Skip to content

Other ways to search: Events Calendar | UTHSC News

Rural and Underserved Health Care Research

The College of Nursing has been intentional about focusing on issues related to rural and underserved residents in recent years, developing an Area of Excellence in Rural and Underserved Health Care. 


Nursing student with woman

A $4 million, four-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase the number of Nurse-Midwives in the Delta region was awarded to the college in September 2023. The HRSA grant will provide stipends to educate 12-14 nurse midwifery students annually and will allow an expansion of clinical learning sites. Professor Kate Fouquier, PhD, APRN, CNM, FACNM, is the principal investigator on this grant.

A $3.98 million, four-year HRSA grant was awarded to the college in 2022 for a nursing mobile health unit that provides primary care in the underserved, rural counties of Lake and Lauderdale. The goals of this effort are to increase health care access to vulnerable populations while increasing variety in representation in the nursing workforce. The grant also enables the integration of rural health care into the program curriculum. The principal investigator is Director of Clinical Affairs and Assistant Professor Diana Dedmon, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AFN-C.

Supporting Education

A $2.6 million, four-year HRSA grant renewal in 2023 provides stipends to support the education of 19 advanced practice nursing students committed to serving rural and underserved communities to increase health care access and variety in the nursing  workforce. The principal investigator is Professor Sarah Rhoads, PhD, DNP, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, APRN, FAWHONN, FAAN, who chairs the Department of Community and Population Health.

A $1.5 million, three-year HRSA grant to fund a much-needed expansion of training and certification for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in West Tennessee was awarded to the college in 2021. 

The goal of the SANE grant is to increase access to timely, expert care for all sexual assault survivors in West Tennessee. Within three years, 64 additional nurses have started their SANE training in the 21 counties served by the grant.

West Tennessee Healthcare, which serves rural West Tennessee, has more than quadrupled its number of SANE nurses since partnering with the college on the grant. Assistant Professor Andrea Sebastian, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, AFN-C, SANE-C, DM-AFN, is the principal investigator.

A $1.5 million, three-year HRSA grant awarded in October 2023 will help students identify and address issues related to health disparities that contribute to patients’ health problems. The grant is called “Training and Education to Advance Critical Health Equity Readiness Using Simulation,” or TEACH US. Assistant Professor Christie Manasco, PhD, RN, CNE, is the project director for the grant which will use simulation-based experiences to help students address factors related to access that improve health outcomes. The simulations will use a standardized patient – a person acting in the role of a patient.

Vaccine Outreach

The college also has been involved in COVID-19 vaccine education in rural West Tennessee. In 2021, the college received a $76,350 sub-award from a $200,000 grant to the UT Institute of Agriculture to improve vaccination rates in rural and underserved communities in six counties: Benton, Lawrence, McNairy, Hardin, Wayne, and Fentress. In 2022, the college received $377,000 from the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) to provide vaccine education to residents in Dyer, Lake, Tipton, Lauderdale, and Fayette counties, and underserved parts of Shelby County. In October 2023, the UTHSC College of Nursing received a $116,870 sub award from the College of Medicine to promote COVID-19 vaccine education, COVID-19 awareness, and other relevant education to the elderly population in Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton, Fayette and underserved areas of Shelby County. 

May 30, 2024