UNE Announces New Center for Excellence in Aging and Health

Student volunteer at Biddeford Estates

The University of New England will establish a Center for Excellence in Aging and Health, thanks to a recent gift of $1 million from Housing Initiatives of New England in support of new programs and approaches to healthy and active aging. UNE is the largest provider of health care professionals for Maine, with Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Dental Medicine and the Westbrook College of Health Professions, which trains students in several disciplines including nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy and social work. UNE is also a leader in interprofessional education, or IPE as it is known nationally, which results in exemplary team-based health care.

UNE Trustee Cynthia Taylor is the President of Housing Initiatives and helped secure the gift on behalf of its board, noting that board members “were so impressed with UNE’s commitment to health care education and in particular its expertise in geriatrics and gerontology. This contribution to education is allowing me to achieve a career goal in providing healthy solutions for those we serve. I hope that we can support new advances, as well as new programs training students in better ways to serve people aging through the multidisciplinary education UNE offers.”

In making the announcement, President Danielle Ripich said: “This incredible gift will allow UNE to expand on best practices and discoveries in emerging areas of older adult studies. We will begin a search for a Center Director who is an expert in the field, with a track record of funded research that can attract additional expertise and support, to lead us to national prominence and change the way we educate all our students! Never in recent memory has this work been more critical in our country.”

“Your passion,” she said of Taylor, “and this commitment from Housing Initiatives of New England will go on to reach thousands of students and impact hundreds of thousands of lives.” 

Housing Initiatives of New England is a non-profit organization that has been developing affordable apartment communities for New England's seniors since 1990, based on the belief that quality housing combined with supportive services provides better lives for residents. “We take pride in the properties that we own and value the community partnerships that we have developed over the years,” said Taylor, “and this new relationship with UNE is an exciting opportunity.” David Silk, Housing Initiative’s board chair added: “We were very impressed by UNE’s focus on finding better ways to approach and improve aging in our communities.”

“Cyndy’s faith and trust in the University of New England is well placed,” stated UNE Board Chair David Anderson. “They get things done and are well positioned to create whatever future they can envision.”

“In the months and years to come,” according to President Ripich, “UNE will be exploring ways to have the best possible impact with these funds, considering innovative programs and other potential partnerships.”