UNE students pursue three pathways to clinical distinction


Students discuss their case at the interprofessional team immersion training which qualifies towards the Interprofessional Honors Distinction and the Care for the Underserved Pathway.


The University of New England offers students more than an excellent education in their field – UNE is known for leadership in interprofessional education, which prepares students for team-based, collaborative practice. At UNE, there are three separate pathways for students to gain interprofessional knowledge- the Interprofessional Honors Distinction, as SBIRT Student Leaders, and through the four-year Care for the Underserved Pathway. Interprofessional education aligns with national initiatives such as the Triple Aim, which seeks to improve the quality and safety of patient and population care and reduce overall costs. IPE learning methods equip UNE graduates with competencies for working in medical neighborhoods that lead with integrated practices.

The Interprofessional Honors Distinction (IHD), issued by the Interprofesional Education Collaborative (IPEC, established in 2010) offers all graduate students opportunities to learn about collaborative teamwork principles as specified by national standards. Specifically, students learn about each other’s roles and responsibilities, demonstrate cross-disciplinary communication, and solve complex problems within teams. Emphasis on teamwork gives students full expression within their area of expertise, while benefitting from the combined knowledge of other practitioners in service of optimal patient care. Fulfillment of its requirements indicates to future employers that students are prepared for the rigors of contemporary practice.

The second area of interprofessional focus is substance use disorders. In 2016 UNE received a three-year HRSA grant, “Collaborative SBIRT Training for Maine’s Future Health Profession Leaders.” SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment, an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs. Students from all professions can choose to become SBIRT Student Leaders, and receive up to 15 additional hours of training in three key areas: Motivational Interviewing, Leadership and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. Students selecting a focus in this area graduate with sought after readiness to join the workforce and have direct impact on the nation’s and Maine’s addiction epidemic.


Students inducted into the Care for the Underserved Pathway from UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2019 and Class of 2020.

The third area of interprofessional focus is on caring for underserved and vulnerable populations in Maine. UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, in partnership with UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, now offers a four-year Care of the Underserved Pathway (CUP) Honors Distinction that coordinates current and planned offerings in underserved care and combines them into a comprehensive pathway designed to ensure that rising physicians will provide quality care for underserved patients in Maine and beyond. CUP provides qualified and interested UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) students interprofessional (team-based) knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to care for underserved patients as well as recognizes students for their accomplishments, and encourages them to seek future positions in the care of the underserved. CUP Scholars will participate in a variety of service learning activities that are offered to the students that include influenza vaccine clinics in homeless shelters and veterans clinics, one-week rural immersions, international immersions, nutrition education among low-income Mainers, and the opportunities for clerkships in a variety of underserved urban, rural, and international locations. Stakeholders of UNE’s CUP Scholars Program hope to encourage students to obtain residency training in a program and plan for future practice that emphasizes team-based care for underserved patients.

Students who choose to participate in any of the pathways must first apply and be accepted. Upon completion of all of the requirements of the pathway, they are given a certificate for their portfolio, which students can provide to clinical sites when applying for externships, residencies, and jobs.


FMI: UNE Interprofessional Education Collaborative, ipec@une.edu

FMI: UNE Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, healthinnovation@une.edu

Leave a Reply