staff, and patients need us.”
The Northern Light Health True North Awards recognize those team members who have gone above and beyond to deliver on our promise to make healthcare work for the people we serve. Nominations for these awards are submitted by leaders, peers, and colleagues. We are pleased to announce that our local Northern Light Acadia Hospital True North Award winners were selected this week along with an excerpt from their nomination.
Learn more about each award here.
Raising Quality Award: Brandi Walston, Director, Pediatric Nursing
“Brandi is an exemplary leader. She inspires with innovative, empathic, and dedication; first through her own servant leadership and second through commitment to fulfilling the mission through bringing her whole pediatric inpatient team alongside her to higher heights."
Making Access Easy Award: Substance Use Services team
"Throughout the last 9 months, both patients and staff have reported that they felt safe and supported, with much of that in part due to the transparent, consistent, and regularly updated communication provided to them from the entire department. Their work does not go unnoticed and has been appreciated by so many.”
Guiding the Way Award: Behavioral Health Home (BHH) team
“I have never seen a team come together like BHH did and continues to do in the face of the pandemic. I truly am proud to work with these individuals and to be a part of this team.”
Seeing the Individual Award: Sandra St. Germain, PMHNP, Adult Medication Management
“She not only cares for patients, but she individualizes their care and goes above and beyond. Her ability to listen to the needs of the patient and assist them in working through the process of addressing needs is impressive.”
Shining Star Award: Elizabeth Keenan, Project Manager
“Elizabeth's passion for patient care and people shines through in everything she does. She sets a very high bar for herself and for others. She is constantly challenging herself and others to improve quality, patient experience, and employee experience.”
Constellation Award: Inpatient Pediatric Unit
“I watch as they suit up in their PPE equipment, I watch as they come off the unit soaked through all their clothes, red marks circled around their faces...But once those staff walk on that unit, all fears are put aside while working with our children, making them feel safe, and easing their fears. They are definitely my heroes this year."
Northern Light Health announces a proposed upgrade and expansion of Northern Light Acadia Hospital’s adult and pediatric inpatient services to help address the urgent, growing need for psychiatric care in Maine. The project, which will create more private rooms at the 29-year-old facility, will improve statewide access to critically needed care at one of Maine’s two private psychiatric hospitals.
"Expanding access to care for some of Maine's sickest patients isn't a local issue. Sixty-three percent of Acadia Hospital's inpatient admissions come from outside Penobscot County," says Scott Oxley, Acadia Hospital president. "With the demand for inpatient psychiatric care increasing and our patients’ needs becoming more complex, now is the right time to move forward."
Acadia Hospital can serve more patients than it currently does within its existing number of licensed inpatient beds. However, the hospital cannot use all of its 100 beds due to the current configuration of the space. "The majority of our inpatient beds are semi-private rooms with two beds per room. This was a standard design for hospitals 30 years ago, but it no longer allows us to meet the community need of today," says John Campbell, MD, FANPA, vice president, senior physician executive, chief medical informatics officer at Acadia Hospital.
Some of Acadia Hospital’s patients require a single room resulting in one bed in that room becoming unusable. Dr. Campbell explains that every day at the hospital, between 20 and 25 beds are taken “out of service” for this reason. “This lack of available beds places undue strain on emergency departments which are often the only alternative for emergency psychiatric care. Psychiatric patients can sometimes spend days in emergency rooms waiting for beds.”
In March of 2020, Acadia Hospital saw a nearly 50% spike from the previous year in the number of psychiatric consultations provided to its 17 partnering Maine hospital emergency rooms for crises, including suicidal behavior or attempts, self-harm, behavioral outbursts, anxiety, or substance use. Acadia Hospital’s Anthony Ng, MD, DFAPA, medical director of Community Services, says that "on any given day, we have 30 to 35 patients needing a psychiatric bed in these emergency rooms, half are children and adolescents. This is a challenging situation for hospital emergency rooms and patients who would benefit from admission to a psychiatric hospital without delay."
"These pressures are far from new," acknowledges Oxley, "but the pandemic has shined a light on the urgent need for us to lead the way toward a new future of behavioral and mental healthcare for Maine people." Oxley envisions the modernization project will provide a welcoming, modern, and therapeutic environment for patients, family members, and staff. "The construction of this highly functional space is one piece of a larger, holistic approach. We're also addressing the patient need through continued investment into Acadia's community-based programs to deliver care and education in schools, in places of work, in primary care offices, and more."
The design and planning process is underway, which includes Acadia Hospital seeking regulatory approval from the State of Maine. Community support will also play a key role in funding the project. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2022.
If you have a few minutes, watch this video. You will understand more about the dire situation in India and how Northern Light Health is donating critically needed medical supplies to help overwhelmed healthcare workers in the world’s second-most populous country.
Portland-based Partners for World Health is our partner in this endeavor and is coordinating the shipment of medical supplies and equipment, including N95 masks, goggles, face shields, and medical devices such as oxygen concentrators and bag valve masks (BVMs) to India.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital is pleased to share exciting news: we are Maine’s third-place recipient
of the Red Sox Foundation’s IMPACT Awards. The Red Sox Foundation will award a $2,000 grant to Acadia Hospital to bolster our efforts to provide mental health and wellness resources to children and adolescents through the Acadia CARES Program. The IMPACT Awards focus on organizations that have demonstrated deep impact in raising awareness and improving the mental health outcomes of young adults in their community.
The grant will be used to expand the reach of Acadia CARES statewide to additional schools and nonprofit organizations, clinics, primary care practices, and community agencies that engage with youth. To scale Acadia CARES, funding is needed to assemble at least 800 additional packages for distribution. The Red Sox Foundation award will help this important work move forward.
Acadia Hospital was awarded this grant because employees, community members, and others took the time to vote for Acadia CARES on the Red Sox Foundation’s IMPACT website. Thank you to everyone who helped make this grant a reality!
Read more about Acadia Cares
Learn more about the Red Sox Foundation Impact Awards
BREWER, Maine (September 8, 2021) — Today, the American Business Immigration Coalition is hosting an Immigration and Healthcare Solutions virtual summit for members of Congress and staff. Lisa Harvey-McPherson RN, vice president of Government Relations for Northern Light Health, is joining health care leaders from across the country to discuss the need for Congress to support immigration policies that will address the critical need for health care workers in Maine and nationally.
Maine has a well-documented nursing workforce shortage and is projected to reach a deficit of 2,700 registered nurses by 2025. At Northern Light Health, we recruit healthcare providers to our hospitals to care for patients statewide. There is a critical need for both primary care and specialty practitioners. We recruit throughout the United States and in other countries for highly qualified physicians and nurses to relocate here; however, that work is challenged by the low number of J-1 Conrad Visas allowed each year in the State of Maine. National policy restricts Maine to just 30 J-1 Conrad Visas annually. National J-1 Visa limitations also challenge us as we work to recruit foreign nurses to work in our hospitals and home care program. Seventy-seven foreign-trained nurses are ready to work for Northern Light Health but are awaiting the visas required to come to the United States for employment.
More than one-quarter of the physicians on our active medical staff at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in northern Maine are foreign medical graduates, says Jay Reynolds, MD vice president and senior physician executive. “They fill critical roles in our primary and specialty care services. We would not be able to offer the cardiology, cancer, and inpatient services that we do if not for the many contributions they make every day. Our rural and underserved population would either need to travel 150 miles for these leading-edge services or do without. The J-1 visa program is a literal lifeline to Aroostook County.”
Deb Sanford, MBA, MSN, RN, vice president of Nursing and Patient Care Services, says foreign-trained nursing partners are an integral part of the care team at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Sanford cited talent, compassion, and a richness of experience, adding that, “Our patients often recognize these nurses for their skills and kindness. These same nurses have won many awards in our hospital and from our patients for the high standard of care and commitment they provide to the profession of nursing here at EMMC. Without these nurses, we would have to close services due to the shortage of nurses in Maine and across the nation.
At Northern Light Mercy Hospital, Melissa Skahan, vice president of Mission Integration, says they seek to close the opportunity gap by providing immigrant healthcare workers access to education and training while meeting critical labor force needs and earning competitive wages to support themselves and their families. Additionally, Skahan says, “There is a growing need for workers with bilingual and cultural skills to serve our increasingly diverse public.”
Lisa is briefing virtual summit attendees on our need for foreign-trained doctors and nurses. She is asking members of Congress for their support to increase the visas available for health professionals. We thank Senator Collins and Senator King for co-sponsoring the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act. This bill will enhance our nation’s nursing and physician workforce during the COVID-19 crisis by recapturing unused immigrant visas.
Brewer, Maine (September 28, 2021) — Too many Mainers miss medical appointments because they lack transportation or go hungry because they are too proud to seek help. Imagine if we had a better way to uncover what people are experiencing and could instantly connect them with resources to help them find rides to a doctor’s appointment or access a food pantry?
Northern Light Health just received a $250,000 grant from Pfizer and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to invest in our Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Screening and Data improvement processes. Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health outcomes.
“Northern Light Health is committed to improving health outcomes for all Mainers, in all the communities we serve. Healthcare organizations have a pivotal role in improving the health of the patients we serve by better understanding the environment and social conditions that impact them. We need to not only screen for these conditions that impact the health of individuals but also have a mechanism to connect people with the resources they need to support healthier lives and healthier communities. Our commitment to health equity aims to do just that by leveraging data and technology,” explains Navneet Marwaha, MD, vice president and chief quality officer, Northern Light Health.
Northern Light Health is one of three recipients nationally to receive this highly competitive quality improvement grant award. With this award, Northern Light Health will:
Establish a multidisciplinary system-level SDOH Committee to oversee enhanced response to SDOH screening and referral.
Recruit 4 to 6 primary care practices to participate in quality improvement projects to achieve SDOH screening rates of at least 70%.
Provide quality improvement support and document best practices in SDOH screening and referral workflows.
Work with primary care practices to reach SDOH screening and referral targets and promote the adoption of consistent documentation of screening and results.
Integrate enhanced ability to assess patient and community social health needs by implementing an electronic health record (EHR) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) analytics dashboard.
Implement an integrated social care referral platform to improve ability to connect patients with social health needs to community resources.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” shares Carrie Arsenault, MBA, president, Northern Light Beacon Health. “The key to helping people improve their health is to have a robust screening and referral process and the technology to track and record the data so that we can continuously review and improve our processes. We thank Pfizer and IHI for believing in us and investing in the work we are doing to make Maine a healthier place for all our people, regardless of who they are, where they live, or what they do.” The grant funding for this 15-month project became available at the beginning of September.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital has developed a brief video outlining signs we should watch for in those around us who may be experiencing intimate partner violence.
National Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Awareness month is held each October across the United States, also known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal is to remember those who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence, celebrate survivors who have had the strength and courage to make a change, and provide a guiding light to those who wish to leave a domestic violence relationship.
Intimate Partner Violence is when one person in a relationship is using a pattern of methods to gain and maintain power and control over the other person. These measures often involve a cycle that gets worse over time and are not one-time incidents. The defining distinction between IPV and normal conflict is fear.
Consider the following:
- One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
- On a typical day, local domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 19,159 calls – approximately 13 calls every minute.
- In 2018, domestic violence accounted for 20% of all violent crime.
- Abusers’ access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide at least five-fold. When firearms have been used in the most severe abuse incident, the risk increases 41-fold.
- 65% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 96% of the victims of these crimes are female.
- 1 in 5 women have been raped, half of these by an intimate partner
- LGBTQ+ community experiences high rates of IPV:
- 1.61% of bisexual women
- 2.44% of lesbian women
- 3.37% of bisexual men
- 4.34.6% of trans people; 64% experience sexual assault
- 5.26% of gay men
If you or someone you know is a victim of IPV, you are encouraged to reach out to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence hotline at 1.866.834.HELP, or visit their website for helpful resources available to anyone looking to leave an abusive relationship. www.mcedv.org
Northern Light Acadia Hospital has been awarded a five year grant of $125,000 per year from the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The funding is intended to increase the capacity, confidence, and ability of adult caregivers of school-aged youth to identify mental health needs, and facilitate referrals to care and respond to or de-escalate crisis situations, including suicidal thoughts.
Maine children have the highest rate of diagnosed anxiety in the country and the third highest rate of depression. Nearly 20% of middle school aged children experience thoughts of suicide, with rates of suicidal thoughts significantly higher among LGBTQ+ and black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students.
“Northern Light Acadia Hospital is committed to improving the mental health of all Maine people,” says Angela Fileccia, LCSW, director, Healthy Life Resources, Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “It is part of our mission to offer education and prevention services to youth, adults, and caregivers, which is key to improving the mental health of our communities.” She continues, “We all want to ensure Maine’s youth are healthy – physically and mentally. This major SAMHSA grant will assist us to do just that.”
With this grant, Northern Light Acadia Hospital will:
- Increase the capacity of Acadia personnel to provide both youth and adult Mental Health First Aid to the community.
- Train adults who care for and work with youth on Mental Health First Aid to identify youth mental health needs, facilitate referrals to care, and respond to or de-escalate crisis situations.
- Increase adult caregivers’ awareness of their own mental health needs and how to respond to the mental health needs of adults with whom they work.
- Increase referral pathways for community-based partners to respond to mental health crisis and connect community members to mental health resources and services.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to expand Acadia’s ability to improve the mental health of Maine’s youth,” shares Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “Early identification of a mental health condition can help ensure children and adolescents get the care they need. In addition, increasing caregivers’ awareness of signs and symptoms of mental health conditions, and then learning how to intervene, is critical.”
The grant funding for this five-year project became available at the end of September.
We are excited to tell you about a wonderful collaboration between the Medical Center and another member hospital, Northern Light Inland Hospital. It’s all about caring staff, advanced technology and making healthcare work for our patients, meeting them where they are and when they’re ready.
Amy McClary, RN BSN,
lung cancer screening nurse navigator, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center received a referral from an Inland Hospital provider for one of their patients in need of a lung cancer screening. Amy called the patient, ensured the patient met the screening criteria, and asked if the patient was interested in the program – which the patient was!
Amy then offered the patient a virtual or an in-office appointment. Unfortunately, neither would work for the patient. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to help this patient, Amy began to research other options by calling her contacts at Inland Hospital. She connected with the practice manager and arranged that the patient to go to the primary care provider’s office. The patient was able to complete the virtual appointment and was extremely happy that we took the extra steps to figure out how to be “seen” without the patient having to leave the community.
This success story shows the passion of our staff and the strength of our technology. Thanks, Amy, for never giving up!
The Lights of Life holiday trees at the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute and Northern Light Acadia
Hospital will be illuminated in early December to recognize special individuals who have touched the lives of families in our communities.
Community members are invited to purchase lights for the trees to honor and remember special people in their lives.
The Lafayette Family Cancer Institute tree will recognize friends, family members, caregivers, and others who have been affected by cancer. Every light purchased will brighten the tree and support the exceptional care provided by the Northern Light Cancer Care team.
The Acadia Hospital tree will be illuminated in recognition of all who have been affected by mental illness and substance use disorder, including those who are overcoming their challenges and those who have been lost. Proceeds will support the high quality, compassionate behavioral healthcare provided at Acadia Hospital. The 2021 Lights of Life ceremony will be the first tree lighting ceremony to be held at the hospital.
Six levels of recognition are available, beginning with white lights at $10 and culminating with purple lights at $500. The star on top of the tree can also be purchased. Upon request, Lights of Life cards will be provided for those who purchase lights to send to honorees.
There will not be public gatherings for this year’s events due to COVID-19 precautions. Instead, brief remarks and a video of the Acadia Hospital tree lighting will be available on Northern Light Acadia Hospital’s Facebook page
on Thursday, December 2 after 6 pm. The Lafayette Family Cancer Institute tree lighting will be posted to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Facebook page
at 5:30 pm on December 9.
Every dollar raised through Lights of Life will stay local to support care offered by Northern Light Health. For more information or to purchase a light, please visit http://northernlighthealth.org/AcadiaLights
(Acadia Hospital) or http://northernlighthealth.org/EMMCLights
Many of you are already aware of the tremendous work that our direct care staff do every day to care for patients who are sick with COVID-19. Many of you do this work every day. The rest of you support these efforts. We are grateful to every one of you. In our continuing efforts to share information with the public that we hope will save lives, ease the burdens on our direct care workers, and turn the tide on this pandemic, we are sharing with the you and the public, a series of videos that we hope send a powerful message, not only about the compassion with which we care for patients, but also about the steps we can take to end this deadly pandemic.
If you want to see the care and compassion with which ICU nurses show to patients they are treating with COVID-19, please watch this video. It’s an eye-opening account of our care teams efforts to treat patients who are really sick, and in some cases dying from a largely preventable illness.
Operating in a small, confined space with patients who are infected with COVID-19, LifeFlight of Maine crews must take extraordinary precautions to protect themselves and care for people who are critically ill. We wanted you to see the work they do.
Home Care & Hospice Nurses
Caring for patients who are sick at home with COVID-19 poses unique challenges for Home Care & Hospice Nurses. The trunk of their cars becomes their new station for donning PPE. Their driver’s seat is their new office. Learn more about the work they do, and how it has changed during the pandemic.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, healthcare and frontline workers are struggling to manage the stress of dealing with the virus continually. In collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services StrengthenME program, Work Force EAP is offering free support services for all Maine healthcare and frontline workers who may be feeling down, disconnected, or discouraged.
“These are really trying times, particularly for healthcare and frontline workers who are often short-staffed, overworked and navigating all the personal challenges that come with living through a pandemic,” states Work Force EAP Director Sheila Thibodeau, LCSW. “We know workers need to be able to take care of themselves to provide quality care, yet there are so many barriers to accessing support. That’s why we are thrilled to partner with the State of Maine’s StrengthenME program to offer a range of free support services. If you are a healthcare or frontline worker, we are here for you.”
Call 1-800-769-9819, go online at www.workforceeap.com/strengthenme
, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
to access free support services that include individual confidential coaching sessions, wellness workshops, and connection groups.
Lights of Life invites our community to brighten Northern Light Acadia Hospital's holiday tree and honor and remember those who have been affected by mental illness and substance use disorder. Our beautiful tree was illuminated on December 2 in recognition of our 2021 Lights of Life honorees. Click here to view the tree lighting
Every light reserved for the tree supports the exceptional care provided at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. We are incredibly grateful for the community's support of our very first Lights of Life program and our mission.
We are pleased to recognize our 2021 honorees:*
|In Honor of
||Relatives of Donna & Scott Oxley
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
||The Pineda Family
|In Honor of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
|In Memory of
||The Kilkelly Clan of Ireland and USA
|In Honor of
|In Memory of
||Dale and Chris Markel
|In Memory of
|Nancy R. Barrows
|Robert J. Schlager
|Valarie S. Wright
*List current as of 1/3/22.
Brewer, Maine (December 10, 2021) — Vaccination and boosters are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, especially as we are now well into the holiday season. To accommodate the high demand for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, Northern Light Health will be hosting a series of vaccine clinics at the Northern Light Health Center, 885 Union Street in Bangor. Community members can begin registering for those appointments today. Registration is required and the information to do so is listed below.
Matt Marston, PharmD, vice president - Pharmacy, Northern Light Health, shares, “With the holidays upon us and more people gathering indoors, it’s essential that as many people as possible receive their COVID-19 booster so that we all, including our close friends and family, can stay safe and healthy this season. By opening these additional clinics, we hope to provide individuals in the Bangor area with an easily accessible and convenient option to receive their booster as soon as possible.”
Northern Light Health anticipates they will be able to handle at least approximately 144 patients at each clinic.
Northern Light Health Booster Registration
Online registration for booster vaccines is available effective immediately on our Northern Light Health vaccine scheduling tool (https://covid.northernlighthealth.org/). Eligible community members may schedule a booster appointment using the scheduling tool. If they do not have access to a smart phone or computer, they should call 207-204-8551 to make an appointment.
Information on “Mix-and-Match” Boosters
While any initial, two dose vaccine series must be with the same vaccine, you may mix-and match vaccine types for your booster. Those who have had more severe side effects from their first two doses, may benefit from trying a different vaccine for their booster. Mixing and matching has also been shown in early studies to provide an enhanced immunity response, particularly for those who initially received Johnson & Johnson as their initial vaccination.
Mainers are a hardy bunch. But even the toughest among us may already find themselves feeling down and depressed, and it’s only December.
It’s not surprising. Studies have shown that four to six percent of all Americans experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression, when days grow colder and shorter. Northern Light Acadia Hospital is committed to helping Maine people live their best lives, and our Healthy Life Resources team has developed a list of tips to help you identify the symptoms of SAD and find ways to overcome the wintertime blues.
- Take a walk. "Forest bathing" is a type of eco-therapy that is defined by mindfully spending time in nature. Studies have shown that short walks in nature have been seen to increase mood and provide benefits for the body and mind.
- Dress for the elements. Bundle up with warm gloves, hats, scarves, and more when going outside in the winter. Blankets, warm socks, and snuggly clothes will help anyone focus on the cozy aspects of winter!
- Caring for plants. During the winter, it helps to have some small part of nature to take care of when you're feeling low. Studies have shown that gardening can help reduce feelings of depression.
- Fill up your social calendar. The pandemic has made it difficult to connect with loved ones, but one of the best things a person can do for themselves is spend time with people they care about. Put events in your calendar that you really look forward to. Just be safe about it.
- Use light therapy. Some studies support the idea that bright light therapy from light boxes is an effective treatment option for the "winter-blues.” If this isn't an option for you, try to ensure you get at least some sunlight each day!
- Mmmmmm. Eat healthy, but indulge in comfort foods, too!
- Do things that make YOU feel better! Going to a movie, gardening, or taking part in religious, social, or other activities often help. Doing something nice for someone else can also help you feel better.
- Try aromatherapy. Bright scents like citrus may help you feel more energized throughout the day.
- Stick to a routine. Ensuring you get enough sleep at night will help you feel better and make you more energized throughout the day.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as many antidepressant medications.
For more news and information to benefit your good mental health, visit our website at northernlighthealth.org/HLR
Brewer, Maine (January 18, 2022) — Following a comprehensive search for a new senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Northern Light Health is pleased to announce that Hugh Jones will join the Northern Light team in the coming weeks. Jones comes to Northern Light Health from the Lewiston area, where he was vice president of strategy and managed care for Central Maine Healthcare.
Among other assignments, Mr. Jones will be charged with helping to advance our Integrated Strategic Financial Plan (ISFP) and ensuring alignment around these bold strategies. He will also provide leadership for marketing and communications, strategic planning, grants and community health, our external clinical affiliation relationships, and advocacy and government relations.
“I am pleased we found a candidate of Hugh’s skill and expertise so close to home,” commented Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health. “He already knows the state and is familiar with the statewide landscape of Northern Light Health. I look forward to welcoming him to the system and the senior leadership team. Speaking with Hugh over the weekend, he said he is excited to become part of the Northern Light team.”
Jones shared, “The mission, vision, and especially the brand promise to ‘make healthcare work for you’ really resonate with me. This compelling commitment to innovating for our communities, patients, and team members is what drew me to this opportunity in the first place. I am looking forward to getting started!”
Prior to arriving in Maine in 2020, Jones served as senior vice president and chief strategy and development officer for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee, and before that he held a similar role at Mount Carmel Health System, in Columbus, Ohio. He has also held various strategy and development roles with Trinity Health and Holy Cross, as well as planning and finance roles for Kaiser Permanente. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College, studied at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and earned a Master of Business Administration from George Mason University. He also holds a healthcare management certificate from Georgetown University and completed the Global Leadership in Healthcare program at the University of Michigan.
Mr. Jones and his wife, Patricia, have two adult children. They look forward to relocating to the greater Bangor area. He will officially join the team in March. Please join me in giving Hugh a warm Northern Light Health welcome!
Northern Light Health to “Go Red” for women’s heart health on Friday, February 4
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Each year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease. For this reason, Northern Light Health is joining the American Heart Association and others nationally for American Heart Month throughout the month of February.
Northern Light Health hospitals from Portland to Presque Isle will “Go Red for Women,” encouraging employees and all Mainers to wear red on Friday, February 4 to help raise awareness of heart disease, particularly among women.
The following may be early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack:
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual or extreme fatigue
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Upper body discomfort (jaw, neck, back pain)
Knowing these heart attack symptoms could mean the difference between life and death. The sooner appropriate action is taken, the better the odds are for survival and decreased complications following a heart attack.
All Northern Light Health organizations encourage Mainers to move to the rhythm of a healthier heart. To learn more and for additional useful resources visit northernlighthealth.org/hearthealth.
Many Northern Light Health care sites, cafeterias, and Northern Light Pharmacy accept tap to pay contactless payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay using cell phones and smartwatches. As of February 1, tap to pay is temporarily unavailable at some locations. All other common payment options continue to be accepted, including credit cards, debit cards, and cash.
This change affects most Northern Light hospitals, health centers, Northern Light Pharmacy, and the cafeterias at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. It does not affect Northern Light Mayo Hospital, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, and their care sites.
Tap to pay at these locations has been temporarily disabled while our payment vendor configures our terminals to comply with new standards from payment processors. These changes are being made to payment terminals across the country to keep transactions safe and secure and are not specific to Northern Light Health.
Northern Light Health will work with patients on convenient alternative payment options until tap to pay is resumed. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Employer U program will host the first session in its four-
workshop series Mental Health for “Wealth”
, which focuses on workforce mental health and wellbeing in rural communities.
The session Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
takes place Thursday, February 17 from 12 noon to 1 pm via Zoom, and will be led by Angela Fileccia, LCSW
, director, Northern Light Acadia Hospital's Healthy Life Resources program. This workshop will focus on workplace mental health and its impact on organizational success. All are invited to attend this free virtual event.
Fileccia has 20 years of experience in the field of behavioral health with extensive expertise and knowledge of mental, behavioral and social health needs of patients. She was the Chief Care Management Officer at Maine’s largest FQHC and helped found Unlimited Solutions Clubhouse, a SAMSHSA evidence-based psycho-social rehabilitation model for people with severe and persistent mental illness. In 2013, she received the Behavioral Health Excellence award from the Maine Primary Care Association and won the Unsung Hero Award in 2016. She was awarded the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Maine School of Social Work.
Currently, she leads Acadia’s holistic mental health and wellness program, Healthy Life Resources. This program works directly with employers to provide mental wellness services to employees, reducing stigma associated with mental health services, educating employees on mental wellness, and assisting at-risk employees.
“The goal of these workshops is to help educate employers on how best to address issues of employee mental health, workplace violence, on the job substance abuse, workplace injury prevention, and overall workforce wellbeing,” Kim Jones, Director of Employer U, said. “Additionally, presenters will provide self-help information, making these workshops relevant and beneficial to anyone.”
The workshop series is one part of an expansive Rural Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge Pilot Initiative
that includes more than 20 faculty and staff members throughout the University of Maine System as well as State of Maine officials.
All sessions are free and open to the public.
All attendees will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Shop N Save (one winner per session will be selected randomly).
To register for any of the sessions, visit https://www.umpi.edu/employer-u/employeru-registration-form/
and select Mental Health for “Wealth” Workshop from the dropdown menu. For more information, contact Jones at email@example.com
February 21–27 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This week, Northern Light Acadia Hospital shines the spotlight on eating disorders by educating our friends and neighbors, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those who need them.
Eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age, size, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and more. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), in the United States, eating disorders are the second most fatal mental illness, surpassed only by opioid use disorder, according to NEDA. Furthermore, from the start of the pandemic through December 2021, National Eating Disorders Association saw a 107% increase in outreach to their Helpline over the previous same time period. This is why educating ourselves, and others, about the dangers and causes of eating disorders is imperative.
Eating disorders have a variety of causes, and risk factors fall into three categories:
- Biological – For instance, someone with an immediate family member (such as a parent or sibling) who has an eating disorder is at risk of developing one themselves.
- Psychological – For example, people who have or had an anxiety disorder are more prone to developing an eating disorder.
- Social – For instance, people from racial or ethnic minority groups who experience “acculturation,” or pressure to assimilate Western ideals of beauty and ways of life, have an increased risk for eating disorders.
Acadia Hospital, through its Eating Disorders Treatment Program, offers a number of important resources for anyone struggling with an eating disorder. With individual, family, and group therapy options offered virtually, nutrition counseling, medication management and more, Acadia Hospital’s trained and dedicated team of experts can help. To learn more, visit our website at northernlighthealth.org/Acadia_EDTP
and help us #BeTheChange. #NEDAwareness
Acadia Hospital has announced a formal renaming of its nationally-recognized geriatric program that serves older Maine residents facing neurocognitive decline. What was the Geriatric Mental Health and Neuropsychiatry Program under the direction of Cliff Singer, MD, is now Center for Geriatric Cognitive and Mental Health.
The Center for Geriatric Cognitive and Mental Health consists of three distinct programs:
- Mood and Memory Clinic – Our Mood & Memory Clinic follows nearly 1,000 Maine people with a wide range of mental health and cognitive disorders.
- Robert C. Strauss Neurocognitive Research Program – Our research program is the largest of its type in northern New England and has a national reputation for high quality clinical research. In 2020, the program was named in honor of Robert “Bob” Strauss through a generous gift by his long-time partner, Camilla Cochran.
- Maine Initiative for Neurologic Aging and Health (MAINAH) – MAINAH is our research registry with more than 800 enrollees (and growing!) from all over Maine, of all ages, who are eager to learn how to keep their memory sharp and help advance research promoting active, healthy minds into old age.
You can learn more about each of these programs HERE
or by calling 207.973.6100.
Northern Light Health becomes first company in Maine to invest in NextGen Health Residency
Brewer, Maine (March 8, 2022) -
Northern Light Health has taken a large step forward in investing in Maine’s future by becoming the first company in the state to partner in the NextGen Health Residency, a program of the Roux Institute at Northeastern University in Portland, Maine. The NextGen Health Residency is designed to support first-time entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups with high-growth ideas that have the potential to fundamentally alter the way we live and work.
This innovative arrangement will provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a real-time look at the healthcare industry, a promising path for career progression, assistance with developing new skills, continuous learning opportunities, and the ability to be a part of solving some of the industry’s most challenging problems. Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health shared, “Northern Light Health is thrilled to take this leading step with the NextGen Health Residency. Not only are we helping to invest in the future of young, cutting-edge researchers and entrepreneurs, this is a win for all of Maine with the potential to catalyze economic growth, mobility, and opportunity throughout the region.”
Through this arrangement, Northern Light Health will make a $500,000 annual commitment for the next three years to the NextGen Health Residency as well as provide access to leading experts in the industry, mentorship, and a first-hand look at healthcare today. In turn, the program will design and initiate research, innovation, and other initiatives consistent with the strategies of Northern Light Health.
Benjamin Chesler, associate director of Entrepreneurship at The Roux Institute says, “We could not be more thrilled to have Northern Light as a Founding Partner in our NextGen Health Residency. As one of the premier health systems in Maine, their participation will help us attract some of the top entrepreneurs building the next generation of healthcare-focused companies.”
Dentry added, “By working together, we are actively creating more possibility through ideas yet to be realized, making our home state an attractive place to live and work. It’s another way we are living up to our promise to make healthcare work for Maine.”
For more on Northeastern University’s Roux Institute, visit https://roux.northeastern.edu/
McLean Hospital, Northern Light Acadia Hospital, NAMI-Maine & Bangor International Airport aim to boost mental health awareness
Inspirational photo exhibit shines a light on Mainers living with mental illness
Bangor, Maine—McLean Hospital, located just outside of Boston, Bangor International Airport (BGR), NAMI-Maine, and Northern Light Acadia Hospital are bringing an inspirational exhibit highlighting stories of people living with mental illness to Maine. The goal of the exhibit, which was formally unveiled on Monday, April 4, is to increase awareness and reduce the stigma that is too often associated with depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental illnesses.
The Bangor exhibit is part of Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health, McLean’s international mental health awareness campaign, featuring compelling portraits of courageous people who volunteer to share their stories with the hope of changing how people living with mental illness are viewed. Deconstructing Stigma initially launched in 2016 with a large installation at Boston Logan International Airport. Since then, McLean has partnered with airports and other public venues worldwide to feature volunteers who share their stories about their experiences living with mental illness. The Bangor exhibit features several volunteers from Maine and was done in collaboration with Northern Light Acadia Hospital and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine.
“We are excited to bring Deconstructing Stigma to Maine and are grateful to the Bangor International Airport and our advocacy partners for supporting our efforts to heighten awareness and spark conversation about mental health,” said Scott O’Brien, director of Education Outreach for McLean Hospital. “Most of all, however, I want to express our deepest thanks to the volunteers of Deconstructing Stigma who have bravely shared their personal stories in hopes of helping others.”
The Strength of Storytelling
After witnessing a tragic event while at work, Ron began to struggle with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
“I’d start crying at bedtime, I’d start crying before I went to work. I’d explode at home and start yelling. I was in a hard spot emotionally,” explained Ron.
In time, Ron reached out for help, confiding in trusted colleagues. He was able to take time off from work, get treatment, and today is in a much better place.
Ron volunteered to be part of Deconstructing Stigma because he wants to encourage people who may be facing depression and PTSD to reach out for help. He also has a special plea for those who work in high-stress jobs to pay attention to their co-workers and look for signs of trouble.
“Stories like Ron’s are important to share because far too many people are afraid to speak up. Thankfully, Ron recognized he needed help and reached out,” said BGR Director Tony Caruso. “Thousands of people come through the airport each year. By providing space in our facility for Deconstructing Stigma, we hope Ron’s story and the others that now adorn our walls will raise awareness, provide support, and encourage our friends, family, and neighbors to seek help when they need it.”
McLean is honored to have local collaborators, including Northern Light Acadia Hospital and NAMI Maine. These two organizations are dedicated to providing mental health support to individuals and families throughout Maine.
“Acadia Hospital prides itself on maintaining strong partnerships to address the behavioral health needs of Maine people, and this is just the latest example,” said Scott Oxley, MBA, president, Northern Light Acadia Hospital and senior vice president, Northern Light Health. “We are tremendously proud to join forces with our colleagues at McLean Hospital, NAMI Maine, and our friends at Bangor International Airport to raise our voices in unison against stigma associated with mental health. We salute all of those featured on this moving display for courageously sharing their stories which hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
To learn more about mental health resources in Maine, visit the Deconstructing Stigma website.
Brewer, Maine (May 31, 2022) -
At Northern Light Health, care does not end at the bedside or in our practices. Whether it’s in Portland at Northern Light Mercy Hospital or in Aroostook County at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, Northern Light Health is committed to delivering care focused on the needs of each person and our communities. Addressing substance and opioid use; improving access to food, housing, and transportation; and ensuring equitable access to preventive vaccines for our vulnerable neighbors are among the many ways the health system is investing in our communities to address identified health needs throughout the state. During fiscal year 2021 (October 2020 – September 2021), Northern Light Health and its members provided $270,979,467 in community benefit throughout the state.
“We are committed to making healthcare work for each individual, and this means ensuring all community members have access to necessary resources. Through the pursuit of innovative community-based solutions and with the help of our community partners, we are addressing our toughest health challenges and reaching patients where they already are,” explains Doug Michael, associate vice president and chief community health officer, Northern Light Health. “Through free community classes, health education programs, transportation initiatives, and so much more, we are making care easier and more accessible for Mainers. This is our promise to our patients, families, and communities we serve.”
Northern Light Health members provide a wide range of free or reduced-cost programs and services to those who are sick, injured, or disabled. These community benefits are designed to improve the health of our communities and increase access to healthcare in response to identified community health needs
The Northern Light Health Community Benefit Report is categorized by nonprofit members to easily see how Northern Light Health is working to target each region’s unique needs. The report is available on the Northern Light Health website at FY21-Community-Benefit-Report.pdf.aspx (northernlighthealth.org)
Northern Light Acadia Hospital is pleased to announce that John Campbell, MD, senior physician
executive, has been awarded the prestigious Gary J. Tucker Award from American Neuropsychiatric Association (ANPA). The award, established in memory of Dr. Gary J. Tucker, former chair of the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry, past president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, former chair of the Dartmouth Department of Psychiatry, is the highest honor awarded by American Neuropsychiatric Association. He was presented the award virtually at the 32nd annual meeting of the ANPA held March 16-20.
The Tucker Award honors individuals who have demonstrated “sustained commitment and service to ANPA, and whose career exemplifies the professional and personal values of deep humanitarianism, superlative scholarship, advancement of the understanding of brain-behavior relationships as they affect mental illness, nationally recognized academic leadership in neuropsychiatry, and the transformative mentoring of students, trainees and colleagues.”
C. Edward Coffey, MD, affiliate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Medical University of South Carolina, nominated Dr. Campbell for this impressive honor, writing in his submission letter, “John Campbell is a distinguished neuropsychiatric clinician, educator, mentor, scholar, leader, and advocate, who has dedicated his entire career to the ANPA and the specialty of neuropsychiatry.” He adds, “He has written and published numerous articles and has established successful clinical programs and led the development of Maine’s only inpatient neurobehavioral disorders unit. He has been a gifted teacher who has received Teacher of the Year awards at three different institutions in his career. He is clearly deserving of the ANPA Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“I am not at all surprised to see Dr. Campbell honored in this way,” says Scott Oxley, MBA, senior vice president, Northern Light Health and president, Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “He has shown himself to be not only a caring physician who is always seeking the best possible outcomes for his patients, but he is a talented and inspiring leader. Acadia Hospital is incredibly fortunate to have a provider of John’s stature on our team, and I couldn’t be happier to see him receive this very special award.”
The Gary J. Tucker award is not presented annually; only when a member is nominated and voted upon by the ANPA executive committee. The Tucker award was last presented in 2019.
Northern Light Health shares in the sadness over the senseless killings on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas. Northern Light Acadia Hospital's professionals have come together to provide helpful information and resources to assist parents and our communities in reacting and responding to the tragedy.
By creating a supportive environment where children feel safe in asking questions and believe their concerns are being heard, we can help them cope with stressful events and experiences, and reduce the risk of lasting emotional difficulties. Although these may be difficult conversations, they are important. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to talk with children about these events.
Common reactions in children and teens after a disaster or tragedy:
Steps to help children and adolescents after trauma
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Sadness, depression, hyperactivity
- Irritability or anger
- Having no feelings at all or feeling numb
- A lack of energy or feeling exhausted all the time
- Lack of appetite or, the opposite, eating all the time
- Trouble concentrating or feeling confused
- Thinking no one else is having the same reactions as you
- Headaches, stomachaches or other body pains
- Very young children may become clingy, fearful, have tantrums, or resume behaviors such as bedwetting or thumb-sucking
- School aged kids may get into fights, socially isolate, or have trouble with schoolwork
- Adolescents and teens may use alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or prescription medications to try to cope
Let children know there are people helping keep the community safe. It's a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help.
- Limit exposure to television and social media content about the disaster; repeated exposure to frightening or intense images increase distress.
- Maintain routines at home and school as much as possible
- Spend family time together; this can increase feelings of safety and provide helpful opportunities to talk and share.
- Ensure they have regular meals and get good sleep every night.
- Educate them to avoid using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to manage distressing emotions.
- Find healthy ways to relax, such as music, reading, sports, and other hobbies.
- Stay connected with friends, family, classmates, and neighbors to give and receive support. Helping one another aids in healing.
- Use words and concepts children can understand. Gear your explanations to the child's age and understanding.
- Make time and encourage kids to ask questions. Don’t force children to talk about things unless and until they're ready.
- Give children honest answers and information. Children will usually learn if you’re making things up, which can diminish their trust in you.
- Be prepared to repeat information and explanations several times. Some information may be hard to accept or understand. Asking the same question over and over may also be a way for a child to ask for reassurance.
- Acknowledge and validate the child's thoughts, feelings and reactions. Let them know that you think their questions and concerns are important and appropriate.
- Remember that children tend to personalize situations. For example, they may worry about their own safety and the safety of immediate family members, friends and neighbors.
- Be reassuring, but don't make unrealistic promises.
- Help children find ways to express themselves. Some children may want to talk about their thoughts, feelings or fears. Others prefer to draw pictures, play with toys, or write stories or poems to help them cope.
- Be aware of how you respond to the tragedy and talk about it with other adults. Children learn from watching parents and teachers.
- Children who have experienced trauma or losses in the past may be more vulnerable to prolonged or intense reactions. These children may need extra support and attention.
- Monitor for physical symptoms, including headaches and stomachaches. Many children express anxiety through physical aches and pains. An increase in such symptoms without apparent medical cause may be a sign that a child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
- If the following are persistent or worsen over time, a child may need additional help: sleep disturbances, intrusive thoughts or worries, preoccupation with concerns about the event, recurring fears about death, diminished school performance, or aggression. If these or other concerning behaviors persist, seek help from your child's pediatrician, family physician, or school counselor.
Resources for helping children