Students and Healthcare Services on Maine’s Island Communities Stay Connected

Screenshot of recent Zoom conference among Island Elder Care group. (Not part of original USDA press release).

Students and Healthcare Services on Maine’s Island Communities Stay Connected
Posted by Timothy P. Hobbs, USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine in Rural Technology
Jun 19, 2020

Maine’s island communities are scattered up and down the coastline, many of them miles out to sea – they’re rural communities carving out a life both in and on the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the distance from the mainland, the educators and healthcare workers in this remote area of the state are dedicated to providing the critical services our island residents depend on and have adapted to the necessary changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the elements of this adaptation has been through the use of telecommunications, and as State Director of USDA Rural Development in Maine, I’m happy our agency has been able to serve as a key partner in bringing this technology to our rural island communities.

Telemedicine…depends on quality broadband connections to provide support to our island communities. For example, Sharon Daley is the nurse for the Maine Seacoast Mission, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life and wellbeing for residents in Maine’s coastal and island communities. Sharon recently organized a videoconference for residents on the Cranberry Isles, hosting Barbara MacPike, an infectious disease specialist from Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor. Barbara shared current information about COVID-19 and residents were able to ask questions about coronavirus, and get answers to their concerns.

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