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Northern Light Health

Cars filled the parking lot and stretched out onto the snowbank-lined streets at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. Inside, people from across our system filled the tables in the banquet room, leaving standing room only against the back wall. Michelle Hood, FACHE, EMHS president and CEO, stood at a podium on a riser, between two blank projector screens.

“I think of our brand like one of the must-have items you would carry in your luggage when you take a long trip,” Michelle said as she shared a story about her family’s planned vacation later this spring. “My five-year-old granddaughter asked her mother if it would be a sleepover trip,” she said. “She then proceeded to pack her important items—her princess gown, favorite books, favorite stuffed animals, and her pajamas,” Michelle added as the crowd broke out in laughter. “We have a lot of important items in our backpack too, and our branding is one of them.”

Michelle was speaking at EMHS’ Leadership Development Institute (LDI), an annual gathering of leaders from across the system. These leaders were a captive audience and among the first to hear the new name of our organization.

“With this new brand, we truly become one organization, an integrated system, and a unified team pursuing the same goals for each of the communities that we serve,” Michelle said. “With the goals of our new brand in mind, we have created a new name to take our unified organization into the future.”

Just as she finished those words, the lights dimmed, and the two projector screens came to life. The video opened with a flyover view of a lighthouse at sunrise and a series of scenic shots of rivers and mountains as an announcer’s voice said, “It’s a new day in Maine, and just like the sun illuminating our shores or our land each morning, our job is to shine light on a path to better health.” The video ended with a nighttime shot over water and faded to black as a voice said, “We are Northern Light Health.As the lights came back up, the crowd burst into applause. Reaction to the new name was unequivocally positive. 

“I love it. It shows that we are a beacon of light. It shows that we are more than just Eastern Maine. It’s a name for all of us,” explained Kelly Collins, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, Emergency Department director at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.

“When you hear this name, it has a level of distinction. It represents a higher level of care,” added Kimberly Haley, an office supervisor at Coastal Health Center.

“I think it’s a great idea. This is a time of transformation in our industry, and this represents an opportunity for our system to move forward,” explained Amanda Sidell LCSW, director of Community Care Services and Innovation, Acadia Hospital. “It feels like we are in a world where geography does not define us, and we no longer have boundaries. The opportunities are endless.”

The announcement of the name is just the first step in what will be a several-months-long process to roll out the new brand, which will launch in October. The rollout will include education and training, development of tools and standards, and signage and media modernization—all with the goal of bringing our brand promise alive to our communities.

So, what now?
Our name will remain EMHS until October. After October 1, all of our materials, websites, email signatures, advertising, letterhead, and other collateral will read Northern Light Health. Until that time, we remain EMHS. More information about the business care for reinventing our brand, check out the latest message from Michelle at http://intranet2.emhs.org/m/p/Name/Message-from-Michelle

The brand introduction will include a team of almost 200 people across the system who will help deliver and uphold our new brand standards in presentation and communication. If you would like to help us promote our brand by becoming a brand ambassador, send an email to northernlighthealth@emhs.org. Visit our Northern Light Health FAQ page for more information.