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Strengthening community partnerships


Last September, the Center for Global and Public Health hosted some of our long-standing local community partners to discuss ways to strengthen our existing and future community partnerships by exploring shared goals and resources to continue to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for our local communities.  The all-day event was moderated by Patricia K. Bradley, PhD, RN, FAAN from the College of Nursing. Lauren Miltenberger, Ph.D. Assistant Professor & Nonprofit Coordinator, Department of Public Administration at Villanova University discussed strategies to develop and maintain effective partnerships. James Klingler, PhD, Entrepreneur in Residence, at Villanova’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute, lead a  discussion about innovation in social services.  Amy McKeever, PhD, PhD, CRNP and Elizabeth Petit de Magde, PhD, RN shared variety of projects that they have collaborated with Catholic Social Services and the value of that partnership for nursing students and the people who are served.  College of Nursing faculty and their community partners had the opportunity to discuss what they had learned and time apply that learning to strengthen their current projects and consider others to promote opportunities for education, research and community service.

One of the partnering agencies that participated in the workshop was the Nationalities Services Center (NSC).  The College of Nursing has worked with the NSC as a community health clinical site for undergraduate nursing students for several years.  Recently, Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN and Bette Mariani, PhD, RN collaborated with NSC to develop a health access project in which nursing students screen NSC immigrant clients to determine gaps in their health needs and problems related to health care access. The first year of this project was funded by American Academy of Colleges of Nursing.  Nursing students have the opportunity to work with clients who speak limited or no English.  The nursing students work with interpreters to meet the clients’ health needs.  Students have found the experience very eye-opening and rewarding.  Student comments have been related to their new awareness of barriers to health for people who are not fluent in English and the complex health needs of newly arriving immigrants.  We plan on continuing this project this year and seeking further funding.

The workshop was an opportunity to further develop the NSC health access project, develop innovated projects for the work with Catholic Social Services, and identify needs for the Unity Clinic. The participants found the workshop helpful in advancing our work with our existing community partners and furthering opportunities for nursing education, research and service.