May 21, 2018
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Greater Bangor health news

Honored survivor

BANGOR — The Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure-Bangor and Survivor Sponsor Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway have honored Denise Hodson of Brewer as a Survivor of the Week. Hodsdon is co-chairman of the Bangor Race.

“My journey with Susan G. Komen started in 2003,” said Hodsdon. “My town manager’s daughter-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 20s. It’s frustrating when you want to do something to help, but you don’t know what to do. My sister had been involved with the Race for Cure and she mentioned to me one day that there was a committee meeting coming up. I went, and immediately decided this is something I want to do to try and help.”

Hodsdon was a registration co-chairman 2003-2007, then decided it was time to do something different.

“Somebody had a different plan for me, and in 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Hodsdon. “As soon as I found out that I would need a biopsy, the first thing I wanted to do was go see my sister. She picked up the telephone and called Sally Bilancia, who was the race director at the time, and said that we need to come back to the committee. We were welcomed back with open arms.”

In 2009 Hodsdon became co-chairman of the Bangor Race with Michele Rowles.

“My breast cancer was found by a mammogram. I had my mammograms annually starting at age 40 as recommended. I had a very, very, small lump,” said Hodsdon. “The lump was something that I wouldn’t have found on my own. If I didn’t have my annual mammogram, with a very astute radiologist — who noticed a small change from one year to the next — my story could have been a lot different.

“I opted to have a mastectomy and reconstruction immediately after that. They did the mastectomy on a Monday morning,” said Hodsdon. “Two days later I went in and had my first reconstruction surgery. I had four more surgeries after that.

“I went right back to work, and in my second week back at it I was working on the election,” said Hodsdon, a municipal clerk. “It was good for me; it felt good to be back on a regular routine. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to lose a lot of work.”

After Hodsdon’s diagnosis, her perspective on life changed significantly. “It made me think about the things around me that I can’t control. But, I can control how I treat myself and my body. So I started eating differently. I began eating foods that didn’t have preservatives, focused on fruits and vegetables, and exercising. I am probably the healthiest I have ever been.”

Denise Hodsdon celebrated three years cancer-free on the 25th of August.

Quality care

BANGOR — St. Joseph Healthcare has announced its selection and participation in Aligning Forces for Quality Transforming Care at the Bedside. Bringing together hospital teams from across the state to lead improvements in the quality and safety of patient care, it is part of an innovative nationwide program led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and health care.

AF4Q TCAB is a new nurse-led hospital program that engages frontline staff to work together to identify, pilot, test and adopt new practices over 18 months. The program is intended to increase the vitality and retention of nurses and frontline staff, engage and improve the patient’s experience of care and improve the effectiveness of the entire care team. Participating nurses will then share their successes and lessons learned with other hospitals across the country.

“As Maine and the nation look at improving care, it is important that we provide local models of reforms that are good for everyone,” said Dianne Swandal, vice president of patient care at St. Joseph Healthcare. “St. Joseph Hospital’s participation shows that we are committed to being a leader in improving patient care and increasing efficiency to produce the very best outcomes.”

It’s all part of Aligning Forces for Quality, the foundation’s signature effort to improve the quality of health care in targeted communities, as well as reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform. Since 2007, Maine has been targeted by RWJF with resources to improve health care. Maine Quality Counts was selected by RWJF to lead the local AF4Q alliance. In all, 16 regions of the country have been designated as part of Aligning Forces. In each region, a range of efforts to help doctors, nurses and hospitals improve quality — as well as engage consumers to be better patients — is being tested.

“By participating in AF4Q TCAB, nurses at St. Joseph Hospital will be on the front lines, working together with others across Maine to formulate innovations and improve the care they deliver,” said Mia Clark, director of St. Joseph Hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Care Unit. “This program will engage frontline staff and improve the patient’s experience and the effectiveness of the entire care team.”

The AF4Q TCAB program in Maine is being convened by Maine Quality Counts. AF4Q and all regional TCAB efforts are coordinated by the Center for Health Care Quality at George Washington University Medical Center School of Public Health and Health Services, the national program office for the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative. Local hospitals were asked to apply to participate in this hospital-based quality improvement component of the initiative.

A press conference with officials from St. Joseph Healthcare will be held Thursday, Sept. 15, in Chapman Conference Room at St. Joseph Hospital. It is also the internal kickoff event for the program and an opportunity for staff and employees to learn about how they will be participating.

Grieving children

BANGOR — Pathfinders: Support for Grieving Children, will hold its fall session 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays, Oct. 3-Dec. 12, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 540 Essex St.

Pathfinders provides grief support for children and their families or caregivers who are experiencing the death of a loved one. Adults who attend with children meet in their own groups. Teens and young adults can attend on their own as long as they have the consent of their caregiver.

Marking its 17th year, Pathfinders was founded by Maria Brountas and the late Barbara Eames. The program provides special bereavement support geared specifically to children, age 4 through young adults.

To help defray costs, there is a $50 fee per family, with a limited number of scholarships available.

Pathfinders is a program of Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and part of Eastern Maine Healthcare System. For information, call 973-8269 or visit

Balance class

BUCKSPORT — A Matter of Balance, an eight-week program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the physical activity levels of older adults, will hold its introductory session 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, and the next seven Tuesdays, at Jewett School Community Center at 66 Bridge St.

Registered nurse Esther Landry and the Rev. Linda Smith will lead weekly classes. Activities will include group discussion, problem solving, role playing, skill building, assertiveness training, videotapes and practical solutions.

This program is sponsored by Eastern Area Agency on Aging in association with the Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition. Participants will be charged a one-time fee of $15 to cover the cost of the book. Scholarships are available. To preregister for the Matter of Balance Program, call Mary Jane Bush at 469-6682.

Kitchen tour

BANGOR — The Auxiliary of Eastern Maine Medical Center invites everyone to tour the kitchens of some of the most beautiful homes in the area. The event will be held 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at six homes, located in Bangor, Old Town, and Orono. The price per ticket is $25.

Tickets include admission to each kitchen and samples of Made in Maine gourmet specialty foods and beverages. The limited-edition EMMC Auxiliary Cookbook, “Recipes to Crow About,” will be available at the special tour price of $10.

Proceeds of the tour will benefit Champion the Cure for EMMC’s CancerCare of Maine; Children’s Miracle Network, supporting quality health care for the children of central, eastern and northern Maine; and nursing scholarships for local students.

Tickets may be purchased at the EMMC Auxiliary Gift Shop locations at the main hospital and at Lafayette Family Cancer Center, 33 Whiting Hill Road, Brewer; Patrick’s Hallmark, Rebecca’s, Miller Drug Westgate Branch, and at

Race for Myeloma

BANGOR — The fifth Race for Myeloma will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Broadway Park, Stillwater Avenue and Pine Street. Registration is at 9 a.m.

The event raises funds for research on multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. There is no cure, but it is treatable. The 5K race is managed by two survivors of multiple myeloma. One purpose of the event is to build a network of survivors and caregivers.

All are welcome. There will be a raffle drawing with prizes such as an autographed hockey puck by Mark Recchi of the Boston Bruins, autographed football by Matt Mulligan of the New York Jets, homemade items and Maine maple syrup.

Individual registration is $20. For registration forms and information, contact Becky at Sponsors are Granville Rental, Bangor Singles Club, Ski Rack Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bangor Motor Inn and Hope Lutheran Church.

‘Dr. Oz’ broadcast

BANGOR — The Care About Your Care initiative will feature a live noontime remote broadcast with Dr. Oz on Sept. 15 in conjunction with a special event at Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road.

The broadcast will mark the progress and momentum of the quality movement, and provide examples of transformative change among patients and physicians. In addition, the broadcast with Dr. Oz and the panel discussion during the event in Bangor will spotlight Maine’s efforts to improve the quality of care.

The panel discussion will feature health care stakeholders directly involved in improving care in Maine.

The Care About Your Care initiative in Maine is spearheaded by the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative in Maine, which is led by Maine Quality Counts in collaboration with the Maine Health Management Coalition and the Dirigo Health Agency’s Maine Quality Forum, in partnership with the Bangor Beacon Community.

A health fair will start at 10 a.m., with the live remote broadcast with Dr. Oz afterward, and the panel discussion at 1 p.m.

Call 973-6132 for more information.

New dental surgeon

BANGOR — Penobscot Community Health Care has announced that Dr. Michael Cangemi has joined its Dental Center at 1048 Union St. Cangemi will provide oral health care and serve as associate director of the General Practice Dental Residency Program.

Cangemi earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Michigan School of Dental Medicine. He completed a general practice residency at USPHS Hospital, Baltimore.

Cangemi has 30 years of experience in dentistry and an extensive background in public health and American Indian-Alaskan Native Health Services. He also has experience in providing international missionary and voluntary dental care at multiple sites.

Before joining PCHC, Cangemi provided oral health services at Health Access Family Dental Program in Lincoln.

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