Connie Adler, MD: A Physician of Courage, Conscience and Compassion

Dr Adler 1Maine Family Planning is proud to congratulate Connie Adler, MD, who will be inducted into The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame on March 19th. Honorees are women whose work has had a significant, enduring positive impact on the lives of women in Maine.

Dr. Adler certainly fits the bill; as one colleague stated in his nomination letter:

“She is a force of nature who has let nothing stand in her way in her quest for better health care for the women of Maine.  In her practice of medicine she has worked tirelessly to provide access to quality women’s health services for all women regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or co-existing mental health or substance abuse problems.

It has been Adler’s mission to promote recognition that the care of women must include the pursuit of reproductive rights, contraceptive choice, and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault—and that healthcare must be accessible to all Mainers, regardless of where they live or how much they make. As another colleague notes:

Dr. Adler’s advocacy in promoting women’s healthcare has made a significant difference for Maine women that spans beyond a generation.  Her work includes all levels of women’s care, from counseling on nutrition and maternal health for pregnant women, working on issues that educate the community on domestic violence to bringing global perspectives on women’s healthcare.

Dr. Adler’s tenure as Maine Family Planning’s Board president combined compassion, competence and courage. Overseeing a statewide network of 40-plus family planning sites serving 25,000 Maine women and teens, she helped MFP transform to respond to the realities of our rural state. To increase access in the most rural sections of Maine, she oversaw the implementation of telehealth systems, allowing women in even the most remote parts of the state to access confidential, compassionate reproductive health care.

Dr. Adler’s work is one reason so many Maine women have been able to build the healthy, safe families they planned. So many of the patients we heard from echo sentiments like this one:

Today, I am a strong successful mother of two responsible young adults and attribute my success to Dr. Adler.  She has taught me to be an advocate for my own healthcare. My family and I have truly been blessed having the opportunity to know what it is to have a loving and caring doctor.

Over the last 23 years, she has been a leader in addressing domestic violence and sexual assault in Maine. Adler was instrumental in efforts to include universal screening for domestic violence in emergency department and obstetrical visits, as well as screening for domestic violence at primary care offices. Her influence extends beyond healthcare spaces, as well; the domestic violence trainings she helped develop are currently administered to law enforcement statewide.

In all of Connie’s efforts she has tried to push for sustainable change that will last beyond initial enthusiasm. She is a role model for young women in our community, many of whom she either delivered or cared for since infancy and is a shining example of what tireless effort and determination can accomplish.

She was the medical director for the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program from 1996 to 2001. During that time, Adler and her colleagues established a statewide program that has allowed Maine women to access essential, life-saving healthcare services that, in many cases, would have been inaccessible or unaffordable for them.

Adler has been a family medicine physician at Franklin Health Women’s Care in Farmington, where she has provided care to women and families for 23 years. Adler currently serves on the Board of Directors of Franklin Memorial Hospital, as well as on the Boards of the Maine Health Access Foundation and Maine Family Planning—where she served as board president from 2010 to 2014. She has also served on the Boards of the Maine Women’s Fund, Sexual Assault Victims Emergency Services, and Peace in Our Families.

As a nurse working with Dr. Adler you did not work for her, you worked with her.  She continuously empowered her staff as her partner and part of her team working together to improve the lives of her patients.  I could see her passion and sensitivity for helping women work through their various circumstances while making them feel strong, capable and empowered. Dr. Adler cared for her patients from her heart and with a gift to encourage without judgment.

We are proud to have worked alongside Dr. Adler for so many years, and we are thrilled that she will be honored by the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame.

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You can read more about Dr. Adler’s nomination here:

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