UNE Receives Federal Grant to Support Health Workforce Development in Rural and Underserved Areas

September 26th, 2017 by healthinnovation

DSC_0097 copy smaller size

The University of New England Center for Excellence in Health Innovation has received a federal grant to support the Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC), which works to alleviate health workforce shortages in rural and underserved areas of the state.

This $309,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will enhance AHEC’s ability to achieve greater workforce diversity, distribution, and practice transformation as part of, and within the context of ongoing changes to the way health care is delivered.

Through this program, AHEC will increase the number of students trained in rural and underserved areas by adding a robust AHEC Scholars program. It will increase community-based training and interprofessional learning opportunities for health profession students, support new strategies to increase workforce diversity and strengthen pipeline activities to encourage youth to pursue health professions.

The funding will also address the training needs of health professions students and rural providers on emerging health issues and health disparities, and support partnerships with government and community-based organizations to enhance workforce-training needs around the challenges of practice transformation.

The AHEC program office at UNE contracts with three rural centers: Eastern Maine AHEC at the Penobscot Community Health Care, Northern Maine AHEC at Northern Maine Community College, and Eastern Maine AHEC at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

FMI: http://www.une.edu/ahec

UNE’s Clinical Interprofessional Team on the move nationally

September 26th, 2017 by healthinnovation
Dora Anne Mills, Toho Soma, and Melanie Caldwell provide consultation to a leader from A.T. Still University.

Dora Anne Mills, Toho Soma, and Melanie Caldwell provide consultation to a leader from A.T. Still University.


On Tuesday August 22, 2017, several people from the University of New England’s Clinical Interprofessional Team presented a one-and-a-half hour session at the National Summit for Interprofessional Practice and Education, hosted by the federally-funded National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Minnesota.

Dora Anne Mills, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, Toho Soma, M.P.H., and Melanie Caldwell, M.S., presented a session called, “Lessons Learned from Scaling Clinical Interprofessional Sites from One to 12 Sites Across Maine.” They also provided consultations and shared resources at a kiosk. During the session they shared challenges, lessons learned and resources during their several years of developing clinical interprofessional clerkships that involve UNE osteopathic medical students working alongside other UNE health professions students across Maine, with a focus on rural health centers providing care for the underserved. The Clinical Interprofessional Team, based in UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, works collaboratively with UNE colleges and clinical affiliates, with support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. This last academic year, 165 UNE health professions students, including 86 osteopathic medical students, participated in interprofessional clerkships of at least several weeks in 12 clinical sites across Maine. In 2017 and 2018, 15 clinical sites are expected to participate.

The presentation at the National Summit was one of several recent national presentations by the Center in Health Innovation’s Clinical Interprofessional Team on UNE’s successful efforts to scale up interprofessional education (IPE) and practice learning activities in clinical sites in order to assure UNE health professions students have these opportunities and graduate team-ready. For instance, over the last few weeks Mills delivered: a keynote presentation at the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) Institute in Washington DC; a breakout session at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) in Baltimore, Maryland; and a webinar sponsored by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative on UNE’s clinical IPE efforts.

Additionally, team members from UNE’s clinical IPE staff and faculty, including Toho Soma, Judith Metcalf, Ruth Dufresne, and Ian Imbert, along with Mills, attended the three-day IPEC Institute in D.C. with clinical leaders from Greater Portland Health, the area’s federally qualified health center, to plan an expansion of clinical interprofessional practice opportunities for UNE health professions students that include osteopathic medical students. Mills also gave an invited keynote on leadership in a changing health landscape to the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMOs) Leadership Academy convened by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington DC. This is a year-long academy for CMOs in major academic health centers.

To learn more about the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, visit: http://www.une.edu/academics/centers-institutes/center-excellence-health-innovation

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

UNE Interprofessional Community Health Rotations: Training medical students in team-based rural primary care

August 27th, 2017 by healthinnovation

_3DX3307 copy

August 13-19, 2017 was recognized as National Health Center Week, celebrating the work of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in providing comprehensive, coordinated health care to rural and urban underserved communities throughout America. This event drew attention to Maine’s network of mostly rural FQHCs, some of which have begun to serve as training sites for UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) students as part of an Interprofessional Education Community Health Rotation (IPE CHR) experience.

While UNE COM’s four-week CHR has traditionally addressed not only patients’ clinical needs, but the socioeconomic and cultural factors that shape health outcomes, the IPE CHR was created in 2016 to help COM students apply their on-campus interprofessional training to team-based primary care practice. The IPE CHR includes four to eight hours per week of engagement with non-medical health professionals, providing a profound awareness for COM students of the value of collaborative care. According to Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Director of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (CEHI), “Maine’s FQHCs are ideal settings for introducing UNE COM students to interprofessional care, as the one-stop shop FQHC care model often includes behavioral health, dentistry, care coordination, and assistance with community resources, effectively meeting patients’ and families’ complex care needs.”

As a foundation for clinical IPE training in rural Maine, the UNE CEHI created the Clinical Interprofessional Curriculum (CIPC) in 2016, which introduces COM students to the national Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of care now in place at the majority of Maine’s FQHCs. The CIPC’s three-pronged emphasis on team-based care, care management, and population health now guides UNE students in practice-based IPE CHR activities including: student engagement with specialists (podiatrists, optometrists, psychiatrists, etc.) as well as engagement with pharmacists, clinical care managers, behavioral health providers, diabetes educators, case managers (addressing social service needs), dentists, and more. COM students have also worked within interprofessional teams addressing care planning, quality improvement, post-discharge care, and palliative care.

IPE CHR Spotlight: Nasson Health Care, Sanford, Maine

Samuel Wood, OMS-III, UNE College of Medicine

Samuel Wood, OMS-III, UNE College of Medicine

Sam Wood, a third-year COM student and Care for the Underserved Pathway (CUP) scholar with a specific intent to serve vulnerable populations, recently completed his IPE CHR at Nasson Health Care, an FQHC serving rural, low-income communities in southwestern Maine. Following a wide range of team-based care experiences at Nasson including a home visit to a patient with terminal kidney disease, participation in a Cooking Matters nutrition class for food stamp program enrollees, and an unscheduled intake for an opioid-dependent patient, Sam observed that “every link in the chain matters” in meeting patients’ complex needs. At the close of his IPE CHR, Sam reflected that his opioid-dependent patient had “walked in helpless, alone, and without any resources, but roughly one hour later, she emerged with confidence, a plan, and a team to help her implement it.” –Samuel Wood, OMS-III, UNE College of Medicine

Mary Jeralds, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager at Nasson Health Care, also noted at the close of Nasson’s first IPE CHR that her team “feels very fortunate to have had an opportunity to provide a medical student with a rural health rotation. [Sam Wood] was able to participate in providing comprehensive and integrated care in a Patient Centered model of care.”

To date, students have completed IPE CHRs at Nasson Health Care/Sanford, Penobscot Community Health Care/Bangor and Brewer, MDI Hospital/Hancock County* , Swift River Family Medicine/Rumford*, Greater Portland Health/Portland (serving a large refugee/immigrant population). Future IPE CHRs are also planned at Health Access Network/Lincoln, Sacopee Valley Health Center/Porter, Harrington Family Health Center/Harrington, Islands Community Medical Services/Vinalhaven, and DFD Russell Medical Center/Leeds and Monmouth.

* rural practice network; not FQHC


FMI: contact MaryFrances Smith, AHEC Clinical Coordinator, msmith4@une.edu or Ian Imbert, Clinical IPE Project Coordinator, iimbert@une.edu

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.


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


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



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.”


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


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

physician assistant-1906 copy

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:





Madhuri Garg




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