The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center has been designated by HRSA as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). The purpose of FQHCs is to serve communities that may have financial difficulties, language barriers, geographic barriers, or other specific needs. (Photo by Alex Dolce)
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing received a four-year, $3.9 million grant. create healthier populations in rural and underserved regions.
Mobile healthcare units have proliferated in an effort to reduce barriers to healthcare and provide a range of services from preventive to curative. Although mobile health care units are generally considered a motorized vehicle that contains equipment to provide clinical services, the Academy of Sciences has called for new strategies for health care and service delivery, as well as innovative educational methods.
FAU’s Care-Based Community-Academic Connections for Excellence (CARE): Nurse-Led Mobile Health Unit project aims to increase access to health care for rural and vulnerable populations through mobile health units staffed by an interdisciplinary team of professionals. The nurse-led mobile health unit will provide technology-enabled, culturally appropriate, evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention, primary and mental health care services in underserved communities.
The project targets underserved populations in Belle Glade and West Palm Beach, including families with children, veterans, the homeless, women and children in the foster care of domestic violence, and youth who have aged out of the foster care system, which are the most at-risk populations. due to health disparities and low literacy.
FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing will work with the nurse-led FAU/Northwest Community Health Alliance Community Health Center (FAU/NCHA Community Health Center) to implement this new approach to deliver these services where they are needed most. The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center has been designated by HRSA as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). The purpose of FQHCs is to serve communities that may have financial difficulties, language barriers, geographic barriers, or other specific needs. FAU’s nursing faculty will direct undergraduate and graduate nursing students who will pursue a program in disease prevention, health promotion, primary care and mental health services.
Other community partners for the project include West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Fresh Truck, The Salvation Army Palm Beach County, Vita Nova, YWCA Palm Beach County and Glades Area Ministerial Association.
The grant project director is Beth King, Ph.D., associate professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and coordinator of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Concentration. Karethy Edwards, Dr.PH, professor and dean of academic programs and executive director of the FAU/NCHA Center for Community Health, will serve as director of clinical services for the mobile health department. Karen Chambers, DNP, associate professor and family nurse practitioner, will serve as project coordinator/clinician.
“In line with HRSA’s priorities in mental health and reproductive health, family planning, and teen pregnancy initiatives, our innovative educational care community-academic relationship project, which we call the CARE Model, has the ultimate goal of creating healthier rural communities.” and medically underserved populations,” King said. “We are excited to work with our exceptional community partners to realize HRSA’s goal of increasing and strengthening a diverse and culturally competent nursing workforce to eliminate health care disparities in these communities.”
The project team will recruit, fund, and train Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and BSN-DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) pre-practice students from diverse backgrounds to provide care to rural and medically underserved communities. FAU will collaborate with its new and existing community partners to address health equity issues through academic service learning projects for nursing students, long-term clinical experiences through a mobile health unit, and mentorship.
Undergraduate and graduate students in the program will provide primary care and mental health services and be admitted by board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurses, family practice nurses, or adult gerontology nurses, with the assistance of collaborating physicians via telehealth as needed. Undergraduate nursing students will be mentored by an RN coordinator on a mobile health unit, demonstrating evidence-based practice and culturally appropriate care.
“Instead of relying on our medically underserved patients to come to our FAU/NCHA Community Health Center for their health care needs, we will now be able to reach them with this important HRSA grant,” said Safiya George, Ph.D. Dean, FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “Importantly, by bringing a mobile health unit to rural and underserved communities in our region, our CARE nursing students will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the impact of social determinants of health.”
This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with an award of $976,127.00, 0 percent funded from non-governmental sources in the first year of the grant. The content is that of the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the official opinion or endorsement of HRSA, HHS, or the US government. For more information, visit HRSA.gov.