Maine Rural Healthcare Community Stars
Northern Light CA Dean Hospital and Nikki Chadwick, RN, MSN, CPHQ, a healthcare leader from Northern Light Mayo Hospital were among a handful of organizations and individuals honored as Rural Healthcare Community Stars at a National Rural Health Day ceremony at the State House on November 16, 2023. The awards were presented by the Maine Rural Health and Primary Care Program, a division of the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
CA Dean Hospital was recognized for being a national leader in rural healthcare quality. Earlier this year, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) named CA Dean one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in the nation for quality. Hospital staff received the award on September 29 at the NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Yesterday, the Chartis Center for Rural Health announced that CA Dean has been recognized with a 2023 Performance Leadership Award in Quality.
Chadwick, vice president of Quality and Education at Mayo Hospital, was highlighted for her visionary approach to nursing education and workforce development. Under her guidance, Mayo Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Maine to address the nursing workforce shortage by offering an on-site registered nurse training and education program in partnership with Eastern Maine Community College. The local approach to training and education has grown to benefit future medical assistants, certified nursing assistants, and cardiopulmonary and radiology professionals.
Down East Community Hospital, the Jackman Community Paramedicine Project, and Heather Pelletier of Fish River Rural Health were also recognized at the ceremony.
In her opening remarks, Maine CDC Director Puthiery Va, DO, praised Maine’s rural healthcare professionals for playing a pivotal role in ensuring the wellbeing of Mainers, often in challenging circumstances.
“Healthcare professionals, support staff, and volunteers are the backbone of our healthcare system and public health infrastructure,” she said. “They work tirelessly to bring these lifesaving resources to people in any way possible. They’re doing it right now; they’re doing it every day. Today, on National Rural Health Day, I want to celebrate them and thank them for their dedication and service, because they are critical to achieving that sense of community as well as achieving rural health equity.”
Throughout the ceremony, presenters shared several examples of how Maine’s Rural Healthcare Community Stars have improved rural healthcare with small teams and limited resources. According to Marie Vienneau, FACHE, president, CA Dean and Mayo Hospitals, compassionate caregivers and staff drive the success of Piscataquis County’s hospitals.
“CA Dean and Mayo Hospitals are the healthcare safety nets in one of Maine’s largest and most rural hospital service areas,” she says. “We’re able to serve this critical role because we have an excellent team of professionals who are committed to their patients, our hospitals, and communities. They innovate, do more with less, and go above and beyond every day. I’m proud to see the CA Dean team and Nikki recognized for their excellent work.”