Candidates Community Health Breakfast

Community Health Breakfast - A Success
October 29, 2012
About 60 community members gathered at the Ramada Inn in Ellsworth on Wednesday, October 24 for a Candidates Community Health Breakfast sponsored by Healthy Acadia and the Maine Public Health Association. Close to a dozen legislative candidates participated, along with interested community members and representatives from Hancock County hospitals, social service organizations, businesses, chambers, municipalities, planning organizations, community organizations and more.

“The breakfast provided an opportunity for professionals concerned about the health of our communities to have a meaningful conversation with our representatives about where our priorities should be: building vibrant communities, living a healthy lifestyle, and continued support to our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Anne Ossanna, Program Site Manager of Friendship Cottage in Blue Hill. “As an Adult Day Service Provider that serves the needs of dependent adults throughout Hancock County, I was able to connect with the candidates and share with them the positive impact our program has had on the lives of our participants and their caregivers.”

“After attending the breakfast I once again realized all the great work and support Healthy Acadia does for the region. It is very gratifying that Healthy Acadia, the City of Ellsworth and many other organizations realize the importance of having a healthy community. It is one of the spokes that drives the economy to be vibrant and healthy,” said Micki Sumpter, Economic Development Director for the City of Ellsworth.

Candidates and community members from throughout Hancock County shared their health priorities, listened to each other, discussed opportunities for collaborative action, and learned more about current community health initiatives across the region.

“Healthy Acadia’s breakfast was a valuable opportunity to engage our candidates for elected office, area health care providers, and the community in a meaningful dialogue regarding the need to improve the coordination of care in our community. I believe all constituents came out of the event with a better understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities to work together,” said Charlie Therrien, CEO of Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.

“I was pleased to see so many of our candidates engaged in learning more about complex public health issues and how state policy directly impacts people in our community. As legislators, they will be asked to address many public health programs, and this forum helped share important details so they can best serve their constituents,” stated Bill Swain, Public Affairs Officer at Mount Desert Island Hospital.

Several speakers presented information about public health challenges, successes, and opportunities locally and statewide. Tina Pettingill, Executive Director of Maine Public Health Association, gave a broad overview of public health and prevention policies in Maine. Doug Orville, Executive Director of Child and Family Opportunities, gave a presentation about successes and challenges of his organization serving important community health needs, particularly in providing early child care and education. Jo Cooper, Executive Director of Friends in Action, presented her successes and challenges in providing transportation and other critical services to senior citizens in the region.

Doug Michael, Executive Director of Healthy Acadia, gave a presentation about big issues and opportunities in providing community health across the region. Mr. Michael also provided an overview of Healthy Acadia’s 2012 Hancock County Community Health Action Plan that will serve as a roadmap for collaborative community action across the region. Open dialogue among community members and legislative candidates followed, facilitated by Ron Beard, Extension Professor at UMaine Cooperative Extension in Hancock County.

“Maine Public Health Association was proud to stand with Healthy Acadia and so many partners to discuss the many public health challenges and opportunities that face Hancock County. We look forward to working together with all legislative candidates to find bold solutions and focusing on cost-effective prevention strategies,” said Tina Pettingill, Executive Director of Maine Public Health Association.

“Healthy Acadia was thrilled to have this opportunity to share our work and to hear from candidates, partners, and community members. We were inspired to be a part of this room full of people passionate about working together to improve the health of our communities,” stated Doug Michael, Executive Director of Healthy Acadia. “There are so many ways to get involved, and we welcome all community members to be in touch with us anytime, to share their efforts and ideas, and to engage with us on community initiatives.”

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that has been working across the region for the past 12 years. Healthy Acadia serves as the Healthy Maine Partnership (HMP) for Hancock County, coordinating community health services. The coalition creates lasting improvements to the health of communities across Downeast Acadia by connecting individuals with health supports, building partnerships, coordinating education and prevention services, and improving policies and environments.