Federal ANEW funding supports behavioral health nurse practitioner students

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

U.S. Congressman Chris Pappas (left) visited UNH’s Health Sciences Simulation Center to discuss UNH’s role in developing a nursing workforce and to celebrate the $2.6 million federal ANEW grant to UNH. Credit: Tom Bebbington.

UNH will boost a critical healthcare workforce by providing tuition assistance to scores of psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner students to work in rural and underserved communities, thanks to a $2.6 million federal grant.

The funding, from the Health Resources & Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, continues UNH’s Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) program. The four-year ANEW grant will provide traineeship awards to 21 nurse practitioner students annually. It will expand programming and workforce development in communities with populations at risk for social determinants of health, reducing disparities to improve regional public health while working toward increasing student and faculty diversity.

“This investment will strengthen UNH’s training for nursing students and ensure rural and underserved communities can access the health care they need.”

“This investment will strengthen the University of New Hampshire’s training for nursing students and ensure rural and underserved communities can access the health care they need,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, who celebrated the grant on a recent tour of UNH’s Health Sciences Simulation Center and roundtable to discuss the behavioral health and healthcare needs of New Hampshire, especially in rural and underserved areas.

“ANEW is expanding psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner clinical placements sites to integrate mental health into primary care, addressing the whole person,” said ANEW director Marcy Doyle, research assistant professor of nursing and researcher with UNH’s Institute for Health Policy and Practice.

Marylee Verdi ’22G, a UNH psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program alumna now working in Grafton County, received ANEW funding. “The receipt of the grant galvanized the importance of having an embedded psychiatric provider in primary care,” she said. “Thanks to this program I feel I am able to truly provide holistic care to my patients addressing their physical and emotional needs.”

UNH received an initial four-year, $2.7 million ANEW grant in 2019, with the aim of addressing behavioral health issues and the opioid crisis as well as the shortage of providers caring for underserved and rural populations in New Hampshire. That grant provided significant support for 54 nurse practitioner students currently working in rural and underserved communities, with awards varying from $5,500 to $11,000 per semester depending on the student’s enrollment status. Students worked at 42 practice sites in New Hampshire.