Tag Archive | "school of nursing and health studies"


Florida Blue Grant to Help Increase Diversity of Nurse Scientists

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 3, 2014) – A three-year grant from the Florida Blue Foundation will enable the School of Nursing and Health Studies to promote diversity in the nurse-scientist workforce and increase minority student enrollment in nursing Ph.D. programs.

The key component of the project is a ten-week summer research experience that will provide minority nursing students with intensive training in health disparities research as well as a stipend to help support their participation in the program. Participating undergraduate nursing students from the South Florida community will learn the role that Ph.D.-prepared nurses play in advancing nursing as a discipline and in addressing health disparities. It is hoped that this newly acquired knowledge will steer them toward a scientific career.

“Among the obstacles that minority nursing students face in pursuing their doctoral education are limited access to suitable mentors, economic barriers, and lack of exposure to undergraduate research experiences,” said the study’s principal investigator, assistant professor Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, Ph.D. ’08. “We hypothesize that the summer research program will increase students’ interest in pursuing their doctorate degrees in health as well as their chances of getting into Ph.D. programs.”

Every student selected for the special research training initiative will be mentored by a nurse faculty researcher who will set goals with the student, supervise his or her activities, including participation in research studies, and provide guidance on professional aims. At the end of the program, each student will prepare a scientific poster to be shared with the South Florida community and presented at a local conference.

“The support from the Florida Blue Foundation helps us reach out to a greater number of future nurse scientists at the undergraduate level,” said study co-investigator Mary Hooshmand, Ph.D. ’10, assistant professor of clinical. “By encouraging gifted students from minority backgrounds to pursue a doctoral education, we hope to advance the goal of having a nursing research workforce that mirrors the increasingly diverse demographics of South Florida and of the nation.”

The funded project helps address the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 The Future of Nursing report, which called for doubling the number of doctorate-prepared nurses by 2020. The project also comprises part of the rollout efforts of South Florida’s Education Act Team of the Florida Action Coalition—the driving force for implementing the IOM report’s recommendations and transforming health care through nursing in the state.


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Researcher Awarded $3.3 Million Grant to Reduce Teen Pregnancy through Gaming

Special to UM News

NORRIS_2014CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 2, 2014)—The National Institute of Nursing Research has awarded a five-year (2014-2019), $3.3 million grant to an investigator at the School of Nursing and Health Studies to support an innovative program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections among Latina adolescents. Professor Anne Norris will utilize “Mighty Girls,” a novel intervention that uses cutting-edge technology to create a highly interactive video game which provides live, realistic simulation of peer pressure. Players talk directly with avatars as they would with their peers, and in this way practice building evidence-based communication skills for resisting peer pressure.

“U.S. teen pregnancy rates among the overall population have been declining for years but are still high among Latinas,” explains Norris, “and the costs are considerable. Besides the profound and unmeasurable effect of unwanted pregnancy on the physical and emotional health of the teenager and her family, there are quantifiable associated socioeconomic costs. For example, lost tax revenue resulting from decreased maternal educational attainment and productivity has been estimated at $3.2 billion. However, in addition to preventing unwanted pregnancy and reducing socioeconomic costs, Mighty Girls empowers young girls to ‘use their voices to make wise choices.’ What is most exciting about this funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research is the opportunity it provides to make a positive difference in the lives of young Latinas and to use rigorous research methods to demonstrate the value of this difference.”

Norris and her colleagues tested Mighty Girls in a previous R15 feasibility trial and found the results encouraging. The current study, funded under the NINR’s R01 mechanism, will be conducted with seventh-grade Latinas enrolled in 20 middle schools in Miami-Dade County. The study is a collaborative effort involving Guillermo Prado of the Miller School of Medicine, Eileen Smith of the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and nationally and internationally renowned investigators in the fields of communication science, public health, and economics.

Norris and her interdisciplinary team will follow the girls into ninth grade, a period in which risky behaviors typically increase. Half of the schools will be randomly assigned to receive the experimental intervention in addition to standard in-school sex education, while the other half will receive the standard in-school sex education. Mighty Girls’ inclusion of peer-pressure resistance strategies that do not jeopardize friendships makes the program highly acceptable to girls of this age group.

“It is exciting that with NINR funding we are bringing a promising intervention to one of our community’s most vulnerable populations,” said School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano. “The model incorporates Latino values in its techniques. We have found that you have to approach a population you want to help from the framework of its own values, and Mighty Girls does this.”


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UM Receives $1 Million to Train Healthcare Scientists

CORAL GABLES, Fla.  (October 1, 2014)The National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has awarded the School of Nursing and Health Studies more than $1 million over five years to educate a new generation of health disparities scientists.

The grant will support a training program to identify promising minority undergraduate students in nursing, public health, and health sciences and provide them with eight-week global research training experiences at global partner institutions in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Spain, and Australia. Each participating student will be paired with a faculty mentor drawn from one of five institutions of higher healthcare education in the four participating countries. The foreign mentors represent an exceptional group of educators and scientists from medicine, nursing, public health, and psychology.

Funded under the NIMHD’s Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) mechanism, the initiative’s ultimate goal is to help create a culturally competent healthcare workforce. This is crucial because of the current dearth of Hispanic, black, and Native American researchers in health professions.

“The Global Health Disparities Research Experience will give undergraduates from underrepresented populations exciting opportunities to assist internationally renowned researchers with their grant projects,” said Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, the study’s principal investigator. “It will enable these students to see the concepts they are learning in class come alive, and expose them to how science is conducted in different cultures and with populations other than their own. Most importantly, it will allow them to see themselves as tomorrow’s health disparities scientists.”

Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo said the School of Nursing and Health Studies is proud that NIH/NIMHD’s support allows the school to engage future researchers at the undergraduate level. “It is central to the mission of our school to help talented students from diverse backgrounds advance within the education and research pipeline,” she said. “We are developing the scientists whose work will decrease and ultimately eliminate health disparities.”


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Grant Will Help Increase Nurse Practitioners in Miami-Dade

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 1, 2014)—The School of Nursing and Health Studies has received a $700,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advanced Education Nurse Traineeship (HRSA AENT) competitive grant program to provide critically needed support to students enrolled in the school’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care programs. The HRSA AENT program is designed to increase the number of advanced education nurses trained to practice as primary care providers by providing funding for tuition, books, and living expenses to students seeking their Master of Science in Nursing degrees and FNP or adult nurse practitioner (NP) certifications.

“The financial challenges presented when pursuing advanced-level nursing education are insurmountable for many students, forcing them to either abandon their goal of NP training or drop from full-time to part-time status so they can continue working to earn an income,” said Todd Ambrosia, associate dean for master’s programs and principal investigator of the funded project. “This award will significantly relieve that burden and accelerate their graduation, increasing the number of nurse practitioners to help meet the growing need for primary care providers in Miami-Dade County.”

The number of applicants to the school’s FNP and adult-gerontology primary care NP programs has tripled over the past five years, while the advent of health care reform and a decline in the primary care physician workforce are straining an already taxed primary care system. This nationwide crisis is acutely felt in Miami-Dade County, where the number of family practice physicians is only half that of the rest of the state and the 30 percent uninsured rate ranks well above the national average.

“While we are fortunate to live in a region that is culturally diverse, the burden of chronic diseases and their associated risk factors are greater among minorities,” explained Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano. “The HRSA funding is timely and will help us prepare advanced practice nurses, many from minority groups themselves, to meet the complex health care needs and address serious health disparity gaps in Miami-Dade County.”

The Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which UM President Donna E. Shalala led, noted that as millions more patients access health care services in the transformed health care system, nurse practitioners will play a prominent role in providing safe, high-quality primary care. The new HRSA AENT funds will help the SONHS build those competencies and bring more advanced practice nurses into the profession by providing tuition stipends of $22,000 per year to students who enroll full-time and $10,000 to those who enroll part-time in the FNP and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care programs.

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Music to Medical Ears: Frost Quartet Gives Medical and Nursing Students a Lesson in Patient Safety

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Music to Medical Ears: Frost Quartet Gives Medical and Nursing Students a Lesson in Patient Safety

By Maya Bell
UM News


Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg conducts members of a string quartet who convey important lessons to medical and nursing students through music.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 20, 2014) — The last place one might expect to teach future doctors and nurses about patient safety is on a concert stage. But this Wednesday an accomplished string quartet from the Frost School of Music performed Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik’’ for 210 medical and nursing students who spent the week forging teams to address medical crises thrown at them during the second Interprofessional Patient Safety Course run by the Miller School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The concert was not a respite from the rigors of the intense, fast-paced encounters with simulated patients—lifelike mannequins with fading vital signs and human actors with an assortment of maladies and emotions—that are designed to teach situational awareness, tear down hierarchies, and nurture the mutual respect and team-building skills future physicians and nurses will need to prevent errors and improve patient outcomes in the real world.

As Frost Dean Shelton G. “Shelly” Berg conducted, two violinists, a violist, and a cellist played Mozart’s joyous “little serenade” first beautifully and then badly, clearly demonstrating what happens when professionals with different roles work as a team and carry out their mission with focus, enthusiasm, clear communication, and positive, constructive leadership—and what happens when they don’t.

The attentive audience of about 150 third-year medical students at the Miller School and about 60 second-semester students in the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ (SONHS) accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, rewarded the musicians—Frost School graduates Michelle Godbee, Amanda Diaz, Ari Urban, and student Brent Charran—with rousing applause when the quartet opened their mini-concert in a Cox Science Building auditorium with a mesmerizing rendition of Mozart’s popular work.

But the medical and nursing students were supposed to see a little bit of themselves when, spurred by Berg, Godbee, a violinist with the Florida Grand Opera who happens to be starting the Miller School’s M.D./M.P.H. program on Monday, morphed into an over-achiever, playing the same piece faster than her fellow musicians; or when Diaz, demonstrating feelings of superiority, played her viola louder than the other instruments; or when Urban, nervous and scared, melted into the background after Berg loudly ridiculed her for asking a question; or when all of them played their parts with technical precision, but without a trace of passion or interest.

Under none of those scenarios did Mozart’s masterpiece sound like one, which conveyed Berg’s point better than any lecture or textbook could. “You have to be present in the moment,” he told the students. “You have to be aware of your job, but you have to be aware of other people’s jobs around you, because their jobs interrelate to yours. You have to react to what they’re doing in real time—and you have to put your heart and soul into it.”

Those were, in a nutshell, the over-arching lessons David Birnbach, Miller School professor and the director of the UM-Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety, and Mary McKay, assistant professor of clinical nursing and safety assurance director, hoped to impart when they and their teams joined forces for the first time last year to include nursing students in the weeklong training course Birnbach established for medical students after an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report concluded that most medical mistakes could be avoided with better communication and teamwork.

Last year’s pilot course was a great success and, with the support of SONHS Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, was expanded to include more activities and simulations this year.

“What educators have been doing is educating nurses in a silo and medical students in a silo and then putting them together expecting them to work effectively as a team,” McKay said. “That’s why this course is such an eye-opening experience. They interact with each other in a variety of ways and they learn, ‘Well, this is what a nurse does, and this is what a physician does.’ They learn we have different roles, but the same ultimate goal—to provide safe, quality patient care—and when we work together we can achieve it.”

Birnbach, who is also senior associate dean for quality, safety, and risk at the Miller School and the University’s vice provost for faculty affairs, added new meaning to the collaborative nature of the course by arranging the Frost School’s live concert this year. (Last year, the Mancini Institute Orchestra performed for the course via video, but Birnbach really wanted a performance that would afford the students the opportunity to interact with the musicians.) He was thrilled with the outcome.

“It was an experiment, but as far as I am concerned it was a grand-slam home run,” he said after the applause died down. “The mistakes that physicians and nurses can make are wonderfully illustrated by musicians: From time to time, everyone can be lazy, unfocused, or showing off. That’s how we scripted the musical errors that Dean Berg and these gifted musicians showed our students.”

Also new to the course this year, which included lectures, team-building exercises, and simulated but realistic patient encounters at the SONHS on the Gables campus, and the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education and the UM-JMH Center for Patient Safety on the medical campus, was a trip to the Lowe Art Museum. There, nursing and medical students jointly participated in the Lowe’s innovative workshop on “The Fine Art of Healthcare,” which uses art to hone visual thinking strategies.

By breaking into small groups and viewing and discussing different works of art, the students learned how to communicate their own impressions and incorporate the perspective of others who viewed the pieces differently—a process critical not only to interpreting art but making proper diagnoses. As Hope Torrents, the Lowe’s school programs coordinator and creator of the program, notes, “Someone else might see what you missed.”

For medical student Nikesh Shah, both exercises were as instructive as they were unexpected.

“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “Not that lectures are bad, but it was much more eye-opening than a lecture. Seeing and hearing is better than someone telling you that being in sync is important.”

After a long week for both the students and more than 40 faculty from the Miller School, SONHS, the Frost School, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the patient safety course concluded Friday with UM President Donna E. Shalala, who chaired the IOM report on the “Future of Nursing,” observing as the two most improved teams of future physicians and nurses competed in a final simulated patient encounter judged by their classmates.

Maya Bell can be reached at 305-284-7972.



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