The University of New England (UNE) has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to partner with Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) to transform the primary care workforce in rural and underserved Maine and improve health outcomes.
Over the course of this five-year grant, a total of 255 UNE students — 160 medical, 25 physician assistant, and 70 pharmacy students — will train together at PCHC, learning the skills needed for exemplary interprofessional, team-based care. They will also hone complementary skills needed for this century, including social determinants of health, oral health knowledge, health literacy, and shared decision making with patients. UNE faculty will work onsite with 30 PCHC clinicians, preparing them to become clinical faculty for these new proficiencies.
“As Maine’s largest educator of health professionals, UNE holds national and international reputations for teaching comprehensive, team-based care, also known as interprofessional education”, said Dora Anne Mills, M.D., UNE’s vice president for Clinical Affairs, director of the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, and the grant’s principal investigator and chief author. “These funds will equip both today’s and tomorrow’s health care providers with team-based skills as well as other tools needed to engage effectively with patients and populations to improve health. The grant will also build a pipeline between UNE and PCHC, expanding upon UNE’s long history of providing health professionals across the state, especially to rural and underserved Maine.”
Ken Schmidt, CEO of PCHC stated, “PCHC is Maine’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center and only federally-designated teaching health center. Including three graduate residency programs, PCHC’s 750 employees provide comprehensive integrated primary health care for over 60,000 people. He continued, “This care is provided regardless of personal circumstances at 16 service sites throughout the Bangor region, in Winterport and Belfast, and in Jackman.”
“We are excited about hosting teams of UNE students from different professions,” Schmidt said, “and expanding PCHC as an interprofessional teaching health center, with 30 of our clinicians becoming clinical faculty in team-based care and teaching other skills needed for the 21st century.”
The grant will start July 1, 2016 and run through June 30, 2021.
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), with nearly 70,000 patients, is Maine’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center. It has nine primary care practices and 16 clinical service sites including a flagship clinic in Bangor, a Health Care for the Homeless clinic and shelter, a Clubhouse program for those recovering from mental illness, a geriatric practice serving long-term care facilities, a 340B pharmacy, and other practices ranging from Jackman to Belfast, Maine. Providing care for one-third of all Mainers served by federally-funded community health centers, PCHC is also a Teaching Health Center with Level 3 NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home designation. Located in Bangor, its service area is over 8,500 square miles, spanning Penobscot, Somerset, and Waldo counties, which include some of the poorest and most rural areas of Maine – a population of 135,000. 82% of PCHC’s service area is designated as rural or frontier. For more information, visit http://pchc.com/
The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university, an innovative educational community with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses, a vibrant new campus in Tangier, Morocco, and a robust offering of degree and certificate programs online. UNE is home to Maine’s only medical and dental schools—part of a comprehensive health education mission built on a pioneering interprofessional approach that includes pharmacy, nursing and an array of allied health professions.
FMI: Contact Dora Anne Mills, M.D., UNE’s vice president for Clinical Affairs and the Principle Investigator at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian Imbert, MPH, Project Coordinator at email@example.com or 207-221-4625.