<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1825486384374931&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

SHU Is Combating the Opioid Crisis with a $2.4 Million Grant

August 22, 2019

Sacred Heart University has received a $2.4-million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for the College of Nursing's new project called Alternatives to Opioids for Pain (ALTOP). ALTOP is being funded under the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) Program that supports academic clinical partnerships to prepare nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives for work in rural and underserved communities.

Read on to learn how this effort, spearheaded by expert SHU faculty, is looking to transform communities and populations at risk.

Looking for weekly stories, resources, and general advice about graduate  school? Subscribe to the blog today!

What is the Opioid Crisis?

Opioid misuse has resulted in a staggering number of deaths in the United States today. Between 1999 and 2015, overdose deaths nationwide more than tripled (CDC 2017). Of the 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014 in the U.S., 60.9 percent involved an opioid (Rudd, 2016). 

The problem is particularly acute in Connecticut, which has one of the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths in the country. Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has reported that Connecticut residents are more likely to die from an unintentional drug overdose — mostly from prescription opioid pain killers — than from a motor vehicle accident. Drug misuse is also closely related to the prevalence and diagnoses of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C in the state.

How is ALTOP Helping?

ALTOP was proposed to help combat this epidemic. Through the creation and support of academic clinical partnerships at two federally qualified health centers, family nurse practitioner (FNP) students will gain long-term clinical experience and training in the appropriate use of opioids, as well as alternative pain treatments and modalities, in primary care settings. This will especially benefit medically underserved areas in Bridgeport.

The grant will help in the development of clinical preceptors at Optimus Health Care and Southwest Community Health Center. It will provide for training and support with the goal of recruiting, retaining, and evaluating preceptors to educate the next generation of FNP students in the use of best practices when treating patients with chronic pain, specifically in impoverished areas. 

The grant will also help reduce the educational debt for FNP student candidates from underrepresented, disadvantaged and/or minority backgrounds and veterans who commit to working in medically underserved areas upon graduation.

The Lasting Impact of the Project

“Pain is one of the most common reasons for patient visits to a primary care provider. This project will prepare the next generation of nurse practitioners with safe and effective prescribing patterns yet will be poised to integrate alternative pain treatment modalities to enhance patients’ quality of life,” said Professor Susan DeNisco, principal investigator and director of the project.

Professor Julie G. Stewart, who recently passed away, helped apply for the grant and was set to co-direct the project with DeNisco. Professor Kerry Milner will serve as director of quality improvement initiatives and will work to improve the overall quality of care the FQHCs deliver to patients at risk for misuse of opioids in the management of pain, as well as to their families. Milner will also coordinate key quality-improvement activities and projects, engaging FNP/DNP students in the process.

“By educating future FNPs to work in collaboration with other members of the health care team to combat the opioid crisis, the ALTOP program will lead quality improvement and safety initiatives for all patients at risk for opiate use disorders,” Stewart said.

Connect with SHU

Within the DNP-FNP program at SHU, students are exploring advanced nursing practices in order to give back to their local community. If you would like to learn more about the DNP-FNP program, we invite you to explore our comprehensive resource by clicking below. You can also reach out to us if you have any questions! We look forward to connecting with you soon. 

Want to receive weekly articles about advice for graduate school and stories from current graduate students? Subscribe to our blog, The Pioneer Pursuit, today!

Subscribe Today

Subscribe Today


Note: This article was originally published here. 


SHU Graduate Admissions Team

About the Author

We are the graduate admissions team at Sacred Heart University. We aspire to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students looking to continue their education while empowering them in mind, body and spirit. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a graduate degree at Sacred Heart!

5 Most Recent Posts

Subscribe to the Blog

Topics: FNP-DNP

The Differences Between Graduate and Undergraduate Study:
Everything You Need to Know

woman making decision with grad cap on-1

This resource covers ten important differences between graduate and undergraduate study and offers advice on how to choose the program that best fits your needs.

Explore the Resource

Recommended for you