The Center for Excellence in Public Health (CEPH) engages UNE faculty, students, and community partners in the nexus among health care, public health, and education, to improve the health of local, regional, and global populations through interprofessional learning opportunities, research, and evaluation opportunities and engagement in our community partnerships.
The center was created in 2016 by combining the former Center for Interprofessional Education with some of UNE’s public health programs. With external funding from a variety of federal, state, and private foundations, CEPH contracts with clinical and public health organizations across Maine and northern New England.
CEPH’s interprofessional learning opportunities involve students from across UNE’s health professions programs and colleges. Through these activities, CEPH strengthens UNE’s relationships with external partners, builds a health workforce pipeline to underserved areas in Northern New England, and helps transform the way health care is practiced. CEPH is engaged in the following initiatives:
- Clerkships in hospitals and community health centers in Maine and New Hampshire
- Clinical service-learning experiences for pre-clinical students, including flu vaccine clinics and emergency preparedness exercises
- Care for the Underserved Pathway AHEC Scholars, which provides a select group of students with opportunities that focus on underserved populations, including rural health immersions
- Nutrition service-learning opportunities through the statewide SNAP-Ed Program
- Substance use prevention community service opportunities, such as drug take-back days, through the Substance Use Prevention Services Program.
The center also offers faculty and students research and evaluation opportunities, such as:
- An interprofessional education (IPE) project at Penobscot Community Health Care as part of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Minnesota, which evaluates the impact of clinical IPE
- Research opportunities with SNAP-Ed that serve as a springboard for UNE faculty to obtain further research grants
- Evaluation projects that address a variety of health issues, including chronic disease, opioid use disorder, and interprofessional practice, with graduate research assistants and faculty advisors
Through its public health and interprofessional activities, CEPH provides unique community engagement for UNE, including:
- A fellowship in opioid use disorder and leadership for practicing physicians and physician assistants in Northern New England
- SNAP-Ed nutrition education to more than 173,000 low-income Mainers annually, focusing on how to eat healthier on a budget, through nutrition educators located across the state
- Substance Use Prevention Services through community health coalitions to prevent substance use and misuse, with a focus on youth
- AHEC’s Summer Health Professions Camp at UNE, which focuses on serving rural and minority high school students
- Public health training and workforce development to northern New England’s public health workforce, and including hosting the Maine Health Workforce Forum