The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing has received a $3.9 million, four-year grant that will help the college provide health care to two rural communities through a mobile clinic. The grant will also allow the college to integrate rural health education into its undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) grant is called Teaching and Learning for Students through Partnerships with Informal People for Health and Lifestyle Promotion (STEP UP and HELP). It focuses on access to the Lake and Lauderdale areas of West Tennessee, which have been designated by HRSA as unprotected.

Dr. Diana Dedmon

“There are many people in Lake and Lauderdale counties who are in poverty because of the difficulty in accessing care,” said Assistant Professor Diana Dedmon, DNP, FNP-BC, who is the grant’s principal investigator. “It’s great to know that these two communities will benefit from this grant.”

Lake and Lauderdale counties have the second and thirteenth highest poverty rates among the 95 Tennessee counties, respectively, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Report on Tennessee for 2021. Lake County has the highest rates of low birth rates and smoking. Lauderdale County has the second highest rate of diabetes and obesity among adults and the fourth highest rate of adult smoking. Life expectancy in both regions is low in countries and countries.

“This is an exciting grant that can change the reality of the world for health and quality of life in these communities. The work supported by this grant will also help students to know the special needs of rural people with the goal of working in rural areas.”

College of Nursing Dean Wendy Amakonda, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP

The first six months of the grant will focus on building relationships and meeting with local community advisory organizations to identify needs and develop a plan to meet those needs, said Dr. Dedmon. In the first year, the charity will also work on purchasing and restoring a vehicle to serve as a mobile clinic.

The main objective of the grant is to establish a mobile health unit to provide care to vulnerable people who do not have access to medical care. “There are rural doctors who have dedicated their work to change in these districts. The service does not want to compete with service providers, but to work with them to provide more access to services, “said Dr. Dedmon. Some care will be provided directly on the mobile phone, and others can be provided through telehealth. Mobile health room it will be staffed by a nurse practitioner and medical assistant.

Dr. Christie Manasco

Another major goal of the grant is to develop the nursing workforce and develop the cultural competence of nurses serving rural patients. Students in the college’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program will have the opportunity to earn microcredentials in electives that prepare graduate nurses to improve health, access, and outcomes for at-risk populations.

The Rural Scholars program will be established in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in the following areas: family nurse, psychiatric nurse, and nurse-midwife. Students in the program will complete 50 percent of their clinical hours on a mobile phone clinic and will focus their DNP professional project on rural health issues.

Assistant Professor Christie Manasco, PhD, RN, who is the co-investigator of the grant, will lead the rural education component of the BSN program.

“As the first of its kind in West Tennessee, the mobile health team will help address the unique needs of people in the Lake and Lauderdale areas, while developing a workforce of nurses who are prepared to improve the health of the underserved,” he said.

Assistant Professor Christie Manasco, PhD, RN

Dr. Lisa Beasley

Assistant Professor Lisa Beasley, DNP, APRN, NP-C, RN, also co-investigates the grant and will direct the DNP Rural Scholars Program. The opportunity to have nurses lead a community of healthy, active people to support the social needs of the health care community in Lake and Lauderdale Counties will not only benefit the vulnerable population, but will help strengthen the workforce. rural health care. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be able to develop their critical thinking skills to better understand their culture and understand how health factors affect patient and population health outcomes. ”

Dr. Dedmon, who grew up in Lauderdale County and worked there as a nurse, said she hopes the scholarship portion of the grant will expose nursing students to the benefits of serving the rural community. “It’s very rewarding to serve in rural areas where you can connect with patients and their families individually,” he said.

In addition to the treatment researcher and co-investigators, the team includes the following: Assistant Professor Crystal Walker, PhD, DNP, FNP-C, infectious disease specialist; Assistant Professor Jackie Sharp, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, psychologist; Professor Sarah Rhoads, PhD, DNP, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, APRN, FAAN, telehealth expert; Assistant Dean of Research Ansley G. Stanfill, PhD, RN, FAAN, distinguished health professional; Professor Anne Alexandrov, PhD, AG-ACNP-BC, RN, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN, clinical psychologist; and Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP, women’s health specialist.

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