“I wanted to do something of service to others which, at the same time, would be constantly challenging and useful wherever I happened to be. I ultimately chose medicine because I thought I might spend more time in developing nations, but that wasn't the way it went.”
“PUBLIC HEALTH CHAMPION FOR THE UNDERSERVED!”
Lani Graham is a Maine native with a long history of interest in health care services for the underserved, one of the many reasons why Rep. Thomas H. Allen (D-ME-1) nominated her to be a Local Legend. "She has been a leader in public health challenges facing Maine for many years," praised Allen. "As the Director of Maine's Division of Disease Control, and later as the Bureau Director, she led our state to take an early, proactive, comprehensive and effective approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other health threats."
A Board-certified Family Practice physician with a Masters Degree in Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Graham is modest about her accomplishments. "As public health is my area, I know that I could never accomplish anything of any use without a cast of thousands, in and out of the medical profession," she says. "I am very grateful that I have had the honor of practicing medicine, particularly of serving the people of Maine. The only downside is that I never feel I have done as much as is needed."
The record speaks otherwise. From 1990-96, Graham served as the Director of the Maine Bureau of Health, the State's chief health officer overseeing all of the Bureau's Programs including the Division of Disease Control, Division of Community and Family Health, Division of Health Engineering, Division of Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory and the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics. During her tenure, she was responsible for the Bureau's approximately $45 million annual budget and was instrumental in furthering cooperative relationships with the medical and public health communities in Maine and across the country.
Prior to this, she practiced medicine in the Massachusetts prison system, Nicaragua, Central America, several Native American reservations in North Dakota and Mississippi, and in Georgia, where she managed a Migrant Health Services program, before taking becoming Director of the Division of Disease Control in the Maine Bureau of Health from 1986 to 1990.
Since leaving her post as the state's chief public health official, Graham has been a self-employed medical consultant and done extensive clinical and public health work across the state. During this period, she has worked on projects for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Portland City Health Division, the Maine Bureau of Health and the UNUMProvident Corporation. Her focus has included tobacco prevention and control (as Medical Director of the Tobacco Cessation program for the Portland Free Clinic), environmental health, school health, clinical work and medical records review. Throughout she has been a volunteer physician at the Portland Free clinic, which provides health care to uninsured Maine residents.
Licensed to practice in both Maine and Georgia, Graham earned her MD degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and an MPH from the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans. She completed a residency in Family Practice from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.
Appointed Director, Division of Disease Control, Maine Bureau of Health
Appointed Director, Maine Bureau of Health, Maine Department of Human Services
Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia