SMHC Recognized for Tobacco-Free Achievements

October 19, 2018

SMHC Platinum Tobacco Free Award smThe ninth annual Tobacco-Free Hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards Celebration, hosted by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative, was held on September 27 at the Maine Hospital Association. The event, attended by hospital and public health stakeholders from across the state, recognized efforts by Maine hospitals to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Thirty-two hospitals and three individual Gold Star Champions were highlighted for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles. In 2018, a Platinum Level was added to encourage hospitals to include explicit language with regard to five additional requirements ranging from updating policy language to providing details about how employees access tobacco education to better serve their patients.

Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) was recognized for meeting the Platinum Level in the 2018 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program for efforts to prohibit smoke and tobacco use on campus and address client tobacco use. This is the ninth year SMHC has participated in the initiative showing a longstanding commitment to addressing tobacco use and exposure. 

Among the individual awards, Respiratory Therapist Michele Michaud at Southern Maine Health Care, was recognized as a Gold Star Champion for demonstrating strong leadership and advocacy for tobacco-free environments and resources.


"Southern Maine Health Care has a mission to improve the health of the communities it serves," said Betsy Kelly, director of Partners For Healthier Communities at Southern Maine Health Care. "As part of this mission we are committed to providing a tobacco-free environment for patients, visitors and staff, and providing anyone ready to stop using tobacco with the support they need to be successful. We are very pleased to be recognized for our efforts at the Platinum Level by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence."

All Maine hospitals were invited and encouraged to apply for recognition; those that met at least seven of ten Gold Star Standards were recognized with a plaque. Award levels are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment.

At the celebration event, Kenneth I. Lewis, senior director for the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence stated that, “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death; we applaud these 32 Maine hospitals for taking proactive steps to address tobacco use and exposure within their organization.”

For more information about Gold Star Standards of Excellence recognition program, please visit

The Breathe Easy Tobacco-Free Hospital initiative at the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence is dedicated to providing Maine’s hospitals with the information and resources needed to make all organizations smoke and tobacco-free.

The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services. Maine Prevention Services is an initiative through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention working across the state to impact tobacco, substance use, and obesity. Celebration photos are available on Facebook.

2018 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awardees:

Platinum Level (9):

  • LincolnHealth                                        
  • Maine Medical Center         
  • Maine General Medical Center
  •  Mid Coast Hospital             
  • Mount Desert Island Hospital         
  • New England Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Southern Maine Health Care

Gold Level (23):

  • Blue Hill Memorial Hospital                      
  • Bridgton Hospital
  • Calais Regional Hospital                          
  • Central Maine Medical Center
  • Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital           
  • Down East Community Hospital
  • Franklin Memorial Hospital
  •  Houlton Regional Hospital
  • Inland Hospital                                     
  • Maine Coast Memorial Hospital
  • Mayo Regional Hospital                          
  • Mercy Hospital
  • Millinocket Regional Hospital                    
  • Pen Bay Medical Center
  • Redington-Fairview General Hospital
  • Rumford Hospital
  • Sebasticook Valley Health                       
  • Spring Harbor Hospital
  • Stephens Memorial Hospital                    
  • The Aroostook Medical Center
  • Waldo County General Hospital                
  • York Hospital

Gold Star Champions (3):

  • Michele Michaud, Southern Maine Health Care
  • Prevention and Wellness Team, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center
  • Donna Chamoff, Maine Medical Center

Photo Caption
SMHC was recognized at the Platinum Level for its work to prevent tobacco use. (Pictured from left to right) SMHC Registered Respiratory Therapist Michele Michaud (who also received a Gold Star Champion award) and Respiratory Therapy Manager Peggy Weed accepted the award from Kenneth I. Lewis, senior director for the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence and Kirsten Faucher, York County District tobacco prevention coordinator, Partners for Healthier Communities at SMHC.

About Southern Maine Health Care
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is a national award-winning healthcare system with a non-profit mission “to improve the health and health care of the communities we serve.”  SMHC includes a full service, acute care medical center in Biddeford, with York County’s only inpatient mental health unit. Emergency care, surgical services, and diagnostic and therapy services are available at SMHC’s Medical Centers in Biddeford and Sanford. SMHC offers primary care and multi-specialty physician services, diagnostic and therapy services, and Walk-In Care centers in various York County communities including Biddeford, Kennebunk, Saco, Sanford and Waterboro. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited and has been recognized for quality excellence by numerous outside organizations. To learn more about SMHC and SMHC providers, visit,, or

Media Contacts:

Allison Kenty
(207) 283-7233

MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence
Sarah Mayberry
(207) 662-5888