Community Health Initiatives
In 2000, EMHS partnered with MaineHealth and, its funder, the Libra Foundation, to create Raising Readers, a statewide program that supports the healthy brain development and early literacy skills of Maine’s youngest children. This program is delivered in hospitals at birth and at well-child check-ups to age five.
Early childhood literacy is an important contribution to public health. By age 3, brain development is 85 percent complete, and research shows that the sounds, sights, and interactions offered by reading nurture bright toddlers, strong students, and ultimately, literate and healthier adults. Studies show that adults who struggle with reading also struggle with managing their health.
Our Raising Readers partnership has created a system where all Maine hospitals and primary care practices work together to provide books and guidance about reading to virtually every child in Maine!
EMHS has long been committed to promoting the benefits of physical activity for health. For 17 years, Move and Improve has been successfully engaging individuals, work and school sites, and community organizations to increase physical activity levels. Since 1997, more than 125,000 participants have responded to the call to “Move and Improve”.
Move and Improve is a FREE 12-week program that encourages participants to be active at a moderate level of intensity for a minimum of eight of the twelve weeks. Training and resources needed to implement the program are provided to participating sites, offering flexible implementation options.
Move and Improve is an evidence-based program, evaluated by the Maine/Harvard Prevention Research Center and Colby College. Participants achieved substantial improvements in lifestyle factors, including increased energy, reported weight loss, reduced stress, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
From the First Tooth improves the oral health of Maine’s youngest children (from birth to four years old) by providing evidence-based preventive oral health care and education, delivered at the child’s medical home. Since young children under the age of three are more likely to visit their medical provider than a dentist, the primary care setting provides an ideal opportunity to initiate early prevention oral health.
Early childhood caries (ECC) are the most widespread, chronic, infectious disease among children living in the United States, and its prevalence is increasing in children two to five years old. Tooth decay left untreated in early childhood can result in more serious problems in a child’s permanent teeth and into adulthood.
From the First Tooth staff work with primary care practices to integrate oral health as a standard of care. During the routine well-child exam, the medical provider incorporates an oral health assessment and prescribes fluoride varnish, applied by a trained medical assistant. The application of fluoride varnish is quick and easy, taking only a couple of minutes. From the First Tooth is delivered by EMHS in partnership with MaineGeneral and MaineHealth. The program is generously funded by the Sadie and Harry Davis Foundation.