UNE to relocate medical school to Portland, receives $30 million gift from Alfond Foundation
BIDDEFORD — The University of New England plans to relocate its College of Osteopathic Medicine from Biddeford to a new facility in Portland in 2023 with the help of a grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation.
The University of New England has campuses in Biddeford and Portland as well as Tangier, Morocco.
UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, with 711 students, is located at the Biddeford campus. It is the only medical school in the state and the university’s only graduate-level health program in Biddeford. The university has several other areas of study in the health professions which are located in Portland and include dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, dental hygiene, and nurse anesthesia are situated on the Portland Campus.
UNE announced at a press conference on Tuesday that it had received a gift of $30 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation toward the construction of a state-of-the-art health sciences facility at its Portland.
The university hopes to break ground on the new building in the spring of 2022 and is anticipating completion in fall of 2023. The College of Osteopathic Medicine will relocate from Biddeford to this new building on the Portland campus. The building will also be home to a new institute of interprofessional education and practice, and will allow UNE’s already established team-based health care training program to be expanded.
“At UNE are medical students learn side by side with our pharmacy students. Our nursing students work with those studying social work. Future dentists learn with physical therapists,” said UNE President James Herbert. Research confirms interprofessional education and practice lead to better patient outcomes, greater patient satisfaction, reduced medical errors, and reduces provider burnout, said Herbert.
Herbert said this gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation was by far the largest gift in UNE’s history.
The Harold Alfond Foundation supports programs in Maine that benefit education, health care, and youth and community development.
Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation said the foundation had been a long-time supporter of the University of New England and was happy to help the school again.
“We believe that two fundamental components of a bright future for Maine are a high-quality education and a healthy population, and UNE is a significant contributor toward both of these goals. With this grant, UNE is poised to take its contributions to the state to new heights and will be instrumental in Maine’s future success,” said Powell
The total cost of the new facility will be about $70 million, and UNE will raise additional funds through private and public sources.
The proposed facility in Portland will be 110,000 square feet and will include space to significantly increase the number of students the College of Osteopathic Medicine can accommodate. It will also be able to accommodate a digital health teaching enter to focus on telehealth and digital health technologies such as wearable devices, artificial intelligence, robotics, and health data discovery and application.
Moving the medical school to Portland will free up space to grow undergraduate and graduate programs at the Biddeford campus, said Herbert. This could benefit programs in natural and social sciences, humanities and business and lead to the development of new degree programs in areas such as aquaculture, criminal justice, sports media communication and entrepreneurship.
“This extraordinary gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation will jumpstart the transformation of UNE’s campuses and academic programs to the benefit of our students and to the people of Maine,” said Herbert.
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