Bell Atlantic Foundation Grant to Help Improve Curriculum, Address Health-Care Needs

Release Date: January 12, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new interdisciplinary pilot program to enrich the education of University at Buffalo students in the health professions and to provide vital health-care information to the Southern Tier community is being developed through a $25,000 one-year grant from the Bell Atlantic Foundation, formerly the NYNEX Foundation.

The 1997 Bell Atlantic Excellence in Education Award in the Innovator Category will support the program, which involves the cooperative efforts of the UB schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Wegmans Supermarkets.

"Helping improve the quality of education in the communities that we serve is vitally important to Bell Atlantic," said Jeannine Higgins, director of community relations for Bell Atlantic in Western New York. "The University at Buffalo continues to distinguished itself through innovative programs and Bell Atlantic is proud to be a part of this effort."

According to a nursing-school study supported by the New York State Department of Health, a severe shortage of health-care professionals and minimal access to health-care education exists in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties. The pilot program's two-tier approach in education and community involvement will address these issues, and, at the same time, curriculum development at UB.

Under the guidance of community consultants and in partnership with Wegmans, students will provide community education on health issues related to immunization along the lifespan. UB will link with two Wegmans on-site conference classrooms to enable students and health professionals in these outlying areas to interact and communicate with members of the community.

Mecca S. Cranley, dean of the UB nursing school, said that setting up the program in an interdisciplinary framework will have a far-reaching, positive impact on both UB students and the community.

"This program will provide health-care students with valuable clinical knowledge and experience in areas that are not routinely covered in the current curriculum," she noted. "It also serves the health-care needs of the community and is valuable in outreach education, as well as offers faculty members the opportunity to teach more effectively in an interdisciplinary environment and to interact more productively with their health-care colleagues."

The pilot program will be under the direction of Marsha Marecki, UB associate professor of nursing and clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology; Susan Bruce, UB clinical assistant professor of nursing; Mary Ann Ludwig, clinical associate professor of nursing/media coordinator; Howard Forman, UB clinical assistant professor of pharmacy and director of continuing education for the School of Pharmacy, and Frank Schimpfhauser, Ph.D., assistant dean for educational evaluation and research in the UB medical school.

As an integral part of the professional advanced-practice nursing curriculum, faculty members and community-based professionals trained in interdisciplinary teaching and practice, funded by a 1996 NYNEX Excellence in Education Award, will offer a pharmacology course. The course, scheduled to start this spring, will be held in conjunction with a continuing-education option for pharmacists at the Wegmans sites.

The first community education program will be held this summer.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation administers all domestic and international philanthropic grants on behalf of Bell Atlantic. It seeks to provide opportunities for non-profit organizations to apply new technology to the programs and services they offer, advance their mission and give people the tools and means to improve their lives and achieve their goals. The foundation's philanthropic emphasis is on providing grants for technology and education to programs focused on the cities and towns served by Bell Atlantic, from Maine to Virginia. Most of this support is centered on making technology more available to students, as well as teachers, service organizations and cultural institutions with youth programs.