Improving the health of our Island since 1991
HIP is a non-profit organization, started by Dr. Dan Rissi of the Island Medical Center to address community health needs and to work with individuals and organizations to develop strategies and programs to help people succeed in living healthy lives.
René Colson Hudson
A Midwesterner by birth and a “summer person” since 2005, René Colson Hudson relocated to Deer Isle from the Philadelphia area with her three daughters in 2016. Prior to her move to Maine, she led congregations in New Jersey and served as a nursing home chaplain and spiritual director. René brings with her a wealth of relational leadership experience and a commitment to inspiring healthy, happy, and whole communities. She received a B.A. from Wheaton College in Illinois, an M.Div. from Eastern Seminary in Philadelphia, and multiple certifications in contemplative practices and leadership. Of Healthy Island Project and Deer Isle – Stonington, she says, “there is no place on earth I’d rather live and work than on this beautiful island with such real, resilient, and responsive community members. Serving HIP is a great joy.”
Age-Friendly Programs Facilitator
Barrett grew up on the Island. He attended the University of Maine at Augusta before returning to Stonington to take over his family business, Boyce’s Motel. He has owned and operated the motel for over 20 years. Barrett became involved with Healthy Island Project in 2001. Since that time, Barrett has held a variety of roles, including Interim Director. In 2017 he took over the Salt Air Seniors program with nine participants. Four years later the program draws over 100. Barrett is the backbone of HIP’s “age-friendly island” programs, serving as the lead for all Salt Air Seniors meet ups, game nights, and exercise classes, as well as HIP Lunch Box deliveries.
For over 20 years, Chef Cheryl Wixson has been teaching the joys and benefits of healthy eating and cooking using sustainably grown Maine products. In 1999 she founded Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen and works collaboratively with businesses, farms, fisheries, community organizations, educational institutions, and state and local agencies to provide a safe, secure, and nutritional Maine food supply. She also manages Rabbit Hill in Stonington, a certified organic farm, cider company, and commercial food processing kitchen. Cheryl is actively involved in HIP’s “edible island” food and school-based programs, serving as the teacher for all culinary classes.
Healthy Island Project welcomed our new Island Fellow, Hallie Lartius in September 2021. Hallie, an Iowa native, is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Global Health from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She will be living in Stonington and working with HIP for the next two years, focussing on a new project for older islanders, the Island Digital Inclusion Initiative. We’re grateful to the Island Institute for this opportunity and are excited to welcome Hallie and introduce her to our wonderful island community.
In May 2022, Jenn Spofford, an MSW student intern joined the HIP team focusing on community food/nutritional security initiatives and mindfulness. Originally from Massachusetts, Jenn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Holistic Health & Hospitality from the University of Massachusetts and is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work from the University of Maine. Trained in yoga and herbalism, she also has extensive experience in food service and local food systems. Jenn lives in Stonington with her husband and daughter and enjoys nature walks, reading, and all types of fiber crafts.
Board of Directors
Susan Toder, President
Retired Management Consultant
Former Board President, Edible Island
Macy Lasky, Treasurer
Volunteer Math Tutor
Little Deer Isle, Maine
Retired Teacher, DISHS
Deer Isle, Maine
Annie Taylor Gray
Deer Isle, Maine
Roger Olsen, Vice President
Real Estate Agent
Jacob McCarty, Secretary
Volunteer Coordinator, Island Heritage Trust
Owner, Burnt Cove Boil
Pastor, Deer Isle Sunset Congregational Church
Deer Isle, Maine
Owner, Binna Burra Airbnb
Local Leader in Health Programming
Healthy Island Project works to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of Deer Isle – Stonington residents, regardless of age. In 2019, we reached the following milestones:
Where people of all ages tend to and enhance their physical health and well-being through safe and expert-led programming.
Where older residents can thrive, receive social and physical support, and age with dignity, respect, and joy.
Where local food systems are strengthened and people are inspired to create, experience, and enjoy good food in their homes, schools, and restaurants.
Where community is celebrated and people work together with open communication, collaboration, and volunteerism.
Where healthy minds are encouraged and people are attentive to and appreciate the surrounding world.