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New Grant Fuels Efforts to Drive out Food Insecurity

DSC_0200.JPGNearly one in six households in Kennebec County lacks enough food to maintain healthy, active lifestyles for all household members. Nutritious food is available, yet many families can’t access the food because they don’t have transportation to a food bank. Northern Light Inland Hospital is responding to the problem with an innovative solution to ensure access to food banks for patients who do not have dependable transportation.

The new transportation initiative, funded by a John T. Gorman Foundation grant, builds on an existing partnership between Northern Light Inland Hospital and Good Shepherd Food Bank to provide emergency food bags to families in need at Inland’s primary and specialty care practices, emergency department, inpatient units, and other care sites.

“The grant opportunity came to us through the philanthropy officers at Northern Light Health Foundation,” explains Donna-Jo Mitchell, MBA, director of Philanthropy at Inland Hospital. “I worked quickly with our Community Health and Grants department along with our local community health navigator on this opportunity. It successfully came together because of the strong relationships we have in our organization—we’re all working toward one common goal.”

Inland Hospital providers and staff routinely screen patients for food insecurity, and patients who have immediate needs are offered emergency food bags on the spot. If transportation to the food bank is also found to be an issue, the provider can refer the patient for transportation assistance. The hospital explored many different solutions to the problem and found that arranging a taxi ride would help the largest number of food insecure patients get access to the food they need.

“One of the biggest struggles is getting people to the food, and food to the people,” says Bridgette Gemelli, community health navigator, Inland Hospital. “Some people can walk to the food bank but can only carry so much back to their homes.”

In her role as community health navigator, Bridgette considers each person’s unique needs and helps them find solutions to a range of issues that affect quality of life. Her work often includes providing education about and connections with resources available in the community, and strategies to help patients overcome barriers.

“You can’t recover from illness or live your healthiest possible life if you aren’t getting the proper nutrition,” says Crystal Richard, director, Women’s Health at Inland Hospital. “In order to improve overall health and wellness, we need to get to the root of the problem, which is sometimes transportation.”

Inland Hospital’s approach to addressing food insecurity for its patients may serve as a model for other hospitals to follow. The initiative, funded through spring 2020, augments Inland’s ongoing work with several community organizations to address the most significant problems that affect health for the people of Kennebec County.

For more information about this program, contact Bridgette Gemelli, community health navigator, at or 207.861.6091.

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New Senior Physician Executive at Northern Light Acadia Hospital

_DSC0058-high-res.jpgNorthern Light Acadia Hospital has a new senior physician  executive at the hospital, and to many, he is already a familiar face.

John Campbell, MD is assuming this role after the departure of Anthony Ng, MD, in September. Dr. Campbell has been with Northern Light Acadia Hospital for more than two years serving in the dual roles as medical director for the hospital’s community-based programs as well as chief medical informatics officer (CMIO). He has successfully and effectively led many initiatives for the organization in both roles.

Scott Oxley, president, Northern Light Acadia Hospital, shares, “The interview and selection process for this position was comprehensive and included a number of stakeholders. Without exception, Dr. Campbell received strong support as Northern Light Acadia’s next senior physician executive. We are very pleased to have Dr. Campbell’s talent right here within our organization.”

Prior to coming to Acadia, Dr. Campbell held several physician leadership roles at the Henry Ford Health System, Maine Medical Center, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, and as a member of the United States Air Force. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and in behavioral neurology by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties. In addition, Dr. Campbell currently serves as the immediate past president of the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

Dr. Campbell says, “I am delighted to be able to continue my work at Northern Light Acadia Hospital in this new role as senior physician executive. We have strong and innovative teams, and we are very eager to deliver on the triple aim of reducing the burden of mental illness in our communities, exceeding the expectations of those seeking our care, and lowering the cost of receiving high quality behavioral healthcare. Northern Light Acadia Hospital is committed to making healthcare work for all – our patients, their families, our teammates, and each person we serve.”

If you work at Northern Light Acadia Hospital or you find yourself stopping by, be sure to congratulate Dr. Campbell on his new role.

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Northern Light Health, Mass General offer collaborative medical education via video conferencing

Mercy-MGM-Fall-2019-4.jpgWe live in a rapidly developing society and healthcare is no different. Advances in medical knowledge, diagnostic testing, and evaluation are occurring every day. Keeping up with the changes can be daunting, but it also provides opportunity for innovation.
Northern Light Health has teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General) to pilot a collaborative medical education program for Northern Light Primary Care providers.
The pilot will use Zoom® video conferencing to connect with colleagues throughout the system for grand rounds on medical topics of interest to the primary care provider community. Each month, a different clinical condition will be explored though a discussion on complex cases, submitted in advance, and a review and discussion will be led by Mass General and Northern Light Health physicians.
“This collaboration builds on our partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and expands educational opportunities for our providers while adding to the quality of care for our patients,” comments James W. Jarvis, MD, FAAFP, senior vice president and senior physician executive at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “The technological enhancements required to make this happen will have uses beyond education, such as telehealth and population care management.”
The workgroup for this effort includes Dr. Jarvis; Steven Berkowitz, MD, FACC, senior vice president and chief physician executive, Northern Light Health; Mike Duffy, MD, senior physician executive and vice president of Medical Affairs, Northern Light Mercy Hospital; Robert Schlager, MD, vice president, senior physician executive, Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital; and Sheena Whittaker, MD, vice president, senior physician executive at Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital.
As a member of the workgroup, Dr. Schlager observes, “One of the most important responsibilities of being a provider is not only maintaining and expanding our knowledge through continuing medical education, but also sharing our knowledge and experience with our colleagues. The opportunity to have a systemwide primary care education tool through tele-conferences hosted by Northern Light Health with the collaboration of providers from Mass General Hospital should not be missed by any of us.”
The Collaborative Medical Education Program will be offered on the second Tuesday in November and December from 12:15 – 1 pm. The November 13 conference is titled, “Designing strategies for the most complex Type II Diabetic patients in your practice.” The presenter is Deborah J. Wexler, MD, MSc, clinical director, Mass General Diabetes Center, and associate clinical chief, Mass General Diabetes Unit.
Providers are asked to register in advance so the cases and clinical guidelines can be sent to them prior to the conference. Continuing Medical Education credit has been applied for and is currently pending. Providers who pre-register and complete a post-presentation evaluation may be eligible for one AMA PRA Category 1 credit.

Primary care providers may pre-register by going to the Healthstream catalog.