While COVID-19 has left a lasting effect on us all, it has hit our underserved populations exceptionally hard. During this episode, Tim talks with Leana Amaez, manager of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, about how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black and Latinx Mainers and what the state is doing to ensure underrepresented groups have access to the vaccine. Leana discusses what we can learn beyond data when we take the time to speak with underserved communities. She also shares what the State has discovered in terms of building trust and delivering meaningful access to the COVID-19 vaccine to all communities. Tim discusses Northern Light Health’s strategy to ensure we directly partner with the communities that really need us and nurture relationships in order to get more people vaccinated.
Recently, the nation has experienced an unsettling surge of tragic violence directed towards the Asian community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Tim talks with two members of our Northern Light Health community of Asian heritage: Thailand born Omm Stillwell, a psychiatric clinician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital and John Marc Pascual, or “Mac” as he goes by, a registered nurse in the Critical Care Unit at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center who was recruited through our international nurses program in 2018 and hails from the city of Manila in the Philippines. Omm, who was raised in Maine, and Mac, who came to Maine within the last few years, share their experiences and impressions of Maine, the welcoming community, and the importance of connecting to people as individuals.
This week, Tim invites Benjamin Huerth, MD, family medicine provider at the Penobscot Nation's Indian Island Health Center and Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, who practices both family medicine and psychiatry and is a nationally-recognized expert on narrative medicine to share more about their passion for helping Wabanaki communities in Maine, the importance of providing medically just healthcare, and the role of healthcare in Native American culture. They also share information about Makwi, a unique collaborative between Maine’s Native American communities and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center to provide critical medical treatment. In addition, Tim asks Drs. Huerth and Mehl-Madrona how Northern Light Health can better support and be of service to Maine’s Native American communities.
In Native American tradition, spirituality plays a significant role in the balance and wholeness of who we are as well as the interconnectedness of the world around us. This week, Tim talks with Pamella Hand, IS Infrastructure admin and billing lead for Northern Light Health about Native American spirituality and medicine. Pam is Yanktonai, Dakota and a tribal member of Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota. She shares why a segment of the song “Fairy Dust” is played at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center on the overhead paging system every time a new baby is born. In addition, she explains the delicate balance that Native Americans must practice between traditional and modern medicine as well as important takeaways from Native American culture that we can all embrace in serving this community. Tim discusses the importance of “oneness” and the ultimate goal of becoming one Northern Light Health with a culture of caring for one another.
This week, Tim welcomes James Fullwood, DPM, podiatrist, Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital, and member of Northern Light Health’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council to speak about the history of racism and segregation in the medical profession. Dr. Fullwood is a delegate of the historic National Medical Association (NMA) which promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent. He is also the creator of the Maine Medical Society, which is a local affiliate of the NMA. In addition, Dr. Fullwood has developed an international podiatry program and has traveled to Nigeria to teach in medical schools, conduct academic research, and influence politics in an effort to promote parity in medicine for underserved populations. In this episode, Dr. Fullwood shares how his international experience has changed how he thinks about, perceives, and acts upon racial and social justice matters. Also, he shares stories about how herbal remedies from centuries ago can still blend harmoniously with modern research-based medicine, especially in areas where access to healthcare is limited. In addition, Tim describes the structural barriers he sees to medical equity as well as differences in the perception of healthcare in America versus what he has experienced internationally, and what Northern Light Health can do help break down barriers built up by generations of misconception.
On this podcast, Tim chats with Kimberly Whitehead, PhD, vice president and chief of staff at the University of Maine, the state's flagship public research university. At the university, Dr. Whitehead is engaged in a variety of strategic initiatives, including co-chairing the President's Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, leading UMaine's Powered by Publics Initiative, and serving as the Project Director for the recently announced University of Maine System TRANSFORM project. Dr. Whitehead shares the comprehensive journey the university has been on in recent years to further ensure UMaine is a welcoming, inclusive place for all. Also, they both discuss how the university and Northern Light Health can keep their work sustainable and not just another initiative. Finally, Tim shares his most valuable lesson from hosting Tim Talk.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, while 28.7 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are Black/African Americans, they comprised only 12.5 percent of organ donors in 2019. In addition, Black/African Americans have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than their Caucasian counterparts, putting them at increased risk for organ failures. In this episode, Tim welcomes Clive Callender, MD, a renowned transplant surgeon, medical professor at Howard University, and pioneer in increasing awareness of transplant medicine among minority segments of the population. Dr. Callender discusses how leadership and understanding, and education about organ transplants can make a big difference in empowering change. Tim also reflects on how Dr. Callender’s work may also help in other public health areas, such as engaging minority communities to become vaccinated for COVID-19.
This week, we celebrate the life and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and reflect on his teachings. As part of this reflection, James Varner, long-time civil rights leader and activist from the Bangor region joins Tim to offer his valuable insights as a prominent community leader and one who attended the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Together, Mr. Varner and Tim share their thoughts on how we can be inspired and carry forth Dr. King’s legacy and dream for America.
In this episode of Tim Talk, we continue our discussion on religious diversity in healthcare. During this episode, Tim invites Omar Conteh, community outreach coordinator, Islamic Center of Maine and psychiatric clinician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital to share with us the rich tradition of the Maine Islamic community as well as the important role of the Islamic Center of Maine in Orono in helping those of all faiths get to know one another better. Omar also shares how those who do not practice the prominent religious traditions in their community may feel lost, and he asks Tim how Northern Light Health may help these people feel more included in honoring and celebrating each other’s holidays.
In this episode of Tim Talk, Tim invites Pastor Jerry Mick of the nondenominational CrossPoint Church in Bangor to join him in his series of discussions about religious and spiritual diversity in healthcare. Pastor Jerry shares the many community efforts of his church and the importance of spirituality in helping people recover from physical ailments. He also asks Tim to share what Northern Light Health is doing to help people of all faiths feel spiritually supported when they come to us for care. Finally, Pastor Jerry shares his role in chairing the Faith Outreach Committee, which connects faith communities to the hospital's services and breaks down barriers between the hospital and those faith communities. Together, they discuss a vision of how hospitals and faith communities can work closely together.