UNE receives $5 million to support relocation of UNE COM to Portland
The University of New England has received $5 million in federal funding to support construction of the new Harold and Bibby Alfond Center for Health Sciences on the Portland Campus, a pivotal step in relocating the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM) to Portland and establishing a comprehensive health sciences campus in Maine’s largest city.
The relocation of UNE COM from Biddeford will allow UNE to admit more students to the school and bring together all the University’s health professions programs onto a single, interprofessional campus — an unprecedented model for a single campus in New England, in which the students in the state’s only medical school, dental school, and physician assistant program will collaborate directly with their peers in nursing, social work, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dental hygiene, and nurse anesthesia.
The move will also allow UNE to repurpose much-needed space on its Biddeford campus to grow academic programs that also address critical workforce needs, such as marine sciences, business, and criminology, among others.
The financial support from the newly signed federal omnibus spending bill will help bolster Maine’s health care workforce amid a critical nationwide shortage of nurses and physicians.
Last May, at the request of Sens. Susan Collins and Bernie Sanders, UNE President James Herbert testified to a Congressional committee about Maine’s workforce shortages and offered his solutions for the future. Since that time, UNE has worked with Collins to secure federal funding for the COM relocation project.
“As the nation’s oldest state, Maine cannot afford to lose valuable health care workers like we are seeing nationally,” Herbert remarked. “Merging all of UNE’s health professions programs on one, integrated campus will support Maine’s health care infrastructure for years to come, and I am beyond grateful for Sen. Collins’ unwavering support of UNE and its role in making Maine a healthier place.”
This new funding comes in addition to a transformative $30 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to support construction the new COM facility, establishment of a new Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice, and the acceleration of high-growth undergraduate and graduate programs on the Biddeford Campus.
Read additional coverage at the Portland Press Herald, Maine Public, and the Bangor Daily News.