College of Nursing awarded $2.6 million grant to enhance APRN education, improve access to primary and mental health care in medically underserved communities

The Wayne State University College of Nursing has been awarded a four-year, $2.6 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the Aligning Diversity, Health Equity, Re-Envisioned Nursing Clinical Education (ADHERENCE) in the D project.

Nicole Wheeler, DNP, CNM

Led by principal investigator and WSU College of Nursing Clinical Instructor Nicole Wheeler, DNP, CNM, the project aims to enhance the preparation of family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners to work in medically underserved areas through an innovative clinical education model within three academic-practice partnerships in Southeast and Mid-Michigan in collaboration with the Michigan Area Health Education Center (MI-AHEC).

The ANEW grant includes significant funding to support the education and training of 72 graduate students over four years — 18 students per year — at the Wayne State University College of Nursing, committing $25,000 annually to cover the cost of tuition for each student.

"I am excited to receive this grant funding to support our goal to increase the number of family nurse practitioners and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners trained to serve Michigan’s urban underserved populations, and to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce in Michigan,” said Wheeler. “This initiative means a great deal to me because it directly supports our graduate students and the mission of our college by creating a diverse student body prepared to be leaders working to improve health in local communities."

The ADHERENCE in the D project’s clinical teaching model focuses on enhancing value-based care, quality improvement and health equity while advancing a sustainable transformation in nurse practitioner clinical training in Michigan’s federally designated health-provider shortage areas. To better educate primary care advanced practice nurse practitioners and improve access to primary and mental/behavioral health care in Michigan, the project will:

  • Build and expand academic-clinical partnerships to create experiential learning opportunities that prepare trainees to efficiently address health equity and social determinants of health for urban underserved populations.
  • Increase the diversity of the nursing workforce to better address the needs of the populations they serve by recruiting and supporting students and faculty, including those from diverse populations such as students and faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minority groups in the nursing profession.
  • Increase the number of nurse practitioners trained to provide care to urban underserved populations.

“This grant and the important work it will support reflects what is at the heart of our college’s mission and what we mean when we say we are leaders in urban health,” said WSU College of Nursing Dean Laurie Lauzon Clabo, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are perfectly positioned to lead this work, and I am incredibly proud of Dr. Wheeler and the entire project team. I’m also excited to welcome the talented students who will benefit from this funding and use their Wayne State nursing education improve health equity in Michigan.”

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