UNE’s first Key Oral Health Scholars begin dental rotations in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties

June 27th, 2016 by healthinnovation


2016 Key to Oral Health Award Recipients. Front row (L-R): Chelsea Toussaint and Dzhuliya Servetnik. Back row (L-R): Thahn Huynh, Adam L’Italien, Dustin Nadeau, Nathan O’Neill.

2016 Key to Oral Health Award Recipients. Front row (L-R): Chelsea Toussaint and Dzhuliya Servetnik. Back row (L-R): Thahn Huynh, Adam L’Italien, Dustin Nadeau, Nathan O’Neill.

University of New England (UNE) has sent its inaugural group of fourth-year dental students to complete 12-week clinical rotations across northern New England. As UNE medical, pharmacy, social work, and other health professions students also start their clinical training, plans are underway at UNE’s Center for Health Innovation for some of them to join their dental student colleagues as interprofessional teams in select sites to learn from, with, and about each other as well as to provide the breadth and depth of an interprofessional evaluation of complex patients for the clinical sites. FMI: www.edu/clinical-interprofessional-curriculum and Ian Imbert, MPH (207-221-4625 iimbert@une.edu).

A group of the dental students, known as Key Oral Health Scholars, are the first participants in the Key to Oral Health program, a joint initiative of UNE and KeyBank. The Key to Oral Health program is designed to address the shortage of dental health providers in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties, two geographic areas of demonstrated oral health need.

With 15 of 16 counties identified as dental health shortage areas and a high percentage of practicing dentists reaching retirement age within the next five to 10 years, increasing Maine’s dental workforce pipeline has heightened in importance. Through generous funding from KeyBank of Maine and the KeyBank Foundation, a select group of UNE dental students have been chosen to represent the University and provide patient care at clinical sites in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties beginning in June 2016.

The Key Oral Health Scholars were chosen for their commitment to serving rural and underserved areas of Maine and their residents. The selected students demonstrated a strong history of community service, had a meaningful vision for addressing critical oral health problems in Maine, and outlined an engaging service learning project that they plan to implement. Each awardee receives a comprehensive package that includes scholarship support, housing stipends, travel assistance and dedicated funding to engage the community in a robust service project. The program’s long-term goal is to encourage UNE dental students to return and build practices in these underserved areas upon graduation.

In addition to bolstering the dental workforce in these counties, the program provides a unique learning opportunity for the students. During their rotation in Federally Qualified and other health centers, they will work with the public, providing oral health education in area schools and senior centers. The program will also connect students with business leaders and local dental professionals, facilitating the development of relationships with community members.

The 2016 Key Oral Health Scholar award recipients are:

Thanh Huynh – Da Nang, Vietnam
Adam L’Italien – Enfield, Maine
Dustin Nadeau – Brunswick, Maine
Nathan O’Neill – Calais, Maine
Dzhuliya Servetnik – Westfield, Massachusetts
Chelsea Toussaint – Madawaska, Maine

Over the course of this three-year project, UNE’s College of Dental Medicine will choose a total of 12 Key Oral Health Scholars. The university projects that the scholars will deliver a total of 4,000 to 5,000 oral health care patient visits by the conclusion of the program on May 31, 2018.

This program was made possible by a lead gift from KeyBank, which encouraged generous additional funding from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, the Fisher Charitable Foundation, and the PD Merrill Charitable Trust.

To learn more about UNE’s College of Dental Medicine, visit http://www.une.edu/dentalmedicine

To apply, visit http://www.une.edu/admissions

UNE’s Center for Health Innovation Forms a Pipeline to Aroostook County to Address Healthcare Shortages

June 27th, 2016 by healthinnovation
Graduate healthcare students learn a clinical airway skill in interprofessional teams at The Aroostook Medical Center on May 23rd 2016

Graduate healthcare students learn a clinical airway skill in interprofessional teams at The Aroostook Medical Center on May 23rd 2016

Attracting healthcare professionals to rural and underserved communities has been a national priority for several years and a particular issue for Maine partly due to the fact that, according to the 2010 Census Data, Maine was the most rural state in the United States. Rural terrain can lead to long commutes for patients seeking basic healthcare services and can exacerbate provider shortages. Maine isn’t only rural; it also holds the title for being the oldest state. Healthcare utilization will continue to increase as Maine’s aging population is growing and will likely further stress the already burdened rural health system in Maine. According to the Robert Graham Center, Maine will need an additional 120 primary care physicians in the next decade in order to maintain current rates of healthcare utilization. Moreover, the Maine Department of Labor projects a shortage of 170 dentists.

To increase the number of students interested in practicing rural medicine healthcare educators have starting thinking outside the box. Research shows that students are more likely to practice rural medicine if they have a personal connection to a rural area, so, the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation at UNE decided to organize a group of healthcare students and immerse them into the culture of rural Northern Maine. The trip was termed a rural health immersion and fifteen graduate healthcare students traveled to Aroostook County during the last week of May as part of a pipeline for building rural health competencies and gaining student interest in practicing rural medicine. During the immersion, the students conducted a variety of skill-based, observational, and community activities which are described in more detail below.

The clinical skills activities included providing fluoride varnishes at an elementary school in Van Buren; conducting health screenings at a senior citizens center in Madawaska; participating in a daylong interprofessional airway training at The Aroostook Medical Center; attending ophthalmology grand rounds at TAMC; and visiting with a variety of other rural health professionals across Aroostook county.

The community activities included included a dinner with Cathie Pelletier, a nationally known author from Allagash, and each student received one of her signed books. The students also had breakfast with Rep. John Martin and Sen. Judy Paradis and discussed the Franco-American culture in that area.

When the students weren’t building professional relationships they were relaxing among the rural culture of Aroostook County. An impromptu moonlit kayak trip on the Aroostook River kicked off the trip and was followed up throughout the week by a variety of other activities such as a campfire under the stars, eating homemade ice cream at Houlton Farms Dairy, and trying baked goods at the Amish store in Easton. One group of students was fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights one evening and everyone saw several moose.

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Vice President for Clinical Affairs and director of UNE’s Center for Health Innovation attended the immersion and had this to say of the students experiences It was extremely gratifying to witness the students articulating their new insights about the strong sense of community and culture in rural areas, about each other’s professions, about how rural health systems are different, and about rural population health and health care challenges. It is also clear this group of 15 have bonded and will stay in touch, as they were already asking us what other inter professional activities they could participate in, together. And, most importantly, virtually all of them expressed a strong interest in returning for some of their clinical training time to rural Maine or other rural areas. So, the overall goal of this brief immersion serving as a pipeline to rural inter professional and other clinical clerkships/rotations seems to have been preliminarily accomplished.”

The trip was graciously supported by Maine’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. The Maine AHEC has continued to prioritize experiential learning in rural communities for graduate healthcare students and their commitment to the rural health immersion proved to be invaluable for the success of the trip. Leah Buck, director of the Northern Maine AHEC was an essential resource in setting up connections with providers, community members, and hospitals in Aroostook County. A four-year grant awarded to UNE in 2015 from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation aims to improve health care and education in rural areas.

The enormous amount of positive feedback from students and community members of Aroostook County has spurred initial discussions of future immersions. One unique feature of a large state like Maine is socio-cultural differences that can vary greatly between major geographic locations. For example, when asked to self-report health status, residents of Aroostook County have a higher perceived mental health status but a lower perceived physical health status than Maine’s mid-coast region. Substance abuse and addiction is a statewide health issue in Maine and particularly prevalent in Maine’s mid-coast region. Behavioral health is addressed in the curricula of all of UNE’s healthcare professions and has been proposed as a theme for a future immersion.

The full team of students who attended the Aroostook immersion included six medical students from UNE’s College of Ostepathic Medicine, Samuel Wood, Andrew Vetter, Ellen Clark, Nicole Rainville, Tara Formisano, and Danielle Beard; five pharmacy students from UNE’s College of Pharmacy, Casey Hutchinson, Kelly Frazier, Jhoana Meza, Marina Izzi, and Ian Greenstien; and four dental students, from UNE’s College of Dental Medicine, Tyler Gagnon, Christopher Parent, Alexandra Hensen, and Sarah Georgeson. Each night the students who attended were asked to write a reflection of the events that occurred that day. You can read more here.

The majority of the planning and mentorship was provided by Jennifer Gunderman-King, MPH, faculty member in UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions. Jen Van Deusen, M.Ed., and Director of Curriculum for UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, also attended and provided expertise and mentorship during the trip. Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, Vice President of Clinical Affairs at UNE and director of UNE’s Center for Health Innovation, and Ian Imbert, MPH, project coordinator for clinical interprofessional education at UNE’s Center for Health Innovation, also attended portions of the immersion.

FMI: Contact Ian Imbert, MPH, (207-221-4625 or iimbert@une.edu)

LifeWings comes to Maine to offer TeamSTEPPS certification

June 27th, 2016 by healthinnovation


On Friday, September 16th, the University of New England’s Center for Health Innovation is partnering with LifeWings to provide a training that will help build the necessary team skills to deliver safe, quality care.   There will be two separate training’s, one on each of UNE’s campuses. The first training will occur Friday morning from 7:45am-12:30pm on the Portland Campus in the Finley Recreation Center and the second will be from 1:15pm-6:00pm on the Biddeford Campus in Leonard Hall. The training will offer students, faculty, and clinical affiliates an opportunity to earn a Team Strategies and & Tools to Enhance Performance & Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) certification. To register for the event, sign up here.

The TeamSTEPPS training is an evidence-based framework to optimize team performance across the health care delivery system. It’s based on team structure and has four teachable-learnable skills: Communication, Leadership, Situation Monitoring, and Mutual Support. The interactive LifeWings TeamSTEPPS training will address the U.S. and Canadian IPEC competencies.

LifeWings is a small team of healthcare professionals, military pilots, and healthcare risk managers who have come together to create a sustainable culture of quality. The LifeWings company guarantees that its initiatives will produce measurable outcomes such as creating better teams and teamwork; reducing errors, rework and waste; improving efficiency and reliability; and creating better care and outcomes. The LifeWings team consists of seven different educators who train more than 13,000 healthcare professionals each year at over 150 hospitals worldwide.

Jeff Hill is a LifeWings educator and will be performing the TeamSTEPPS training at the University of New England in September. He brings 30 years of experience in aviation leadership and safety processes to his 15 years of experience as a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer in healthcare. Prior to joining LifeWings, Jeff was the associate director responsible for TeamSTEPPS trainings at Vanderbilt where he developed safety tools and educational curricula supporting patient safety through teamwork and communication. Jeff has given national presentations at Partners Healthcare, The Joint Commission, and the National Patient Safety Foundation.

The Center for Health Innovation is hosting the TeamSTEPPS training to meet the objectives of the grant that it received in 2015 from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, a foundation dedicated to improving the health of the public by advancing the education and training of health professionals. One of the main goals of the Macy grant is to ensure that all health care professionals who are UNE graduates are equipped with the necessary team-based skills to provide high quality care. The training will provide the necessary tools for UNE’s graduate healthcare students to have a basic understanding of and exposure to team-based care. It will also encourage students to work interprofessionally before venturing into their professional careers.


For more information on the upcoming TeamSTEPPS event please contact Ian Imbert, MPH, Project Coordinator for interprofessional practice and education at iimbert@une.edu.

Considerations in Working with Muslims as Interprofessional Team Members

June 27th, 2016 by healthinnovation
Dr. Said Nafai, OTD, OTR/L CLT

Dr. Said Nafai, OTD, OTR/L CLT

At UNE, on campus programming that promotes collaborative care is supported by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). Members of the collaborative include faculty from the Westbrook College of Health Professions, the College of Pharmacy, The College of Dental Medicine , and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Collectively, these faculty work to provide programming that brings students from all the health professions at UNE together to learn “with, from, and about” each other. This year we are expanding our programming to include the summer session, starting with Dr. Said Nafai OTD, OTR/L CLT on Thursday, June 30th, from 12:00 – 1:30pm.

IPEC and the Westbrook College of Health Professions Occupational Therapy Program will host Dr. Said Nafai OTD, OTR/L CLT, the founder of Occupational Therapy in Morocco, for an interprofessional presentation in Ludcke Auditorium. Dr. Nafai received his Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, following completion of his Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Salem State University in Massachusetts, USA. Born and raised in Morocco, he was determined to establish the practice of Occupational Therapy in his country in response to his brother’s experience with physical disability as a child.

Dr. Nafai’s presentation, “Considerations in Working with Muslims as Interprofessional Team members”, will address cross-cultural team building opportunities found in modern health care teams. His interest in strong teamwork for better patient care came from his emphasis on improving the lives of people with disabilities. He has extensive experience in directing rehabilitation programs, working with both hand therapy and home care. He is known for his lively sense of humor and the ability to speak four languages fluently, and several more in conversation, which helps him have a sincere connection with his patients.

The Occupational Therapy Program is collaborating with Physical Therapy, Social Work, and Nursing to bring Dr. Nafai to campus for this IPEC event. All are welcome to attend, or the event may be viewed via livestreaming at http://stream.une.edu/events; all events livetweet at #IPEUNE.

IPEC transforms health care education by fostering community-centered, collaborative learning and interprofessional practice. To learn more about UNE’s IPEC, please call us at (207) 221-4114, or contact us via email at ipec@une.edu.