Allied health receives two major grants

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | August 20, 2012

UNMC's School of Allied Health Professions will host a national conference on physician assistants (PA) in rural primary care and conduct interdisciplinary research on the prevention of falls in critical access hospitals as part of two grants that total almost $1.6 million.

"With this federal grant funding, our allied health faculty will play an increasing role in promoting health and health care in Nebraska and throughout the country," said M. Paticia Leuschen, Ph.D, assistant dean for research development in the SAHP. "Improving access to primary care and promoting high quality, safe care are two critical elements of health care reform.

"This funding underscores the significant role for the allied health professions and the SAHP in the reform effort."

More rural PAs needed

UNMC, one of only 12 universities to receive funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) PA Training in Primary Care grant, will host a biennial Physician Assistants Rural Primary Care National Conference in 2014 and 2016 as part of a five-year, $993,910 award. This represents the largest federal grant ever received by UNMC's physician assistant education program.

Michael Huckabee, Ph.D., director of physician assistant education, and Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., senior associate dean for the School of Allied Health Professions, are co-primary investigators.

Interprofessional team aims to decrease falls, improve care

Katherine Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy education, is primary investigator on the second grant, a $593,088 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) grant. The primary aim of the grant is to reduce inpatient falls in critical access hospitals that primarily serve rural older adult populations.

Using an interprofessional team approach, the research project will help hospitals incorporate four practices for fall risk reduction by providing support from a culture of safety, teamwork and organizational learning. The research project team, with representatives from UNMC, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, The Nebraska Medical Center and Methodist Hospital, will collaborate with 20 partner hospitals to conduct the research, including 17 critical access hospitals.

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