Portage Path Behavioral Health’s innovative Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program has been awarded Accreditation with Distinction, the highest recognition awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Accreditation Program. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs awarded the accreditation on September 28th, 2020. There are 17 accredited APRN fellowships across the U.S. but none in community mental health or psychiatry, making this the first accreditation of its kind in the country.

     This Integrated Community Psychiatry Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program started in 2018 with initial seed funding from Peg’s Foundation in Hudson, and has recently expanded from 2 to 4 fellows per year.  Within 2 years, the program is expected to graduate 6 fellows per year, through the assistance of a $1.5 million grant in partnership with Kent State University’s College of Nursing.
     The Fellowship improves access to, and the quality of, integrated, interprofessional community-based psychiatric nursing services in an underserved area. There has been a long-term shortage of psychiatric Nurse Practitioners in northeast Ohio and across the country.  Our program is designed to attract the best newly licensed professionals and support them while they gain confidence and competence to practice in the demanding atmosphere of a busy community mental health center.
     “The ANCC accreditation of our Fellowship is a testament to the great work of our committed staff, and the power of local philanthropy to make a difference.  The program has already reduced wait time significantly for Portage Path clients, and has increased the quality of the care they receive.  Our organization is proud to be the leader in Psychiatric APRN Fellowships. Ultimately, Portage Path’s innovative fellowship will increase our regional workforce of highly trained, competent, confident advanced practice nurses, making it likely that community mental health clients across the region, regardless of where they seek help, will benefit from the investments that the community has made in our program,” says Tracy Yaeger, Ph.D., President of Portage Path Behavioral Health.
     For nearly 50 years, Portage Path has guided people to recovery from mental illness and related substance use problems. Regardless of ability to pay, Portage Path’s multi-disciplinary teams provide client-centered care to 10,000 people annually, including psychiatry, medication management, individual and group therapy, innovative dual diagnosis treatment, day treatment (Pathways program), case management, and 24-hour Psychiatric Emergency Services including emergency evaluation, crisis stabilization, probate investigations, and a free, confidential Support Hotline.