Dr. Dora Anne Mills

Photo by Tara Rice

Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer of MaineHealth

By Paul Koenig

In late January 2020, just days after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the United States, Dr. Dora Anne Mills posted a message on her Facebook page about what health officials knew about the novel coronavirus. By March 2020, her lengthy posts, prefaced with “Not-So-Brief COVID-19 Update,” had become more frequent. They covered everything from why the small numbers of cases in Maine indicated concerning exponential growth to stories about how her own family was dealing with fear and uncertainty. Throughout the pandemic, Mills has continued her regular Facebook postings explaining different aspects of COVID-19 and providing encouragement and hope to her thousands of followers. As the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, Mills is especially proud that the healthcare system organized ten mass vaccine clinics, administering more than 420,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, and is partnering with the Good Shepherd Food Bank to open three food pantries in communities with unmet needs: Portland, Farmington, and Norway. Mills, former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, says she writes almost all her Facebook posts on the weekends when she’s at her “happy place”—her camp on a lake in western Maine—and not at her office immersed in solving that day’s pandemic problems. “Being on the lake provides a long view,” Mills says. “After all, the lake, trees, eagles, and loons all seem oblivious to the pandemic, and that reminds me that this pandemic storm will pass, and we’ll be okay.”

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