Category Archives: Public health professionals
Six libraries in downtown Tucson, Arizona, have some unexpected new employees: public health nurses. In what many believe to be a first-of-its-kind program, Pima County libraries teamed up with the county Health Department to start a jointly-funded “library nurse program.”
Libraries across the country often serve patrons living without shelter, health insurance, medical care or computer access, the Arizona Daily Star reports. As the need for health care and social services has grown in recent years due to a faltering economy and high unemployment, leaders in Pima County were inspired to provide more than just books to their patrons.
Now, five Pima County public health nurses divide the equivalent of one full-time public health nurse position among themselves, working weekdays at six local libraries. The nurses wear stethoscopes so they can be easily identified, but mostly provide health education and referrals to other health care resources in the area rather than actual medical care.
In addition to helping patrons get the health information they need, the program has also reduced the number of 911 calls from the libraries, “partly because nurses trained library staff to recognize when behavioral issues are escalating and to intervene appropriately,” Nurse.com reports.
“If I weren’t here, I think a lot of these individuals would fall through the cracks,” Daniel Lopez, one of the “library nurses” told Nurse.com. “I can open doors for them and they can walk on through. Overall, I think it makes for a healthier Pima County.”
Melody S. Goodman, PhD, is a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections program (2007), and an assistant professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. This post is the first in a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.
On your mark…. get set…. APHA! Yes it is that time of year again for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting & exposition. Are you ready for all things public health?!
APHA is my favorite conference to attend because it fulfills all of my public health senses. I am a biostatistician interested in health disparities doing community-based participatory research (yes you read that correctly). APHA is the one conference that speaks to all my research interests in one place. There is no other conference that allows me to go to theta beta land with my statistics friends in the Applied Public Health Statistics Section and then discuss developing community-academic partnerships with both community and academic colleagues in the Community-Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC). Last year I served as the academic program planner for the CBPHC and this year I am section council of the Statistics section.
Some people say they don’t like APHA because it is too big but the New Yorker in me loves every moment of it. I always arrive at the conference early and grab that phonebook-like program and attack it with a highlighter and sticky tabs the way only a true nerd could. I spend an hour or so planning my life over the next few days; noting when and where I am presenting, where my colleagues and students are presenting and finding other scientific sessions I am interested in attending. Then I take a walk around the convention center locating the rooms where I will be presenting. This makes life easier when over 10,000 people are walking though hallways, many of them lost; I don’t have to be one of them.
Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the latest nursing news, research and trends. Here are descriptions of some of the stories in the April issue:
Though men comprise a small percentage of the nursing workforce, and an even smaller percentage of nurse faculty, men are enrolling in nursing programs at higher rates than in the past. Still, the nursing profession needs to do more to speed up the gender diversification and inclusion of the workforce, experts say. More visible and powerful male nurse educators can serve as recruiters and role models.
Read a profile of RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow Shirley Orr, MHS, ARNP, NEA-BC, a leader in the field of public health nursing. During her tenure at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Orr co-founded the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute, which aims to support public health leaders and bring officials from health care organizations, academic institutions and other settings together to improve population health.
The RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) held its annual conference in April, celebrating seven successful years and 40 landmark research projects conducted by INQRI-funded interdisciplinary research teams. At the conference, members of those teams and others who have worked with the program discussed how far interdisciplinary research has come since INQRI began and the benefits of this approach for health care research, for health professionals, and for patients.
The Missouri Action Coalition is working to advance the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The Coalition has already made progress in allowing nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training, making it easier for associate degree-prepared nurses to move into baccalaureate programs through a seamless articulation agreement, and working to establish a state nursing workforce center to collect nursing data.
By Paula Lucey, MSN, RN, Administrator, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program alumna (1999-2001)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Partners Investing in Nursing program (commonly called PIN) is a wonderful way to address nursing workforce efforts. The Foundation created this program with the concept that nursing workforce efforts needed to become the work of not only nursing but the work of partnership with local foundations and employers.
In Milwaukee, our first PIN grant focused on the impending crisis in public health related to the nursing workforce. We had data that suggested that upwards of 50 percent of the current workforce could retire in the next five years. While not all will do so, this was a wake up call that we needed to begin to work to develop the next generation of public health nurses.
Our program was able to energize some senior nursing students to consider careers in public health. While our numbers were under 20, the students spread the word to their fellow students, and we believe we created a ripple of interest among students at several of the local BSN programs.
As important as the immediate efforts related to these students were, some of the project’s accomplishments will form the foundation for long-term solutions. The most important was increased awareness of the importance of public health and the vital role that nursing plays among our three foundation partners.
By Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Every year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting features some of the best and brightest minds in health and health care. Taking place in Washington, D.C. from October 29 to November 2, it is a cutting edge event that advances critical research, helps shape policy and practice, and stimulates thinking on some of the most pressing health issues of our time. APHA notes that it is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals and, in my experience it is easily one of the most influential. I am very proud that, this year, it will feature dozens of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows, alumni, grantees, staff and others who have been touched by Foundation programs.
Perhaps most exciting is that Melvin D. Shipp, OD, MPH, DrPH, a former RWJF Health Policy Fellow (1989-1990), is beginning his term as president of this prestigious organization. Shipp is dean of The Ohio State University College of Optometry and past president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. He will hold the APHA leadership position for two years, and I know he will do great things during that time. At the meeting, Shipp will lead a session on the Health Policy Fellows program, explaining the experience and its impact on participants.
Among the many others from the RWJF “family” who will be featured at the annual meeting are:
Congratulations to Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Institute of Medicine and chair of the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program, on being awarded the Frank A. Calderone Prize. Given every two years by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the Calderone Prize is considered the “highest prize in public health.” Fineberg will accept the award at the Mailman School gala on October 18, 2011 in New York City.
"I am truly honored and humbled by this award and for the extraordinary recognition," Fineberg said in a statement. "It is a privilege to join the distinguished group of past recipients. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many able colleagues over the years and to continue our collective efforts to help advance the public's health."
Past recipients of the award include a former Surgeon General of the United States, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others.
Learn more about Fineberg’s work and the Calderone Prize.
Barbara A. Garcia, M.P.A., a RWJF Community Health Leader (1993), began her duties as director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health in January. Garcia had been the Department’s deputy since 1999. “Becoming the director is a really exciting opportunity to continue the work I’ve been doing with the department,” she said.
Her appointment by then-mayor Gavin Newsom was announced in October at the Latino Heritage Month Celebration and Awards ceremony, where Garcia was honored for her contributions to the Latino community in health and medicine.
Garcia received the Community Health Leader award for her work at Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville, California. As the executive director of the small clinic in a rural, predominantly Latino community, Garcia transformed the clinic into a federally-qualified, bi-cultural comprehensive health care center.
Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. In January, this blog reported that Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper had nominated Birch to serve as the executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. On February 14, the state Senate confirmed Birch to the post.
Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. In January, she told the Steamboat Today newspaper that a chief focus for her at the Department would be working “to get as much access as possible for all Coloradans” from the newly passed health reform law.
Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper has named her the new executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. “Sue Birch has made herself an expert on how to provide medical care in rural areas with limited budgets,” Hickenlooper said in making the announcement. “Her regional and collaborative approach will serve well to address health care issues on a statewide basis.”
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has appointed David Vlahov, Ph.D., R.N., the new dean of the School of Nursing. Vlahov is co-director of the national program office for the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, and president of The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). His term will begin in April 2011.
Learn more about Vlahov and his new position.