Care of the Underserved Pathway

Experience hands-on, on-campus, clinical and service-based interprofessional learning opportunities, including a variety of underserved rural, urban and international locations. 

The four-year Care of the Underserved Pathway (CUP) coordinates current and planned offerings in underserved care and combines them into a comprehensive pathway designed to ensure that rising physicians will provide quality care for underserved patients in Maine and beyond. CUP provides qualified and interested COM students interprofessional knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to care for underserved patients as well as recognizes students for their accomplishments, and encourages them to seek future positions in the care of the underserved. Faculty involved in CUP supplement the curriculum by serving as positive role models and mentors to future health professionals providing care to underserved patients.


  • Provide CUP Scholars with hands-on, on-campus, clinical and service-based interprofessional learning opportunities, including in a variety of underserved rural, urban and/or international locations
  • Encourage students to obtain residency training in a program and plan for future practice that emphasizes the care for underserved patients.

Competencies will include the following as they apply to caring for underserved populations

  1. Values/Ethics: CUP Scholars will demonstrate the ability to assert values and ethics of interprofessional practice by placing the interests, dignity and respect of patients at the center of health care delivery, and embracing the cultural diversity and differences of health care teams.
  2. Roles/Responsibilities: CUP Scholars will demonstrate the ability to leverage the unique roles and responsibilities of interprofessional partners to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of patients and populations served.
  3. Interprofessional Communication: CUP Scholars will demonstrate the skills to communicate with patients, families, communities and other health professionals in support of a team approach to preventing disease and disability, maintaining health and treating disease.
  4. Team and Teamwork: CUP Scholars will perform effectively in various team roles to deliver patient/population-centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective and equitable.
  5. Collaborative Leadership: CUP Scholars will possess the skills to work together with all participants, including patients/clients/families, to formulate, implement and evaluate care/services to enhance health outcomes.
  6. Interprofessional Conflict Resolution: CUP Scholars will demonstrate the skills to actively engage self and others, including the patient/client/family, in dealing effectively with interprofessional conflict.
  7. Public Health: CUP Scholars will understand and integrate population health principles and implications (e.g., the social determinants of health) for individual patients, clinical practices and the community in order to improve health and reduce health disparities as well as to contribute to the public health systems in which they practice.

(1–4 are the IPEC Competencies and 5, 6 are the Canadian IPEC Competencies.)

Learning Activities

To qualify for the honors distinction in the Care for the Underserved Pathway, students must successfully participate, at a minimum, in the following learning activities:

  • CUP Student Club during years 1 and 2 (meets monthly)
  • The Interprofessional Team Immersion (IPTI) or the Rural Health Elective
  • TeamSTEPPS certification
  • Two of the following activities
    • Influenza Vaccine Clinic
    • Public Health Emergency Preparedness
    • Public Health Modules (each module counts as one)
  • Nutrition Education Among Vulnerable Populations (SNAP-Ed)
  • One of the following rotations, during their third or fourth year at COM
    • Clinical Interprofessional clerkship
    • Population Health clerkship, or
    • Ghana Cultural Immersion

Additional qualifying activities may include a research project in the care of the underserved. 


  • Interprofessional Education occurs when two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.
  • Collaborative Practice promotes the active participation of relevant cross-disciplinary professions in patient-centered care.


1–4: Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (U.S. IPEC Competencies)

5, 6: Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative Competencies (Canadian IPEC Competencies), pages 15, 17–18

7: Clinical Prevention and Population Health Curriculum Framework for Clinical Health Professions

7: Osteopathic Core Competencies for Medical Students, page 23 Public Health Systems

7: Interprofessional Clinical Prevention and Population Health Education Crosswalk