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January 29, 2024

Acadia Hospital receives $1M grant for psychiatrist training program

Bangor-based Northern Light Acadia Hospital said Monday it has received a $1 million grant to fund its new training residency in psychiatry, which begins in July and will be only the second such program in Maine.

The grant comes from the Manton Foundation, a New York-based, family-run charitable organization that supports a wide range of New England organizations and causes.

Acadia, a 100-bed psychiatric hospital, is launching the residency to help fill the state's chronic shortage of mental health care providers. Like residencies in other medical fields, the four-year program provides on-the-job training for clinicians who have recently earned their medical degrees. The program at Acadia will train four residents in each annual cohort, eventually reaching a total of 16 residents.

Since the location of a medical residency often influences where physicians practice, Acadia hopes to graduate many psychiatrists with a commitment to providing care in Maine. The hospital noted that the state's mental health challenges include diseases related to aging, pediatric mental health and substance use disorder.

Currently, the only psychiatric residency in the state is offered by the MaineHealth system at Maine Medical Center in Portland and Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook.

“Acadia Hospital is committed to improving access to behavioral health care in Maine and workforce development is a critical component to opening doors for those needing services,” said Acadia Hospital President Mark Lukens in a news release. “We are incredibly grateful to the Manton Foundation for their support of our mission and their investment in our new Psychiatric Residency Program.”

On its first day alone, the residency received applications from 494 candidates currently attending medical schools throughout the country. The hospital said it has interviewed 100 applicants for the program, and on March 15 will announce which medical school graduates make up the inaugural class.

The Manton Foundation reported assets of $632 million in its 2022 tax filings. Among the nonprofits it supported were leading health care institutions such as Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. In Maine, the foundation contributed funds to the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, in East Boothbay, and Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, in Camden.

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