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Member Spotlight: Nancy Holmquist

Posted by on December 18th, 2022 Posted in: Funded Project
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I met Nancy Holmquist, of Cary Medical Center’s Public Relations Department, last year as part of Focused Outreach to Aroostook County in the state of Maine. Nancy is a health educator in two community wellness programs. I caught up with Nancy to hear about her work since their Focused Outreach year.

Nancy Holmquist standing between two tables with health information displayed. On the left hand table is information about stroke prevention and the Mediterranean Diet, in the middle is a dollhouse with information about Radon and on the table on the right is information about lung cancer including screening, prevention and radon as a cause of lung cancer.

Nancy Holmquist with outreach display materials.

What’s the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve been given?

My background is in public education and my first principal had a sense that I would try to ‘save each child’ I felt needed saving. She told me to “always pick my battles, and when you do, be sure you can win.”

I still keep this advice in the back of my mind it has taught me to be a reflective thinker. It has grounded me and helped me make informed decisions in all aspects of my life.

Tell us about your position and institution.

I facilitate two programs in the Public Relations Department at Cary Medical Center. One is the Siruno Stroke Prevention Program (SSPP). This program has four main parts: diabetes/prediabetes education, cooking and nutrition, the importance of regular physical activity and frequent blood pressure monitoring. Presently, I teach a class called Eat Mediterranean – A Healthy Choice that I developed around the Mediterranean eating model. All four aspects of the SSPP are included plus the importance of staying connected to others.

Screen Aroostook for Lung Cancer (SALC), funded by Maine Cancer Foundation, is the other program I work in. SALC is meant to inform the general public, who are at high risk of lung cancer, to be referred for a low dose CT scan of their lungs to get a sense of their lung health. Choosing to smoke is known to be the leading cause of lung cancer, but most people are not aware that radon is the second leading cause.

Health fair exhibit set-up on a blue table cloth with a board in teh background with information about preventing and screening for lung cancer. In the foreground is a wooden doll house set-up to demonstrate information about where radon occurs in homes and the tesing and abatement process.Radon levels are very high in Maine and much of Aroostook County is in a red zone. Using Focused Outreach Funds, in addition to SALC funds, I have created a display that includes a doll house to show people potential radon problem areas in a home, informational panels for radon, lung cancer screening and aspects of lung cancer. This whole display can be used at all public events I am asked to present at.

I’m continuing the outreach efforts around radon and in person as well as adding smoking cessation kits (nicotine replacement treatments supplies and helpful phone numbers for support). These kits are given to physicians and other mid-level providers to be given to patients who are ready to begin efforts to quit smoking.

What is your favorite NLM resource?

My ‘go to’ NLM resource is MedlinePlus. I use it for packets of health information I give out to participants in my classes. I also recommend that people consider using it instead of Dr. Google. The information is concise, understandable and factual. I also like how it includes links to research, medical tests, medications and even healthy eating ideas.

How does the NNLM help you do your work?

The Focused Outreach Award funds helped me select materials, supplies and equipment to make the public display meaningful and eye catching.

MedlinePlus helps me to feel confident about the health information I emphasize in my classes.

What is one word you would use to describe the NNLM?

Validated was the first word to come to mind. It was quickly followed by unbiased, straightforward and understandable.

What is the coolest thing about your organization?

Cary Medical Center has received the award called Best Places to Work in Maine for two years in a row. That comes from information the employees give. Being a rural hospital during these times is not easy. Providing quality care, meeting health needs in small, rural communities and keeping fiscal responsibility is not easy to do. In spite of this, Cary recognizes the commitment of all hospital staff to this goal and finds ways to make each employee feel valued in whatever job they do. I feel honored to be part of this team.

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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