MCD Staff Member, Partner Initiative Receive Awards from Maine Public Health Association

April 7, 2023

MPHA logo

The Maine Public Health Association (MPHA) recently announced this year’s Public Health Award winners. MCD Global Health (MCD) is pleased to share that among the winners are both an MCD staff member and an associated program.

Benjamin Hummel, who serves as the coordinator for the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health Program, was awarded the Public Health Rising Star Award that recognizes a young professional in Maine who has made a significant contribution to public health.

Hummel provides project facilitation, implementation, and coordination for initiatives focused on community health workers (CHWs) as well as serves as a liaison for the Maine CHW Initiative, a statewide network of CHWs and allies that serves to support, promote, and advocate for the profession as well as those working under other titles. Within this initiative, Hummel and others are finalizing a three-year strategic plan, launching an updated website, planning the state’s first CHW summit, and conducting a statewide survey of the CHW workforce.

“This award is an acknowledgement of my collaborative work with many different organizations and individuals in Maine over the past decade who have been seeking to make the CHW profession better recognized, valued, and supported. I am appreciative and flattered to be named as an emerging leader in the public health field and hope this award will shine a light on the impact that CHWs make in the lives of those who live in Maine.”

—Ben Hummel

Ben Hummel

In addition, MCD offers congratulations to its partner the Children’s Oral Health Network of Maine (COHN) as a recipient of this year's Public Health Program Excellence Award for their Virtual Dental Home (VDH) Initiative. This award recognizes effective, efficient, evidence-based and creative public health programs in Maine.

The VDH is a model used to increase access to dental care by connecting dental hygienists in community settings to dentists in dental clinics utilizing telehealth technology. The goal is to increase access to dental care for patients who do not have easy access to a dental office, whether due to geographic regions, lack of providers, or other reasons that prevent people from accessing care.

MCD’s Courtney Vannah, program manager of Oral Health Initiatives, supports the VDH Initiative in many ways, such as a planning process with LincolnHealth to explore bringing this model to medical sites.

Courtney Vannah

“COHN is comprised of numerous stakeholders around Maine who support efforts to improve health equity for children in Maine, including the VDH Initiative,” Vannah said. “As one of the many partners supporting COHN, those of us at MCD Global Health are honored and humbled to be part of such innovative and impactful work. Congratulations to the entire Children’s Oral Health Network of Maine!"

—Courtney Vannah

Listen to Vannah describe the initiative in more detail in a recent podcast episode.

All award winners will be recognized at the 2023 MPHA Spring Awards Ceremony on June 1 in Hallowell, Maine.

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