December 22, 2016

UMass Medical granted $2.1M to expand region's primary care

The University of Massachusetts Medical School has received $2.1 million in federal funds to expand access to primary care in Central Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School announced it received $2.1 million in federal funds to expand access to primary care in Worcester County.

Led by a 15-member advisory board, the partnership between UMass Medical School's Graduate School of Nursing and area healthcare providers will put students on the Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner tracks in long-term clinical training placements at the same training sites throughout their entire graduate education, according to a Wednesday posting on the school's website. The idea is that long-term placements will allow students to gain an intimate understanding of the facilities where they work, and of the communities they serve. The grant was administered by the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration.

The program developed out of a need for qualified, workforce-ready nurse practitioners at sites where underserved communities often receive medical care, like community health centers. Partners include the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center and Reliant Medical Group in Worcester, Heywood Medical Group in Gardner, with additional support coming from the medical school and its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care.

According to Joan Vitello, dean of the Graduate School of Nursing, 58 percent of nursing graduates who completed their degree requirements between July 2014 and June 2015 are employed in clinical practice sites where they work with medically underserved populations in Central Massachusetts.

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