The University of New England is receiving a $300,000 donation from the Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation to support scholarships for the university’s online graduate programs for public health.

The donation will pay for scholarships and other costs for about 15 to 30 students.

Maine “faces a public health workforce shortage that is projected to get larger in the near future. This is of great concern to many Maine communities where public health resources and services are already limited,” according to a university news release.

The three-year grant will pay for scholarships for students who pursue public health graduate certificates or master’s degrees, and pay for “field experiences working in Maine’s underserved communities.”

The university is partnering with public health care providers and organizations to recruit students into UNE’s graduate program.

“We are looking forward to recruiting candidates from across Maine to enroll in this unique scholarship opportunity that will strengthen Maine’s public health system,” said Edmund Cervone, director of business development at UNE Online, in a statement.

UNE earlier this month won approval for a $93 million plan to move the state’s only medical school from Biddeford to its Portland campus. The move will increase its size and allow the school to bring more desperately needed doctors into the state’s health care workforce, according to the university.

The Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation, based in Delaware, has donated to other Maine causes, such as LifeFlight of Maine and Jackson Laboratory.

“The Rossi Foundation is delighted to provide the initial funding for these public health scholarships, which we want to benefit as many people in the state as possible,” said John Raben, president of the Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation, in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately illustrated the critical need to provide more and improved public health services throughout Maine, specifically the need to address the state’s public health workforce shortage.”

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