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Two State Universities Commit to Develop Advanced Nursing Workforce for Healthier Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: October 29, 2012
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin, aaw4@uw.edu, 206-221-2456

The University of Washington School of Nursing (UWSoN) and Washington State University (WSU) will united in early October in an effort to bring more doctoral trained candidates to the prevention workforce.

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, representatives from The University of Washington School of Nursing Community Health Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice program and Washington State University Interdisciplinary PhD programs convened an inaugural meeting in Wenatchee, Washington to discuss their joint commitment to prevention and public health.  In this time of health care reform, prevention is noted as the major avenue to address the skyrocketing medical costs and the noted increase in chronic disease prevalence.  Here in Washington State heart disease, diabetes, HIV infection, alcohol and tobacco use, and obesity are just some of the major health concerns.  Many communities experiencing these health trends have limited access to affordable health care. 

DNP Comm Health RoundtableDNP Comm Health RoundtableThe Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund has already invested more than $20 million in a number of Washington state wellness and prevention efforts. Public officials and the community are looking to nurses to be poised to play a central role in developing a prevention workforce and promote a new agenda for public and community health.  This translates into new opportunities for Washington nurses, particularly, those with doctoral and leadership training.  Doris Boutain, RN, PhD, Associate Professor in UWSoN’s Community Health Nursing (CHN) program says this is also an opportunity for academic innovation and collaboration.  “Our program combines a focus on social justice and community mobilization with a focus on the latest prevention research and service provision. We are excited to work with WSU in our joint vision to partner with employers and workers in prevention to develop our future educational offerings.”  Boutain’s colleague in the CHN program, Assistant Professor Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, RN, says educational offerings must adapt to the needs. “The public health workforce requires an increasingly sophisticated cadre of public health workers to provide leadership in the complex collaborative efforts being taken up by community and organizational systems trying to combat growing health threats and disparities. Public health professionals need preparation to effectively lead these efforts and these programs provide opportunities to grow this important workforce for now and the future.”

The roundtable started at 8:45 a.m. at the Coast Wenatchee Hotel on Tuesday, October 16 during the Washington State Public Health Association’s 2012 Joint Conference on Health “Advancing Population Health with Results that Matter.” Participants of this conference and special roundtable are leaders and partners in the field of prevention who provide front line and strategic leadership. 

Thomas Power, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of WSU’s Department of Human Development, says he is eager to strategize with UWSoN and others attending this special roundtable meeting. “The prevention science doctoral programs at the University of Washington School of Nursing and Washington State University provide complementary programs that will help prepare professionals to address the prevention and wellness component of the newly passed healthcare reform.  This collaborative has the potential to play a major role in creating healthier stronger communities.”

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The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-rated nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 2 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2011, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit www.nursing.uw.edu.