AHEC CUP Scholars Participate in Maine’s Fisherman’s Forum 

On March 3, UNE’s AHEC CUP scholars went to Rockport to focus on Maine’s fishing and lobstering community. They attended the Fisherman’s Forum, an annual event that fosters interaction, collaboration, education, and connections for supportive resources among working water people.

A collaborative effort with USM’s school of nursing resulted in on site student health screening activities for the fishermen and their families. The students were able to practice working as a multidisciplinary group of peers; in the mix were COM, Dental, and nursing students and their preceptors. 

The AHEC Scholars led the hearing screen station and in just one afternoon administered approximately 40 hearing screens with follow up referrals as needed. They distributed information about hearing health, along with ear plugs to help participants take action that very day by using hearing protection. 

Through AHEC, UNE’s Center for Excellence in Public Health may engage more deeply with the Fishermen’s Forum in the future, noting that the lobstering/fishing community is an important and often difficult to access population in Maine. We also hope to reach the coastal and island communities more consistently year-round through multiple outreach initiatives and by exploring more collaboration with USM Nursing’s Casco Bay Community Partnership, as we share a mission to increase access and bring health equity to the island/fishing communities, as well as other underserved populations, within Maine. 

While the Fisherman’s Forum was virtual for the past 3 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s return to an in-person event demonstrated its value within the community-the energy was palpable! The student led participation gave us the opportunity to assess needs and strategize as we plan meaningful engagement with Maine’s fishing community going forward. 

Pictured: Heidi Fox (COM), Taryn Leach (CDM), Sarah Engels, (CDM)