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College of Nursing receives $1.8 million federal grant to meet a community need

A four-year grant of more than $1.8M to the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be used to increase the number of family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (FPMHNP) in rural communities and in medically underserved communities, such as Syracuse.

The grant is part of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education Training program (BHWET) at HRSA and is designed to develop a culturally competent and diverse workforce.

The grant will be used primarily to expand the college’s recruitment efforts to attract nurses from the targeted communities to its master’s and doctorate degree programs that specialize in family psychiatric mental health. The nurse practitioners students will have a focus on the management of patients with psychiatric disorders and comorbidities, such as substance abuse, and the integration of behavioral health into primary care. Upon graduation, the expectation is that these FPMHNPs will practice in medically underserved and/or rural areas.

According to Bambi A. Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP, the first year of the grant will provide up to 20 stipends to nurses enrolled in the college’s Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) master’s degree program. Up to 3 stipends will be provided to FPMHNPs enrolled in the college’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. The number of stipends will increase each of the remaining three years.

“We are very excited about this HRSA award,” said Carkey, assistant professor in the College of Nursing. “Given the economic challenges of today, this support will enable more nurses to seek advanced practice education and help to meet critical and complex behavioral health care needs in our medically underserved and rural communities.”

“As the director of the FPMHNP program and principal investigator on this grant, I am grateful to be part of our dedicated (HRSA-BHWET) team: Grant Director Karen Klingman, Data Manager Alice Boyce and Joyce Scarpinato, who is assistant dean for Graduate Programs, director of the DNP Program, and chief nursing administrator for the College of Nursing,” said Carkey.

In addition to providing stipends, the grant will:

• increase the college’s capacity to provide clinical experiences in behavioral health care for rural communities and those which are medically underserved. Currently, the college is partnering with community based behavioral agencies throughout the region. In addition, the grant will be used toward increasing the number of preceptors in each partnering agency and providing preceptors faculty development sessions.

enhance the education of FPMHNP students, clinical preceptors and faculty through the dynamics of working on interprofessional teams that focus on the social determinants of health, common comorbid medical/psychiatric problems, and the opioid epidemic.

• add a student success specialist who will support stipend recipients, and additional FPMHNP faculty will be jointly appointed to the college of Nursing and the Department of Psychiatry through the grant.

SUNY Upstate’s College of Nursing enrolls approximately 400 students and offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctor of nursing practice degrees as well as post-master’s advanced certificates and continuing nursing education through Upstate Institute for Continuing Nurse Education. Degrees at the college can be pursued on either a part- or full-time basis or through distance learning.  In addition, the College of Nursing collaborates with Upstate’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Upstate University Hospital to offer a post-masters Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Fellowship program.

For more information, visit College of Nursing.

This 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, M01HP31335 and title, Behavioral Health Workforce and Training (BHWET) Program, for grant amount of $1. 8 million. This information or content or 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.

Caption: From left, Bambi Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP; Alice Boyce; Joyce Scarpinato, DNP, PCPNP-BC, FNP-C; and Karen Klingman, PHD, RN.

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