Not only is Jen Palminteri a great feature for the Maine Women's Project, she also happens to be one of my closest friends. The people who come into our lives at various times are meant to happen. I met Jen when she was dating a friend and, even though that relationship ended, ours is just beginning.
Jen is one of the smartest women on the planet. She grew up in a small town in Maine and she came back here to practice lung medicine. She is revered in her field, plus she is funny, kind and a history buff. Her medical expertise and passion for others made her a hero of the Covid crisis. She was on the front lines with her life in danger on a daily basis. Get to know Jen a little bit more below. Her story is an amazing one and I'm honored to include her in our Maine Women’s Project.
Here she is in her own words:
My name is Jen Palminteri and I'm a physician. I'd most like to be known for being both a good physician and a good friend.
How would you describe our community in one word?
Who is the Mainer you find most inspiring?
Melissa Skahan, the VP of Mission Integration at Northern Light Mercy Hospital. Her role is to create programs that uphold the values of the Sisters of Mercy and it's a tough one - poverty, addiction, and abuse are hard problems to fix. She has genuine passion to improve the welfare of the vulnerable people in the Portland area, but in combination with an incredible level of productivity. I still get that little buzz when she talks to me.
What is our community's biggest challenge?
Addiction. I see the sequelae of addiction to opiates, alcohol and even nicotine in my patients every day. Support programs and medications are a step in the right direction to help patients suffering from opiate addiction and the local health systems are working hard to help these patients.
What is our community's greatest asset?
I’m not really an outdoor girl, so it sounds funny to say it – but I think it would be our natural resources. I might just be watching too much Yellowstone these days.
How would you like to see our community changed in the next five years?
Aligning infrastructure, public spaces, parking, services with the population growth that we know is coming in the next 5 years.
What are some of your favorite local spots?
I can’t pick one! I want Ramona’s breakfast sandwich, sweet treats from Norimoto Bakery, coffee from CBD. I would eat the Lamb Khao Soi from Honey Paw every day and the Fra Diavolo at Street & Co whenever I can get a reservation.
What about favorite outdoor spots?
Eastern Prom trail on a sunny day in August.
What do you feel is unique about Women's Leadership?
The biggest difference is that female leadership is much more cooperative than competitive. There is something beneficial to a sprinkle of Imposter Syndrome, which most of us have experienced at least once in our lives... it makes you work harder and collaborate better. I think that women are listeners and natural problem solvers – that combination makes people feel like their concerns aren’t being voiced into thin air.
How and why did you decide to make Maine home?
I was born in Alfred, left for college and medical school, and returned for post graduate training. My family and friends are here and Portland is a great place to live. Moving away from here would be hard work!