k-12 Outreach program
The Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences' K-12 Outreach Program brings together UNE faculty, professional staff, and students and puts them into area K-12 schools. We bring a variety of short interactive lessons (called modules), each tailored for different age groups, to teach students about neuroscience, including brain anatomy, function, and injury.
We also host an annual Brain Fair to engage the local community in brain exploration. Our most popular outreach event, the goal of the fair is to promote interest in STEM disciplines (neuroscience in particular) within the greater community.
The CEN also moderates the Southern Maine Brain Bee. Organized by the Society for Neuroscience, the Brain Bee is a national quiz bowl for high school students. It is designed to promote brain awareness while motivating students to pursue careers in the neurosciences. Learn more about the National Brain Bee.
Pain Education and Advocacy
The Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences (CEN) is involved in pain education and advocacy in a number of ways. First, along with UNE’s Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE), CEN brings together groups of health care professionals, scientists, educators, scholars, and students who share a passion for transforming pain prevention, care, education, and research.
Through a series of CECE events, current chronic pain patients have been invited to speak to medical students about their pain experiences. This opportunity has created a connection between the local chronic pain community and UNE and has assisted with integrating pain education into the curriculum at the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
CEN has also created a series of video narratives of patients with pain conditions. These materials have been crafted in hopes of training future practitioners to provide the highest quality of care to patients experiencing chronic pain.
The Pain Chronicles
We are very active in educating the local community about chronic pain. Together with the UNE Library, CEN created an art exhibit called Pain Chronicles, which was on display in the UNE Art Gallery in the Ketchum Library. The exhibit featured dramatic color images of cells of the nervous system, from fruit flies and mammals, which together illustrate the diverse nature of neurons involved in the development of chronic pain.
These images, taken by UNE neuroscience investigators (students, professional staff, and faculty) use cutting-edge microscopy to demonstrate the simple and elegant beauty of cells that cause pain. The exhibition also featured self-narratives captured on film and portraits of individuals with chronic pain. Together, these mediums provide unique insight into the lives and challenges faced by chronic pain patients.