California Universities Work Together to Train More Nurse Practitioners to Fill Mental Health Care Gap

California Universities Work Together to Train More Nurse Practitioners to Fill Mental Health Care Gap

In an effort to address a shortage of mental health providers in the state of California, UC San Francisco (UCSF), in collaboration with UC Davis and UCLA, has announced the launch of an online training program for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs). The program aims to train 300 new mental health providers to enter the state’s workforce by 2025.

An estimated 17 percent of Californians live with mental health needs, according to Many in that population lack access to mental health care and the problem is expected to worsen as the psychiatrist workforce continues to dwindle. Graduates of UC San Francisco’s new program are projected to serve as many as 378,000 patients over the next five years.

California currently has 13,000 nurse practitioners in its workforce, many of whom care for underserved populations in primary care settings including hospitals, prisons, schools, and other outpatient medical practices. PMHNPs are specialized mental health professionals authorized to prescribe psychotropic medications, treat severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and offer psychiatric care.

Program co-director Rosalind De Lisser, MS, RN, NP, associate professor in the UCSF School of Nursing, tells, “I am tremendously excited about this innovative multi-campus program. It has the potential to expand our reach as an educational institution by providing excellent clinical training and contributing to the workforce development needs of California.”

Her sentiments were echoed by fellow co-director Deborah Johnson, DNP, RN, NP, also an associate professor in the UCSF School of Nursing, who stated: “Building upon our successful history as a top-ranked public PMHNP program, this program eliminates geographical barriers and allows California NPs in primary care to gain the education and training necessary to provide behavioral health services in their communities. The three-school collaboration provides high-quality educational resources for students across the state.”

The new program is scheduled to launch in fall 2020, with administrative offices located on the UC San Francisco campus. Students will be able to complete their clinical training component in the region where they live. The program aims to recruit 40 students for the first years and 65 students each following year, for a total of 300 PMHNPs over five years.

To learn more about the new online training program for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners being launched by UC San Francisco in collaboration with UC Davis and UCLA, visit here.

Border Flu Shot Protest: 4 Docs arrested

Border Flu Shot Protest: 4 Docs arrested

Four physicians and two others protesting their inability to vaccinate migrant detainees at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) headquarters here were arrested last Tuesday for failing to comply with federal orders to disperse.

They were held for about an hour, according to some of those who were arrested.

The two groups of protesters — about 60 people in total — had gathered in two driveways leading to CBP headquarters for about an hour when one of the groups received a warning from federal officials that if they stayed in the driveway, they would be arrested, said Marie DeLuca, MD, an emergency room physician from New York who was one of those arrested. Some of the members had blocked the driveway by laying down across the road while others chanted, “No more death.”

“We stayed peacefully in the driveway entrances of their building and said that if they weren’t going to let us in to vaccinate against the flu, we were going to remain. They didn’t let us. Instead they chose to arrest members in one of the two groups,” DeLuca said.

She said her hands were secured behind her back with zip ties by officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as she and the other protesters were led into a conference room and told to wait. After about an hour following the protest, they were issued tickets with a court date for “failure to comply with the lawful direction of federal police officers or other authorized individuals,” and then released, she said.

A San Diego Union-Tribune reporter posted a video of some of those doctors being arrested.

At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, DHS’s press secretary tweeted a picture of the protesters and said, “Of course Border Patrol isn’t going to let a random group of radical political activists show up and start injecting people with drugs.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also tweeted a link to a video of the protesters, saying that “Children are dying in CBP custody due to the flu. Refusing to administer flu vaccines is neglectful and cruel.”

Other doctors arrested, who were part of the group Doctors For Camp Closure, included Mario Mendoza, MD, a former anesthesiologist who now lives in New York City and runs the organization; Hannah Janeway, MD, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles who helps run the Refugee Health Alliance; and Mathieu De Schutter, a pediatric hospitalist from San Luis Obispo, California. The non-physicians arrested were Rebecca Wollner of Jewish Action San Diego and Matthew Hom, a graduate student from Cerritos, California, who works with the group Never Again Action.

On Monday, the physicians began their three-day vigil and protest of federal immunization policies at the gate of the detention center in San Ysidro at about 11:30 a.m. They stayed until about 4:30 p.m. with no response despite repeated requests. Tuesday’s action took place nearby at the Chula Vista CBP headquarters.

DeLuca said the doctors and their supporters planned to return Wednesday to try one more time to administer the 120 influenza vaccines they brought with them for the detainees. They say it’s important for public health, not just to protect these detainees, but also everyone else they come in contact with.

Members of the groups chanted slogans and carried banners and signs calling on federal officials to let them administer the vaccinations to those inside. The vaccines were purchased with financial donations.

Originally published in MedPage Today.

Mass Shootings: How Docs and Nurses Heal

Mass Shootings: How Docs and Nurses Heal

Some healthcare professionals see blood, mangled bodies, and death every day, yet certain days are worse than others. As when, for instance, a dozen police officers are gunned down or 20 kids are killed in their elementary school in a mass shooting. Because public mass shootings happen nearly every 6 weeks in America, these tragedies are having a more frequent impact on the healthcare workforce.

Research data are sparse. One study surveyed 24 surgical residents working at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida in 2016. On June 12 that year, a gunman shot 49 people to death and wounded 53 others at the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Three months later, rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression were two and four times greater among the 10 residents on call that night versus the 14 off-duty residents. Though the differences didn’t reach statistical significance, assessments were revealing. A survey of the same residents 7 months after the mass shooting found that PTSD persisted in those affected in the on-call group but completely resolved in the off-call residents.

As part of an ongoing effort by MedPage Today to explore job stress and burnout among healthcare professionals, reporter Shannon Firth talked at length with physicians and nurses who shared personal experiences with mass shootings and how they affected their lives and careers.

Three Encounters With Mass Shootings

“After I Saw What I Saw, I Really Thought to Myself, ‘I Hope I’m Not Broken:'” Richard Kamin, MD (Sandy Hook school shooting, 2012)

“The Worst Night of My Professional Career:” Brian Williams, MD (Dallas police sniper attack, 2016)

“I Still Get That Pit Feeling in My Chest of, I Can’t Believe This is Happening:” Megan Duke, RN, CEN (San Bernardino terrorist attack, 2015)

MedPage Today intern Amanda D’Ambrosio assisted with reporting for these stories.

Originally published by MedPage Today.

UCLA Leads $25 Million NIH-Funded Study on Opioid Treatment in Rural America

UCLA Leads $25 Million NIH-Funded Study on Opioid Treatment in Rural America

Scientists from the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs have been selected to lead a $25 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test treatments for opioid addiction in rural America.

A separate grant of $3.3 million from the NIH was awarded to another UCLA researcher from the substance abuse programs who will study the effectiveness of using text messages to help people with opioid addiction adhere to their treatment regimens.

The grants will be distributed over five years and are both part of the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative.

The first study will be led by Yih-Ing Hser, taking place at more than 40 primary care clinics in up to six states across the US. Hser is a distinguished research professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The study will be specifically focused on rural regions because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of deaths from opioid overdoses is higher and there is typically less access to physicians than in urban areas.

Hser tells, “We’ll build up the infrastructure to get the clinics ready to test the use of medication and behavioral therapies, so that we can conduct the study in as close to real-world settings as possible. A second phase of the study will look at the use of telemedicine to help overcome treatment barriers, such as the long travel time it sometimes takes to reach clinics in rural areas.”

The study’s co-lead investigator, Dr. Larissa Mooney, director of the UCLA Addiction Psychiatry Clinic at the Semel Institute, adds: “This study has the potential to expand access to life-saving treatments for opioid addiction in communities that have been significantly impacted by the opioid epidemic, and for new models of treatment to be sustainable even after the study is over.”

The second study on the effectiveness of using text messages to help people adhere to their treatment regimens will be led by Suzette Glasner, an associate professor-in-residence at the UCLA School of Nursing, and of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Glasner’s research will assess whether using texts to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy will help patients stick to their opioid treatment medication regimens.

According to Glasner, “Medications for opioid use disorders are the gold standard treatment, and they continue to save and transform lives. But they only work if you take them, and adherence is low. My hope is that our work will help reverse this trend by providing a low-cost intervention.”

To learn more about the NIH-funded research of two UCLA Nursing studies on opioid treatment in rural America, visit here.

Loma Linda University School of Nursing Receives $2.6M Grant to Grow Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program

Loma Linda University School of Nursing Receives $2.6M Grant to Grow Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Program

The Loma Linda University School of Nursing has been awarded a four-year, $2.6 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help grow the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Southern California.

The grant is funded by the HHS’s Advanced Education Nursing Grant Program and will provide funding toward tuition assistance for qualifying students and enhanced training. The school recently received confirmation of the funding for year one of the 4-year grant.

Gloria Mattson Huerta, DNP, Nurse Practitioner program coordinator and assistant professor in the Loma Linda University School of Nursing, tells, “This grant will allow us to update and enhance the training provided to students. This will include the development of standardized patient scenarios focusing on behavioral health issues, as well as managing the opioid crisis — both of which are significant issues in the Inland Empire as well as nationally.”

Pete Aguilar, representative for California’s 31st US Congressional District, has promoted adding HHS funding to provide high-quality affordable healthcare in the state’s medically-underserved communities. He believes that increasing the number of highly-qualified nurses in the region can help ensure better health outcomes for our communities. He tells, “I’m proud to announce this funding, and I look forward to a continued partnership with Loma Linda University in order to increase access to quality health care throughout San Bernardino County.”

To learn more about the four-year, $2.6 million grant awarded to the Loma Linda University School of Nursing to help grow the number of advanced practice registered nurses in Southern California, visit here.

UC Davis Chancellor Names Stephen J. Cavanagh New Dean of the School of Nursing

UC Davis Chancellor Names Stephen J. Cavanagh New Dean of the School of Nursing

UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May has named Stephen J. Cavanagh, current dean of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing, the new dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, effective July 22. 

Cavanagh brings extensive experience in collaborating across the entire campus of a university to create innovative programming for students and new forms of interprofessional education with him to UC Davis. He has been recognized for developing the health care workforce, maximizing the use of advanced-practice nurses in clinics around the region to advance access, and educating the next generation of clinicians and scholars.

Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor at UC Davis, tells, “On behalf of Chancellor May and the entire UC Davis community, I am extremely pleased and honored that Dr. Cavanagh has accepted the nomination to be our dean for the School of Nursing. I am confident he will lead the next phase of growth for the School of Nursing in a manner that serves our students and our community well.”

Cavanagh joined UC Davis because of the opportunity it gives him to improve the health of Northern California using new models of nursing and medicine collaboration to improve health. As dean of the College of Nursing, Cavanagh looks forward to finding new ways to engage communities, new technologies to prepare students, and new opportunities for science to improve lives. 

To learn more about Stephen J. Cavanagh who was recently appointed as the new dean of the UC Davis College of Nursing, visit here

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