Dr. Mark Levine joins United Way board, UWNWVT welcomes board members from Chittenden, Franklin counties
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine has joined the board of United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT).
UWNWVT also announced the appointment to its board of Virginie Diambou, Catherine Dimitruk and Denise Smith.
Throughout the pandemic, Levine became a familiar face to Vermonters as he coordinated the state’s widely-praised response to COVID-19. Prior to becoming Vermont’s health commissioner, he was a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont where he held multiple leadership positions.
In his own practice, Levine focused on health promotion and disease prevention, preventative health screening, nutrition and chronic disease management.
His expertise in prevention and interest in creating a culture of health will be especially valuable for UWNWVT, which has made working with partners to meet the basic needs of Vermonters in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties a focus of its work.
“I am excited to contribute to United Way’s work to make our communities stronger and healthier. Through strategic and creative investment in our communities and with a focus on prevention, a time-honored public health approach I am passionate about, I believe we can help improve Vermonter’s lives together,” Levine said.
Diambou is the Racial Equity Director at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), a UWNWVT partner. Diambou brings a long history of working with communities of color in Vermont as well as her experience in health care to the board.
Born in the Republic of the Congo, Diambou fled war there, resettling in the U.S. 15 years ago. A radiologist, she worked at the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities program at the University of Vermont Medical Center where she worked intensively with community members of color, screening and assessing individual risk for substance use and mental health disorders.
Prior to joining the board, Diambou volunteered with United Way’s Community Impact Team. She is also a member of United Way’s Racial Equity and Justice Strategy Committee.
“I strongly believe in United Way’s mission,” Diambou said. “As a former Community Impact Team member, I witnessed firsthand the organization’s tremendous impact on community members through its various programs. United Way’s work also has had direct effects in narrowing the disparities observed between races in many areas of life, providing the people served with the necessary tools to ameliorate their social determinants of health.”
Dimitruk has led the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) for 25 years, work that has given her deep knowledge of the communities in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Dimitruk works with municipalities and regional organizations on everything from land use to emergency preparedness to transportation planning.
In addition to her work with NRPC, Dimitruk has served on numerous boards and commissions including Green Mountain Transit, Franklin-Grand Isle Hunger Council, and Champlain Housing Trust.
“I am impressed at how United Way supports the success of both individuals and communities. This holistic approach helps ensure that all people can benefit from their work,” said Dimitruk.
Smith currently works as the Program Manager and Quality Improvement Facilitator for the Blueprint for Health in the St. Albans Health Service Area focused on improving the health of Vermonters.
She has a long history of service to others, having joined the Peace Corps shortly after graduating from the University of Vermont. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she worked in Mali.
More recently, she led Northwestern Medical Center’s Rise VT program, a multi-pronged approach to improving public health and reducing chronic disease by working with employers, schools and communities. Her volunteer work has included serving on the board of Samaritan House and the Healthy Roots Collaborative Advisory Committee.
“I am so honored to be joining the United Way Board of Directors,” said Smith. “This incredible organization has been at the forefront of community change initiatives in both Franklin and Chittenden Counties for more than 75 years, and I have had the privilege of working with United Way for many years as a staff member and volunteer. I am excited about the systems change and authentic community engagement work that United Way is embarking on and look forward to helping United Way continue to lead transformative initiatives throughout our region.”
UWNWVT focuses its work in five main areas: meeting basic needs, supporting families, promoting mental health, reducing substance misuse and advancing employment.
“United Way is thrilled to welcome these four new board members. Each of them brings unique expertise, experience and a commitment to Vermont’s people and communities which will help to further our work,” said Jesse Bridges, CEO of UWNWVT.