Tim Talk: Podcast Series

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During Tim Talk, Northern Light Health president and CEO Tim Dentry breaks down barriers, opens our hearts and minds to diversity, and focuses on issues of social justice and medical justice.

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Episode 37: “I’m still Cara.” One woman’s story of recovery, stigma, and hope

Episode 37: “I’m still Cara.” One woman’s story of recovery, stigma, and hope

We kick off season three of Tim Talk with a frank and eye-opening conversation about the stigma people in recovery face when seeking medical care. Tim speaks with Cara Oleksyk, a former financial counselor at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and also a member of the recovery community, as well as is Jacquelyn Cyr, a family nurse practitioner at Northern Light Acadia Hospital specializing in addiction care. Cara openly and courageously shares her personal experiences as well as views on whether we’ve made progress with stigma towards addiction. Jacquelyn emphasize the importance of using patient-centered supportive language when helping those in recovery from substance abuse.

Episode 35: Juneteenth and Defining Justice

During this episode of Tim Talk, Tim speaks with Bobby Keith, PA-C, MPA, who practices medicine at the Lovejoy Health Center in Albion Maine. Mr. Keith is also a vocal advocate for medical justice for underserved populations, and as such has testified in support of legislation such as single payer healthcare, which he knows a thing or two about as he previously practiced medicine in Canada. On June 19 the nation celebrates Juneteenth. Tim and Mr. Keith dive into the historical significance of this new national holiday and the effect it has on racial and social justice.

Episode 35: Inside the Northern Light Health DEI Council

During this episode of Tim Talk, Tim hosts his very first panel discussion with four members of Northern Light Health’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council: Olamide Sobowale, MD, OB/GYN, Northern Light Women’s Health; Emily Tolman, MSN, RN, system director, Health Equity and Access; Melissa Skahan, vice president, Mission Integration, Northern Light Mercy; and Mia Dubois, MSN, RN, associate vice president, Patient Experience, Northern Light Health. Northern Light’s DEI Council is a dynamic, diverse, and talented group of 20 individuals who are behind all the hard work that is happening around our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, which ultimately supports our culture of caring. Each panelist discusses why they choose to be a member of the Northern Light DEI Council and why this work inspires them. In addition, the panel gives an overview of the work of the council, an explanation of an important provider anti-discrimination policy change implemented by the council just this past year, a bit about the current initiatives of the gender identity task force, and more.

Episode 34: Justice for Sexual Violence Victims: Nursing's Role

In this episode, Tim invites Keri Kapaldo, RN, sexual assault nurse examiner at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor, and Danielle Coutu, RN, regional coordinator for the University of New England's Advanced Nursing Education Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. Keri and Danielle discuss what it means for them to be in this critical line of work. In addition, Tim, Keri, and Danielle share the importance of advocacy, empowerment, and education in reducing the incidence of sexual assault and what we can do within our communities to better support victims of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault can help, 1-800-871-7741.

Affirming Women's Voice in the Conversation

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim speaks with Marie Tessier, journalist, writer, and comments moderator for the New York Times opinion pages. Ms. Tessier is the author of "Digital Suffragists: Women, the Web and the Future of Democracy," and her work has appeared on the Women's eNews and Women's Media Center websites, in Ms. magazine, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Tim and Marie discuss the value of women’s voice in society and the current lack thereof in the digital world. Marie shares her eye-opening experience moderating comments in the NYTimes.com opinion section, what she’s noticed about how women choose to express their voice, and how women’s voices remain deeply underrepresented in meaningful social discourse today. Additionally, both Tim and Marie discuss the importance of listening and lifting women’s voices in the workplace and within our greater communities as well as the value of inviting women to share their thoughts at the table.

Episode 32: Healthcare Equity and Literacy

On today’s Tim Talk, Tim speaks with Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, founder and CEO of Grapevine Health. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s impressive career has spanned research, clinical medicine, global health, community health education, patient advocacy, and most recently as the medical director for Washington DC's Medicaid program. Tim and Dr. Fitzpatrick discuss health delivery at the national level as well as the critical work Grapevine Health is doing to improve community health literacy through relatable, understandable, trustworthy health communication. As part of this work, Dr. Fitzpatrick relates the ability to listen as a super power, and she comments on how this ability is an important foundational element to creating positive change in underserved communities and in the lives of our patients.

Episode 31: Ensuring access to healthcare in Maine

On this Tim Talk, Tim is joined by Cathy Bean, RN, manager, Community and Telehealth Services, Northern Light Home Care and Hospice. Cathy has worked with some of the most underserved, vulnerable populations here in Maine for more than 20 years. She frequents homeless shelters and travels to Maine islands to ensure people have life-saving flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Tim and Cathy discuss the human barriers to care and the importance of building trust with those we serve. Cathy also shares the different populations Northern Light Home Care and Hospice has served, what her team has experienced in their work, and what they are actively doing to break down barriers for the underserved populations throughout our state and ensure they have equal access to healthcare.

Episode 30: An International Perspective on Maine

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim speaks with Maksim Liaukovich, MD, oncologist, Northern Light AR Gould, about what it is like to live and work in a place with a different culture and language. Dr. Liaukovich completed his medical schooling in Belarus and subsequently completed training in Ottawa, Canada. He later moved to Brooklyn, NY, where he completed his residency and fellowship in hematology and oncology. Both Tim and Dr. Liaukovich highlight the growing importance of cross-cultural teamwork in the workplace—our ability to work together with colleagues of all different backgrounds and to understand people from different cultures and engage with them respectfully toward a common goal of providing the best care possible.

Episode 29: Living with Mental Illness

Approximately one in five U.S. adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, but more than half do not seek help or treatment. In this episode of Tim Talk, Gavin Ducker, MD, family physician, co-president, Northern Light Health Medical Group, and senior vice president, Northern Light Health, shares his personal mental health journey with both depression and PTSD. Dr. Ducker also shares that about a quarter of the patients he sees might have an element of a mental illness as part of their diagnosis and treatment. As part of their discussion, Dr. Ducker and Tim explore the differences in views between mental and physical illnesses, and how we can provide support for someone struggling with a mental health issue.

Episode 28: Surviving and Recovering from Domestic Violence.

While the beginning of October usually greets us with an abundance of apples, pumpkins and beautiful fall foliage, it’s also an important time to raise awareness around domestic violence. On this episode of Tim Talk, Tim invites Amanda Cost, executive director for Partners for Peace and Christine Matson, Environmental Services supervisor, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, two women working to bring positive change through dialogue and action. As a child, Christine grew up in a home with domestic violence and shares her experience as a survivor as well as her mother’s role in influencing change in New Hampshire. Amanda returns to Tim Talk as a guest to discuss Partners for Peace’s comprehensive work in the Bangor community to help and support victims of domestic violence move forward on a better path. Tim also reflects on the connection between workplace violence and domestic violence and the lessons we can take from Partners for Peace to make our workplace an even more safe and supportive place to be.

Episode 27: Vaccine Hesitancy, Mandates, and Promoting Vaccine Equity

We launch a new season of Tim Talk with a discussion that’s been a big topic of conversation during the last several weeks: Vaccine hesitancy, mandates, and promoting vaccine equity. In this episode, Tim has a frank conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine with Brandon Libby, MD, Northern Light EMMC Emergency Department, and Angela Tsai, MD, Northern Light EMMC Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic—two doctors passionate about correcting vaccine misinformation and promoting vaccine equity. Both Drs. Libby and Tsai share their views on COVID-19 vaccination, where we are now in the fight against the pandemic. Dr. Tsai, who recently gave birth to her son, Ari, also helps clarify some misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy. In light that ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 throughout the nation, Dr. Libby shares what Northern Light Health is doing to reach out to minority groups across Maine.

Episode 26: Highlights of a year discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion - Part 2

This week, we bring you part 2 of our first year of Tim Talk discussions … If you’ve never heard a Tim Talk podcast, but wanted to tune in, here’s your chance to catch up on the rest of season! And, if you’re a loyal listener, here are some of the most compelling moments yet again, and perhaps you’ll catch something you may have missed. Conversations on this episode include domestic violence, religious diversity, spirituality’s role in healthcare, racial equity in healthcare, Native American spirituality and tradition and its role in medicine, Asian perspectives in healthcare, and medical justice for under served communities as it relates to COVID-19. This compilation of episodes provides a comprehensive sampling of engaging discussions focused on breaking down barriers, opening our hearts and minds to diversity, and focusing on issues of social and medical justice.

Episode 25: Highlights of a year discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion - Part 1

If you’ve never heard a Tim Talk podcast, but wanted to tune in—Here’s your chance to catch up on season one in just 15 minutes! And, if you’re a loyal listener, here are some of the most compelling moments yet again, and perhaps you’ll catch something you may have missed. Conversations include medical and social justice, systemic racism, being an ally, and helping those who identify as LGBTQ+ feel welcome in the healthcare setting. This compilation of episodes provides a comprehensive sampling of engaging discussions focused on breaking down barriers, opening our hearts and minds to diversity, and focusing on issues of social and medical justice.

Episode 24: Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

During this episode, Tim speaks with Marwa Hassanien, director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Northern Light Health. Marwa shares her background as a bilingual, first-generation American, her approach to DEI, and what she hopes to accomplish within Northern Light Health. She says, “We must get comfortable with being uncomfortable to address underlying systemic issues relating to bias, equity, and racism.” Tim reflects on this statement and recalls the early days of Northern Light Health’s work and how far we have come. In addition, they both discuss Northern Light Health’s new policy to eliminate discrimination towards providers and staff, as part of our efforts to build a stronger culture of caring throughout the system for everyone.

Episode 23: What Health Equity Could Look Like in Maine

While COVID-19 has left a lasting effect on us all, it has hit our underserved populations exceptionally hard. During this episode, Tim talks with Leana Amaez, manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the ‎Maine Department of Health and Human Services, about how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black and Latinx Mainers and what the state is doing to ensure underrepresented groups have access to the vaccine. Leana discusses what we can learn beyond data when we take the time to speak with underserved communities. She also shares what the State has discovered in terms of building trust and delivering meaningful access to the COVID-19 vaccine to all communities. Tim discusses Northern Light Health’s strategy to ensure we directly partner with the communities that really need us and nurture relationships in order to get more people vaccinated.

Episode 22: Asian-American Experiences in Healthcare

Recently, the nation has experienced an unsettling surge of tragic violence directed towards the Asian community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Tim talks with two members of our Northern Light Health community of Asian heritage: Thailand born Omm Stillwell, a psychiatric clinician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital and John Marc Pascual, or “Mac” as he goes by, a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center who was recruited through our international nurses program in 2018 and hails from the city of Manila in the Philippines. Omm, who was raised in Maine, and Mac, who came to Maine within the last few years, share their experiences and impressions of Maine, the welcoming community, and the importance of connecting to people as individuals.

Episode 21: The role of healthcare within Native American cultures

This week, Tim invites Benjamin Huerth, MD, family medicine provider at the Penobscot Nation's Indian Island Health Center and Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, who practices both family medicine and psychiatry and is a nationally-recognized expert on narrative medicine to share more about their passion for helping Wabanaki communities in Maine, the importance of providing medically just healthcare, and the role of healthcare in Native American culture. They also share information about Makwi, a unique collaborative between Maine’s Native American communities and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center to provide critical medical treatment. In addition, Tim asks Drs. Huerth and Mehl-Madrona how Northern Light Health can better support and be of service to Maine’s Native American communities.

Episode 20: Native American Spirituality and Medicine

In Native American tradition, spirituality plays a significant role in the balance and wholeness of who we are as well as the interconnectedness of the world around us. This week, Tim talks with Pamella Hand, IS Infrastructure admin and billing lead for Northern Light Health about Native American spirituality and medicine. Pam is Yanktonai, Dakota and a tribal member of Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota. She shares why a segment of the song “Fairy Dust” is played at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center on the overhead paging system every time a new baby is born. In addition, she explains the delicate balance that Native Americans must practice between traditional and modern medicine as well as important takeaways from Native American culture that we can all embrace in serving this community. Tim discusses the importance of “oneness” and the ultimate goal of becoming one Northern Light Health with a culture of caring for one another.

Episode 19: The history of racism and segregation in the medical profession

This week, Tim welcomes James Fullwood, DPM, podiatrist, Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital, and member of Northern Light Health’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council to speak about the history of racism and segregation in the medical profession. Dr. Fullwood is a delegate of the historic National Medical Association (NMA) which promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent. He is also the creator of the Maine Medical Society, which is a local affiliate of the NMA. In addition, Dr. Fullwood has developed an international podiatry program and has traveled to Nigeria to teach in medical schools, conduct academic research, and influence politics in an effort to promote parity in medicine for underserved populations. In this episode, Dr. Fullwood shares how his international experience has changed how he thinks about, perceives, and acts upon racial and social justice matters. Also, he shares stories about how herbal remedies from centuries ago can still blend harmoniously with modern research-based medicine, especially in areas where access to healthcare is limited. In addition, Tim describes the structural barriers he sees to medical equity as well as differences in the perception of healthcare in America versus what he has experienced internationally, and what Northern Light Health can do help break down barriers built up by generations of misconception.

Episode 18: Common pursuit of racial, social, and medical justice

On this podcast, Tim chats with Kimberly Whitehead, PhD, vice president and chief of staff at the University of Maine, the state's flagship public research university. At the university, Dr. Whitehead is engaged in a variety of strategic initiatives, including co-chairing the President's Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, leading UMaine's Powered by Publics Initiative, and serving as the Project Director for the recently announced University of Maine System TRANSFORM project. Dr. Whitehead shares the comprehensive journey the university has been on in recent years to further ensure UMaine is a welcoming, inclusive place for all. Also, they both discuss how the university and Northern Light Health can keep their work sustainable and not just another initiative. Finally, Tim shares his most valuable lesson from hosting Tim Talk.

Episode 17: Minority Leadership in Medicine

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, while 28.7 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are Black/African Americans, they comprised only 12.5 percent of organ donors in 2019. In addition, Black/African Americans have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than their Caucasian counterparts, putting them at increased risk for organ failures. In this episode, Tim welcomes Clive Callender, MD, a renowned transplant surgeon, medical professor at Howard University, and pioneer in increasing awareness of transplant medicine among minority segments of the population. Dr. Callender discusses how leadership and understanding, and education about organ transplants can make a big difference in empowering change. Tim also reflects on how Dr. Callender’s work may also help in other public health areas, such as engaging minority communities to become vaccinated for COVID-19.

Episode 16: Celebrating and Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This week, we celebrate the life and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and reflect on his teachings. As part of this reflection, James Varner, long-time civil rights leader and activist from the Bangor region joins Tim to offer his valuable insights as a prominent community leader and one who attended the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Together, Mr. Varner and Tim share their thoughts on how we can be inspired and carry forth Dr. King’s legacy and dream for America.

Episode 15: Islamic Holiday Observances and Experiences

In this episode of Tim Talk, we continue our discussion on religious diversity in healthcare. During this episode, Tim invites Omar Conteh, community outreach coordinator, Islamic Center of Maine and psychiatric clinician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital to share with us the rich tradition of the Maine Islamic community as well as the important role of the Islamic Center of Maine in Orono in helping those of all faiths get to know one another better. Omar also shares how those who do not practice the prominent religious traditions in their community may feel lost, and he asks Tim how Northern Light Health may help these people feel more included in honoring and celebrating each other’s holidays.

Episode 14: Religious Observations and Spirituality in Healthcare

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim invites Pastor Jerry Mick of the nondenominational CrossPoint Church in Bangor to join him in his series of discussions about religious and spiritual diversity in healthcare. Pastor Jerry shares the many community efforts of his church and the importance of spirituality in helping people recover from physical ailments. He also asks Tim to share what Northern Light Health is doing to help people of all faiths feel spiritually supported when they come to us for care. Finally, Pastor Jerry shares his role in chairing the Faith Outreach Committee, which connects faith communities to the hospital's services and breaks down barriers between the hospital and those faith communities. Together, they discuss a vision of how hospitals and faith communities can work closely together.

Episode 13: Religious Diversity in Healthcare

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim welcomes Melissa Skahan, vice president of Mission Integration, Northern Light Mercy Hospital, to continue our discussion about religious diversity in healthcare. Melissa shares Mercy’s commitment of delivering holistic, person-centered care as a hospital founded in faith-based tradition. Melissa also shares how Mercy has tended to the personal and spiritual needs of weary team members who continue to battle a relentless pandemic. Finally, Tim and Melissa spend some time discussing the role and importance of spirituality—in all its diverse forms—within healthcare, especially at Northern Light Health.

Episode 12: Diversity and Differences around the holidays

As we approach the end-of-year holidays, many of us have our own cultural and religious traditions that we embrace. In Maine, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, among others, are present in our communities and our workplaces. In this episode of Tim Talk, Rabbi Darah Lerner, of Congregation Beth El in Bangor, joins Tim to discuss religious diversity and differences around the holidays. Rabbi Lerner also shares lessons from the Jewish tradition that speaks to strength and resiliency within our current times. In addition, Tim shares his thoughts on how Northern Light Health can bring more inclusivity and awareness of all holidays during this time and throughout the whole year.

Episode 11: Health Justice in Our Communities

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim shares, “One huge lesson in healthcare we are learning all over again with this pandemic is that health, and the risks of poor health, start in the home and on the streets.” As we open a new chapter in our podcast series, we explore how we can better work our community partners to deliver healthcare that is medically just. This week, we welcome Sgt. Wade Betters, the public information officer for the Bangor Police Department. Sgt. Betters discusses his perspective on social and racial justice and how we can all work together to create a safer, more accessible pathway for the homeless and other vulnerable populations to receive the healthcare that they need.

Episode 10: Dispelling Myths About Domestic Violence

During the month of October, we have cast a light on domestic violence to bring awareness and share information about this critical topic. As the month comes to a close, we present a special Tim Talk featuring Tricia Mercer, system director for Medical Group Practice Management and Ann-Marie Williams, associate vice president of Patient Care Services at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center—both senior leaders of Northern Light Health as well as domestic violence survivors. We thank both Tricia and Ann Marie for both courageously coming forward to share their story as well as dispel some of the myths and erase some of the stigma surrounding domestic violence. Also, joining Tim, Tricia, and Ann-Marie is Amanda Cost, facilitative director at Partners for Peace, a domestic violence prevention organization serving Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties.

Episode 9: Creating a Welcoming Environment for People Who are Transgender

Fort Fairfield nurse practitioner and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Samantha Paradis, is passionate about helping people who are transgender feel welcome in the healthcare setting. Samantha sits down with Tim to share their personal experiences as someone who is nonbinary, genderqueer. They also provide an insightful perspective on the many obstacles felt by members of the transgender community who seek healthcare and what we can do to improve the experience as well as create a supportive environment for those we serve. Tim asks how we can best learn and practice using gender appropriate pronouns in our daily lives and what we can do to better partner with local organizations.

Episode 8: Coming to Terms with Gender Identity

“The best healthcare results from a patient truly being seen” is a top takeaway from this week’s new Tim Talk. In this episode, Robin Hirsh-Wright, director, Palliative Care Services, Northern Light Home Care and Hospice joins Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health, to discuss the importance of recognizing all patients as fully human regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, or spirituality. Robin shares her views on what a comprehensive training program might include to better educate healthcare workers about LBGTQ+ identity and the rewards we can realize by taking the time to develop these skills, including increased patient satisfaction and the retention of a highly skilled workforce. This podcast also includes a discussion on gender preference pronouns and our role in supporting our patients’ preference in how they like to be identified.

Episode 7: Healthcare Experiences of the LGBTQ+ Community

In this podcast, Chris McLaughlin, associate vice president of community and pediatric services at Northern Light Acadia Hospital and member of the LGBTQ+ community, and Tim Dentry, president and CEO of Northern Light Health, talk about the healthcare challenges faced by LGTBQ+ youth and families.

Episode 6: Opening Spaces for Dialogue

As one of his final acts as outgoing medical staff president for Northern Light Maine Coast, Douglas MacGregor, MD, pediatrician, wrote a profound statement to the hospital medical staff that questioned what should and can be done about racism. In this podcast, Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health, welcomes Dr. MacGregor to share what motivated him to write the letter, the response he received, and the changes he hoped to see as a result. Tim also invites Dr. MacGregor to share his stories about racial, social, and medical injustices from his own experience as a pediatrician that have changed the way he looks at things and conducts himself.

Episode 5: How to be an ally

“Take a Stand—It’s so easy to walk away.” That is one takeaway from the latest Tim Talk. In this podcast episode, Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health, invites Robert Schlager, MD, senior physician executive at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital, to discuss how to be an ally. Dr. Schlager and Tim share their views on what to do when a colleague or patient make insensitive statements. In addition, Tim emphasizes the importance of showing cultural humility, adopting a natural curiosity for others, and taking a stand on what we won’t tolerate as a community. Listen to this discussion and much more during this Tim Talk podcast on how to be an ally.

Episode 4: Promoting the Desire for Actionable Change

In this Tim Talk podcast, Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health, chats with Andrew Dees, director of provider network management for Beacon Health.  Andrew shares his perspective on what he would say to community members who may not feel they need to change how they interact with those they perceive as different as well as his thoughts on medical justice. Tim also shares his thoughts on the Ben Franklin quote, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” and the actionable change those of us within Northern Light Health can take.

Episode 3: Perspectives of Diversity in the Community

In his third Tim Talk podcast, Tim Dentry, president and CEO, Northern Light Health, chats with Darmita Wilson, the acting director and vice president of physician practices at Northern Light Mercy Hospital, to discuss her cultural impressions of Maine as a new resident. Darmita also talks about the social justice advocates who inspire her, and she questions Tim about how we include diverse voices in our decision-making process concerning medical and social justice.

Episode 2: White Fragility and Microaggressions

In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim Dentry, President and CEO of Northern Light Health discusses white fragility and microaggressions with Doctor Seleipiri Akobo.

Episode 1: Northern Light Health's Role in Medical Justice

In this episode of Tim Talk, Northern Light Health President and CEO Tim Dentry, and Dr. Olamide Sobowale, discuss how to find and address racial inequality in healthcare