A nurse practitioner, an occupational therapist, a psychologist and a social worker walk into an exam room, and it's no joke. It is the future of better health care. Interprofessional collaboration has been shown to improve the quality of patient care and improve outcomes.
With the help of a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is designing an Integrated Behavioral Health Program with the goal of improving both the diversity of the state's health professions workforce and the health outcomes for Mississippi's vulnerable populations in rural and urban areas.
Over the next three years, the School of Nursing will receive $2.1 million from HRSA's Advanced Nursing Education grant program. Dr. Janet Harris, professor and associate dean for practice and community engagement and director of the doctor of nursing practice program, is the project director.
"This program is going to help us bring a pipeline of qualified individuals forward to help deal, in an interprofessional way, with patients who have chronic medical conditions."
Harris said that addressing psychological needs is critical to treating patients with multiple chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. "We have identified a huge gap in the state of Mississippi in meeting the needs of our patients in the community who have psychological problems," she said.
The program will start at UNACARE Health Clinic, the School of Nursing's community clinic in midtown Jackson, and rotate through other community clinics, including two of the program's school-based clinics in Jackson and the Delta.