Published July 13, 2017
The School of Nursing has received more than $2.4 million in funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment among American Indian communities in Western New York.
Funded through three grants, the awards will support the hiring of nursing staff and training of nursing students in rural and underserved areas, development of mental health and substance abuse screening and treatment programs, and provide telehealth access for remote treatment.
“American Indians and Alaskan Natives have endured both limited and differential access to resources, creating disparities in health status and a lack of exposure to quality health care when compared with other racial and ethnic groups,” says Yu-Ping Chang, associate professor and associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing, and principal investigator of a two-year, $1 million HRSA grant.
“They also have increased risks for many health conditions, including mental health and substance abuse, which leads to higher mortality rates.”
Led by Chang, the school will partner with the Tuscarora Health Center, the only primary care clinic serving the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in Lewiston, to increase access to mental health and substance abuse screening and treatment at the facility.
The grants will fund development of an interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) team to lead screenings and behavioral health care, and provide clinical training to graduate students in the School of Nursing and UB School of Social Work.
The project also will include educational and experiential emphasis on cultural sensitivity about American Indian health care beliefs, customs, family dynamics, communication patterns and social determinants of health, which can impact access and adherence to mental health care.
The largest award, a two-year, $1.4 million grant, is provided through the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Program to Tammy Austin-Ketch, clinical professor and assistant dean for MS/DNP programs in the School of Nursing.
The funds will supplement a $1.8 million HRSA grant that Austin-Ketch received in 2016 to increase access to clinical care through a partnership with the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC).
The award supported the hiring of two full-time primary care nurse practitioners who provide services at NFMMC, two American Indian health care clinics — Tuscarora Health Center and Seneca Gaming Clinic — and at the Golisano Center for Community Health, and serve as part-time UB faculty.
The new grant will fund behavioral health services at the clinics, finance the hiring of at least two additional faculty members, provide stipends to students participating in clinical traineeships, and expand telehealth capabilities to include access to consultations from faculty in the UB School of Dental Medicine.
The award also will provide resources to establish a new Clinical Preceptor Liaison Office to lead recruitment, training and retention at clinical sites.
Austin-Ketch also received a one-year, Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship (NAT) grant for more than $22,000 to offer financial assistance to graduate nursing students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in nurse anesthesia at UB.
The award aims to help alleviate the shortage of health professionals in Western New York and increase the quality of care in an aging region.
“The stipends that this grant provides gives exceptional students some financial relief and ultimately increases the size and diversity of the applicant pool for our Doctor of Nursing Practice program,” says Austin-Ketch.
“Since many of our graduates choose to stay in the area, the success of our graduate programs directly impacts the care of those in the Western New York region.”
The programs funded through the grants will help integrate primary and mental health care at the facilities and prevent behavioral health disorders from going undiagnosed and untreated.