New program will train UNE medical students to treat underserved populations

Care for the Underserved Pathway scholars Class of 2019
Care for the Underserved Pathway scholars Class of 2019

September 06, 2016

Jane Carreiro and Dora Anna Mills talk with CUP Scholars
Jane Carreiro and Dora Anna Mills talk with CUP Scholars

The University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and Center for Excellence in Health Innovation launched the Care for the Underserved Pathway (CUP) on August 31, 2016. The inaugural class of 13 second year medical students, from the Class of 2019, will participate in interprofessional learning activities focused in the care for the underserved that provides the competencies to provide team-based quality care for vulnerable patients and underserved locations in rural and urban Maine and beyond.

Katie Saunders, one of the CUP Scholars and a graduate of Cheverus High School, described how her volunteer trips to the Dominican Republic that started while she was in high school have inspired her to be a physician for the underserved. As a pilot who has traveled widely across her home state of Maine and seen the need here, she remarked, “I want to both see patients and help Maine communities be healthier.”

Jane Carreiro, D.O., dean of COM, addressed the inaugural class of CUP Scholars by sharing how her own experiences with a rural physician mentor early in medical school inspired her to work with underserved populations. “My desire is that CUP will also provide you similarly inspiring experiences and mentors as well as competencies in interprofessional team-based care and public health to help you along your own career path to serve those less fortunate.”

Dora Anne Mills, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., director of the Center for Health Innovation, discussed the variety of service learning activities offered to the students that include influenza vaccine clinics in homeless shelters and veterans clinics, one-week rural immersions, nutrition education among low-income Mainers, and the opportunities for clerkships in a variety of underserved urban, rural, and international locations. “All of these and other activities are provided interprofessionally, meaning alongside students from other professions such as dental medicine, pharmacy, social work, nursing, and physician assistant as well as with the patient as a member of the team, since that is how health care is most effectively delivered – as a team. My hope is that by UNE providing these opportunities for our students, not only will our communities benefit from their service, but even more of our students will choose careers in underserved locations.”

Carreiro and Mills and the 13 CUP Scholars were joined by faculty and administrators from COM and staff from the Center for Health Innovation as well as by leaders from the CUP collaborating organizations of UNE’s Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Shelley Cohen-Konrad, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., F.N.A.P., of UNE’s Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) discussed the campus-based activities sponsored by IPEC that are available to the scholars, including interprofessional mini-grants focused on the underserved. MaryFrances Smith from AHEC described the variety of rural community health rotations that are sponsored by AHEC and are part of the CUP Scholars Program.

The inaugural CUP Scholars, from the UNE COM Class of 2019 are: Nancy Bobrysh, Sara Capobianco, Jenny (Chen Chun) Chiang, Marissa Guzzardo, Tyler Haddad, Jessica Harnisch, Sarah Horton, Frank Jackson, Annie Liu, Katherine Saunders, Eleanor Teoh, Tahlia Wolfgang, and Samuel Wood. CUP Scholars from the COM Class of 2020 are expected to be selected in January.

Overview of UNE Care of the Underserved Pathway
UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation (the Center) have jointly developed and launched the Care for the Underserved Pathway (CUP). This program is implemented in collaboration with UNE’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).

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 UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) students interprofessional (team-based) 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.

CUP Goals:

  • 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.

CUP Learning Activities

To qualify for the honors distinction in the Care for the Underserved Pathway, students participate in a combination of the following

  • CUP Scholars monthly meetings;
  • The Interprofessional Team Immersion (IPTI) for one semester;
  • Rural Health Immersion (one week during March break or end of May, both with some pre-work);
  • TeamSTEPPS certification;
  • Influenza Vaccine Clinic with influenza online module (fall 2016);
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness with online module (fall 2016 with exercise the morning of October 19);
  • Public Health Module (anticipated for spring 2017) each module counts as one);
  • Nutrition Education Among Vulnerable Populations (SNAP-Ed) or similar community-based public health activity;
  • Clinical Interprofessional Clerkship (a type of Enhanced Community Health Rotation);
  • Community Health Clerkship (a type of Enhanced Community Health Rotation);
  • International Cultural Immersion;
  • IPE Mini-Grant Project;
  • IPEC Anchor Events; and/or
  • Annual Maine Public Health Association conference.


CUP Competencies will include the following as they apply to caring for underserved populations (see sources for and details of these competencies at end of this document):

  1. Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice. 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 professionals in health and other fields to support a team approach to promoting and maintaining health as well as preventing and treating disease and disability.
  4. Team and Teamwork. CUP Scholars will perform effectively in various team roles to plan, deliver, and evaluate patient/population-centered care and population health programs and policies that are 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.  

To learn more about the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, visit

To apply, visit 

Groups audience: 

This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.