Methodist College Receives $2.8 Million Federal Grant to Train Nurses in Community-Based Primary Care

The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $2.8 million grant to Methodist College to recruit and train nursing students and current registered nurses in community-based primary care. 

The announcement was made by Congressman Darin LaHood and Methodist College Interim Chancellor Dr. Deborah Garrison at a press conference on the Methodist College campus.



“The management and prevention of chronic disease is moving into community-based primary care,” said Methodist College Interim Chancellor Dr. Deborah Garrison. “It is imperative that we educate and equip our nursing students and practicing nurses to take the lead in supporting and guiding patients to achieve optimal health.”

This innovative new program will educate undergraduate nursing students who want to work in non-hospital settings to improve access to primary health care in medically underserved communities. Students will take specific coursework as part of the program and, in partnership with UnityPoint Clinics and other community-based primary care providers, they will receive clinical experiences with an emphasis on chronic disease prevention and control, including mental health and substance use conditions. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, students will earn a certificate in community-based primary care.

“When our local educational institutions like Methodist College are awarded with funding to expand upon training and continuing education opportunities, not only do nurses and hospitals benefit, but their patients do, too,” said Congressman Darin LaHood. “I applaud the great work that both Methodist College and UnityPoint Health provide in delivering quality care, as well as producing greater opportunities for both their staff and their patients. Grant opportunities like this further highlight how our medical community continues to be a leader in quality health care across the nation.”

In addition, the program will offer continuing education to current registered nurses with the goal to achieve a sustainable primary care nursing workforce equipped to address pressing national public health issues and the shortage of registered nurses.

“At UnityPoint Clinic we are excited to partner with the college on this. We are looking forward to the opportunities,” said Todd Baker, UnityPoint Health vice president for clinic operations and regional development. “There are underserved areas in rural areas, but there are underserved areas just blocks from this college. We will really be able to make a difference with this $2.8 million grant.”

As part of the grant, the college will:
Recruit 50 students in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the RN to BSN programs to attain an academic certificate in the delivery of interprofessional, community-based primary care to medically underserved areas, including rural communities. The certificate will include courses in epidemiology, health promotion/chronic disease prevention and control, population health concepts, and mental health/substance abuse. The grant will provide the students with partial scholarships for tuition needs not met by grants or other scholarships, and housing assistance for those students who choose to live in the Prairie Sky Apartments at Methodist College.
The college will develop a four-module continuing education program to address the areas of health promotion/chronic disease prevention and control, population health and mental health/substance abuse. The grant will provide funding for 25 practicing registered nurses to complete the program in which they can earn a continuing education-bearing certificate in community-based primary care.
Enhance all Methodist College Bachelor of Science in Nursing clinical courses to integrate primary care, population health, and interprofessional education, as well as mental health and substance abuse.
Develop the position of a partnership liaison as a formal facilitator between Methodist College and clinical partners.
Work with UnityPoint Health to strengthen the roles of patient navigators in the area of community-based primary care which lead to long-term changes to enhance population health.

The grant application was written in partnership with the UnityPoint Health Methodist | Proctor Foundation. The grant is part of the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) – Registered Nurses in Primary Care (RNPC) Training Program of the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). This is the second HRSA grant awarded to Methodist College. In the Spring of 2017, HRSA awarded the college $1.5 million under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program.

After the press conference, Sara Kimble, Methodist College Director of Simulation and Clinical Affairs gave Congressman LaHood a tour of the Methodist College Simulation Center.

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About Methodist College

Methodist College is a four-year college affiliated with UnityPoint Health, focused on nursing, health science, and human services programs. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), with the baccalaureate and graduate nursing program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).  Established in 2000, Methodist College is a private, not-for-profit institution located in Peoria, Illinois.