China resident recognized with prestigious Sages award

Jodi Blackinton, right, with fellow volunteer John Thunder, at the China Community Food Pantry. (contributed photo)

by Eric W. Austin

Jodi Blackinton, a resident of China, is a recipient of the 2020 Sages of Clinical Services award by her employer Optum, UnitedHealthcare and United Group Clinicians. The award is given out to employees that have demonstrated their commitment to the values of Integrity, Compassion, building trust in Relationships, Innovation, and Performance. This year, out of 49,000 clinicians, there were 1,280 nominations and 130 total winners. This is Blackinton’s second nomination.

“I work with a great team and this award is truly for my entire team,” said Blackinton. “Optum, UHC has been a wonderful employer and I am proud to be part of this organization.”

Blackinton was recognized not only for her work with UnitedHealthcare, but also for the way she gives back to the community in her off-hours. She is a part of the management team at the China Community Food Pantry, where she works each Saturday, and serves on the China for a Lifetime committee, a local group that encourages and supports community volunteering in China.

“I have been a nurse for 28 years,” Blackinton said. “I love people and I have always loved caring for the sick and promoting wellness.”

“Not only is Jodi a critical part of the pantry team,” said China Community Food Pantry director, Ann Austin, “whenever one of our patrons has a medical question, she’s the one we call. Her advice and experience have been indispensable in this time of COVID.”

Blackinton said she is happy she works for a company that encourages employees to give back to their communities. “I am grateful that UHC offers a giving opportunity to their employees all year and has matching of donations as well,” she said. “UHC has allowed me to give back to the food pantry since arriving here in Maine almost five years ago.”

Blackinton moved to China from Rhode Island with her husband, Barry, in 2015. They have one son, one daughter-in-law and one “fat and happy dachshund.”


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