CDC honors efforts to combat infectious disease

Posted Dec. 02, 2011, at 9:56 p.m.

AUGUSTA — Three Maine individuals and one organization have been recognized for fighting the spread of infectious diseases in the state.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention presented the honorees with its Pump Handle Award, a tribute to Dr. John Snow, who identified a public water pump as the source of an 1854 cholera outbreak in London, according to a press release.

Honored with the award were:

  1. Kirk Doing, director of clinical and molecular microbiology of Affiliated Laboratory Inc. in Bangor, for his lab’s work testing for transmission of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Penobscot County.
  2. Gus LeBlanc, principal of Lewiston High School, and his staff, for collaborating with the Maine CDC to investigate a case of tuberculosis at the school.
  3. Donald Piper, chief medical technologist of microbiology at NorDx Laboratories of Scarborough, for implementing an electronic reporting system through HealthInfoNet for expediting the reporting of infectious diseases.
  4. Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s Vector-borne Disease Laboratory in South Portland, for monitoring and increasing public awareness of tick-borne diseases.

Health care pros learn to spot elder exploitation

GARDINER — Maine is joining a national effort to prevent financial exploitation of seniors by enlisting the help of 200 medical professionals.

The state is partnering with the University of New England’s Geriatric Education Center to teach physicians and other health care providers how to identify older patients who may be vulnerable to investment fraud and financial exploitation, according to a press release from the Maine Office of Securities. By referring such patients to state securities regulators, medical professionals will have a hand in protecting seniors from investment criminals.

More than a third of Americans over age 71 suffer from mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, making them vulnerable to financial abuse, the release states.

Maine is one of more than 20 states participating in the program, and will work with national experts in geriatric education and fraud prevention to employ a screening tool to identify at-risk patients.

The program is funded through a 2003 multi-state settlement against several large investment firms and involves no state revenue, according to the release.

Pen Bay recognizes two employees

ROCKPORT — Pen Bay Medical Center on Friday announced a new opportunity for a longtime employee and accolades for another.

Spring Hanna will serve as the center’s new patient relations coordinator. Hanna, a 10-year employee of Pen Bay, will listen and respond to patient concerns and relay feedback to administrators, as well as collect and interpret patient satisfaction data. She is trained in

conflict resolution and pastoral care and is certified as a retreat guide.

Pen Bay also recognized registered nurse Janis Hovorka as its October employee of the month. Hovorka works in the children’s division at Pen Bay Outpatient Psychiatry in Rockland, and acts as a liaison among school counselors, child case managers, psychologists, parents and psychiatry staff. She was commended for making the children’s waiting room at the outpatient facility inviting and informative.

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