Coulombe Center continues growth, impact in Lincoln County

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 3:30pm

The Coulombe Center for Health Improvement (CCHI) connects LincolnHealth to community members to help solve everyday challenges and improve lives. Often working behind the scenes and through other partnered agencies, its impact is not always visible – but is felt, according to Director Anni Pat McKenney.

CCHI believes in a community health model focused on health promotion, disease prevention, and community engagement, through supplementing and supporting such initiatives without duplicating them; the Center bolsters and supports the work of the Boothbay Region and Central Lincoln County YMCAs, Community Resource Council, Healthy Lincoln County, Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative, NAMI Maine, and others, working in schools, with law enforcement, physicians, teachers and community leaders, according to

“The center is not a place, rather, a concept,” McKenney said. “For the past two years we’ve had tremendous focus on expanding our school-based health clinics, which co-locates a LincolnHealth care team member on school property to treat medical conditions such as coughs, colds, strains, sprains, immunizations, reproductive health, wellness checks, to administer vaccines and flu shots.”

CCHI has school-based health clinics in Boothbay Region High School (BRHS), Lincoln Academy (LA) and has added Medomack Valley and Morse high schools, with vaccination clinics in Bristol, Whitefield and Nobleboro. Further, CCHI has increased access to mental health services for high school students by funding two part-time integrated behavioral health clinicians at BRHS and LA. A video of how the school-based health clinics work can be viewed at

McKenney and part time employee Brooke Bryant lead efforts to obtain grants from the Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. “We work off the state-provided Community Needs Assessment which comes out every three years,” said McKenney. From there, CCHI develops a community health implementation plan. The 2022-2024 plan can be viewed at

The three-year plan includes reinforcing youth mental health resources, expanding harm reduction resources for substance use disorders, and increasing access to dental care. CCHI currently partners with Lincoln County Dental and looks to increase the number of youths who have oral care access.

CCHI began in 2015 with a donation from Paul and Giselaine Coulombe. “The Center is blessed to be part of this community. There is no shortage of connections to be made and folks willing to step up,” said McKenney. “I can’t thank our benefactors enough. Their willingness to create CCHI has made so much of our work possible and provided positive, measurable impact in our communities.”

CCHI views the community as being full of innovators serving as catalysts for action. Nominations (form available on the Center’s website) for the Coulombe Center Award for Innovation are due April 15. The winner will be honored at a recognition ceremony in the spring and receive $3,000 to further develop their program.