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Caring for Those Who Served

Photo Credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

A $1 million interprofessional grant to UMKC will train students how to serve veterans’ health

Nursing, pharmacy, psychology and social work students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City will get special training on how to best serve veterans – including those with post-traumatic stress disorder – under a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The three-year grant, which UMKC secured through an interprofessional partnership that includes the schools of Nursing and Health Studies, Pharmacy and Social Work as well as the Department of Psychology, will underwrite a course to help health care professionals – particularly advanced-practice nursing students – improve interprofessional communication and ethical decision making in providing care to veterans.

The course will place students from a variety of disciplines in a clinical setting at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Medical Center. Through clinic experience and classroom work, students will learn to work within the military culture to best treat medically underserved veterans with multiple chronic conditions, focusing particularly on behavioral health issues, such as anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We think that the average health professional doesn’t get enough education in dealing with behavioral health issues,” said Jane Peterson, a clinical associate professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies who serves as project director for the grant.

By approaching this training through interprofessional education, Peterson said, students are getting a holistic view of patient care, which is increasingly important in the current health care environment.

Interprofessional education involves faculty from two or more health disciplines collaborating to provide learning opportunities for all students. The goal is create an atmosphere of seamless health care delivery in which each member of the team takes responsibility for developing or contributing to a comprehensive health care plan for patients.

Ann Cary, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, said the grant provides a wonderful chance to “give back to those who have defended our value of freedom through the years.”

“The opportunities for our students and faculty to improve the health of our veterans are more than just training and education,” Cary said. “We are so privileged to engage with our service members – past and present – to enrich the quality of care they will receive.”

The course created through the grant will be available to the first cohort of 18 students – including six advanced-practice nursing students – in the spring semester. The course, which will be free to the students who are accepted to it, will be offered for five semesters under the grant funding. VA staff will serve as preceptors and will work closely with the students in the clinic.

In addition to Peterson, other Nursing and Health Studies faculty who are working with the project include: Margaret Brommelsiek, instructor and director of interprofessional education, health sciences; David LaFevers, assistant clinical professor; Sarah Knopf-Amelung, research associate; Susan Kimble, MSN and DNP Programs Director; Martha Lofgreen, clinical instructor; Peggy Ward-Smith, associate professor; Marti Anselmo, clinical instructor; and Doris Rogers, grant coordinator. Elaine Spencer-Carver, director of field education for the School of Social Work; Jennifer Lundgren, associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences; Melisa Rempfer, assistant professor of psychology; and Steve Stoner, clinical professor and chair for the Department of Pharmacy Practice & Administration in the School of Pharmacy, also are participating.




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