Grant Supports Rural Health Care
It has been well documented that having a primary care provider leads to overall better health – but for many New Mexicans, access to those providers is limited. The University of New Mexico College of Nursing is working to prepare nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives to practice where they are most needed.
Carolyn Montoya, PhD, RN, CPNP, associate dean for clinical affairs, was awarded a four-year $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration for the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) program, a continuation of her two-year $1.5 million grant awarded in 2017.
Through the ANEW program, nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery students receive special training and support from College, plus $15,000 toward their education. In return, they spend an extended period – three months – working in a rural clinic. The original grant supported 21 students over a period of two years. The current grant will provide financial support to approximately 90 students over four years.
“There is a great need for primary care providers throughout New Mexico, particularly in rural areas,” Montoya said. “This is an incentive to have students spend time in a rural community so they’re more likely to choose to work in a rural part of New Mexico.”
The ANEW Program is also a partnership between community clinics and academic institutions. Formal partnerships have been established with El Centro Family Health in northern New Mexico, Santa Fe-based Presbyterian Medical Services, Veterans Affairs health care clinics, and El Pueblo Health Services in Bernalillo.
The ANEW Program is already paying off. To date, 10 graduates are practicing in rural or underserved areas. When asked about the benefits of working in rural communities, participants say they have more time to connect with patients and develop broader knowledge. They also appreciate less-hectic shifts and feel good about helping people who don’t have the means to travel for medical care.