The Maine Department of Health and Human Services offices on State Street in Augusta, shown in this December 2017 file photo.

The state’s health and human services commissioner announced Thursday that Dr. Amy Belisle has been tapped to fill Maine’s newly created Chief Pediatrician job.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew in May announced the establishment of the new position, which the department claims was created to “work to ensure that kids throughout the state receive the full range of health and human services.”

Belisle was an Air Force pediatrician and flight surgeon who went on to work in the nonprofit health care sector and serve as a pediatric hospitalist at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

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The Department of Health and Human Services credits Belisle with leading efforts to advance care for substance-exposed infants and creating the Maine Child Health Improvement Partnership, which focused on increasing vaccination and developmental screening rates.

“Dr. Belisle is eminently qualified to serve as Maine’s Chief Pediatrician and I am thrilled to welcome her,” Lambrew said in a statement. “Advancing the health and wellbeing of children has been her life’s work, and we are fortunate she will join the department to help us improve the physical, mental and social health of Maine kids.”

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“Improving the health of Maine’s children is a goal shared by many dedicated partners throughout the state, and I look forward to leading this collaboration,” added Belisle.

The hiring was announced during the second meeting of Gov. Janet Mills’ rebooted Children’s Cabinet, a panel of department heads led by Lambrew and focused on children’s issues in Maine. The Children’s Cabinet was first assembled in 1996 by then-Gov. Angus King, but had been dissolved in recent years.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the department announced Maine is one of six states picked to take part on the Aspen Institute’s Early Childhood Health Forum, which will explore new approaches to early childhood health care.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.