Programs allowing for expanded health care partnerships in Niagara County
Congressman Brian Higgins recently announced three federal grants totaling over $2.42 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for nurse training programs at the University at Buffalo and community health services in Western New York.
"This federal funding has the dual benefit of encouraging and supporting those seeking opportunities in health care fields as well as expanding services in underserved areas, and ultimately improving the quality of care in the region," Higgins said.
A $1.4 million federal grant through the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce program will supplement a 2016 award of $1.8 million for a program improving access to primary care in clinics at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the Tuscarora Health Center, the Seneca Gaming clinic and the Golisano Center for Community Health. The grant will support behavioral/mental health services in the clinics, provide stipends to students participating in clinical training, and increase telehealth capabilities to include access to dental faculty for consultations.
A two-year grant totaling $1 million will support a partnership between the UB School of Nursing and Tuscarora Health Center to develop an interprofessional collaborative practice team to supplement primary care at the clinic with on-site behavioral health services. Nursing students and graduate students in the UB School of Social Work will also receive clinical training at the center.
The funding will make it easier for residents of the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in Niagara County to have greater access to much-needed medical care, particularly in the areas of substance abuse and mental health.
"American Indians and Alaskan Natives have endured both limited and differential access to resources, creating disparities in health status and a lack of exposure to quality health care when compared with other racial and ethnic groups," said Yu-Ping Chang, associate dean for research and scholarship in the UB School of Nursing. "This project will respond to the critical need for increasing access to mental health and substance abuse screening and treatment in underserved and rural areas, particularly in American Indian communities."
A third federal grant for $22,353 will be used to provide financial assistance to graduate nursing students matriculating in the doctor of nursing practice program in nurse anesthesia at UB. The university expects to to use the funds to increase the diversity of the nurse anesthesia workforce to reflect the diversity of the region, while preparing graduates to deliver culturally sensitive and appropriate nurse anesthesia care to diverse populations.
Tammy L. Austin-Ketch, Ph.D., said, "The stipends that this grant provides gives exceptional students some financial relief and ultimately increases the size and diversity of the applicant pool for our doctor of nursing practice program. Since many of our graduates choose to stay in the area, the success of our graduate programs directly impacts the care of those in the Western New York region."