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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Training grant to support health care for the underserved

Dr. Amy Barton is the director of the new i-CARE grant

Amy Barton

A new grant at the University of Colorado College of Nursing will provide education and support for health care professionals working in underserved urban areas. It will also aid in turning the “soft hand-off” system, which hands patients from one kind of health care professional to another for an individual approach, into a team-visit effort. The approximately $1.5 M, three-year i-CARE: Interprofessional Community-Academic Resource Engagement cooperative agreement, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, will be housed at Sheridan Health Services, a nurse-managed health center.

“The project is innovative because it employs a collaborative practice model with an urban underserved population that creatively extends care and enhances the future workforce through health professions student involvement,” says Amy Barton, PhD, FAAN, associate dean for clinical and community affairs at CU College of Nursing and i-CARE project director.

Care teams will be nurse-led and consist of an advanced practice registered nurse, a physician, a behavioral health professional, a pharmacist and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student. In addition to DNP students, third-year medical students, fourth-year pharmacy students, third-year dental students, bachelor of science in nursing students and nurse practitioner students will participate.

A pediatric team will concentrate on patients with obesity, asthma and substance use and abuse; an adult team will work with patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic pain; a senior team will work with patients experiencing geriatric syndromes and challenges related to chronic disease management.

“Because all of these health conditions require care from multiple health professionals, this grant will help create a team-based and coordinated approach to help patients meet the challenges associated with these complex health problems,” says Barton who was instrumental in helping to develop the Anschutz Medical Campus’ model for interprofessional education.

Another important factor to team-based care is bringing the patients in as part of the team. “My expectation is that when patients are able to engage with a number of health professionals who are concerned about their care and who have the resources necessary to better manage their health issues, there will be positive outcomes.”

Although Barton admits that not everything lends itself to team-based care, this integrated care model will help determine what works and what doesn’t work in providing team-based care to vulnerable populations, and it might shed light on how team-based care can help other nurse-managed clinics.

“This grant will provide opportunities to train current and future nurse leaders in interprofessional team building, collaborative problem solving and care coordination to deliver high-quality team-based care to patients of vulnerable populations.”

The i-CARE model will likely roll out in January 2014.