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UNE holds panels on addiction with experts and community leaders

Panelists lead a discussion on the UNE Portland Campus
Panelists lead a discussion on the UNE Portland Campus

September 21, 2017

Biddeford panel
"Being on the panel helped me refocus myself and develop a better idea of what I wanted to do, as an individual, in order to make a difference," said medical student Jonathan Shecter, center.

The University of New England Interprofessional Education Collaborative, in partnership with UNE’s SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment) program, held panel discussions about substance use disorder on the Biddeford and Portland campuses.

The panels featured experts on substance use disorders, members of the recovery community and law enforcement as well as UNE students, faculty and staff members working toward addiction awareness, research and improved access to treatment.

 "As knowledgeable as I am about substance use disorder, I found the panel discussion to be extremely enlightening," said Clay Graybeal, Ph.D., M.S.W., professor of Social Work. "The panelists demonstrated how the interprofessional approach to addressing substance use goes well beyond health care providers to a community of caring professionals and citizens including criminal justice, public health, education and business."

The panels were well attended, with students and community members engaging in lively dialogue around issues such as treatment options, the stigma around substance use disorder and ways to address the underlying causes.

"Being on the panel helped me refocus myself and develop a better idea of what I wanted to do, as an individual, in order to make a difference in the field of substance use disorders," said second year medical student Jonathan Shecter. "Listening to others with similar backgrounds to mine as well as individuals who came from different backgrounds but addressed the same issues gave me some insight into how I can best focus my efforts in order to develop a project that will benefit the community and educate me as a future physician."

UNE’s Collaborative SBIRT Training for Maine’s Future Health Profession Leaders is a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The first of its kind to be awarded in Maine, this grant utilizes an interprofessional approach to the development and implementation of training programs to teach UNE students across eight health professions the skills necessary to provide evidence-based Screening and Brief Intervention as well as Referral to Treatment for patients who are at risk for a substance use disorder. Additionally, the training will develop the leadership skills needed in order to champion the implementation of SBIRT throughout our healthcare system with the ultimate goal of helping clients avoid substance use disorders.

Watch the Portland panel.

To learn more about the University of New England’s Interprofessional Education Collaborative visit

To apply, visit

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