November 18, 2016
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murphy released a historic report on November 18, 2016 bringing attention to the drug crisis in America and calling for action. The report, “Facing Addiction in America,” points to the more than 27 million people in the United States who reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs. It recommends embedding prevention, treatment, and recovery services into the larger health care system to increase access to care, improve quality of services, and produce improved outcomes.
The University of New England is well along the path of following the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendations, as Dora Anne Mills, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, UNE vice president for Clinical Affairs and director of the Center for Health Innovation, told the Portland Press Herald in an interview about the report. According to Mills, UNE is unique in offering interprofessional education in substance misuse prevention, screening, and treatment, to its health professions students in collaboration with its community partners. UNE’s health professions students include those in: Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Dental Medicine, Public Health, Physician Assistant, Nursing, Social Work, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Dental Hygiene, Athletic Training, Applied Exercise Science, Nurse Anesthesia and Nutrition.
Specific examples include:
Prevention: UNE's Center for Health Innovation administers the statewide substance abuse prevention grant with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine hosts Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition, which was awarded a 5-year Drug Free Communities Prevention Grant in 2015. This grant currently focuses on building the capacity of a local coalition called Project Alliance and providing prevention programming targeting teen underage drinking and marijuana use. It is funded through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Screening: Through its Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant from U.S. DHHS (SAMHSA), UNE is offering its health professions students training on screening and referring patients for substance use.
Treatment: UNE’s health professions students are offered an array of education and other learning opportunities on the treatment of substance misuse through teaching multi-faceted treatments for chronic pain and other risk and related factors for substance misuse. These learning opportunities are frequently offered on in an interprofessional setting, with students of various health professions learning to work together, preparing them for improved cooperation and teamwork in their future health careers.
Research: UNE’s research around neuroscience, pharmacology and chronic pain through the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences provides students with opportunities to work at the forefront of potential solutions to the substance misuse and abuse epidemic. The UNE Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function (COBRE) was established in 2012 through funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The Center’s mission is to significantly contribute to the scientific understanding of the neurobiology of chronic pain, facilitating the discovery and development of novel therapies. The primary focus of the Center is to provide support to several junior scientists as they establish independent, extramurally funded research programs.
Continuing Education: UNE sponsors education programs related to substance misuse throughout northern New England in our accredited continuing education offices to current health professionals.
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions