Guest column: Honoring remarkable women



By Arthur J. Blank

In the last two months, MDI Hospital’s Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center has seen its last two founding members depart after 25 years of service. Certified Physician Assistant Jane Tawney retired March 2 and Dr. Mary Dudzik announced her decision to leave earlier this winter.

The MDI Hospital organization would not have been the same without the contributions of these strong, talented women, and I would like to share our deep appreciation for all they have done for our organization and our community over the last 25 years.

Founded in 1993, the original Women’s Health Center was established to provide our community with primary care that focused on women’s unique needs. Tawney and Dudzik were at the forefront of this effort, along with their colleagues Linda Robinson, a certified nurse midwife who retired in 2015, and Carmen Sanford, who retired in 2017. Countless community members have come together over the years to support their work. Some have served on the center’s community advisory committee, while others have volunteered at events, taught classes or shown their support through monetary donations.

In 2014, the community came together once again to build the Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center, a new facility at 330 Main St. three times the size of the center’s original home. Named in memory of longtime summer resident Lisa Stewart, the new center was made possible by an outpouring of community and donor support. The founding members of the Women’s Health Center contributed generously to the campaign to build their new home, as did many MDI Hospital organization employees, the MDI Hospital Auxiliary, individuals in the community and local businesses.

Throughout its 25-year history, the center has remained community-driven, bringing issues to the forefront that it believes are critical to the community’s success. Whether it is through programs that help teens make informed choices or raising awareness about diversity and women’s health issues, the center is by design a trusted community partner. This May, the center will partner with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce to celebrate its 25 year anniversary, honor its founders and introduce its new team members.

While this is the end of an era, I am confident that what these remarkable women have established will continue to grow, thrive and serve our community for many years to come.

Arthur J. Blank is the president and CEO of the Mount Desert Island Hospital organization.

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