Nurse-led Mobile Health Unit Will Bring ‘CARE’ Where It’s Needed Most

Nursing, Community Health Center, Christine E. Lane College of Nursing, Scholarships, Medically Disadvantaged Populations, Rural, Health Disparities

The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center has been designated by HRSA as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with similar appearance. The purpose of FQHCs is to serve communities that may have financial disadvantages, language barriers, geographic barriers, or other specific needs. (Photo by Alex Dolce)


Researchers from the Christine E. Lane School of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University have received a four-year, $3.9 million grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) for a nurse-led mobile health unit to create healthier populations in rural and underserved areas. medically.

The number of mobile health units has increased in an effort to reduce barriers to health care and provide a variety of services ranging from preventive to curative. Although mobile health units are typically thought of as a vehicle that contains equipment to provide clinical services, the Academy of Sciences has called for new health care delivery strategies and services and innovative approaches to education.

The FAU project, “Care-Based Community and Academic Relationships for Excellence (CARE): A Nurse-Led Mobile Health Unit”, is designed to increase health care access to rural and vulnerable populations through mobile health units staffed by a professional team of practitioners. The nurse-led mobile health unit will provide technology-enabled, culturally compatible, evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention, primary and mental health care services in underserved communities.

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The project targets disadvantaged populations in Belle Glade and West Palm Beach, including families with children, veterans, the homeless, women and children sheltering from domestic violence, and over-aged youth who represent the most vulnerable population. of health disparities and low literacy.

The FAU Christine E. Lane College of Nursing will work in partnership with its FAU/Northwest Community Health Alliance (FAU/NCHA Community Health Center) to implement this new approach to providing these services where they are most needed. The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center has been designated by HRSA as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with similar appearance. The purpose of FQHCs is to serve communities that may have financial disadvantages, language barriers, geographic barriers, or other specific needs. FAU School of Nursing will mentor undergraduate and graduate nursing students who will provide a program for disease prevention, health promotion, primary care, and mental health services.

Other community partners for the project include West Palm Beach/Fresh Truck Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Salvation Army Palm Beach County, Vita Nova, YWCA Palm Beach County, and the Glades District Ministerial Association.

The director of the grant project is Beth King, PhD, associate professor and coordinator of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Concentration at Christine E. Lane College of Nursing. Karithi Edwards, MD, professor and associate dean of academic programs and executive director of the FAU/NCHA Center for Community Health, will be the director of clinical services for the mobile health unit. Karen Chambers, DNP, assistant professor and family nurse, will serve as the project/clinical coordinator.

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“With HRSA’s priorities for mental health, reproductive health, family planning, and teen pregnancy initiatives, the Innovative Educational Care-Based Community Academic Relationship Project, which we refer to as the ‘CARE Model,’ has the ultimate goal of creating a healthier population in rural areas and populations who They suffer from a lack of medical services,” King said. “We are excited to work with our distinguished community partners to achieve HRSA’s goal of increasing and strengthening a diverse and culturally competent nursing workforce to address health care disparities in these communities.”

The project team will recruit, support and teach Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and BSN-DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) applicants to practice students from diverse backgrounds caring for rural and medically disadvantaged communities. FAU will work with its new and existing community partners for nursing student academic service learning projects, longitudinal clinical trials through the Mobile Health Unit and extension to address health equity.

Undergraduate and graduate students in the program will provide primary care and mental health services while being instructed by board-certified psychiatric and mental health nurses, family nurses, or geriatric nurses employing collaborating physicians as needed, through telehealth. Undergraduate nursing students will be mentored by the RN Coordinator in the Mobile Health Unit, demonstrating evidence-based practice and culturally compatible care.

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“Instead of expecting our underserved patients to come to the FAU/NCHA Community Health Center for their healthcare needs, with this important HRSA grant, we will now be able to go to them,” said Safia George, Ph.D. FAU Dean Christine E. Lynn. “Most importantly, by bringing our mobile health unit to rural and underserved communities in our area, CARE nursing students will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the impact of the social determinants of health.”

This program is supported by the Department of Health Resources and Services (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $97,6127.00, 0% funded from non-governmental sources for the first year of the scholarship. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views or endorsement by HRSA, HHS or the United States government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

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