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Wegmans School of Nursing Program Addresses Health Care Shortage in Underserved Populations

August 9, 2017

This fall, the St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Nursing will launch an immersive clinical training program designed to prepare nurse practitioner students for clinical practice in medically underserved areas.

Wegmans School of Nursing

The program will be funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Program. This marks the second grant the School has received from HRSA in 12 months; in September 2016, the School’s Mental Health Counseling Department was granted $292,000 to launch the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Counselor Training Program. Both grants were secured in collaboration with the Office of Sponsored Research.

Over the course of two years, the ANEW grant will provide tuition and traineeship support for 25 students enrolled in the School’s master’s level primary care nurse practitioner programs, and three candidates enrolled in the doctor of nursing practice  program. The traineeship program aims to increase the skill level of the primary care workforce, meeting the needs of underserved and at-risk populations in the Finger Lakes region.

“Since our formal inception in 2006, the School has had a demonstrable commitment to serving the unique and changing needs of our community,” said Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of the School. “This new program allows us to strengthen the collaborative partnerships and training programs needed to improve both the quality and availability of primary care in the region.”

Dr. Colleen Donegan, one of the principal authors of the grant, will serve as director of the new project. She said this grant program will address the primary care workforce needs by expanding and establishing clinical learning sites at agencies and organizations that serve rural, inner city, medically underserved, minority and disadvantaged populations. The School will also implement strategies to improve health care access by connecting graduates of the School of Nursing’s primary care nurse practitioner programs for successful transition into primary care employment in rural and/or underserved areas.

“Immersive clinical training experiences will enhance students’ clinical preparation to care for patients in medically underserved areas, thereby supporting  their transition into employment in these areas,” said Donegan, who also serves as director of the School’s nursing graduate programs. “ANEW funding will support the expansion of our academic partnerships to improve models of care for all patients, and we will provide the infrastructure needed to ensure students are supported, provided with mentorship opportunities, and prepared to serve effectively.”

The grant also supports the expansion of the Academic/Practice Partnership between Fisher and Rochester Regional Health, which addresses the financial barrier to accessing advanced practice nursing degrees by providing a tuition discount to RRH employees enrolled in three graduate programs. Cooney Miner said the innovative partnership, which was formalized in 2016, created a coordinated effort between the two organizations to develop best practices to advance nursing practice, improve patient outcomes, and transform health care models.

The St. John Fisher College ANEW project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T94HP30916 of the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) program for $1,210,542 over two years. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.