Courtney Willey ’20

This summer I had a public health internship through the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership. I worked in Machias, Maine for Downeast Community Partners, as well as the Maine CDC Downeast Public Health Council. I worked closely with the Downeast Public Health District Liaison, Al May, to form a “Breast Cancer Elimination Plan” for implementation in Washington & Hancock County. Washington County specifically, has one of the lowest mammography screening rates in the state. This plan seeks to increase the number of mammography screenings among Washington County women, decrease the number of deaths related to Breast Cancer, and in turn lead to a healthier lifestyle. This plan addresses barriers such as lack of healthcare, transportation, living in poverty, and unawareness of the importance of screening or a general lack of prevention culture. This summer I helped launch the media campaign portion of this plan, helping local survivors tell their stories and spread the importance of mammograms to Washington County women through local newspaper and radio advertisements. I also worked with a few Federally Qualified Health Centers and held focus groups with providers and staff to assess the current protocol for seeing and referring a patient for mammograms, really trying to make sure the patients are aware of the services available to them (transportation, funding, etc.) and that they are effectively notified when they are due or overdue for a mammogram.