Maine SNAP-Ed Program Manager Testifies in Front of United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Regarding Nutrition for Older Adults

August 26th, 2017 by healthinnovation
Elizabeth Pratt, MPH, Maine SNAP-Ed program manager meets spoke to the Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington D.C on July 12, 2017

Elizabeth Pratt, MPH, Maine SNAP-Ed Program Manager spoke to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington D.C. and poses afterwards for a photo with Senator Susan Collins

On Wednesday, July 12th, Maine SNAP-Ed, a program of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, testified in front of the Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington D.C regarding nutrition for seniors. Maine SNAP-Ed’s Program Manager, Elizabeth Pratt, MPH, was joined by other experts in the field, including Dr. Connie Bales, Duke University School of Medicine and Durham VA Medical Center; Dr. Seth Berkowitz, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital; and Pat Taylor, Retiree from Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. The theme of the hearing was “Nourishing our Golden Years: How Proper and Adequate Nutrition Promotes Healthy Aging and Positive Outcomes.”

SNAP-Ed is the USDA’s nutrition education arm of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It offers education, social marketing campaigns, and environmental support in all 50 states. SNAP-Ed uses evidence-based, comprehensive public health approaches to improve the likelihood that low-income families will make healthier food and physical activity choices, consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The purpose of the Maine SNAP-Ed program is to provide low-income Mainers with easy ways to shop, cook, and eat healthy on a limited budget – stretching their limited food dollars.

In Maine, there are 44 highly qualified Nutrition Educators who provide series-based nutrition education and implement policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. They work in every Maine District and are based in local community coalitions and hospitals. They work in eligible community settings and with multiple organizations to reach children in schools, veterans, adults with disabilities, working adults, and seniors.

In her testimony, Ms. Pratt noted that Maine is the “oldest state in the country” with the highest percentage of older adults, and many of them are low-income. She discussed the prevalence of food insecurity, noting that “roughly 203,000 Mainers face hunger every day.” Four out of 10 SNAP participants in Maine (43%) are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities. Many Maine seniors have to make hard decisions related to their food choices, having to “choose between their prescriptions, feeding the children who live in their households, fuel for heating in the winter, and their own nutrition needs.” Ms. Pratt provided examples from the field, noting the efforts of two Nutrition Educators – one from Downeast and one from Houlton. These stories of success illustrated how seniors benefit from improved nutrition, while highlighting how SNAP-Ed helps address the social isolation of rural seniors by creating social and environmental supports for healthier living.

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After the witnesses presented their testimonies, Senator Collins held up the Maine SNAP-Ed annual report to the page that includes a map with the settings where Nutrition Educators provide education. She praised the program model and said the following:

“I was impressed with your chart on SNAP-Ed in my state of Maine and you show where the Nutrition Educators are located. And in which District or county. But to me what is more significant is how integrated they are into places where people shop, learn, work, play and go to church. That’s what really impressed me. It seems like you’re everywhere…and I congratulate you for that.”

 

For more information about the Maine SNAP-Ed program, visit mainesnap-ed.org or contact mainesnap-ed@une.edu.

To watch the recorded testimony or read the written testimony, visit:

Nourishing our Golden Years: How Proper and Adequate Nutrition Promotes Healthy Aging and Positive Outcomes

Review the Maine SNAP-Ed’s 2016 Annual Report.

UNE’s second cohort of Key to Oral Health Scholars begin dental rotations in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties

August 25th, 2017 by healthinnovation

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University of New England (UNE)’s College of Dental Medicine has selected its second group of Key to Oral Health Scholars (KOHS) to participate in the Key to Oral Health Program, a joint initiative of UNE and KeyBank. The 2017 Key to Oral Health Scholar award recipients are:

Audra Boynton – Windsor, ME
Christopher Casgonguay – Rutland, VT
Hillary Creed – Etna, ME
Nicholas Guy – Hollywood, MD
Molly Kalish – Beaumont, PA
Anthony Preissler – Dudley, MA

The KOHS are fourth-year dental students who have been selected to complete a 12-week clinical rotation in northern New England in Maine’s Aroostook and Penobscot Counties. 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 12 UNE dental students have been chosen to represent the University and provide patient care at clinical sites in Aroostook and Penobscot Counties which began in June 2016 and will continue through May of 2018. 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.

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 service learning projects for the first group of KOHS included:

  • Providing oral health education during a Community Wellness Fair in Lincoln, Maine
  • Providing oral health education to students at Enfield Station School in Enfield, Maine
  • Conducting a survey and oral health exam to indentify the most prevalent oral conditions
  • Providing fluoride sealants to K-4 school children
  • Introducing students to dentistry as a career by providing simulated dental training to middle school children

The 2016 Key Oral Health Scholar award recipients were:

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

As of May of 2017, two of the 2016-2017 KeyBank Oral Health Scholars have returned to practice in Penobscot County. One student is employed at Health Access Network in Lincoln and another student is employed at a private practice in Newport.

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 Faculty Champions Interprofessional Collaboration – From Campus to Community

August 24th, 2017 by healthinnovation

 

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150 UNE students from nursing, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy learn with, from and about each other while discussing a patient case.

This summer, faculty from nursing, social work, occupational therapy, and physical therapy collaborated on a three-part event series for 150 of their students called “Parallel Processes in IPE: from Campus to Community”.  These sessions were designed to provide student teams with the opportunity to learn about the core values of IPE from a team of practicing clinicians.

Developed jointly by UNE faculty and practitioners from Maine Medical Center, these sessions centered around an interactive team building experience that addressed the medical needs of two complex medical health care cases. Medical practitioners included Danalyn Adams,, LMSW-cc, Social Work Care Manager, Special Care Unit,  Sonja Orff, RN, MS, CNL, Maine Medical Center Clinical Nurse Leader Special Care Unit (SCU)and Kelley Crawford PT, DPT, MS, CCS, Maine Medical Center Level IV Physical Therapist, Primary in Special Care Unit (SCU), and Adjunct Faculty UNE PT Department. One student indicated, “This session has shown me what working with other professionals is like. It was refreshing and I feel one step closer to being prepared for future practice.”

The students worked within their teams to determine a problem list and identify a potential plan of care for each patient case. Each team presented their findings to the practitioners from Maine Medical Center. The students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the team related to the patient, with a focus on teamwork strategies. “I have greater respect and understanding of my fellow allied health professionals, and I will be able to better communicate and get help with patients to better give holistic, patient-centered care.”

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UNE Faculty members from four different professions are available to facilitate discussion and answer questions during interactive case-based learning.

Participating faculty included Jan Froehlich, M.S., OTR/L, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Kelli Fox, LCSW, Director of Field Education and Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work (Kelli is also an SBIRT Faculty Champion), Elizabeth Crampsey, M.S., OTR/L, BCPR, Assistant Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy and Coordinator of the Community Therapy Center (CTC), Nancy Jo Ross, PhD RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, and Sally McCormack Tutt, PT, D.P.T., M.P.H., Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapy Program.

The primary goal of the educational series was for students to learn about, from, and with each other within their program specific curriculum. Case-based learning allows them to practice teamwork, communication, as well as provides an opportunity for exposure to the different roles and responsibilities of these four health care professions. Several of the faculty designers of this strategy for improving health professions education outcomes have been accepted to present their model at Collaborating Across Borders (CAB http://www.cabvibanff.org/) North America’s premier interprofessional healthcare education and collaborative practice conference in October. CAB is an internationally recognized venue that brings educators, researchers, practitioners, students and patients from Canada and the United States together for essential discussions around interprofessional healthcare education, practice, leadership and policy in North America.

IPEC recognizes the vital importance of providing students with IPE activities on campus to build the skills to practice collaboratively in their clinical placements and career.

 

FMI on UNE’s IPEC: http://www.une.edu/wchp/ipec

 

UNE Receives Supplemental Funding to Further Education on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

July 24th, 2017 by healthinnovation

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In July 2016, the University of New England (UNE) was 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. The Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) grant aims to educate a total of 255 UNE students — 160 medical, 25 physician assistant, and 70 pharmacy students who will train together at PCHC, learning the skills needed for exemplary interprofessional, team-based care.

In addition, HRSA recently released $80,000 in supplemental funding for PCTE grantees to further enhance education around Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in primary care to address the opioid crisis. In 2016, 313 Mainers died of an opioid-related overdose, which represents 83% of all drug-related death in the State. Currently the demand for MAT in the state still outpaces the supply, especially among those who lack health insurance or live in health professional shortage areas. To address the critical need for training, UNE plans to integrate opioid use disorder training and technical assistance for UNE students, faculty and PCHC providers.

UNE we will be hosting its first MAT event on Saturday, October 28 on the Portland campus to discuss the current climate in Maine concerning the opioid epidemic as well as focusing on MAT and its recent prominence and impact on the state. Maine subject matter experts will present to pre-clinical UNE students and clinical faculty attendees. A second on-campus event will be held in collaboration with the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) grant in the spring of 2018.

FMI: Contact Melanie Caldwell, PCTE Project Coordinator at mcaldwell4@une.edu

UNE’s Center for Health Innovation Forms a Pipeline to Midcoast Maine to Address Healthcare Shortages

July 24th, 2017 by healthinnovation
UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

Fifteen healthcare students from UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Dental Medicine, and Westbrook College of Health Professions Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program recently attended a weeklong rural health immersion in Knox and Waldo Counties of Maine’s Midcoast Region. The experience, which is coordinated and funded by UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation and the Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC), is a pipeline activity created to reduce healthcare provider shortages in rural Maine and to strengthen UNE’s relationships with healthcare centers around Maine. The weeklong Midcoast Maine rural health immersion experience was the third time that it has been offered to UNE students; last March a weeklong immersion was held in Franklin County and in May of 2016 a weeklong immersion was held in Maine’s northern most county, Aroostook County. The enormous amount of positive feedback from students and community members of the previous two years immersions spurred a third one to be scheduled for 2017.

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, leading to poorer health outcomes. The locations for the immersion experiences are chosen based on the three AHEC centers strategically located around Maine in Aroostook, Franklin, and Penobscot counties, three of Maine’s most rural counties.

Knox and Waldo Counties provide a contrasting picture of health and well being in Maine, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2016 county health rankings. For example, Knox county ranked 3rd in health factors and 2nd in health outcomes, while Waldo County did not fair as well, finishing 8th and 10th, respectively. Nancy Simpson, MSN, RN-BC, CNE, associate clinical professor in UNE’s Westerbook College of Health Professions, provided faculty support during the trip and said “The Midcoast Maine immersion encouraged students to look at the everyday world around them through the lens of population health.  This experience provided them with a priceless opportunity for sharing, learning and working with students in other disciplines.”

It’s predicted that some of the health challenges that Maine’s more disparate Counties face would be improved if there were more providers in that area. According to the Robert Graham Center and the Nursing Workforce Forecast, Maine will need an additional 120 primary care physicians and 3,200 nurses in the next decade in order to maintain current rates of healthcare utilization. Moverover, the Maine Department of Labor projects a shortage of 170 dentists. Research shows that students are more likely to practice rural medicine if they have a personal connection to a rural area, so, the rural health immersions aim to provide opportunities for students to connect to rural Maine and hopefully alleviate healthcare provider shortages.

Students meet with the practice manager at Stockton Springs Health Center a FQHC in Stockton Springs, ME.

Students talk about rural medicine at Stockton Springs Health Center a FQHC in Stockton Springs, ME.

The students who participated in the Midcoast Maine rural health immersion came from a broad array of backgrounds, some growing up throughout the country in areas like Michigan and California while about a third of the students had grown up in New England or had spent time previously in rural Maine. Most students had some experience working with underserved populations in the past but, for some it was their first opportunity to experience rural underserved healthcare. One student from UNE’s College of Pharmacy, Sara Stafford, reflected after the final day of the immersion “Not only today, but throughout the entire immersion, I was so thankful to be able to work with students from other professional programs; it was amazing to hear their different perspectives and get to know such great people that I would have otherwise not known. Whether it was their respective discipline or just the people that I was able to share this experience with, I have never been so passionate about doing more interdisciplinary outreach and will definitely continue to seek out the opportunities to do so.”

The students experienced a variety of activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo Counties, such as meeting with providers of Waldo County General and Pen Bay Hospitals for a tour of the hospital facilities; a tour and discussion with providers at Stockton Spring’s Federally Qualified Health Center; a meeting with providers at Knox Free Clinic where the students provided health bags consisting of dental hygiene and other relevant health supplies; a trip to Mount Pleasant Dental Care in Rockport to talk about dentition in rural communities; and a meeting with the owner of Jensen’s pharmacy in Rockland. There was also an overarching behavioral health theme during the trip and all of the students were exposed to topics within that field on multiple occasions, such as a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) training with David Loxterkamp, MD, and Mary Beth Leone, LCSW, who head Penobscot Community Health Care’s Substance Misuse program. Second year medical student, Matthew Fiorillo, reflected upon the MAT training “I learned that some people are–through no fault of their own–more predisposed to addiction. As healthcare providers, we need to be mindful of this concept, and make sure that we afford each of our patients the time and respect that they deserve.”

Students meet with area providers to talk about substance misuse and effective treatment techniques

Students meet with area providers to talk about substance misuse and effective treatment techniques

The students also enjoyed having time to take in the natural beauty of the area, such as when they met with Mary Ashmore, DO, a local osteopathic physician, at the Camden amphitheater; during nightly walks around Point Lookout, where they stayed in authentic Maine cabins for the week; and during a hike to the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME. They students got a taste of the local culture when they had lunch with Maine State Representative Anne Beebee-Center and talked about economics and health policy in rural Maine over dinner. The group also had breakfast one day with Mike Hurley, a previous Belfast town mayor, and talked about his experience governing a rural community in Maine.

Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME

Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME

There were a variety of clinical skills activities that the students participated in such as visiting two local elementary schools, Walker and Troy, where the UNE students provided health education to the elementary students on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention. Katelyn Van Leir, a second year dental student, had this to say about the early school experience “We all had a lot of fun working with children and we were all very shocked by how much they already knew.” Later in the week the students visited two local YMCA’s, PenBay and Harborside, where they met with clients to provide basic health education and screenings such as blood pressures, filling out File of Life forms, and providing oral health education and overall wellness tips.

UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

Jen Gunderman, MPH, assistant lecturer in UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions helped lead the immersion and had this to say of the students experiences “The Midcoast Maine Immersion is a unique opportunity for students to observe, learn, and experience the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the needs and identifying the strengths of rural areas.” Another UNE faculty member who participated in the immersion, Rachel King Assistant Clinical Professor in UNE’s College of Dental Medicine, reflects upon the interprofessional experience “The opportunities for student experiences provided by the Rural Health Immersion align well with the vision of the UNE College of Dental Medicine to educate ‘dental professionals who will fulfill their obligations to improve the oral health, overall health and quality of life of people in their communities with integrity, compassion and respect.’ It was very rewarding as a faculty member to witness the ways in which the students’ worldviews changed with each activity, helping define the sense of social responsibility that will ultimately carry into their professional practices”, says King.

UNE medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

UNE medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

The full team of students who attended the Midcoast Maine immersion included four medical students from UNE’s College of Ostepathic Medicine Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Matthew Fiorillo; four pharmacy students from UNE’s College of Pharmacy Purvi Patel, Sara Stafford, Abby Golash, and Neva Gross; three students from UNE’s Nursing Department Heather Curran, Kurdistan Pishdary, and Molly Callanan; and two students from UNE’s College of Dental Medicine Jason Greenbaum and Katelyn Van Leir. You can read more on each students experience here.

The majority of the planning and coordination for the trip was provided by Jen Gunderman, MPH, assistant lecturer in UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions, and Ian Imbert, MPH, project coordinator of a four year Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation grant and staff member in UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation. Jen Van Deusen, M.Ed., Director of Curriculum for UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Stacey Thieme, DO, Director of UNE’s Preceptor Programs and faculty in UNECOM’s Department of Primary Care, Rachel King, DDS, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor in UNE’s College of Dental Medicine, and Nancy Simpson, MSN, RN-BC, CNE, associate clinical professor in UNE’s Westerbook College of Health Professions, all 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 helped develop the immersion.

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. The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation grant that also helped fund the experience is a four-year grant awarded to UNE in 2015 from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and aims to improve health care and education in rural areas.

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

UNE Primary Care Training and Enhancement Grant, A Look Back at Year 1

July 24th, 2017 by healthinnovation
Members of the UNE HRSA PCTE team (L-R, Melanie Caldwell, Ruby Spicer, Toho Soma, Dora Anne Mills, Ruth Dufresne)

Members of the UNE HRSA PCTE team (L-R, Melanie Caldwell, Ruby Spicer, Toho Soma, Dora Anne Mills, Ruth Dufresne)

In July of 2016, the University of New England’s (UNE) Center for Excellence in Health Innovation was awarded a five-year, $2.5 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). As part of the requirement of the grant, UNE partnered with a Federally Qualified Health Center, Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), to transform the primary care workforce in rural and underserved Maine, and improve health outcomes. Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Director of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation serves as Principal Investigator for the grant.

Each year a cohort of UNE students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Physician Assistant Program, College of Pharmacy, and College of Dental Medicine on rotation at PCHC sites in Bangor, and a group of PCHC preceptors attend a series of five training sessions. The trainings are based on the five Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry (ACTPCMD) recommended topics: interprofessional education, social determinants of health, oral health for primary care, health literacy, and shared decision making. Trainings are facilitated by faculty from UNE, Maine Medical Center, and Tufts University. Each session was designed to provide students and preceptors an opportunity to train together, and to learn the skills needed for exemplary interprofessional practice in order to improve patient care.

Students also participate in weekly learning activities that emphasized population health. Similar to the trainings, learning activities are held in interprofessional groups and focus on implementing UNE’s Clinical Interprofessional Curriculum (http://www.une.edu/clinical-interprofessional-curriculum). UNE faculty member Jen Gunderman, MPH, and PCHC’s George Case, FNP-C, facilitate the learning activities. Additional opportunities for students to learn alongside other professions outside their program include attending the Controlled Substance Initiative (CSI) and High Utilizer Group (HUG) meetings.

As of July 1, 2017, Year 1 of the five-year grant was completed. The total number of students and preceptors reached during the first year of the PCTE grant were: 28 COM, 5 PA, 4 Pharmacy, 1 Dental, and 5 PCHC preceptors. The PCTE team evaluated students and preceptors on each component of the project and have used this important feedback to update the ACTPCMD training and learning activities format, schedules, and content. In Year 2 all five of the trainings will now occur early in the Fall and will be held over just two days, allowing students to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge throughout their clinical year. The format of the weekly learning activities in Year 2 will also change slightly to alternate weekly between topic discussions and case presentations.

UNE received an additional $80,000 supplemental funding award in Year 2 to implement training and curriculum development on medication-assisted treatment for students and community providers.

For more information, contact Project Coordinator Melanie Caldwell, MS, at mcaldwell4@une.edu.

Second Year UNE Osteopathic Medical Student Seeks Provider Input on Substance Use Disorders in Maine

July 23rd, 2017 by healthinnovation

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Hi, my name is Madhuri Garg, and I am a member of our research team of osteopathic medical students and research assistants at the University of New England. We are conducting a qualitative research study during the months of July and August of 2017.

Did you know that an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Maine residents want treatment for Substance Use Disorders, but do not have access to it? To explore this question further I am looking to gather the valuable insight of practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, occupational therapists, physician assistants, and any other healthcare providers who work with patients dealing with substance use disorders.  The goal of my research project is to identify some of the barriers to care that people with substance use disorder are currently experiencing. Through the use of this study, we will gather information about health care providers perspectives regarding patients on the substance use disorder spectrum to identify challenges, barriers, and opportunities to improve the care model for both healthcare professionals and patients.

Participation in this study is voluntary and involves a 10-minute online survey; it is IRB approved. After completing the online survey, myself or one of the members of my team will reach out to you to schedule an in-person interview that will take approximately 10 minutes. The in-person interview will be recorded through our MP3 device, will be de-identified, and then transcribed for further analysis.

Thank you in advance for your time. We look forward to working with you to accomplish this important research!

Please click on the link to complete the survey and be entered into a drawing for one of five $50 Amazon gift cards:

https://goo.gl/forms/05An3W5sxfqxeeCP2

 

 

Sincerely,

Madhuri Garg

OMS-II

 

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Madhuri is a second year osteopathic medicine student in UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2020.  She is also a member of UNE’s Care for the Underserved Pathway (CUP) Scholar Program through UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation.  As a member of UNE’s CUP Scholar Program, Madhuri has expressed a strong interested in caring for the underserved, population health, and service learning.  Additionally, Madhuri is a strong advocate for patients struggling with Substance Use.  She is a member of the Maine Co-occuring Collaborative Serving Maine and she attended this years annual CCSME conference on Building Community Response to the Maine Opioid Crisis.  

FMI Contact Madhuri Garg, mgarg@une.edu

UNE students share reflections on fourth and final day of their week-long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine

June 5th, 2017 by healthinnovation
Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME

Third year pharmacy student Neva Gross gets ready to take a group selfie at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, ME

Thirteen UNE health professions students recently participated in a week long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine.  The immersion experience is a part of a pipeline program with Maine’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program and UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (CEHI) to address healthcare provider shortages in rural Maine.  This is the third immersion experience that the Maine AHEC and CEHI have provided for UNE students; last May medical, pharmacy, and dental students participated in a weeklong immersion in Aroostook County and last March medical and nursing students participated in a weeklong immersion in Franklin County.  In this immersion students were split into interprofessional teams consisting of medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students.   The students experienced a variety of clinical and community activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo county.  Below are reflections from one team after the fourth and final day in the Midcoast area on May 24th, 2017.

Curtis Jensen, owner of Jensen's pharmacy in Rockland talks about his experience of owning a private pharmacy.

Curtis Jensen, owner of Jensen’s pharmacy in Rockland talks about his experience of owning a private pharmacy.

Sara Stafford (third year pharmacy student)

Today was sadly our last day of the rural health immersion. After breakfast at Dots and driving to the top of Mount Battie, we had the opportunity to visit the local YMCA in Rockport and Rockland. We were able to check blood pressure on many of the residents of the area, pass out pedometers and give them information on the File of Life. Nearly everyone we talked to had never heard of the File of Life and giving them the opportunity to have all of their information available in the event that something happened to them where a health care professional would need that information in their home made me feel like I was really making a difference. Aside from the health screenings, we also got to talk with many of the local residents about their experiences in the health care system in their area. It was interesting to hear about the different experiences, with some of them being very negative and some of them being positive. After learning so much about rural health care in the past week, I felt like I was able to relate those negative experiences with the barriers that are presented in an area with such limited resources. After interacting with so many health care professionals, it was wonderful to be able to talk with the actual patients and hear about their experiences in the same system. Whether you’re a provider or a patient, everyone experiences shortcomings in this area and that needs to be recognized by more people.

After visiting the YMCA and eating lunch at Clan MacLaren, we visited Jensen’s Pharmacy in Rockland. As a pharmacy student, this was a great chance to see how a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy fits in to rural health care. Throughout this week, I had been wondering how a pharmacist could make a difference in a rural community and I felt like this experience gave me some answers to that. Unlike some of the other community pharmacies I have seen, there seemed to be more collaboration between the pharmacist and the physician, which is essential for good patient care. In addition to the enhanced patient care at this pharmacy, I was surprised to see more advanced technology being used in such a rural setting. The technology they had available for counting medication and keeping records not only benefits their business but also ensures their accuracy.

Not only today, but throughout the entire immersion, I was so thankful to be able to work with students from other professional programs; it was amazing to hear their different perspectives and get to know such great people that I would have otherwise not known. Whether it was their respective discipline or just the people that I was able to share this experience with, I have never been so passionate about doing more interdisciplinary outreach and will definitely continue to seek out the opportunities to do so.

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

UNE students and faculty attend a weeklong rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine (L-R, Row 1 Nancy Simpson, Purvi Patel, Molly Callnan, Emma Mason, Brandi Sargent, Cassidy Carpenter, Row 2 Jennifer Gunderman, Jason Greenbaum, Matthew Fiorilo, Sara Stafford, Kurdistan Pishdary, Heather Curran, Abby Golash, Neva Gross, Katelyn Van Leir , Ian Imbert)

Neva Gross (third year pharmacy student)

What can I say about this final day? The first three days have been packed with so many eye-opening experiences, how much more could possibly happen on our final day? Well, our chosen breakfast location did just that. After a brief stop at a local spot called Dots to pick up breakfast to-go, we hiked up Mount Battie….Hmmmm correction, the van did the hiking for us then we jumped out and took some pictures of the awesome view (but that was MY perfect kind of hiking).

Our mission today was to offer free health screenings at two local YMCAs, which actually means Young Men’s Christian Association. After doing a bit of research about the YMCA, I learned that the founder (George Williams) wanted to focus on developing a healthy “mind, body, & spirit”. This is actually represented as the three sides of the red triangle in their logo. Mr.Williams would definitely be proud of the PenBay YMCA in Rockport, ME for their absolutely beautiful building and wide range of services that they offer to the members of the community.  We were fortunate enough to be able to offer blood pressure checks from our College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing students, File of Life information from our Doctor of Pharmacy students, and very informative emergency iPhone Medical ID info (as well as, all around dental knowledge) from our College of Dental Medicine students. The members of the community that we encountered were very welcoming and seemed to be appreciative of our overall presence. The conversations ranged from blood pressure/health concerns to invitations to join the Zumba Gold class. One conversation that I enjoyed was with a retired pharmacist who was eager to chat with us about the importance of exercise.

After leaving the “Y”, we headed to lunch then visited Jensen’s Pharmacy. One of my classmates actually did a rotation at this pharmacy, so I was excited to see all of the things he had previously shared with me about this location. Curtis, the owner of the pharmacy, walked us around the pharmacy and talked to us about his path to owning an independent pharmacy. He also shared with us the impact of being a local pharmacy in the area and the relationships with the prescribers. It was good to hear about the mutual respect for each others professions, something that we (as interprofessional students) are working on perfecting during this rural immersion.

The purpose of this trip was to identify some of the barriers to care in the rural setting. My personal reflection would not be complete without mentioning the overall need for a public transportation system in this location. The community is overflowing with individuals who are willing to donate their time to serve the underserved population, which was very apparent to me. However, the lack of reliable transportation is blocking the most needy from acquiring these services. I won’t claim to have the answer to this barrier, but I will definitely be researching it. Until then, I will just recap a few things I learned on this trip: the definition of camping, hard water is real, fisher cat is neither a fish nor a cat, singing happy birthday in public is fun, and most of all, this was definitely the BEST immersion crew EVER!

UNE students share reflections on day three of their week-long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine

June 2nd, 2017 by healthinnovation
After breakfast the students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

After breakfast on Day 3 the students pose for a picture at the amphitheatre in downtown Camden, ME.

Thirteen UNE health professions students recently participated in a week long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine.  The immersion experience is a part of a pipeline program with Maine’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program and UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (CEHI) to address healthcare provider shortages in rural Maine.  This is the third immersion experience that the Maine AHEC and CEHI have provided for UNE students; last May medical, pharmacy, and dental students participated in a weeklong immersion in Aroostook County and last March medical and nursing students participated in a weeklong immersion in Franklin County.  In this immersion students were split into interprofessional teams consisting of medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students.   The students experienced a variety of clinical and community activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo county.  Below are reflections from one team after the third day in the Midcoast area on May 23rd, 2017.

Dr. Mary Ashmore, DO, UNECOM '93, gives the students a tour of her practice in Camden and talks about her work with osteopathic manipulative therapy.

Dr. Mary Ashmore, DO, UNECOM ’93, gives the students a tour of her practice in Camden and talks about her work with osteopathic manipulative therapy.

Cassidy Carpenter (second year medical student)

Today, we toured a private practice and a free health clinic. This was an incredibly valuable experience as it highlighted the discrepancy in healthcare delivery based on socioeconomic status. The first healthcare facility we toured was a private practice where patients have to pay seventy-five dollars per month. The facility, resources, and care were phenomenal and a seemed like a great model for any practice follow.

Later in the afternoon, we toured a free clinic, which provided an entirely different perspective on healthcare delivery. While the doctors, nurses, and staff of the Knox Free Clinic are doing a phenomenal job with the limited resources they have, it showcased the large gap we have in access between “the haves” and “have-nots” in our population. Overall, today provided a great juxtaposition between two clinics that both had the same objectives and goals in terms of patient health, but had very different abilities based on resources and patient population.

Students engage with  Meredith Batley as she shares her experiences of working at the Knox Free Clinic.

Students engage with Meredith Batley as she shares her experiences of working at the Knox Free Clinic.

Molly Callanan (senior nursing student)

Today we started the day by visiting Dr. Mary Ashmore’s private midcoast clinic. This clinic was primary care with a mix of osteopathic manipulation therapy, which is a more holistic approach to treating the patient. I have had little experience with this type of therapy, so I found it fascinating to learn what it was and how it helps patients, especially patients with chronic pain. This facility does not accept most types of insurance (except Mainecare and Medicare) and instead her patient’s make payments of seventy-five dollars per month. I found this business model surprising because most people are not able to afford medical treatment unless it is covered by insurance. I imagine this excludes a lot of possible clients from this clinic. Another aspect of Dr. Ashmore’s clinic is an upstairs area for community classes such as dancing and Zumba, which is a function I really admired. I feel that it is important to provide education and exercise classes to the community because it has a real positive impacted on public health.

Our next stop was the Knox free clinic where we talked with Dr. Kleiner and Meredith Batley. Visiting this clinic after Dr. Ashmore’s private clinic was a great way to note the discrepancies in healthcare based on socioeconomic status. I found these stops to be really inspirational about how we can all find a way to help treat those who truly need it if we are willing to put in a small portion of our time.  I’ve also wanted to be able to help make changes in areas that are in need of it, but I’ve found that knowing the best way to do that is challenging to figure out on my own. Dr. Kleiner made it seem like [caring for the underserved was a] much more reasonable task and it made me excited to be able to volunteer in similar places once I graduate. We also made a stop at the Knox free dental clinic where they have one dental hygienist that works three days a week to help clients [improve their oral health]. I was shocked to learn how desperate the community is for dental care and the little amount of options there are for them. It was impressive to hear how much work this dental hygienist was doing for the community, though, at the same time saddening knowing that they cannot get a dentist to volunteer in the clinic to perform more advanced dental care.

The last stop of the day was to Seaport Health Center. We learned about this health center on our first day from Dr. Loxterkamp. They have a very nice health center with primary care, acute care, social workers, nurse practitioners, PT, and nurses. This health center usually only treats patients who have these doctors for primary care or by referrals. Another aspect of this center is that they provide addiction treatment which we learned about on the first day from Dr. Loxterkamp.

The last stop of the day was at Seaport Community Health Center in Beflast, ME where students get a first hand look at integrated practice.

The last stop of the day was at Seaport Community Health Center in Beflast, ME where students get a first hand look at integrated practice.

Emma Mason (second year medical student)

[Today was my birthday and] the first day of my 23rd year of life was part of the Mid-Coast Maine rural health immersion.  We started out the day having breakfast with Doctor Mary Ashmore, DO, and getting a tour of her private practice in Camden.  We then traveled to Rockland where Dr. Kleiner, MD and Meredith Batley gave us a tour of the Knox Free Clinic.  Being able to see these two different types of services back-to-back allowed us to see the difference in the two types of care.  It was interesting to see the quality of the private practice vs the free clinic and the different populations they serve.  Having grown up in this area I always knew that public transportation was a big issue as there is none but I never thought about it in the context of healthcare access.

In the afternoon, we had some free time to explore the Mid-Coast area.  We went to Cellardoor winery and walked around downtown Belfast.  We then went to our last tour of the day, Seaport Health Center.  This was another great opportunity to learn about a different health center and the way that it is run compared to the others we’ve visited so far.

 

After dinner at Rollies we have cake and sing Happy Birthday to two of the students whose birthdays were during the trip.

After dinner at Rollies we have cake and sing Happy Birthday to two of the students whose birthdays were during the trip.

UNE students share reflections on day two of their week-long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine

June 1st, 2017 by healthinnovation
UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

UNE students visit local elementary schools in Waldo County and provide education on the brain, oral health, and tick prevention.

Thirteen UNE health professions students recently participated in a week long rural health immersion in Midcoast Maine.  The immersion experience is a part of a pipeline program with Maine’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program and UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (CEHI) to address healthcare provider shortages in rural Maine.  This is the third immersion experience that the Maine AHEC and CEHI have provided for UNE students; last May medical, pharmacy, and dental students participated in a weeklong immersion in Aroostook County and last March medical and nursing students participated in a weeklong immersion in Franklin County.  In this immersion students were split into interprofessional teams consisting of medical, pharmacy, nursing, and dental students.   The students experienced a variety of clinical and community activities in underserved areas in Knox and Waldo county.  Below are reflections from one team after the second day in the Midcoast area on May 23rd, 2017.

Students meet with former Belfast Mayor and current city councilor Mike Hurley over breakfast to discuss community advocacy in Waldo County.

Students meet with former Belfast Mayor and current city councilor Mike Hurley over breakfast to discuss community advocacy in Waldo County.

Purvi Patel (second year pharmacy student)

Today was a very informative day for me. As far as pharmacy is concerned I haven’t had much experience in a hospital pharmacy setting. I’ve always known that there were specialties in pharmacy but going to Pen Bay Hospital today I discovered that the pharmacist there needed to know about retail pharmacy and hospital pharmacy. Knowing that hospital and retail pharmacy are very different things I realized that they enjoyed their jobs because it was challenging. Also, they had to change how they thought based on what side of the pharmacy they were in (inpatient or outpatient). There were other challenges where they had to prioritize between making a drug for someone in the emergency room, nurses calling about drug interactions, and patients waiting to get their medications in the outpatient pharmacy. Being in a rural setting they have to deal with all these challenges because there isn’t enough staff to handle just one side (inpatient or outpatient). I learned that there are many challenges in a rural setting but I also realize I would want to work in this setting because I know help is needed.

I have always known that compassion is needed in a healthcare provider but today really showed me that it is so much more important than I thought. We got to speak with people that play such a huge role in health policy. The way they spoke and explained the things that lack in the community or things they would like to incorporate, I realized that they joined politics because they wanted to make a real difference. Previously, I had always had a very negative stand on politics, but today I realized that, if we as healthcare providers want to make changes, we need to be more involved in politics.

The hospice tour was very emotional and eye opening. Our Dean is very involved with hospice care and we have learned a lot about it in the past two years. Actually going to a facility, seeing how things truly work and seeing the environment was an eye opening experience. Being in a rural environment I think having this facility is really important. It’s even better that it is so close to the hospital allowing people to have better access.

Overall today was more of an interprofessional day than the day before. I learned so much more about dentists and their jobs. I got to work with medical students and elementary kids that knew about rural environments. I learned a lot from the kids about what kinds of homes they have or what their daily routines are in a rural setting.  It was great riding in a van all day with different professions because we joked about how everyone in the healthcare profession has a superiority complex. Our conclusion to that discussion was that we all matter. Our knowledge is more useful and valuable as a whole. Working across professions is what will help our patients the most, whether it’s a rural, suburban or urban setting.

Students receive a tour of Pen Bay Hospital in Knox County.

Students receive a tour of Pen Bay Hospital in Knox County.

Katelyn Van Leir (second year dental student)

Yesterday was our second day on the Midcoast Maine Rural Health Immersion Trip. It matched the full load the first day presented us with, and kept us very busy. We started at the elementary schools in the area, followed by a tour of PenBay hospital in Rockport, a visit to Dr. Pier’s dental office, and, finally, dinner with Maine State Representative Pinny Beebee-Center.

At the elementary school, we were all very excited to be there. We worked together to teach the children about tick prevention, how the brain works, and oral health (my favorite!). We all had a lot of fun working with children and we were all very shocked by how much they already knew. However, what myself, and I believe my classmates found most interesting was the fact that every student at Troy and Walker schools receives free lunch.  I don’t think we were as shocked by that fact as we were about the children’s morale. Without knowing the fact, based on the quality of the school and attitudes of the children, it was something you would have never guessed. I found myself very surprised at how resourceful the community is, and how much effort it takes to create such a positive environment with such minimal means. We then visited Pen Bay hospital that seemed similar to Waldo County General Hospital (which we visited yesterday). I personally found a lot of interdisciplinary teamwork here as we visited the psychiatric center. As a dentist I wouldn’t have normally had the opportunity to analyze a psychiatric ward; I found myself baffled by the lack of space for so many patients in this area, not at Pen Bay, but where they can go for treatment after being discharged. It was disheartening to see what the nurses in the ward must deal with to have their patients get the help and care they need after their stay at Pen Bay.

Later we visited Dr. Pier’s dental office. I was very excited to see Dr. Pier as we work with him at UNE, and I think he is a great role model as a dentist. Initially, I did not see how he fit for students outside the dental school. It was not until later that night I was chatting with the others that they revealed to me that it was a great experience to visit his dental office. They had their “interdisciplinary ah-ha” moment as they got to see what we as dentists do, and became even further immersed in the interdisciplinary goal of this trip.

Lastly, we met with Maine State Representative Pinny Beebee-Center whom we discussed politics with. At the end of dinner Jason (the other dental student) and I picked her brain and I immediately found myself inspired about how I could make a difference in a community as a healthcare professional. Being from urban Southern California, I find it difficult to rally the troops for a cause because, unlike rural Maine, we don’t have tight knit communities, and do not share similar town/county wide struggles. However, after her conversation, I feel now that I can have a voice if I know who to talk to. Her passion to change the community through politics is infectious, and she instilled upon me to start at the bottom to see change at the top, and in her words specifically, “to work with politics with a little p, not a big P.”

Overall the second day was nothing shy of amazing, and was full of revelations, revelations I have been touched by, and will carry throughout life.

David Pier, DMD, provides a tour of his dental office in Rockport, ME.

David Pier, DMD, provides a tour of his dental office in Rockport, ME.

Heather Curran (senior nursing student)

The second day turned out to be my favorite and most meaningful part of our immersion. Our group split up and headed to two different elementary schools. The night before, we prepared lesson plans to teach the students about the brain, oral health, and tick awareness. My group consisted of nursing, pharmacy, dental, and medical students and we went to Walker elementary while the other group went to Troy elementary. Deciding how we would teach the kids was a bit difficult, since, as we were teaching 1st-4th grade students, we wanted to ensure our teaching style to match their learning level. As a future nurse, I found this significant because I could relate it to providing patient education and patient centered care in the future.

My visit at Walker elementary was eye opening. The first person we talked to was the principal, Glenn Widmer. I was surprised to find out that the school has 100 kids and consists of multiple towns. In addition, Glenn is the principal of both Troy and Walker middle school which really gave us a sense of how rural and close knit the community is. The principal and teachers were very passionate and went above and beyond when it came to their students.

Walker elementary school was different than most schools in more ways than one. It was small in both size and population. This was especially evident when we were told that some of the individual classes consisted of two grades. The school also had a greenhouse and an orchard that the students helped with. The notion behind this is that if the students are involved in growing the fruits and vegetables, then they are more likely to enjoy eating them. After talking with some of my peers we realized that both Troy and Walker elementary students seemed to be exceptionally smart and healthy. The teacher to student ratio as well as the push for healthy habits seemed to be a great way to facilitate the students’ learning, an important aspect that should not be overlooked for children at this age.

Maine State Representative Anne Beebee-Center talks about the role of healthcare providers in local policy.

Maine State Representative Anne Beebee-Center talks about the role of healthcare providers in local policy.