Healthy Acadia works on a broad range of community health initiatives that help Hancock and Washington Counties to thrive. Over the past fifteen years we have convened and facilitated numerous collaborative community efforts with shared leadership from many sectors. Highlights of our accomplishments include:
- New Farmers’ Markets providing access to fresh vegetables
- Tobacco-free playgrounds, tobacco-free basketball courts and tobacco-free parks
- New sidewalks and trail enhancements providing safe routes to school
- Community and school gardens increasing access to fresh, healthy foods
- A community kitchen serving hot meals to seniors and disabled citizens
- A network of 12 food pantries providing nutrition education and access to healthier foods for food-insecure families
- 25 schools purchasing fresh foods from local growers enhancing nutritional quality in thousands of meals
- Several hundred units of smoke-free public housing providing safe, affordable dwellings for community members experiencing low-income
- Development of healthy food policies for childcare centers and after-school programs
Healthy Maine Partnership Changes
On September 30, 2016, the state's Healthy Maine Partnership structure, which had been a primary mechanism to support the delivery of local public health services in the state for the past 15 years, came to an end. This was the result of a shift in the state's structure for how they utilize Fund for Healthy Maine (Tobacco Settlement) funding and other public health funds. Although the Healthy Maine Partnership structure ended, the state is committed to continuing to support local community and public health through a new system, utilizing state-wide partners and local sub-contractors in each public health district.
In early 2017, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services awarded funds to four statewide vendors to help Maine residents live safe, healthy, and productive lives by addressing several primary drivers of chronic disease and addiction. Healthy Acadia was selected by each of the statewide vendors through a competitive process to provide public health prevention services throughout Maine’s Downeast Public Health District, which includes Hancock and Washington counties.
As the sole sub-recipient for the Downeast District, Healthy Acadia will receive over 0,000 to provide services across four health domains, including: substance use prevention (as a sub-recipient to the University of New England); tobacco use and exposure prevention (as a sub-recipient to the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence); youth engagement/empowerment (as a sub-recipient to The Opportunity Alliance/Maine Youth Action Network); and obesity prevention (as a sub-recipient to Let’s Go!, a program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center).
Substance use prevention interventions will focus on youth and young adult populations, with interventions aimed at reducing prescription drug misuse (including opioids and heroin), underage alcohol use and binge drinking, and marijuana use. Tobacco prevention strategies include prevention of tobacco initiation, prevention of involuntary second hand smoke exposure, and promotion of tobacco treatment available through the Maine Tobacco HelpLine. Education and prevention strategies will be implemented in partnership with schools, colleges, municipalities, workplaces, social service agencies, health care providers and other venues.
Youth engagement/empowerment activities include supporting the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) to create prevention-focused youth-adult partnerships and youth groups with the overall goals of increasing resilience among youth and reducing youth substance use. Youth groups will participate in researching and implementing public health policy change projects, as well as health and prevention-related efforts. This work will be grounded in positive youth development and social-emotional learning principles.
Obesity prevention efforts will focus on the implementation of programs and policies to prevent overweight and obesity through increased access to healthy eating and active living opportunities for Maine’s youth. Healthy Acadia staff will provide professional development and technical assistance to schools and licensed childcare facilities in order to increase access to physical activity and healthy nutrition offerings in those settings. Mini-grants will be available to support implementation of physical activity and nutrition policies and activities at schools and early childcare facilities.