Island Health Makes Connections From Home 

by | Dec 21, 2023 | News

This summer, the Mission held a health fair on Isle au Haut where island residents could learn more about the resources that were available to them in their community. Afterward, Director of Island Services Douglas Cornman and Sunbeam Nurse Simone Babineaux knew they wanted to offer a way for more islanders to learn more about resources available to them. Together with Island Services Program Coordinator Margaret Snell, they created the Inter-Island Health Connections webinars. 

The series of talks started in October and will run for six months. Simone explains, “Islanders frequently talk about wanting to connect with other people living on other islands. We thought this would be a good place to start. The topics were chosen to introduce islanders to the Mission partner organizations who offer healthcare services and assistance.” 

The first talk highlighted the Mission’s partnership with the MDI Biological Laboratory. The Mission is collaborating with Jane E. Disney, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, and the Island Institute as part of the MDI Bio Lab’s “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging” initiative. Jane talked more about the well water testing program and how islanders could participate. She also explained more about the connection between the heavy metals found in well water and overall health. 

The second talk focused on “medication puzzles” with Elizabeth (Beth) C. Sylvia, RPh, MBA, BCGP. Beth is a retired pharmacist who volunteers for the Mission. She shared how medication may be affecting people in ways they might not realize. The last talk in 2023 featured information on mental health around the holidays. Ashley Pesek, LCSW, who works with Aroostook Mental Health Center (AMHC) and the Opiate Free Island Project, shared different tips to help manage stress during the holiday season.  

The next talk in January will be led by Ruth Feldman, Program Director of Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI) Women’s Business Center Northeast. In the session, business owners can check in with questions and Ruth will share information on CEI’s services. In February, Jaye Martin, JD, from Legal Services for the Elderly (LSE) will talk about the different types of legal problems the organization can help with. She will also provide information on how to request LSE’s help. The final workshop will be in March with Maryellen Dube from Healthy Living for ME. Maryellen will share strategies attendees can implement to improve their health. Healthy Living for ME is a Community Care Hub which coordinates and integrates healthcare with community-based organizations. Currently they are working to increase access to health and social services and reduce health disparities within Maine’s rural communities. 

Recordings of previous talks are on our YouTube channel. If you are an island resident interested in learning more about or attending the talks, contact Margaret at [email protected]. Learn more about the Mission and the Island Health program as it serves Maine’s 15 unbridged islands. 

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