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Health Education is Powerful Medicine

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Our Story

The Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine was founded in 2011.This innovative program is the only one of its kind nationwide between a large academic medical center and a neighboring state. Creation of Lunder-Dineen was spearheaded by the Lunder Foundation and the Lunder family in honor of the exemplary care Peter Lunder received at Mass General under James J. Dineen, MD, a Gardiner, Maine, native. Dr. Dineen serves as Lunder-Dineen co-chair along with fellow Maine native Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, chief nurse and senior vice president for patient care at Mass General, and Robert J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD, director of continuing professional development at Partners HealthCare.

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We firmly believe that health education is powerful medicine and can improve the overall health of Maine residents. For this reason, Lunder-Dineen offers free, on-demand and locally focused education through our website to Maine health care professionals and the communities they serve. In our 2012 white paper, The State of Health Care Education in Maine: An In-Depth Report on Preferences, Trends & Needs in Clinician Learning – a product of our formal needs assessment of physicians and nurses in Maine – we highlight that nearly two-thirds of Maine nurses have an annual budget of $500 or less for ongoing education.

Our educational programs are available at no cost and customized based on Maine’s changing health care needs and the specific needs of individual regions across the state. Educational opportunities are tailored to address Maine’s most critical health issues – many are available for Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education credit. This is a valuable benefit for smaller hospitals and health care practices, particularly in rural areas, that may not have the funding to send their staff for continuing health education, as well as for busy practitioners who cannot take time away from patient care to attend conferences and workshops.

Lunder-Dineen works directly with Maine’s health care community, from front-line caregivers to hospital executive staff, to identify health education needs at the grassroots level and create educational interventions designed to bridge those gaps. Collaboration and innovation make up the foundation of this homegrown, locally focused initiative. Linking to and increasing access to existing resources, rather than duplicating them, is a guiding principle of our approach. Lunder-Dineen is continually building its network of experts and collaborators from within the Maine health care community, thus enabling us to become even more effective in identifying and quickly addressing new health education concerns and gaps as they arise.

Mass General, the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, is fully invested in the endeavor and provides access to its world-class Massachusetts General Hospital Academy, Norman Knight Nursing Center for Clinical and Professional Development, and Maxwell & Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center. Lunder-Dineen also collaborates with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which serve veterans and their family members who are impacted by combat stress and traumatic brain injuries. By leveraging this state-of-the-art educational infrastructure that is driven by innovative technology, Lunder-Dineen is able to partner with Maine experts to bring Mass General’s educational resources and the expertise of its staff – many of whom are at the top of their fields – home to Maine.