About the Center for Excellence in Public Health

The Center for Excellence in Public Health works to create a world where everyone has fair and just opportunities for health.

About Our Work

We advance health equity by engaging UNE faculty, professional staff, students, and community partners to generate new knowledge, contribute to best practices, and expand local self-sufficiency for health, all while creating learning opportunities for students.

Working with Students

We encourage UNE students to get involved in our work. If you are interested in Public Health, CEPH can provide you with valuable experience in a variety of public health projects and research. As a student, you’ll have opportunities to contribute to solutions for public health problems in local, state, federal, and global arenas.

Students who would like to get involved with CEPH should email Shay Ayres at sayres@stacypendergrast.net.

U N E center for excellence in public health staff work taking clothing and food donations

I’ve been able to take on a role as a student research assistant [at CEPH]. We are working on a project called Reducing Student Exposure to Digital Food and Beverage Marketing. I have a background working in a digital wellness lab so it’s been cool to integrate that into my time as a student and research here." — Summer Moukalled ’25

Working with UNE Faculty

CEPH aims to provide UNE faculty with a vibrant community for research and scholarship through interprofessional and multidisciplinary partnerships on grants and contracts. We can provide a space for exploring innovative solutions to health problems, support for grant submissions, financial management of grants, and the opportunity to partner with seasoned public health professionals. 

Faculty are encouraged to email Michele Polacsek at mpolacsek@stacypendergrast.net to learn more.

Working with Community Partners

We partner with all types of local and regional organizations, including universities, health departments, non-profits, health service providers, and beyond. We can provide your organization with support for developing grant proposals, program evaluation, needs assessment, program planning, workforce development, and more, with a particular focus on substance use prevention, nutrition education, and policy. You’ll have access to UNE resources, such as the UNE Office of Research Integrity, the RedCap online survey tool, qualitative and quantitative analysis software, and the password-protected data warehousing required for human subjects’ research. 

If you’re interested in seeing how partnering with CEPH can help your organization, please email Michele Polacsek at mpolacsek@stacypendergrast.net.

U N E students particpate in snap-ed through working with the center for excellence in public health

Our Flagship Programs

Our portfolio of programs includes statewide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), Maine Area Health Education Center Network (AHEC), program evaluation, nutrition and food marketing policy research, and public health and interprofessional workforce development.


For more information and questions, email Cammy Samuelson.

Meet the CEPH professional staff



CEPH’s 2023 digital newsletter presents some of our highlights and accomplishments for the past year. Read about our presentations, reports, publications, and center highlights