By Hannah Luce
HealthReach Community Health Centers
RANGELEY – Amanda Hepler, M.D. came to Maine in search of a small community to call home, a place where she could provide healthcare to her neighbors and enjoy an active life. She found what she was looking for right here in Rangeley.
Dr. Hepler began practicing at Rangeley Family Medicine in August. Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Hepler shares that she knew she wanted to be a doctor at a very young age. “I was one of those kids running around listening to my family’s hearts with a plastic stethoscope,” she said.
Later on in life Hepler learned firsthand about coping with family illness and seeing loved ones struggle with the healthcare system. “This experience made me realize I wanted to be a doctor who is accessible and open with my patients.”
During college Hepler worked in the pre-operative department in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. There she helped soothe children before surgery by reading books and playing games. Later during medical school, she participated in a medical mission to Kenya. Africa opened her eyes to another world where people must walk hours, or sometimes days, to reach a medical care facility.
“They didn’t have access to basic things like Tylenol or Advil,” Hepler said, “so it was a great experience for me to go there and have an opportunity to help.”
Now that she is a physician Hepler also expressed interest in returning to Africa in the future on a similar trip.
These experiences helped create Dr. Hepler’s personal mission, which is to make healthcare available to as many people as possible, to make her patients feel comfortable and reassured, and to be an understanding provider.
Now that she is living in Rangeley, Dr. Hepler is excited to be the sole provider in town. “I’ve been enjoying the experience of working by myself,” she said. “I’m learning each and every day as I provide care independently. Everyone here has made me feel at home, including the dedicated staff members at the practice, and the local board members who provide tremendous support to this rural health center. The other medical providers in the HealthReach system are a phone call away when I have questions.”
Dr. Hepler has not had much time yet to explore all that the Rangeley Lakes Region has to offer since moving to Maine this summer, but she looks forward to learning to ski, snowshoe and kayak.
Before making the move to Maine, Hepler visited Rangeley in February, 2008 as part of her family medicine residency program. She said the weeks she spent working with, and learning from, the former provider at Rangeley Family Medicine, Dr. Tasha Hofmann, were very reassuring. She knew she had made the right decision when she signed on to be the practice’s physician. “I wanted to work with Dr. Hofmann to learn the ropes. It was a great experience because I learned about the practice and the team approach of the entire staff. It was a great introduction to this special health center and welcoming community.”
Dr. Hepler is trained in family practice and provides care to patients of all ages. Her special clinical areas of interest include preventive medicine and women’s health.
Rangeley Family Medicine is one of 11 medical practices of HealthReach Community Health Centers and accepts Medicare, MaineCare, major insurances and offers an Affordable Care Program based on family size and income to uninsured and underinsured residents.
For more information on their services and programs please contact Rangeley Family Medicine at 207-864-3303.