UW School of Nursing partners with MolinaCares to expand behavioral health workforce

The UW School of Nursing has received funding from MolinaCares to expand access to behavioral health across Washington. The school will develop and implement clinical education in family and psychiatric primary care for nurse practitioners that will serve the state’s most vulnerable communities who currently lack consistent primary and behavioral health care.

“Nurse practitioners play a critical role in identifying and addressing behavioral health needs in our community,” said Azita Emami, Executive Dean. “Building a foundation of education and training for our frontline workforce is an important step in addressing the need for greater mental health resources in Washington. We are excited to partner with MolinaCares to integrate this critical program and ensure our nurses are best equipped to identify and treat early signs of behavioral health issues in primary care populations.”

One objective of the new program is to increase the nursing workforce behavioral health, which is currently under tremendous strain due partly to the pandemic and rising demand for care.  The program will address this challenge through:

  • Development of new curriculum, including a dual-certification Family and Psychiatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioners with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree;
  • Recruitment of primary care and psychiatric mental health care nurse practitioners to help prevent, diagnose and treat mental health concerns in primary care settings;
  • Matriculation of eight to 16 graduate students (DNP) annually with enhanced training in telemedicine and technology to provide timely, competent, and accessible care to hard-to-reach patients;
  • Creation of student clinical opportunities at supportive housing services, like Compass Housing Alliance; and
  • Increasing interest in careers in nursing students that will address underserved populations by providing early, positive exposure to community-based clinical settings.

The program will launch in January 2022.