Reed says grant approvals show URI College of Nursing is leader in federal government’s eyes

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Praises faculty researchers as he announces $3.8 million in funding

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 4, 2012 – The awarding of $3.8 million in grants to the University of Rhode Island’s College of nursing is a signal from the federal government that the college is leading the way in nursing education and innovation, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Thursday morning. Reed joined URI administrators and nursing students, as well as representatives from Brown University for a press conference on the Kingston Campus to announce the grant awards.

Two grants address workforce issues under the federal Affordable Health Care Act by supporting URI’s efforts to prepare advanced practice nurses at the master’s and doctoral level. The third award provides funding to URI to continue its collaborative research with Women & Infants Hospital and Brown University on the relationship between delayed umbilical cord clamping and infant brain development.

“This is a celebration of collaboration among URI, Brown, Women & Infants and so many others,” Reed said. “Rhode Island is a national leader in nursing education, and URI is a leader in training the very best.”

He said the University’s nursing program is a pacesetter in addressing issues around technology and diversity, and these awards will only bolster these efforts.

Reed joined Peter Alfonso, URI’s vice president for Research and Economic development, Mary Sullivan, interim dean of URI’s College of Nursing, nursing researchers and faculty, Brown University researchers and students for the announcement.

A $686,000, two-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been awarded to Mary Sullivan, professor and interim dean of the College of Nursing, to provide financial support to qualified nurses who seek advanced education as primary care nurse practitioners. A key goal is to recruit minorities and military veterans prepared at the bachelor’s level into the program.

Reed said there is going to be increased demand for advanced practice nurses, and the funding awarded to Sullivan will assist 47 additional nursing graduate students.

A three-year, $748,121 grant from the same federal agency has been awarded to Nursing Professor Patricia Burbank to support two new programs, the doctorate of nursing practice and an acute care nurse practitioner specialization to educate those who wish to provide advanced care to underserved elderly and minority patients.

Reed said Burbank’s grant will also boost the number of nurses educated at the highest level who will also be able to serve in faculty positions, which will in turn help colleges respond to the growing numbers of undergraduates seeking nursing degrees.

“Right now we have a bottleneck because we just don’t have enough faculty to educate our next generation of nurses,” he said.

The third grant, a $2.4 million, five-year award from the National Institutes of Health, has been awarded to Nursing Professors Judith Mercer and Debra Erickson-Owens to expand their research on delaying umbilical cord clamping of healthy babies to determine if the practice improves brain health in infants.

Pictured above

URI NURSING BOOSTER: Karen Rugg, a graduate student in URI’s family nurse practitioner program from North Kingstown, speaks about cutting edge teaching and learning in the College of Nursing. Rugg will graduate with a master’s degree in December.

BIG DAY FOR NURSING: U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, right, pauses for a moment to pose Thursday with Mary Sullivan, interim dean of URI’s College of Nursing and Peter Alfonso, vice president for research and economic development, after Reed announced $3.8 million in federal grants for the College.

URI photos by Michael Salerno Photography