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April 3, 2024

UMass Chan awarded $11.6M grant for new psychiatric nurse fellowship

A building with a sign that reads "UMass Chan Medical School" behind two trees PHOTO | Courtesy of UMass Chan Medical School UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

UMass Chan Medical School’s Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing has been awarded a four-year $11.6-million grant by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to help finance the university’s new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners fellowship program. 

Funding for fellowship, which was designed in partnership with the EOHHS and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, is provided by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program subsidizing state, territorial, local, and Tribal governments across the country to address the needs of communities post-COVID, according to a Tuesday item posted on the UMass Chan Medical School News website.  

The fellowship’s mission is to expand the pipeline of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners entering the community health workforce. The fellowship was created in response to escalated needs for psychiatric and mental health services in the aftermath of the pandemic with a reported 1 million patients throughout Massachusetts seeking care from more than 200 community health and hospital licensed centers, as stated in the release. The program will work to help close the state’s health and human services workforce gaps, increase workforce diversity, and resume staff training, teaching, and licensing.

In addition, the program will offer mentoring, professional development, and clinical support along with a range of weekly education experiences on issues such as practicing in community health settings, an opioid and safe prescribing training immersion solution, and online self-directed courses related to integrated primary care.

Eligible fellows include students who are registered nurses in a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program and graduates.

“What we’re trying to do is build capacity within community health centers for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners,” Mechelle Plasse, assistant professor at UMass Chan, said in the announcement. “We can integrate specialized nurse practitioners into the health center teams to increase access to general health care and psychiatric mental health care at the community level.”

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