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Tim Talk Episode 7

Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are at higher risk of suicide, depression, and substance use and are more likely to experience bullying, homelessness, eating disorders, and sexual victimization—outcomes that are a result of shame and stigma. In this podcast, Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, 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. As someone who is openly gay, Chris talks about how that has shaped his relationship with his provider. He also discusses the guilt, worthlessness, and rejection LGBTQ+ youth may feel as patients when met with improper engagement by their providers—discouraging them from seeking out care in the future. Chris also asks Tim what investment Northern Light Health will make to enhance the skills of providers to better serve the LGBTQ+ youth population as well as how we can best partner with the LGBTQ+ community and their family members.

Look for a new Tim Talk podcast every two weeks, as we work together towards breaking down barriers, opening our hearts and minds to diversity, and focusing on issues of social and medical justice. 
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Here for Good

2020 has been an extraordinary year, one that will be etched in our collective memory for decades to come. How will we look back on this time, and what may change in how we meet the needs of our families, patients and communities?
Maine Made Us compassionate, caring, and united in our efforts to improve the lives of those we serve. Like Northern Light Health, the United Ways of Maine work in every corner of our great state to make it possible for children to thrive, families to grow strong, and older adults to stay connected, even when physical distancing is the norm. We are honored to partner with them.
United Way in Action
Fallout from the COVID-19 crisis has heightened needs throughout the state as many have faced loss of income, as well as increased isolation and uncertainty about the future.

Responding quickly, the United Way of Eastern Maine (UWEM), launched the COVID-19 Response Fund in March. The purpose was to provide critical funding for nonprofits in the five counties served by UWEM, providing basic needs, and adapting support services during uncertain times. Thanks to the generosity of donors and supporting businesses the Response Fund raised nearly $300,000 and defined hope for more than 25,000 people.

Thanks to direct donor support the team at Wellspring, Inc. was able to purchase remote access technology. The equipment allowed them to pivot and provide telehealth outpatient services for more than 400 clients in recovery in the greater Bangor region.

All United Ways of Maine have been taking similar action to ensure continuity of services for the communities across the state. With needs still at a critical level, and uncertainty regarding when the COVID-19 will be brought under control, there has never been a more important time for us to demonstrate our caring for one another.

Northern Light Health will launch its systemwide, month-long United Way campaign on October 1, with a goal to increase the number of employees who make a pledge or donation. Please be on the lookout for more information regarding the value United Way offers to the community, and how together, we can contribute to a stronger, healthier Maine.
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Collaborative Medical Education Program relaunched

After a successful premier that was disrupted by COVID-19, Northern Light Health (NLH) has renewed their partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital to offer a Collaborative Medical Education Program for the Northern Light primary care community and other providers who may be interested in a specific topic. The sessions can be attended via Zoom® video conferencing to connect with colleagues throughout the system for “grand rounds” on medical topics of interest to the primary care community. 

“The CME program, born out of our affiliation with Massachusetts General Hospital, will enhance Northern Light Health’s ability to provide relevant, case-based education to our primary care providers across the system,” says James W. Jarvis, MD, FAAFP, Northern Light Health director of education. “It is one of our first steps toward building a system-focused education program.”

The fall series features the following upcoming programs:

Pressure Injury Identification - Management and Prevention
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 • 12:15 - 1 pm 
Haytham M. Kaafarani, MD, MPH, FACS • Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Wound Center

Detection and Referral of PTSD in Primary Care Settings
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 • 12:15 - 1 pm 
Louis Chow, PhD • Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base

Pre-register here
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Northern Light Health efforts to address opioid epidemic

 On Thursday, July 23, hundreds of Maine substance use disorder treatment providers and public health specialists, including representatives of Northern Light Health, attended a live stream of the Second Annual Governor’s Opioid Response Summit. 
The full-day program, with the theme, “Compassion, Community, Connection,” featured presentations, poster sessions, and prerecorded panel discussions with persons in recovery sharing their experiences. 
The state is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic, and Northern Light Health is actively involved in providing leadership, clinical expertise, educational programming, and direct treatment services. 
Addressing the opioid epidemic during a global pandemic can be quite daunting. Still, Maine’s director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nirav Shah, MD, JD, provided perspective in his opening statements when he said, “Every number has a name.” He went on to set the stage of the challenge faced by the state, as a total of 259 drug overdose deaths are projected in the first six months of the current year, but stated that, “We have the opportunity today to work to flatten a different curve.”
As a vital part of the state’s working group, Northern Light Health was a featured presenter, with Northern Light Mercy Hospital’s vice president of Mission, Melissa Skahan, sharing information regarding McAuley Residences in Portland and Bangor. The McAuley Residence in Portland has been operating for more than 30 years. The Bangor residence just opened in March.  
The residence is a comprehensive two-generational model for families affected by Substance Use Disorder that has proven to be highly successful over the past ten years. The residence works, in conjunction with outside providers, to ensure that women and their children have no barrier or disruption to receiving evidence-based treatment, clinically oriented services, and basic needs (including safe housing). Panelists representing other key community partners joined Melissa. The presentation was met with several positive comments and was well-received. To learn more about McAuley Residences in Bangor and Portland, go to
Northern Light Health’s support of, and participation in, the governor’s opioid summit is just one example of the system’s commitment to addressing Maine’s substance use disorder needs. 
Northern Light Acadia Hospital’s director of Integrated Behavioral Health Jesse Higgins, PMHNP, shares her perspective on the hospital’s work with community and Northern Light Health partners. 
“Acadia is working with Northern Light EMMC to develop a hub and spoke model connecting the experts at Acadia’s outpatient opioid use disorder treatment program with primary care providers to ensure continuity of care,” Higgins states. “Our goal is to establish a no-wrong-door destigmatized process for patients seeking treatment.”
Acadia’s other community involvement efforts include the creation and offering of a document detailing virtual resources and support groups for substance use disorder patients during the pandemic. This document also contains steps health care organizations are taking to safely manage medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with minimal on-site contact (Acadia itself houses a Narcotics Treatment Program, which has continued to offer MAT services throughout the pandemic).
Just as important as direct services, Acadia leverages its experts to problem solve with external partners to break down stigma, engage community members and families in the recovery process, and improve patient access to resources and treatment by expanding telehealth programs for people throughout the state.
For additional information regarding the full array of treatment options provided by Northern Light Health and its members, please go to