Thursday, January 9, 2020

Art Blank, MDI Hospital’s President and CEO, to Retire at Close of 2020

Art Blank, MDI Hospital’s President and CEO, has announced his intent to retire at the end of 2020. In a letter to employees, Blank stated he would be working closely with MDI Hospital’s Board of Trustees and Senior Management to develop a succession plan. He and his wife Debi will continue to reside in the area.

“Serving as your CEO for the past 20 years has been a great honor and privilege.  I’m proud to have been part of a great team that has served our community with such compassion and professionalism, yet Debi and I are ready to move into the next phase of our life,” said Blank. “I am confident the future of the hospital is bright with strong leadership and a dedicated team.”

“It is impossible to put into words how much Art has done for MDI Hospital and the health of our region,” said James Bright, MDI Hospital’s Board Chairman. “His strategic vision, leadership, and advocacy have been the driving forces behind our growth, achievements, and sustainability in an ever-changing and challenging healthcare landscape. It is because of his dedication and passion that MDI Hospital remains independent, with decisions about our care, our operations, and our future being made in this community.”

Blank, who has served as CEO since 1999, has guided MDI Hospital’s vision to be the community’s medical home through the pursuit of innovative care models and an integrated health system. Under his leadership, the hospital organization has forged a groundbreaking teaching partnership with Penn Medicine, established a nonprofit retirement community, Birch Bay Retirement Village, transitioned to a critical access hospital and incorporated nine community health centers, including the community’s first full-service behavioral health center and a nonprofit dental center.

During his tenure, MDI Hospital’s inpatient, outpatient, emergency and surgical care services have been recognized by Avatar International, the Leapfrog Group, the National Rural Health Association, Harvard Pilgrim and Healthgrades. Under Blank’s leadership, the hospital established a state-of-the-art Breast Health Center, recognized as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, and was named the Trauma System Hospital of the Year in 2016.

Blank has led several successful capital campaigns for a wide variety of capital improvements and programmatic initiatives, including the renovation of MDI Hospital’s inpatient and obstetrical units in 2007, the construction of the Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center in 2014, and the acquisition of a new state-of-the-art generator in 2018.

Blank’s commitment to innovation and top-quality, integrated care has been unwavering. Through a strategic alliance with five other rural Maine hospitals, Blank helped to establish the Maine Rural Health Collaborative, with a goal of preserving and enhancing healthcare within the communities they serve. Blank worked to develop MDI Hospital’s teaching emphasis as well, evidenced by the organization’s landmark partnership with Penn Medicine as well as its innovative clerkship and internship programs with Tufts University School of Medicine, University of New England and College of the Atlantic.

Previously, Blank served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation in Bangor, Maine. Prior to joining St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, he spent five years in public accounting with Ernst and Whitney, and Berry, Dunn, McNeil.

In addition to more than 30 years of experience in a variety of senior management roles in healthcare, Blank has worked actively in support of various volunteer community organizations including the United Way, Rotary and the YMCA. He currently serves on the board of the Maine Hospital Association as the delegate to the American Hospital Association and is a former chairman of the board for both the Maine Hospital Association and HealthInfoNet, Maine’s statewide health information exchange. He also serves as board chairman of Good Will-Hinckley Home Association, and on the boards of the MDI Rotary and the Center for Human Genetics. He is an active member of the Maine Hospital Association’s Policy Council and is the current treasurer of the MDI YMCA.
Mount Desert Island Hospital
Mount Desert Island Hospital serves a close-knit island and surrounding communities through a 25-bed critical access facility in Bar Harbor and a network of area health centers—all designed to provide comprehensive healthcare for residents and visitors.

Since it was established in 1897, the nonprofit hospital has grown into a premier rural healthcare organization with a retirement community and eight regional health centers, including a full-service behavioral health center and a dental clinic. The organization’s groundbreaking teaching partnership with Penn Medicine, established in 2011, has evolved into a model for future urban-rural partnerships across the nation.

Today, MDI Hospital employs more than 500 people and is the second-largest employer on Mount Desert Island. Its active medical staff includes hospitalists, primary care physicians and practitioners, highly skilled nurses, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, psychiatrists, care managers, a board-certified emergency physician, an ophthalmologist, a pathologist, a radiologist, a urogynecologist and a urologist.

MDI Hospital holds a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the organization’s inpatient, outpatient, emergency and surgical care services have been consistently recognized by Avatar International, the Leapfrog Group, the National Rural Health Association, Harvard Pilgrim and Healthgrades.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Healthy Acadia Announces Mini-Grant Opportunity for Community Partners to Expand Youth Substance Prevention Initiatives

Healthy Acadia is thrilled to announce a recent grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success (PFS) initiative, a collaborative effort among multiple partners throughout Washington and Hancock counties, coordinated by Healthy Acadia, to prevent youth substance use. The award will support a five-year expansion of community-driven, collective efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health and well-being of youth aged 9 to 20 throughout the region.

Healthy Acadia and PFS partners will implement multiple strategies using the evidence-based Icelandic Model for youth substance prevention and tailored to the needs and opportunities in rural Downeast Maine, to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors associated with youth substance use, specifically alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Key objectives of the five-year project include increasing parental/caregiver, school, and community awareness of and capacity to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors associated with youth substance use through implementation of a comprehensive evidence-based approach; and implementing evidence-based programs, policies and practices to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors for substance use among youth ages 9-20 years. 

Healthy Acadia has earmarked $100,000 per year of the PFS grant to provide mini-grants of $1,000 to $10,000 to community groups, such as schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations, that seek to partner with Healthy Acadia around supporting positive social development, resilience, peer-based mental health support, and/or structured, pro-social activities to support substance use prevention for youth ages 9-20 years. 

Healthy Acadia has hired Sara McConnell as the Coordinator for the PFS expansion project. “I am so thrilled with the opportunities this funding creates to provide support and create positive social interactions and activities for youth in our region,” said McConnell. Sara's background includes over 10 years of extensive community health prevention programming experience in Downeast Maine, including substance use and tobacco prevention, nutrition education, as well as positive youth development. This makes her a wonderful fit for this new role, which is focused on implementing community-driven, collaborative efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health of youth across Washington and Hancock counties. 

The mini-grant application process for groups interested in partnering to prevent youth substance use is now available. For more information, and to view the request for proposals, visit Healthy Acadia’s website:, or contact Maria Donahue, Project Director, at 207-667-7171 or or Sara McConnell, Project Coordinator, at 207-255-3741 or Applications are due by Friday, January 24, 2020.  

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at

This project is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Partnerships for Success Grant # 1H79SP081695. Learn more by visiting or by calling 877-SAMHSA-7. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Sponsors 2019 MDI Marathon

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is pleased to be a Silver Sponsor for the 2019 Mount Desert Island Marathon.  This year’s race is being held on October 20, starting in Bar Harbor and ending in Southwest Harbor, passing by all four of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust’s branches on Mount Desert Island.

“Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has been a sponsor of the MDI Marathon since its inception, 18 years ago,” said Lisa Parsons, SVP, Regional Market Manager at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.  “This race has grown into a world-class sporting event and provides a welcome economic boost to MDI businesses as the summer season winds down.”  For more information about the race, visit

Bar Harbor Bankshares (NYSE American: BHB) is the parent company of its wholly owned subsidiary, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. Operating over 50 locations across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine and has more than $3.6 billion in assets.  As a leading Northern New England community bank, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust offers a full range of personal and business banking services, as well as wealth management services through its subsidiaries Bar Harbor Trust Services and Charter Trust Company.  For more information about Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, visit or call 888-853-7100.  Member FDIC.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Welcome to new Chamber member Compusult, Inc.!

Please join us in welcoming our newest Chamber member, Compusult, Inc.

Many of you are familiar with the vision of David's van driving up to your business to solve your latest computer crisis! But did you know that 2019 is Compusult's 20th anniversary?

David says, "Starting in 2009, Compusult began offering computer consulting services to small businesses on Mount Desert Island, ME from it's office in Southwest Harbor. And in 2014, we opened a 2nd office in Ellsworth to service Downeast businesses. Being a member of the local community, we think it is very important to forge long term relationships. 

"Whether you call it computer support, computer guy, IT support, computer consulting, computer services, computer tech support, technical support, network maintenance, website design or just plain computer help - Compusult can help your business - we are sort of like a part time IT support company for your business.

"We also offer computer support and IT service to ellsworth, bar harbor, northeast harbor, hancock, seal harbor, mount desert, hall quarry, tremont, deer isle, stonington & bass harbor."

You can learn more about Compusult at:

Monday, September 30, 2019

Welcome to new Chamber Member Edward Jones Investments

Please help us welcome our newest Chamber Member, Edward Jones Investments.

Elise Frank is happy to tell us, "In 2016, I joined Edward Jones as a financial advisor, opening the firm’s first branch office in Bar Harbor. In 2018, I won the firm's coveted Zeke McIntyre Pioneer Award, which recognizes new financial advisors who achieve high levels of success early in their careers with the financial services firm. I was one of only 125 of the firm's more than 16,000 financial advisors to receive the award.

"My family and I have lived in Bar Harbor since 2014. I have been active in business and civic affairs in Mount Desert Island (MDI) for the past four years. I am a board member of MDI/Bar Harbor Rotary and the MDI Historical Society, a volunteer with the Seal Cove Auto Museum and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce."

Edward Jones Investments is located at 71A Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, and is open Monday thru Friday from 9AM to 4:30PM. We encourage you to welcome Elise and Edward Jones Investments to the Chamber!

Monday, September 23, 2019

3D Mammography Aids in Early Detection at MDI Hospital’s Breast Health Center

Approximately 1,200 women in Maine are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In an effort to provide women with the best diagnostic tools available, the Breast Center at Mount Desert Island Hospital is now offering patients the 3D mammogram, a more advanced mammography exam. While 2D mammography takes a single image of the breast, this newer technology takes multiple pictures from many angles, giving doctors a more complete picture, says Philip J. Pizzola, Director of Medical Imaging at MDI Hospital.

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, this 3D mammography system is the most advanced in the region that the FDA has approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. “Early detection is essential to achieving the best outcomes,” says Pizzola. “3D mammography is the gold standard for early detection for women across a variety of ages and breast densities, and can be especially beneficial for women who have dense breast tissue.”

Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, the 3D mammogram is the only mammogram approved by the FDA as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. Nearly fifty percent of women between the ages of 40 and 74 have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue can make it difficult for doctors to detect breast cancer during annual screenings, which is concerning since patients with dense breasts can be more likely to develop breast cancer.

Because of its increased accuracy, 3D mammography also reduces the number of visits needed, which in turn reduces radiation overall. Patients won’t notice much of a difference between a conventional 2D mammogram and a 3D mammogram, the real difference is in the information available to the doctor, says Pizzola, “It’s essentially the difference between looking at the cover of a book and reading all of its pages.” The exam takes about the same amount of time – a 3.7 second scan time—and the positioning is the same.

To learn more about 3D mammography, or to schedule an appointment, contact the Breast Health Center at (207) 288-8435.


About the Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital
The Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital is the only Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in Downeast Maine—designated by the American College of Radiology—and one of only six in the entire state. In addition to digital mammography, the Center of Excellence status puts a gold star on other types of imaging procedures including breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy. These minimally invasive technologies offer women a shorter recovery time, reduced pain compared to surgical biopsies, and minimal scarring. In each of these procedures, our team has undergone specialized training and education to ensure the highest standard of care for our patients.


About Genius™ 3D Mammography™ Exams

The breast is a three-dimensional object composed of different structures located at different heights within the breast. These structures can overlap and cause confusion when viewed as a flat two-dimensional image. This confusion of overlapping of tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. Using breast tomosynthesis technology, the Hologic system creates a 3-dimensional image of the breast structure, which enables radiologists to more clearly see through overlapping tissue to detect cancers, often at an earlier stage.

The Hologic system is the first FDA-approved breast tomosynthesis system in the U.S. Hologic Genius 3D Mammography™ exams are now available in all 50 states and over 50 countries. To date, more than 8 million women have been screened with this advanced screening system.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MDI Hospital Emergency Room Now Offers Opioid Treatment on Demand

As part of an increased effort to treat opioid addiction, Mount Desert Island Hospital is now offering buprenorphine induction for patients in withdrawal in its Emergency Room. Last year, there were 354 deaths due to drug overdose in Maine alone, with more than 68,000 deaths reported nationally.

“We want to be sure that we are doing everything that we can to combat this public health crisis,” says Dr. Nathan Donaldson, MDI Hospital’s emergency medical director. By administering the first dose of withdrawal medication when the need is identified, the hospital is able to stabilize patients earlier and fill a much-needed gap in opioid treatment.

On demand, first dose treatment is evidence-based, says Dr. Donaldson. This early intervention in the emergency room is followed by engagement with behavioral health professionals and area treatment centers. The hope is that by alleviating withdrawal symptoms earlier, patients have a better chance of participating in longer-term therapy solutions.

The hospital is one of only a handful in the state to offer an emergent Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) program. “Essentially, we are offering buprenorphine induction in the ER to patients with substance use disorder and trying to get them to a recovery program offering MAT with a warm handoff and a soft landing,” explains Dr. Donaldson. Buprenorphine, also known as Subutex, is similar to Suboxone, which contains both buprenorphine and naloxone.

Dr. Donaldson credits Gov. Janet Mills and Director of Opioid Response Gordon Smith with raising awareness around the need for on demand opioid treatment and Mid Coast Hospital for leading the way with their emergency MAT program. “On demand opioid treatment works. Hopefully, every ER in Maine will have this available eventually,” he says.

When a patient is ready to pursue longer-term addiction treatment, MDI Hospital’s emergency room works closely with the Downeast Treatment Center and other area providers to continue their recovery through an integrated “hub and spoke” addiction treatment network.

The network was established through a collaborative partnership that includes Aroostook Mental Health Center - AMHC, Bucksport Regional Health Center, Healthy Acadia, MDI Hospital, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, local private primary care and substance treatment providers and others who serve as part of the network's system of “spokes.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and needs help, call the Downeast Treatment Center at 207-667-6890. If your need is emergent, visit your local emergency room.