On October 6, the Harold Alfond Foundation announced that the University of New England is one of eight Maine institutions that will benefit from an unprecedented and transformational $500 million investment made by the foundation in an effort to confront the state’s long-term economic challenges.
This $30 million gift, the largest in UNE’s history, will support the construction of a new state-of-the-art home for the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) on the Portland Campus, the establishment of a new Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice, and the acceleration of high-growth undergraduate and graduate programs on the Biddeford Campus to meet student demand and critical workforce needs.
The move will further integrate all of UNE’s professional health care education programs with its health-related Centers for Excellence, including those in Collaborative Education, Aging and Health, Digital Health, and Public Health, amplifying and providing a new cohesiveness around their work.
UNE is a national leader in team-based health care education, known as Interprofessional Education (IPE), which prepares future health care providers to collaborate in team-based health care. It provides opportunities for students to learn from and with each other, to understand the roles and responsibilities of health care team members, and to gain communication and problem-solving skills.
By relocating the UNE COM to the same campus as its other health professions programs and launching the Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice, UNE will have a depth of health care programs on a single campus that is nearly unique in American higher education.
“At no time in the past century has the critical role that health care workers play in our lives been more clear,” said UNE President James Herbert. “In this time of COVID-19, we are reminded every day of the importance of training the next generation of health care professionals to UNE’s mission. The Harold Alfond Foundation’s generous gift will allow UNE to increase the number of doctors and other health care professionals we educate and to better serve the state and region by training students to work across health disciplines in integrated teams, providing improved outcomes for their patients. By allowing us to grow undergraduate and graduate programs on our Biddeford Campus that are linked to workforce needs, this grant will also enable us to expand our positive influence on Maine’s economy and help shepherd in a new wave of economic prosperity for our state.”