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New program at UNE will aim to address Maine's mental health provider shortage

The University of New England is launching a new degree program for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.

Karen Pardue oversees strategic initiatives at UNE. She says the program will help alleviate A shortage of mental health care providers, which, according to the Rural Health Information Hub, exist in parts of 12 Maine counties.

"Our intent is to place students literally from Kittery to Fort Kent," she says. "We really do want to focus on some of the challenges of rurality. We want to focus on some of the vulnerable populations that Maine is seeing right now."

Those populations include immigrants and refugees, and people who are homeless, or have substance use disorder.

Pardue says UNE is offering the program thanks to a $2-million dollar gift. The three graduate year program is slated to begin in 2025 and will enroll 15 students each year.