Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Employment of Advanced-Practice Psychiatric Nurses to Stem Rural Mental Health Workforce Shortages

Abstract: 

People living in rural areas have the same incidence of mental illness but far less access to mental health services compared with people living in urban areas. This brief report describes the workforce of advanced-practice psychiatric nurses (APPNs) and explores their potential to ease the rural mental health workforce shortage. METHODS: National certification data were used to describe workforce characteristics and the rural distribution of APPNs. All nationally certified APPNs in 2003 were included (N=8,751). RESULTS: APPNs were more likely than psychiatrists to live in rural areas. The ratio of APPNs to state rural populations ranged from .06 to 14.9. The mean{+/-}SD ratio of APPNs per 100,000 in the rural population was 3.0{+/-}3.0. CONCLUSIONS: APPNs have great potential to be a solution to the rural mental health workforce shortage. Even so, the number of APPNs must increase and barriers to their full scope of practice must be removed. [Journal Abstract]

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
January 10, 2008
Author: 
URL: 
http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/59/1/109

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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