DEI Report

Celebrating a Culture of Inclusion

F A L L 2 0 2 2 Racial, Social, and Medical Justice Inclusion Diversity , & Equity,

Letter from our Chief People Officer

At Northern Light Health, our promise to the people of Maine, is that we will make healthcare work for you! We do this by fostering a culture of caring that begins with caring for one another and for the diverse needs of the people we serve. To be effective in this essential work, we must be an organization that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and not just through meaningful dialogue, but also actionable steps to evolve and grow our culture. I am so very proud of all the work that my colleagues from across the system have done to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) culture through their words and actions. In the pages of this report, you can see those results and learn more about the many people of all backgrounds, races, religions, ages, abilities, and identities working together on this singular, important cause. I’d like to offer a heartfelt thank you to those who are contributing to this work each day: our employees, family members, and members of our communities. They include the members of our DEI councils across the system who meet regularly to provide their valued input into our policy improvements. They are the colleagues who everyday are supporting diversity through simple but meaningful actions and allyship to show caring and support for one another! Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Paul Bolin, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Senior Vice President Chief People Officer Northern Light Health

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Celebrating a Culture of Inclusion

“I was amazed by the people here in Maine! Everyone is so nice and so welcoming. I never met someone who was not nice.”

S he wears a winter jacket that covers her body from head to toe from November to April, but while she is still getting use to the cold Maine winters, Melissa Chetty, RN, says the warmth and hospitality of her “work family” at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has solidified this native South African’s desire to call Bangor her new home. “We don’t have any snow back home and the coldest it gets in South Africa is like 60 degrees. So, below freezing temperatures and driving in the snow and shoveling snow was a big adjustment,” shares Chetty. But she says that she was welcomed with open arms when she first came to Bangor in June of 2018. At the time, she was working as a travelling nurse for O’Grady Peyton under a two-year contract. Although she had travelled extensively across Europe, Asia, and Africa for leisure, it was the first time she had worked in a foreign country.

“I was amazed by the people here in Maine! Everyone is so nice and so welcoming. I never met someone who was not nice.” One of the people that she credits with making her transition so easy was co-worker, Sherene Smith-Gordon, who was also a travelling nurse from Jamaica who had come to Bangor two years earlier than Melissa, and also decided to stay. “She is like my best friend now. She was so wonderful to me!” Both women are now full-time employees of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Melissa works in the cardiac operating room and Sherene works in the intensive care unit. And they are both examples of the culture of caring and diversity that makes Northern Light Health a better, richer place.

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Message from Marwa

It has truly been a busy, and exciting, (nearly) two years as the director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Northern Light Health. It has been an honor to work so closely with all of you, as colleagues, to advance our commitment to DEI. Our culture of caring and organizational values of kindness and compassion foster a sense of belonging integral to the mission of Northern Light Health. It is imperative for us to have a system which fully represents the beautiful tapestry of our communities and renders the best care to our diverse patient populations. Moving forward, we will continue to advance DEI goals, embrace cultural differences and varying perspectives, embed DEI throughout our organization and make it an essential element of our policies and practices. We will tailor it to fit our local needs and strengthen external community partnerships.

Marwa Hassanien, MS, M.Ed. Director - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Northern Light Health

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The Council is responsible for fostering actions that create an inclusive work and community environment for all. The Council will discuss organizational and community diversity issues and information on diversity matters and events, collaborate on setting direction for implementing initiatives, create diversity and inclusion strategy, and leverage organizational resources to move initiatives forward. Its mission is to advance an environment of inclusion and cooperation in support of Northern Light Health’s commitments, values, and goals.

About The DEI Council

Marwa Hassanien Director Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Darmita Wilson VP- Medical Group

Navneet Marwaha SVP- Chief Quality Officer

Maged Shahin EMS, Mayo Hospital

Tim Dentry President & CEO

Robert Schlager

Joseph Bernard Richardson

James Fullwood Physician, SVH

Mia Dubois

Seleipiri Akobo Physician, EMMC

Senior Physician Executive, SVH

Director, Chaplaincy

AVP, Patient Experiance

Benjamin Huerth

Emily Tolman

Nadine Pembele

Melissa Skahan

Paul Bolin

Physician, Northern Light Family Medicine and Residency

Director, Health Equity and Access

Community Coordinator, Mercy

VP- Mission Integration, Mercy

Chief People Officer

Olamide Sobowale Physician, OB-GYN, EMMC

Douglas McGregor Physician, Maine Coast Hospital

Suzanne Spruce

Sarah Cote

SVP- Marketing & Communications Volunteer Coordinator, HCH, Bangor

Rowena David Nursing, AVP, EMMC

Greg Bridges-Music Chaplain, Acadia Hospital

Catharrine McLaren VP- HR,Talent and Diversity

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A Vaccine for Everyone


Their partners for this clinic are Maine Community Action Partners, the New England Arab American Organization, Maine Association for New Americans, Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN), and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Community Support Team. Chanbopha (Chan) Himm, is a member of that team and co-founder of the Cambodian Community Association and Unified Asian Communities. Her mission is to help get people in underserved populations vaccinated. “They couldn’t ask for a better place to get vaccinated,” explains Himm, “Because they’ve got the nurses here that care so much about them. And then, they’ve got their cultural brokers—the ones doing the translations, the community leaders standing right behind them and letting them know that they’re going to be okay. What more can someone ask for?”

n a sunny July day, a brightly colored RV emblazoned with the faces of children from across the world sits parked outside the Luca Café in Arundel. The Luca Café is a quaint seasonal restaurant with Asian-inspired food that has covered outdoor seating and picnic tables. Standing beside some tables and folding chairs in front of the RV, Peggy Akers, RN, and Mary Robbins, RN, two Northern Light Home Care & Hospice nurses, administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to a diverse and willing group of people—a group which might not have been vaccinated if not for the convenience of this mobile clinic and all the community partners that made it possible. “Our mission is to get people vaccinated so our only requirements for getting vaccinated are: ‘Are you a human being? and, do you want to be vaccinated?’” shares Robbins.

Northern Light Health Inclusion Statement

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Grant Funding for Diversity Recruitment Northern Light Health is collaborating on a grant-funded project with the University of Maine and Morgan State University, a historically black college in Maryland. The $1.7 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration provides funding to increase recruitment and retention of diversified nursing students and faculty. UMaine faculty will tap the healthcare-focused diversity, equity, and inclusion resources of Northern Light Health, and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center will serve as the primary clinical training site for the School of Nursing. “Recruiting faculty is challenging regardless of the diversity factor, but recruiting diverse faculty is sometimes seemingly impossible. So, we’ve partnered with Morgan State University School of Nursing and will engage in a faculty exchange with their program,” shares Kelley Strout, Associate Professor and Director of the University of Maine School of Nursing.

In addition to a faculty exchange, Strout explains that some of the grant funding will provide scholarships for students of different ethnicities.

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DEI Employee training sessions

We continue providing training sessions to educate our staff on important issues in our workplace culture. The most important element of these sessions is the open discussions and shared experiences among employees. People are sharing what they have experienced, what they know, and important questions in moving forward. It’s these discussions that will drive our growth as a system and as individuals. If you can participate in or even listen to the discussions, the result is worthwhile and gratifying. Training sessions in FY22 focused on: • Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions

• Culture Competency/Humility • Bystander Intervention Training • Fostering an Inclusive Workplace • Gender Diversity • Gender Equity (with listening session) • Trans Inclusion • Power, and Privilege

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Current DEI Education Programs

Committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

“Acadia has been a leader in DEI for many years and doubled down on our efforts over the past year. Policies, trainings, and service for DEI continue to be part of new employee orientation and patient care, with continued specialized care for LGBTQ+ youth. Employee communications now highlight personal employee experiences, from Rosh Hashanah, to National Indigenous People’s Day, and National Hispanic Month, with more planned in the coming year.” - Greg Bridges-Music Chaplain and DEI Committee Chair Northern Light Acadia Hospital

Live training of our anti-discrimination policy.

Each training module is available at different times, on different days, and over the course of one or two months. To accompany our live policy training, we also launched an anti-discrimination support group for staff who have been affected by discrimination in an aspect of their work or personal life, directly or indirectly. Training and leadership workshops, such as Taking Control of Your Career and Hiring: Finding the Right Talent , revised content this year to better prepare staff and leaders to address gender equality and hiring bias. At Northern Light Health we acknowledge that in spaces that are not focused on DEI, it’s still important that we develop our staff to address bias.

(Left to Right): Greg Bridges-Music; Bujjamma Page, patient registration representative; and Jonathan Raye, charge entry representative- Acadia Hospital, wearing purple to show their support for LGBTQ teens on Spirit Day.

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Awareness and Understanding

To ensure employees across our system have broader diversity awareness and understanding, we have hosted a series of DEI forums and panel discussions on a variety of topics.

• Black History Month speakers • Women’s History Month speakers • Indigenous Peoples’ Day panel • Afghan Leaders presentation (partnership with MMCC) • Ukraine presentation • Ukraine World Leaders (partnership with Bangor School Department) • Trans Awareness and Gender Diversity panel • Compassionate Leadership with Global Health Activist and Author Donato Tramuto (with Bangor High School) Forums and panels:

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DEI Community Connections

K ateryna Yushchenko, the former First Lady of Ukraine is not someone you’d expect to hear at a forum hosted by Bangor High School—if that’s what you are thinking, you’d be wrong. Yuschenko and other global leaders including Eka Tkeshelashvili, the former Minister of Justice in the Republic of Georgia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former President of Latvia, and Kerry Kennedy, the President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, all participated in a forum remotely via zoom that was organized by Bangor High School in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, and Northern Light Health. It all began with a simple conversation between Adam Leach, PhD, the co-director of school counseling at Bangor High School, and Marwa Hassanien, MS, M.Ed., director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Northern Light Health and chair of the Bangor School Committee. “Adam has a working relationship with RFK Human Rights, and was working to schedule guest speakers to provide an international perspective on the war in Ukraine for

students at Bangor High School. Since I wear two hats as the chair of the Bangor School committee and director of DEI for Northern Light Health, I thought, wouldn’t this be a great forum to share with both groups,” shares Hassanien. The forum was well attended. Bangor High School junior Dellana Kessler served as moderator and did a remarkable job fielding questions from participants. “It wasn’t a political discussion, it was a human discussion,” shares Leach. “The former President of Latvia talked about taking care of women who have been traumatized or maybe raped and assaulted in the process of getting out of Ukraine as refugees and making sure they had full access to healthcare in the process. It was an eye-opening discussion about the importance of providing healthcare as a human right.” For Northern Light Health, it was an important opportunity to partner with a community organization to enrich the DEI opportunities for our own employees. Hassanien says they’ve collaborated on one other forum since the Ukraine forum. She sees this as the start of an ongoing collaboration.

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Public Work/Community Investments

Pride Week While June is Pride Month, Northern Light Health takes pride in supporting our LGBTQ+ community members year-round. We strive to lead and welcome all those who come through our doors with respect, dignity, and encouragement all year long. Additionally, we support our fellow LGBTQ+ employees, listen, and work together for meaningful change. During Pride Month, we were exceptionally proud to support many events throughout our Maine communities, including sponsoring Bangor’s Pride Festival. Acceptance and true change requires us to work together, and together we stand with the LGBTQ+ members of our community. For more information on LGBTQ+ resources within our Northern Light Health community for patients, families, and allies, please visit .

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TimTalk Podcast

Between September 2021 to June 2022, Northern Light Health produced ten episodes of the Tim Talk podcast. Topics included vaccine hesitancy, healthcare and gender equity, domestic and sexual violence, mental health, Juneteenth as well as a podcast introducing the Northern Light Health DEI Council. We feature some highlighted episodes below. To listen to all Tim Talk podcasts, visit


Juneteenth and Defining Justice

Tim speaks with Bobby Keith, PA-C, MPA, who practices medicine at the Lovejoy Health Center in Albion Maine. Mr. Keith is also a vocal advocate for medical justice for underserved populations, and as such has testified in support of legislation such as single payer healthcare, which he knows a thing or two about as he previously practiced medicine in Canada. On June 19 the nation celebrates Juneteenth.Tim and Mr. Keith dive into the historical significance of this new national holiday and the effect it has on racial and social justice. Northern Light’s DEI Council is a dynamic, diverse, and talented group of 21 individuals who are behind all the hard work that is happening around our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which ultimately supports our culture of caring. Each panelist discusses why they choose to be a member of the Northern Light DEI Council and why this work inspires them. In addition, the panel gives an overview of the work of the council, an explanation of an important provider anti-discrimination policy change implemented by the council just this past year, a bit about the current initiatives of the gender identity task force, and more. Tim invites Keri Kapaldo, RN, sexual assault nurse examiner at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor, and Danielle Coutu, RN, regional coordinator for the University of New England’s Advanced Nursing Education Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. Keri and Danielle discuss what it means for them to be in this critical line of work. In addition, Tim, Keri, and Danielle share the importance of advocacy, empowerment, and education in reducing the incidence of sexual assault and what we can do within our communities to better support victims of sexual assault. Inside the Northern Light Health DEI Council Justice for Sexual Violence Victims: Nursing’s Role

Affirming Women’s Voice in the Conversation

Marie Tessier, journalist, writer, and comments moderator for the New York Times opinion pages joins Tim on the March Tim Talk. Ms. Tessier is the author of “Digital Suffragists: Women, the Web and the Future of Democracy,” and her work has appeared on the Women’s eNews and Women’s Media Center websites, in Ms. magazine, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Tim and Marie discuss the value of women’s voice in society and the current lack thereof in the digital world.

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Social Determinants of Health and DEI Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Addressing SDOH are important to improve overall health and to reduce health disparities experienced by marginalized groups. For this reason, the SDOH initiatives currently underway at Northern Light Health are also important to our DEI efforts across our system. Over the past three years, Northern Light Health has established an SDOH Team and an organized approach to screening to identify the types of need patients are experiencing. Northern Light Health was one of three healthcare systems awarded a grant by Pfizer and Institutes for Healthcare Improvement to support this work. Our system has also added the use of prescriptive analytics to identify, assess and address avoidable health risks in our patients. Just last month, led by a multidisciplinary Northern Light Health team, we launched a new tool to help address social determinants of health in our communities. Northern Light findhelp is a public facing, web-based resource for community support services for everything from housing assistance to food pantries to transportation. You can access the page by clicking here.


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Social Determinants of Health

Socio-economic Factors



Job Status

Family Support


Physical Environment Health Behaviors


Tobacco Use

Diet & Exercise

Alcohol Use

Sexual Activity


Access & Quality of Care

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