Sally Mills, a trustee of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital and partner with the law firm of Hale & Hamlin, LLC of Ellsworth, has been named to the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Committee on Governance. Mills recently returned from Chicago, where she attended her first meeting of the committee. Mills is a native of Blue Hill, where she attended the Blue Hill Consolidated School and George Stevens Academy.
Mills is not the first Blue Hill Memorial Hospital trustee to serve on the AHA Committee on Governance. Fellow trustee Judith E. Thomas preceded her, and describes Mills as “a wonderfully bright, talented and thoughtful young woman.” Both trustees, generations apart, attended prestigious women’s colleges: Mills graduated from Wellesley College and Thomas graduated from Smith College. According to Mills, their shared backgrounds are more than just coincidental. “Schools like Wellesley and Smith have instilled confidence in women across many generations,” says Mills. “Judy and I spent the most formative years of our lives learning about the importance of mentoring and public service.”
According to Mills, volunteerism in the area of healthcare and hospitals presents an especially complex territory. “I was a Russian major,” she explains. “I approach the study of healthcare with that mindset. Healthcare has its own language and culture. It affects everyone, but few people have an opportunity to dig into the complexities.”
Mills’ commitment to public service is not limited to the healthcare field. She has served as the chair of the Bay School board, volunteers for events like Relay for Life and the Blue Hill Fun Run, and helps with her sons’ activities, ranging from Sunday school to Cub Scouts. Mills also serves on the advisory committee of the Reach Center. She is a current trustee of the Maine Bar Foundation, and admits that she has a “strong interest in encouraging collaboration between legal and healthcare worlds on issues such as end of life planning.” Mills explains that failure to connect these worlds can lead to tremendous and sometimes avoidable distress for families.
A deep commitment to volunteerism in fields like law and healthcare that are rapidly changing and complex translates into a busy life for a working mother of two school-age sons, with Mills often arising at 3:00 a.m. to fit everything in. Mills, however, is quick to point out that, “I always feel like I’m getting more out of these commitments than I’m putting in.” “I also want to model public service and community involvement for my children. Our world faces many difficult situations, and I hope that my kids will learn to enjoy working in groups, and facing challenges together. That can be the most rewarding part of volunteering.”
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is the national organization that represents and serves all types of hospitals, health care networks, and their patients and communities. Close to 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 40,000 individual members come together to form the AHA. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.