URI Nursing Professor Wins $1.6M Federal Grant To Create Partnerships With Two Health Centers

[November 10, 2015] – A $1.6 million federal grant has been awarded to University of Rhode Island Nursing Professor Denise Coppa to establish academic and clinical partnerships with two Rhode Island community health centers.

“This is an endorsement of our program,” Coppa said in a statement. “All URI nurse practitioner students will be prepared to a high level of safe, quality, culturally fluent health care within the complex practice-based environment of the nation’s evolving health care system. This grant project is a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, which is calling for new models that address access to primary care by underrepresented groups.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration grant will support collaboration between URI’s College of Nursing and Providence Community Health Centers and Thundermist Health Centers to improve advanced nursing practice and primary care access for medically underserved individuals. Many of them live in poverty, according to the news release.

The centers will use College of Nursing clinical faculty to partner with their own nurse practitioners to mentor students in their agencies and patient homes. The mentoring will help prepare students for their careers after graduation.

The project also calls for URI and the agencies to prepare 109 family nurse practitioner and adult/gerontological nurse practitioner students over three years at either the master’s degree or doctoral levels. Twenty-five percent of those enrolled also will be from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition, Coppa and her team will research patient satisfaction with care, level of competency among nurse practitioner students, patient outcomes, workforce development and enhancement of nurse practitioner clinical education, as URI must demonstrate the effectiveness of the project to the federal government.

Through the grant, URI will hire four new nurse practitioner faculty members, two of whom will be assigned to Thundermist. At its Woonsocket branch, faculty members will provide primary care in patients’ homes and oversee nurse practitioner candidates. The other two will provide primary care and oversee students at the Providence Community Health Centers.

“The home visits resemble the public health models of the 1940s, when nurses visited families in their homes and assessed the entire environment – health of family members, sanitation and home conditions,” Coppa said.

According to information from URI, the university was one of 21 schools picked from 300 that applied nationwide for the grant.