Care for the Underserved Pathways AHEC Scholars Program

An Honors Distinction Program

The Care for the Underserved Pathways AHEC Scholars Program (CUP AHEC Scholars Program) is a two-year honors distinction program offered by the UNE Center for Excel­lence in Health Innovation, the Maine AHEC Network in partnership with its AHEC Centers across the state, and participating programs at the University of New England. The programs pro­vides opportunities for health professions students to increase leadership skills, gain competencies in interprofessional education and team-based practice, understand and address health disparities and the social determinants of health in rural and underserved communities, and under­stand the role of practice transformation in addressing significant health and public health issues.

CUP AHEC Scholars will participate in group and individ­ual learning activities as well as community based clinical and non-clinical activities in a variety of rural and urban underserved settings. The goal of the program is to increase the number of health pro­fessions students who practice in rural and underserved communities upon completion of their health profession training.

Learning Objectives and Goals

  • Gain competencies in Interprofessional Education, including team-based, patient-centered models of care.
  • Understand the impact of individual and population factors on health and healthcare, including: economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environments.
  • Understand the role of health providers in addressing health disparities and the social determinants of health, particularly for rural and underserved communities.
  • Recognize the role of evidence-based practice and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) methods in practice transformation to address significant health and public health issues, particularly in primary care settings.
  • Appreciate the role of cultural competence in the design and delivery of health care and increase cultural competency skills.
  • Gain knowledge of emerging health issues (e.g. substance use and geriatric care) likely to be encountered in future practice and strategies to address these.

Eligibility Criteria

Students should have an interest in health care for rural or underserved communities, and be currently enrolled in a health professions program — including but not limited to — osteopathic medicine, dental hygiene, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and social work.

Application Process

Interested students can apply online.

Program Requirements

In order to receive the CUP AHEC Scholars Honors Distinction, students must complete 40 hours of community-based experiential training and 40 hours of didactic education both years of the program.

The didactic education will occur through a combination of three meetings per semester with all CUP AHEC Scholars, online modules, IPEC campus-based events, and didactic preparation for community-based experiences. Both community-based experiential training and didactic education will focus on six core topic areas, including: Interprofessional Education, Social Determinants of Health, Practice Transformation, Behavioral Health Integration, Cultural Competency, and Current and Emerging Health Issues. 

Participation Benefits

Students who are selected into the CUP AHEC Scholars Program and meet all of the participation requirements, receive the following benefits:

  • Priority to participate in highly sought-after Center for Excellence in Health Innovation and Interprofessional Education Collaborative learning activities such as the Interprofessional Team Immersion (IPTI), the Rural Health Immersion (RHI), Community Flu Clinics, Enhanced Interprofessional Clerkships, and more.
  • Increased communication skills by engaging with those who live in rural and underserved communities.
  • A deeper understanding of communities through opportunities to hear from — and interact with — providers, policy makers, community leaders, and others who care for those in rural and underserved communities.
  • Important and desired competencies in interprofessional care and care for the underserved.
  • A Care for the Underserved Pathway AHEC Scholars Honors Distinction, which includes a tailored acknowledgement letter outlining your participation.
  • A CUP AHEC Scholars Honor Cord to wear at graduation.

UNE 2018 Rural Health Immersion to Washington County, Maine


Note: there are no additional costs associated with the CUP AHEC Scholars Program. Neither scholarships nor loan forgiveness are awarded for participation in this program.