ELLSWORTH — Healthy Acadia, a community health organization serving Hancock and Washington counties, recently received national recognition for its efforts to reduce cancer incidence and improve health outcomes for cancer patients.
In a Feb. 6 ceremony during the National Cancer Conference in Washington, D.C., the nonprofit organization received the national Leadership Award from Less Cancer.
The award was in recognition of Healthy Acadia’s efforts to reduce cancer incidence and mortality through community health education and programming, including the Downeast Cancer Navigation Program.
In 2017, Healthy Acadia and the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, with funding support from the Maine Cancer Foundation and the foundation’s Jean T. Cummings Fund, launched the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigator Program in Washington County.
The program helps patients navigate health care and social service systems and community resources to access appropriate diagnostic, treatment, recovery, support and financial services.
Healthy Acadia’s executive director, Elsie Flemings, who was in the Capitol to attend the National Cancer Conference, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
“This cancer prevention work touches me, and many of my team, deeply and personally,” Flemings said. “I have lost loved ones far too young to the tragedy of cancer, as I know many of us have. And like Less Cancer, we know that [many cancers] can indeed … be prevented or cured with the right access to healthy opportunities and high quality health care.
“My extraordinary dedicated staff, volunteers and partners … work tirelessly to make healthy choices possible for all people, to build systems to enable all people to live healthy lives, and address the challenges we face in our rural and underserved communities.”
In addition to the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigator Program, Healthy Acadia offers additional educational opportunities and resources designed to reduce chronic disease and promote well-being, including nutrition education, tobacco cessation classes and more.
For more information, visit www.healthyacadia.org.