MCD Public Health's Co-Director Selected to Serve on Maine Connectivity Authority's Board of Directors

Aug. 10, 2021

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Danielle Louder with Governor Janet Mills at the Maine Connectivity Authority Board of Directors ceremony.

In July, Maine Governor Janet Mills swore in the Board of Directors for the Maine Connectivity Authority, a new state entity charged with achieving universal availability of high-speed broadband in Maine.Danielle Louder, co-director of Medical Care Development Public Health (MCDPH) and director of the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC), was one of the seven members sworn in and charged with governing the authority.

"For over five decades, MCD’s mission has been to improve the health and well-being of all people. The Maine Connectivity Authority’s charge to bring equitable and affordable high-speed internet to all Maine communities is in direct alignment with that mission, driving improved access to health care, education, and employment, as well as decreasing social isolation in our rural and underserved communities," Louder said.

The authority’s goals include increasing effective and accessible connectivity across the state that is equitable and innovative so those who live in Maine can use the universal connectivity for all sorts of opportunities.

"This appointment is a real honor for Danielle and MCD. It reflects both her own professional standing in the world of telehealth as well as MCD’s reputation in this field," Chris Schwabe, Ph.D., CEO and president of MCD, wrote.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has quickly become a vital ‘tool in the toolbox’ for ensuring safe, continuous access to care and enabling emergency response throughout the pandemic. With thousands of regional stakeholders reaching out for technical assistance and training for rapid telehealth implementation, the NETRC team has become the ‘go-to’ resource for the explosion of telehealth-related needs across the region.

In 2020, MCDPH and the NETRC received additional Coronavirus Telehealth Resource Center grant funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy under the CARES Act, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NETRC used the funds to meet the massive increase in volume of day-to-day requests for resources and to serve the needs for increased in-depth technical assistance (TA) from regional stakeholders serving rural and underserved populations. The NETRC saw a 920% increase in TA requests during the early months of the pandemic and sustained significantly higher TA numbers throughout 2020 as compared to previous years.

MCDPH, which is the domestic division of the global public health organization located in Maine, has been a transforming force in public health in Maine and across the U.S., earning a reputation for responsive health initiatives that make an impact. MCDPH’s team is known for achieving results by working in partnership with communities, organizations, and government agencies to implement programs, policies, and systems that generate high quality, equitable and lasting change.

pandemic response
communicable diseases