Bangor health advocate moving to Augusta

Posted Jan. 15, 2009, at 12:37 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine— After more than five years in Bangor, Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, pediatric dentist and children’s public health advocate, is preparing to move his dental practice to Augusta. It’s a change he’s somewhat reluctant to make, he said Wednesday, but important to maintaining family harmony and personal connections.

As a bonus, his professional relocation to the state capital will put him in closer proximity to lawmakers and public health groups, allowing him to step up his efforts to improve the well-being of Maine children.

Shenkin said he enjoys living in Bangor and will miss his patients, staff and personal and professional connections here.

“My practice is fantastic,” he said. “I have a great group of patients, and people want to come and see me. I have a wonderful staff I wish I could keep working with for another 20 or 30 years. It’s sad to walk away from something this great.”

But Shenkin’s wife of one year, Michal Kleinlerer, who owns an orthodontic practice in Waterville, wants to live in southern Maine, closer to major public transportation options and other amenities.

“Michal’s very family-oriented, and it’s important to her that we see our families often,” Shenkin said. Shenkin’s own family is scattered around the country, while Kleinlerer’s is mostly concentrated in New York City.

The couple has decided to live in Brunswick, and is building a new office in Augusta for their practice partnership. Kleinlerer also will continue to practice in Waterville.

Shenkin’s last day in his Stillwater Avenue office will be Feb. 26. Most of his approximately 400 patient families have been notified and some will seek care from other practices in the Bangor area. Others have indicated they will make the drive to Augusta to continue in his care, he said.

About one-third of Shenkin’s patients are enrolled in MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income individuals.

Shenkin, who is president-elect of the Maine Dental Association, said he looks forward to continuing his advocacy work on public health issues that affect Maine children, including nutrition, tobacco, economic development, and, of course, access to dental care.

His experience of living and working in “the real Maine,” he said, will help him address those issues more effectively.

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