State hires chief pediatrician to oversee reconstituted Children’s Cabinet

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 1:30pm

AUGUSTA — Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew hired Maine's new Chief Pediatrician during the second meeting of the newly reconstituted Children's Cabinet.

Dr. Amy Belisle, an Air Force veteran who has collaborated with partners throughout the state to improve the health of Maine children, begins her role on July 9. As Chief Pediatrician, she will work to ensure that kids throughout the state receive the full range of health and human services.

Dr. Belisle formerly served as senior medical director and director of child health quality improvement at Quality Counts, a Qualidigm Company, a regional nonprofit dedicated to transforming health care. She led efforts to advance care for substance-exposed infants and created the Maine Child Health Improvement Partnership, which has spearheaded successful initiatives to increase vaccination and developmental screening rates.

Dr. Belisle attended Harvard University and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and received her MBA from Lehigh University. She completed her pediatric residency at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center. She went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force, including as a pediatrician and flight surgeon in Japan. Following her return to Maine, Dr. Belisle was a pediatric hospitalist at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Belisle, whose role also includes the title of Chief Child Health Officer, is a member of the board of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Commissioner Lambrew, chair of the Children's Cabinet, announced the creation of the Chief Pediatrician position on May 2 at the first meeting of the reconvened Cabinet. The Children's Cabinet is collaborating on two central goals: creating an aligned early care and early education system that supports children before they reach school age, and improving care and prevention for at-risk youth.

At a June 20 meeting, the department also announced that Maine has been selected to participate in the Aspen Institute's Early Childhood Health Forum, which is convening teams from six states to advance new approaches to aligning early childhood and health systems on behalf of families.

Governor Mills announced in her Inaugural Address that she would reconstitute the Children's Cabinet, which was created in 1996 by then-Governor Angus King. The Children's Cabinet consists of the commissioners of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Public Safety, and Corrections. Maine's Chief Justice, Leigh Saufley, plans to participate regularly by invitation.

The Children's Cabinet will meet approximately every six weeks.