Since 1988, Nancy Weingarten ’96 has worked as an administrator for Maine Dartmouth Family Medical Residency, a group of five medical practices in Augusta that focus on training Maine’s future physicians while supplying much-needed services to underserved local residents.
As director of administrative management, “I handle numerous responsibilities – business and financial analyses, some strategic planning, curriculum work and scheduling, all the human resources and a lot of managing,” says Weingarten.
The role has a number of challenges: Weingarten works in “a complex environment heavily regulated by the government for both the provision of health care services and education of physicians,” she says. Additionally, it can be difficult to attract physicians to rural Maine. However, those that enroll in the program frequently open their own practices in the local region.
“It’s hard, busy, but supportive, the kind of place that embraces good work,” says Weingarten. “It’s very satisfying to know that we’re training the future doctors here for Maine, primarily.”
Weingarten also focuses on innovative ways to help the Residency deliver better care to its patients. “We are striving to incorporate new exciting ideas such as the patient-centered medical home that should result in better, more effective delivery of services to patients who are empowered to make decisions as part of the health care team,” she adds.
Job advancement wasn’t a factor when she decided to earn a master’s degree in health services administration online from Saint Joseph’s College. “I felt it would be good for me personally,” says Weingarten. “I accomplished something important and did it well. It took about two years and got my head in a different place, which was fun for a little while. In an educational program, your horizons broaden.”
Raised in New York, Weingarten graduated from City College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She moved to Maine in the 1970s when people were “going back to the earth and leaving the hectic city environment behind,” she recalls. “I always thought I belonged in Maine more than in New York. I have a wonderful life here.” Weingarten previously did health planning for the State of Maine and administrative work at Waterville’s Inland Hospital.
Nearly 25 years in, Weingarten still has great passion for her role in the Residency.
“It has been very satisfying being in a profession where one can earn a good salary while working to provide a vital service to the people of Maine, and training physicians for Maine’s future amongst colleagues who care deeply about what they do.”
by Anne-Marie R. Seltzer