Meet Judy Feinstein, 2015 Giraffe Award Winner

This is the final post in the series of profiles on the 2015 Giraffe Award winners. We hope to see you next week at the Champions for Children Event. This week, we are pleased to introduce you to Judy Feinstein, former Director of Maine’s CDC Oral Health Program.

Judy FeinsteinJudy Feinstein has devoted the last eighteen years to improving oral health in Maine children and families. In her role as Program Director for Maine’s Oral Health Program, Feinstein worked tirelessly to find ways to provide and expand dental services to children unlikely to see a dentist. We are thrilled to present Judy Feinstein with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Giraffe Award for an entire career of “sticking her neck out” for Maine children, youth and families.

“There is great honor in public service and I am proud to have given my time and energy to help improve the health and well-being of the people of this state, and to have worked with so many caring and committed individuals along the way.” – Judy Feinstein

When Feinstein first applied to graduate school in public health, she never dreamed she would be specializing in dental public health, working in the public sector. However, early in her career, she began to realize how fundamental oral health is to overall health. Since then, Feinstein became committed to integrating oral health into overall health, from policies and programs focusing on disease prevention and increasing access to care.

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She began serving as the director of Maine’s Oral Health Program in 1997 and continued to serve in that capacity until her retirement this past June. During her tenure, Feinstein worked on initiatives that include: school-based dental sealant programs, oral health workforce improvement activities, and early intervention and prevention of Early Childhood Caries. She recognized the importance of engaging a variety of partners and stakeholders to develop comprehensive solutions to complex problems.

In 1997, she also co-founded what is now called the Maine Oral Health Coalition, a public-private partnership focused on improving access to oral care. The organization also works to educate and increase awareness on the importance of oral health, especially in children.

“Although I always thought of good oral health, access to care, and the importance of prevention as fundamental throughout the lifespan, children were always a focus. We would often say, ‘children live in families, and families live in communities,’ and children, as has become even clearer to me as I get older, are the future. There is no better investment of time and energy.” – Judy Feinstein

Judy Feinstein will be awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Giraffe Award for on October 27, 2015 at the Champions for Children Event. Judy Feinstein’s entire career in public service demonstrates how collaborating with partners and stakeholders can create monumental change for Maine’s kids. Thanks to Feinstein’s leadership, more kids across Maine have access to oral health services and resources.

Don’t forget to join us for the 2015 Champions for Children Event.

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