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For Release: September 7, 2011
David Corriveau 603-653-1978

D-H, DMS join Colby-Sawyer in collaborative addressing national, regional issues of nurse workforce

Joseph F. O'Donnell, MD

Ellen P. Ceppetelli, RN, MS, CNL

Lebanon, NH—Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) will join the Department of Nursing at Colby-Sawyer College (CSC) in collaborating with one of 11 foundations nationwide to receive funding from Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN). The program is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar national investment in preparing America's nursing workforce for serving an older and more diverse population through interdisciplinary education and coordination to improve outcomes.

Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation, PIN supports local foundations in advancing the nursing profession in their own communities. The program invests in local partnerships that create innovative model projects that can be tested and, if successful, shared nationally. Now in its sixth year of funding, PIN leverages $14 million in grants by RWJF with more than $14 million in matching funding.

DHMC, DMS, and CSC are sharing in a three-year, $225,000 PIN grant to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation (THPF). Under the leadership of Ellen P. Ceppetelli, RN, MS, CNL, director of nursing education at DHMC, and Joseph F. O'Donnell, MD, professor of medicine and of psychiatry at DMS, Dartmouth already is collaborating with the Tufts foundation on a PIN grant, in which academic institutions and nursing practice communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are developing a regional approach to interdisciplinary education. The collaborative will focus on involving medical students and students of nursing, pharmacy, and other health professions.

"The tri-state collaboration that resulted from the Cycle 4 PIN grant to redesign nursing education has been expanded in the Cycle 6 grant to involve our colleagues in developing regional interdisciplinary education," Ceppetelli says. "We anticipate this effort will not only improve the understanding of unique contributions of each health professional, but eventually will result in improved quality of care for patients and their families."

At Dartmouth, the Medical School and the Medical Center are collaborating to offer an elective course for first- and second-year medical students, who shadow nurses on the front lines of hospitals.

"This is such a great opportunity to build on pilot programs we are doing here to improve care," O'Donnell says. "The fact is that care is delivered in interdisciplinary teams, but we most often educate in our interdisciplinary silos. As we build a new curriculum at Dartmouth Medical School and embrace the new science of health care delivery programs being pioneered here, this collaborative grant affords us the opportunity to change the mold for health professions education. It is so exciting to do this in partnership and to learn with colleagues from across New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The current grant will support a Regional Collaborative for Inter-professional Education that, in concert with the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Massachusetts Hospital Association, aims to develop and implement a program of shared learning, resources, curriculum components, and an evaluation methodology for inter-professional education.

"Care coordination is the central ingredient in ensuring that patients get the best care possible," says David Abelman, executive director of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. "This regional collaboration is a testament to the value of the inter-professional collaboration and linkages among care providers across all settings needed to find lasting health care solutions."

The collaboration grew out of previous PIN success involving nursing practice and education leaders from across the three states, building on the work done in Massachusetts to increase the availability of clinical placements and develop new approaches to educating nurses. As a lead contributor to this work, Tufts Health Plan Foundation funded a nurse scholars program to help meet the escalating need for nurse educators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The collaboration follows the recommendations of the recent Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which aims to prepare the nursing workforce to meet the needs of America's health care system and the patients it serves, and to ensure an adequate supply of nurses for a growing population of aging patients.

"This grant," notes Maureen Sroczynski, RN, MS, project director for the three-state collaboration, "provides an opportunity for sharing of best practices and the development of a learning community around inter-professional teamwork and communication that can lead to an improvement in patient outcomes and the quality of patient care throughout the region."

The lead partners in the grant for Massachusetts are the University of Massachusetts-Worcester, Graduate School of Nursing, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Family Health Center of Worcester. In Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, the Rhode College Schools of Nursing and Social Work, and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

"All health care is local, and nurses are the cornerstone of our health care system," says Judith Woodruff, J.D., director of workforce development at the Northwest Health Foundation and program director for Partners Investing in Nursing's Future. "We need community solutions that address the challenges facing a changing health care system and that utilize local and regional experience. With this partnership, the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island collaborative is in the forefront of communities nationwide helping to create a well-prepared nursing workforce."

This new funding creates a new total of 61 PIN projects in more than 37 states and collectively, collaborating with more than 500 partners. More than 220 partners provide local funding, including private foundations, hospitals and health systems, workforce investment agencies, economic development programs, banks, private industry and individuals.

For more information about Partners Investing in Nursing's Future, go to


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