PARIS — Aunt Bertha Community Connections is a summer project taking place in the Oxford Hills area focused on improving the ability to connect people to community resources that support health. A small team of inter-professional students will work to improve a resource directory called Aunt Bertha, by identifying resources and getting more organizations plugged into the directory.

Aunt Bertha sounds like a nice lady, but it is actually a software platform that connects people to resources. Community members can use a website to look for resources in many categories and can narrow the results to see the programs that are the best matches. Some community resources are already listed in the Aunt Bertha platform, which can be seen by visiting www.mainehealth.auntbertha.com.

The software can also be used by health care providers to refer their patients to the resources that best match their needs. When a community organization “claims” their free listing in Aunt Bertha (essentially setting up a free account), health care providers and community organizations are linked through the software, which makes it easier to communicate about the people that they’re both working to serve.

Western Maine is filled with resources to support health, and Aunt Bertha will help to make it easier to find and access those resources. It will also help doctors refer their patients to the resources and services they need, and for the community organizations providing that help to see incoming referrals. These improvements help to “close the loop” in a referral process, increasing the number of people who access the programs.

Local high school and college students employed by the summer project will work to make the list of resources as complete as possible by scouring local communities to make sure that all relevant organizations and programs are listed, from food pantries to counseling agencies to transportation programs. The students will also reach out to community organizations to introduce them to Aunt Bertha and assist with claiming free listings in the directory. A medical student will work with Western Maine Health practices on streamlining the use of Aunt Bertha by healthcare providers.

The project is being coordinated by the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Maine Medical Center, Western Maine Health, Healthy Oxford Hills, and Maine Medical Center Healthcare Careers Pipeline Program.


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