dwyerCharles Dwyer of the Maine Health Access Foundation

What is your organization's mission and/or purpose of your organization/department/program? 

The mission of Maine Health Access Foundation is to promote access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improve the health of everyone in Maine.

How do your efforts support healthy rural communities?

I am a Program Officer and I oversee two grants programs that provide funds for collective action. The Rural Health Transformation initiative is bringing together new partners in rural communities who are planning and piloting innovative ways of working together to deliver health care services that respond to community needs in sustainable ways. The MeHAF Healthy Community grants also encouraged partnership and collaboration, engaging residents, fostering leadership development and effecting systems changes that positively impact health.

How does being a member of the RoundTable help you and your colleagues in your work? What resources/opportunities do you find valuable?

I appreciate the network that I’ve developed as a result of my Association membership. As part of the Association's Policy Committee, I stay abreast of what’s happening with rural health policy in New England and nationally. I like being a part of the effort to inform our state and federal policy makers about what is important to us and other rural stakeholders. It’s important to make our voices heard.

What resources/opportunities do you find valuable?

This year MeHAF is sponsoring registrations for each of our Rural Health grantees, combining our grantee meeting with the 2018 New England Rural Health Conference. Whether people use the opportunity to present some of their learning or to learn from others, I know they will find the annual gathering to be valuable.  Having been a number of times it’s often a  chance for me to catch up with people that I know but don’t often see in a setting that allows for more informal conversation and connection. I’ve learned a lot in those brief one on one conversations over lunch or coffee.

Can you share an example of a project that you are working on that may be a valuable model/resource for other members of the RoundTable?

When we kicked off our Rural Health Transformation initiative in 2016 we worked with the Maine Rural Research Center at the USM Muskie School of Public Service to compile promising strategies in payment and financing, governance, workforce, and service delivery that are emerging in rural communities in Maine and around the country. They can be viewed and downloaded from the Learning Center on our website, where there are a number of other useful resources. http://www.mehaf.org/learning-resources/reports-research/