UNE partners with Biddeford Manufacturer Thermoformed Plastics to supply health professions students with face shields

UNE President James Herbert speaks to reporters with Paul Tyson, Thermoformed Plastics of New England founder, general manager
UNE President James Herbert speaks to reporters with Paul Tyson, Thermoformed Plastics of New England (TPNE) founder and general manager. UNE has purchased 2,000 face shields from TPNE to provide to health professions students when they return to campus.

The University of New England has made a purchase of 2,000 protective face shields from Biddeford-based Thermoformed Plastics of New England (TPNE) to be used by its dental, medical, and other health professions students as the University prepares to welcome them back to campus later this summer.

The shields will serve as personal protective equipment (PPE) for students and faculty in the College of Dental Medicine for all direct patient care except routine procedures, as well as for students and faculty in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM), who will wear them for clinical skills training and practice while learning various procedures and examinations.

Students in certain other health professions programs will also be supplied with face shields to meet their program needs.

The purchase from TPNE comes as part of the University’s commitment to educating health care professionals to meet the pressing health needs of today, including the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“One thing has become very clear and that is our ability to reopen education, and part of doing that is proper personal protective equipment,” said UNE President James D. Herbert, Ph.D. “These products from Thermoformed Plastics are exactly the kind of PPE that is going to be needed for us to serve our communities and train the next generation of health care professionals.”

The face shields will also be used by physicians and nurse practitioners from the Division of Geriatric Medicine, within UNE COM, to provide MatureCare services to 1,200 older adults in nursing homes across Maine.

Use of face shields falls under guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and various disciplinary professional associations including the American Dental Education Association.

The organizations stipulate that shields should be worn during all procedures that can create aerosols — which can spread COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus — including dental procedures. The shields will also be worn in conjunction with N95 respirators and surgical masks, per federal guidelines.

“It’s our pleasure to be providing PPE to people all over the world as we continue to navigate this crisis, and we are pleased to be serving Maine and its people, helping to keep them safe,” said TPNE Founder and General Manager Paul Tyson.

The purchase from TPNE is part of UNE’s broader strategy to partner with local businesses whenever possible.

“We are always looking to partner with local companies wherever possible, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Thermoformed Plastics,” Herbert said. “Sometimes, the very best quality products are right in your very own backyard, and the ones made here in Biddeford are of the highest quality available."

Read coverage of this news in WTMW, WGME CBS 13, WABI 5, and Saco Bay News.

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Herbert and Tyson load boxes of face shields into a van for transport to UNE.
Herbert and Tyson load boxes of face shields into a van for transport to UNE.
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President Herbert wears a face shield manufactured by Biddeford-based Thermoformed Plastics of New England.
President Herbert wears a face shield manufactured by Biddeford-based Thermoformed Plastics of New England.

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