UIC receives $3.1 million to provide reproductive health care to underserved adolescents
The College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago was awarded a $3.1 million grant from the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, to run a mobile health unit for underserved adolescents in Illinois.
The mobile health unit will operate for four years in deprived rural and urban areas of the state, providing services to improve the health and well-being of adolescents, including reproductive health services such as well visits , contraceptive management and screening for sexually transmitted diseases. The unit will also provide point-of-care testing for pregnancy and reproductive health.
Kelly Rosenberger, associate professor of nursing at UIC and director of the university’s Rockford Regional Nursing Program, will be the principal investigator of ENRICH, which stands for Improving Nursing Education and Retention Through Induction care provided by mobile health units. Rosenberger was inspired to start the program after seeing te critical need among vulnerable high school students in rural southern Illinois for access to reproductive health services and STI prevention and treatment.
“The ENRICH MHU will be a conduit to expand healthcare services beyond the traditional urban and metropolitan UIC service areas,” Rosenberger said.
In addition to providing needed services for adolescents, the mobile unit program will have the dual purpose of providing clinical training for doctoral students in nursing practice, as well as other nursing students in the urban and rural campus network of the UIC.
“Nursing students will benefit from valuable hands-on experiences that will significantly improve access and quality of care for adolescents in underserved rural high schools,” Rosenberger said.
The innovative program will develop and evaluate nurse-led mobile health services, a mobile app, and a nursing education curriculum that will provide culturally appropriate care to rural and underserved populations. He will revise UIC’s current rural nursing curriculum by addressing and managing the social determinants of health in underserved areas, with the goal of improving health equity for vulnerable patients.
Nurse practitioner education under the ENRICH mobile health program will include family nurse practitioners, pediatric primary care nurse practitioners, women’s health nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.