Honoring a Health Care Hero

woman in a mask next to a crate of oranges in a food distribution center

Belfast Public Health Nurse Susan Dupler accepts her award after being named Citizen of the Year by the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce at the annual Chamber Awards Gala Nov. 4.

Susan Dupler, RN, likes to fly under the radar. But when you make such a large difference in your community, that’s not likely to happen.

As the Belfast Public Health Nurse, Susan epitomizes the commitment to caring for our patients and community members shared by the nurses and nursing support teams at Pen Bay Medical Center (PBMC), Waldo Country General Hospital (WCGH) and our long-term care facilities.

Susan’s commitment to our community has not gone unnoticed. In June, the Belfast City Council presented her with its Spirit of America Award in recognition of her ongoing dedication to improving the health of the community and especially her work organizing vaccination clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August, the MaineHealth Medical Group recognized her with the Francine M. Rideout Service Excellence Award for her outstanding service to the community and for exemplifying all of MaineHealth’s core values.

And in November, Susan was named Citizen of the Year at the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Chamber Awards Gala.

More than 1,300 community members cast votes for this year’s Citizen of the Year Award, which recognizes a person who has made an outstanding impact in Waldo County, either through a single event or on a continuous basis.

“I’m incredibly excited that Sue has been chosen to be the recipient of this incredibly beautiful award,” said Mark Fourré, president of WCGH. “Sue’s work is sometimes under-recognized because of the way she does her work. She is in the community day in and day out, caring for the underserved.”

In her role as public health nurse, Dupler serves the community in myriad ways, including dressing wounds of homeless community members, visiting homebound individuals to administer COVID vaccines, organizing safety events for children and planning educational luncheons for seniors, as well as coordinating blood drives and vaccine clinics for the community. She has helped many people find housing and was a founder of Community Food for Children, which provides free meals for children in Belfast throughout the summer months.

“There is no one else in this community who deserves this award more than Sue,” said Cherie Merrill, executive director of the Belfast Soup Kitchen, where Dupler serves on the board of directors. “She has been doing this for a long time. Her heart is in it, her soul is in it, and there’s no one who knows our community like she does.”

Susan began working at WCGH in 1993 as a nurse in the emergency department. She later moved to oncology and infusion therapy before joining the population health team as the Belfast Public Health Nurse.

“Susan’s contributions to MaineHealth are rivaled only by her contributions to our community,” said Stacey Hall, WCGH population health manager. “Sue is patient-centered in everything she does. She combines her A+ clinical skills with her firm grasp of social determinants of health to assess and address patients’ needs. She has an ability to connect with people of all walks of life. She is respectful and kind to all. Susan truly is working to make our community the healthiest it can be.”

Recognize a Caregiver

The Pen Bay Waldo Healthcare Foundation supports the Grateful Patient Program at Pen Bay Medical Center. This special program allows grateful patients to recognize the quality care and support they received by acknowledging those exceptional caregivers.

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