Maine AHEC Network receives grant to fund health careers for New Mainers
The Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network and its community partners at the Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN) and the New Mainers Public Health Initiative (NMPHI) were recently awarded a two-year, $100,000 Community Responsive Grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation.
The project — “Strengthening our Healthcare Workforce: Empowering New Mainer Youth to Explore and Pursue Health Careers” — will deliver health career exploration learning activities, career planning support, and leadership skill-building to facilitate entry into the health professions for New Mainer youth from immigrant families in Cumberland and Androscoggin counties, with an aim to increase equity and diversity in the health care workforce and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.
There are five primary components of the project, including: learning opportunities for students to gain exposure to health careers and to receive mentorship; support for student internship opportunities in the health field; college preparation and career planning sessions for youth and their families; leadership and civic engagement learning opportunities; and ongoing support for youth and their families. Graduate students from the AHEC Scholars program will participate in the delivery of learning activities for the project.
The funding allows AHEC — a unit within UNE's Center for Excellence in Public Health — and its partners to build upon a project that was funded over the past five years by the federal Office of Minority Health.
“This grant creates an exciting opportunity for the University to support the work of our community partners in addressing the pressing public health issue of a lack of workforce diversity in the state,” remarked Zoe Hull, M.P.H., Maine AHEC Network program manager. “By engaging in this project, UNE students are gaining important skills that will aid them in practicing greater cultural humility when they enter their professions.”