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MaineHealth Receives Grants from United Way of Greater Portland for $388,241

August 28, 2019

MaineHealth organizations have once again received grant funding from the United Way of Greater Portland support work on projects that align with the Thrive2027 campaign, a set of three 10-year goals created by and for the Greater Portland community in the areas of education, financial stability and health. The awards were given for project work happening across MaineHealth and in collaboration with many community partners.


“Together, with community partners like MaineHealth, we are helping to improve the health of our communities,” said Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Portland. “These grants will help people live longer through access to mental health services and substance use prevention and treatment services and give kids a strong, healthy foundation that sets them on a course to fulfill their potential."


MaineHealth was awarded $69,344 to support a second year of work on Project BRACEs: Building Resilience for Adverse Childhood Experiences. Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, include household dysfunction, abuse (physical, sexual and mental), and neglect. This year, the project will focus on interrupting the intergenerational cycle of ACEs exposure and substance use disorder by screening mothers for ACEs and substance use disorder during the prenatal period.


“The United Way of Greater Portland is providing us with the opportunity to collaborate with obstetricians, pediatricians, family medicine providers, home health nurses, and community partners to prevent the long term impacts of ACEs for future generations of Mainers,” said Dr. Steve DiGiovanni, associate medical director of Maine Medical Partners Clinics and medical director of the MaineHealth ACEs Program.


MaineHealth Care at Home was awarded $29,222 to support medically and socially vulnerable women and children enrolled in Material & Child Health Services through telehealth and direct nursing services. Specifically the project seeks to identify and accommodate patients affected by adverse childhood experiences and in turn mitigate the risk of such experiences for the children birthed to parents in the program.


“MaineHealth Care at Home is excited to pilot expert nursing services augmented with innovative telehealth technology to support those patients impacted by adverse childhood experiences” said Donna DeBlois, president of MaineHealth Care at Home. “With United Way funding, we will have the opportunity to reach some of our most at-risk and underserved mothers and newborns, supporting the entire family through an essential period in their lives.”


Maine Behavioral Healthcare was awarded $199,675 to support outpatient counseling, psychiatry and case management programs for Cumberland County residents served at 165 Lancaster Street in Portland. The center provides behavioral health services to a wide range of patients, from children and adolescents to adults of all ages, regardless of their insurance status and ability to pay.


“The generosity of the United Way provides an opportunity for adults and children in Cumberland County to receive behavioral health services in psychiatry, therapy and case Management in an integrated specialty care setting that they may not otherwise have been able to afford,” said Kristie Worster, Clinical Director – Portland Clinic.


Maine Behavioral Healthcare was also awarded $90,000 for The Children’s Initiative, a trauma-focused prevention and intervention program for children and families. Funding will be used to continue providing education about infant and early childhood mental health, early childhood exposure to trauma, trauma-informed leadership, family engagement and professional resilience.


“The United Way of Greater Portland’s funding allows early childhood mental health experts to give teachers the tools that support children at the most vulnerable ages,” said Rebecca Hoffmann Frances, senior director of clinical innovation and training. “The impact of this funding will last well beyond the year because the teachers will offer their newly learned skills to children for many years to come, and children will gain social emotional learning that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

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