When asked to step into the role of Interim Director for UNE North I could not help but be thrilled to be a part of a meaningful interdisciplinary center and its global mission. The goals of UNE North speak to many of my personal and professional passions. Let me tell you a bit about my background to show you how exciting this opportunity is for me.
Collaborating with others is something I have done my entire life, first learning this skill growing up in a family of ten. When the family worked together, we were always stronger and more successful.
One memory I recount as a kid was the long assembly line we would make each fall as we worked to bring multiple cords of wood inside to use all winter long to heat our farmhouse.
That assembly line was something always dreaded by us kids, but it was much more effective than if we stacked the wood individually.
In my professional life, I worked in healthcare teams to strive for optimal patient care. Human health is so complex that it is no surprise there is strong evidence to show that collaborative care is paramount to achieving the best patient outcomes.
Healthcare has been infused in my life since I was young. My father was a hospital administrator, so our family got immersed in healthcare through this connection. I first found my passion for it while in high school and worked as a student Athletic Trainer with all the sports teams. This led to the start of my profession as a Physical Therapist.
Working with individuals to help them see improvements in their day-to-day quality of life was so powerful; however, as my career progressed, I started to think more about the health of communities and populations. This led me to enhance my knowledge of healthcare in the realm of Public Health.
While getting my master’s degree in Public Health, I gained a greater appreciation for how individual health is intertwined with other disciplines such as medicine, law, economics, social science, humanities, and environmental health.
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition helps to expand traditional thinking about health to consider the impact and role the environment and the community must play in human health.
Along with my passion for healthcare, I also expanded my career into the field of education. I joined UNE in 2006 as a faculty member in the Physical Therapy department and just fell in love with the energy of working with students, their ability to look at the world differently, and how this expanded my personal view.
I have always had a passion for travel. During my time in academia, I have found opportunities to bring travel together with education to provide experiences for students to learn about global communities, their healthcare systems, and different cultures.
The core mission of UNE North is to connect stakeholders from across Maine and New England with colleagues and partners in the North Atlantic region with the goal of implementing collaborative approaches to building resilient communities, healthy environments, and thriving economies.
UNE North strives to find opportunities to connect students, educators, and others to the countries in the North Atlantic to allow for enhanced awareness of how our worlds are interconnected. I am thrilled to be part of this Center for North Atlantic Studies at UNE. I feel so lucky to work in an environment that ties together many of the things I am passionate about, both professionally and personally. Along with that, UNE North strives to make a difference in the communities around us to improve the world for future generations through change and education.