KOKOMO, Ind. — A new nurse practitioner degree and peer counseling services for students share in more than $100,000 in grants from the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC).
IU Kokomo’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the School of Nursing were among 11 recipients of grants totaling $102,000. They were selected from 39 applicants, among six IU campuses. Awards ranged from $3,000 to $15,000.
In addition to the WPLC grant, the family nurse practitioner program, a joint program between IU Kokomo and IU East, received matching funds from IU Kokomo alumna Kathleen Ligocki, who serves both on the council and the IU Foundation board.
Assistant Dean Mary Bourke said the program addresses a critical need for primary health care providers in Indiana, a need that will only grow with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“The demand for a primary care nursing workforce is going to grow as more people have access to health care coverage,” she said, adding that Indiana has only 51 primary health clinicians for every 100,00 people, well short of the goal of 100 for every 100,000.
“We’re trying to get ahead of that curve, by educating nurses in our regional who will practice in our region, and fill that void.”
The grant funds will equip a simulation lab for the nurse practitioner program. It will be set up as a doctor’s office, with all the equipment needed for the clinical portion of the seven-semester program.
She expects the program to begin in January, with 15 students.
Chelsi Day, CAPS director, plans to use her grant funding to start a peer wellness team, which will do outreach for the center, and assist in her preventative mental health programming.
The four undergraduate students will develop and implement programming under her supervision, to educate students, faculty, and staff about issues including depression, stress, eating disorders, and other topics, and the services available to them on campus.
“Our goal is to provide resources and touch people on campus before they reach a critical need,” she said. “We are going to focus on educating students how to prevent these issues from negatively impacting their student experience, and reach out before they’ve let these issues keep them from going to class, or doing their work. If we can intervene early, it helps us keep these students in school, continuing towards degree completion.”
The four students selected for the first year team are all psychology majors, she said, and will gain valuable experience as mental health educators, under her supervision. They will have the option of completing the second semester on the team as interns.
The grant provides start up costs and an online mental health screening assessment the campus community can access anonymously. Those who show signs of potential problems will be directed to CAPS for assistance.
Alisa Hendrix, incoming co-chair of the WPLC, said the council brings women together to connect, learn, and give back to IU.
“Our grant process provides the opportunity to meet this mission by supporting the innovative projects and ideas of students and faculty,” she said. “This year we have selected the projects that we believe have the greatest potential to positively impact IU, its students and the state of Indiana and in the coming years hope to grow our program so we can extend its impact.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.