Expanding Education Through Collaboration.
Mount Desert Island Hospital’s groundbreaking teaching partnership with Penn Medicine, established in 2011, has evolved into a model for future urban-rural partnerships across the nation and has established MDI Hospital as a premier rural hospital for emergency medicine and critical care. The first-of-its-kind collaborative has brought the two organizations together for teaching and learning opportunities across the continuum of care, uniting professionals from both hospitals’ Emergency Departments and ICUs, as well as those in the fields of behavioral health, pediatrics, respiration, neurology, cardiology, oncology, diabetes management, and medical imaging, among others. Penn Medicine is among the most prestigious academic medical institutions in the world, and their emergency department is an internationally renowned level 1 trauma center. Today, MDI Hospital’s Emergency Department is recognized as a critical link in Downeast Maine’s trauma delivery system, serving the Mount Desert Island community 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year.
“When we started this program, there was a sense that we were coming to help impart knowledge— but it’s so dead even, I can’t even tell you. Every single person that has participated in this program says it’s completely a two-way street, where you gain this incredible appreciation for a different care environment than what you are up against.”
To date, the program has logged more than 2,600 hours of staff exchanges between the hospitals, and 70+ educational sessions with over 700 professional attendees including course participants from Lifeflight of Maine, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Bar Harbor Fire Department, Southwest Harbor Ambulance, and Northeast Harbor Ambulance.
Each year, visiting caregivers from Penn Medicine share cutting-edge procedures and equipment, conduct telemedical consultations, and impart up-to-the-minute medical information. In the summer months, Penn practitioners travel to Bar Harbor to work in MDI Hospital’s Emergency Department to enhance their skills and knowledge of rural health care delivery in three-week rotations. These teams consist of doctor, a nurse and a resident—no other medical school in the U.S. provides residents with an experience like this. In the winter, MDI medical professionals join the Penn staff in one of their facilities in Philadelphia to advance their knowledge in topics such as trauma and emergency care in a high patient volume setting.
“The forward-thinking and talented physicians, nurses, and staff of Mount Desert Island Hospital are wonderful partners. It has been a pleasure to collaborate on implementing revolutionary–in some cases lifesaving–procedures and technology, and to see these now routinely used in Maine.”