Public Press Release: Portage Path & Partners Awarded $1.5M Grant to Advance Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program

by | Sep 22, 2020 | Uncategorized

     The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded $1.5 million dollars to Kent State University College of Nursing, with $1,325,700 of that award earmarked for Akron’s Portage Path Behavioral Health. This year Portage Path will receive $342,900.
     Portage Path Behavioral Health Medication Clinic Coordinator and Kent State College of Nursing Researcher James Tudhope, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, and his team, Wendy Umberger, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Kent State College of Nursing and Drs. Jeffrey Moore, Portage Path Behavioral Health and Vikil Girdhar of AxessPointe Community Health Centers, will educate and increase the number of new behavioral health nurse practitioners in northeast Ohio. The program, which previously was able to graduate two to three Fellows annually, will now have the capacity for four fellows this year, five the next and six in the final year of the grant.
     This program 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 and this 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 community mental health center.
     “Portage Path is blessed with many resources that help our clients recover and stay well.  Our Fellowship has garnered the financial support from local donors and foundations, as well as this new grant in partnership with Kent State University. We are making a difference and leading the way in recruiting, training and retaining advanced practice nurses in a very challenging field,” said Portage Path President, Dr. Tracy D. Yaeger.
     Portage Path’s in-house partnerships with Genoa Pharmacy and AxessPointe’s Community Health Center provide a multidisciplinary clinical environment that helps remove barriers to treatment and increase the quality of care received by clients.
     “Much of our healthcare system is fragmented; making it difficult to provide high-quality care,” Tudhope commented. “It’s frustrating and difficult for our patients and community members who are trying to understand what’s going on when they are facing chronic illness or health issues. At the core of this problem, healthcare professionals aren’t always on the same page or working efficiently.  Our program is changing that.”
     At the end of the three project years, the program will have trained and graduated a minimum of 15 new behavioral health NP fellows who will be committed to providing integrative community psychiatric care to northeast Ohio’s underserved mental health population living within an epicenter of the opioid crisis.
     Portage Path’s Fellowship program started 2 years ago with initial seed funding from Hudson, Ohio based Peg’s Foundation.
     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.

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