Meet the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico

Nov 19, 2012, 9:00 AM

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.

New Mexico is widely known for its scenic vistas and its rich cultural heritage. Thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), it may soon add its health policy experts to the list of notables. The RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico is preparing a new generation of diverse, PhD-prepared nurses to meet the nation’s health policy challenges.

Fellows are exploring a vast array of health care challenges with a specific focus on public policy solutions. Their research ranges from childhood obesity prevention policies, to cost analyses of obstetrical care, to enhanced access to mental and behavioral health, and more.

Through the program, fellows develop a unique understanding of the factors influencing public policy, and learn how they can become a powerful voice in that process.

Earlier this year, two of the program’s fellows, Laura Brennaman, MSN, RN,CEN, and Lauri Lineweaver, MSN, RN, CCRN-CSC, attended the historic Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act. Brennaman was also present in the chamber when the final decision was announced on June 28. The program strives to bring its fellows into events like these, which impart a profound lesson about the interconnectedness of the health care and policy worlds.

A key part of the program is field placement.  Fellows work in partnership with a government, nonprofit or private-sector organization to strengthen their health policy expertise. Recent field placements include the American Nurses Association and the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—both based in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

The RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico works to attract and prepare individuals from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in nursing and health policy, seeing that as an important step toward eliminating health disparities. By developing nurse leaders from different ethnic, racial, gender and economic backgrounds, its work is improving the nation’s health and health care quality.

The program has options for both BSN to PhD and MSN to PhD tracks.

To learn more about the program, click here or call 505/272-4578.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.