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Grant boosts VUSN’s Clinic at Mercury Courts

Jan. 31, 2013, 9:25 AM

The clinic team on opening day last summer, from left, Terri Crutcher, MSN, R.N., Christian Ketel, MSN, R.N., Bonnie Pilon, DSN, R.N., Aaron Scott, MSN, Bryn Evans and Kimberly Word, MA. (photo by Joe Howell)

More than 1,200 underserved and disadvantaged people in Nashville will gain access to high-quality primary care thanks to a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Division of Nursing grant recently awarded to the Clinic at Mercury Courts.

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing primary care clinic, operating in conjunction with Urban Housing Solutions, opened last year to serve people and families transitioning from homelessness and other poverty situations.

“This is a tremendous boost. It gives us much-needed support to effectively provide health care to members of the community who are often the hardest to reach and those who need high-quality health care the most,” said Bonnie Pilon, DSN, R.N., senior associate dean for Clinical and Community Partnerships at VUSN.

The grant will provide resources to target two specific groups: People living in transitional and low income housing in urban Nashville, most of whom are uninsured; and homebound and group housing residents, a majority of whom are elderly, frail and low income, who will receive medical house calls from advanced practice nurses teamed with a pharmacist and counselor.

In addition to providing health care, the HRSA grant is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee that brings together interprofessional, licensed providers working with a nurse-led primary care site.

The health professionals team includes a family nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a physician and a master’s prepared professional counselor/health advocate. The group will provide preventive and chronic disease management.

“We have piloted programs where students from different health care areas learn side-by-side, and this is a great clinic site to continue that model of learning. This grant takes things one step further by bringing together licensed providers working as a team,” said Pilon.

“This will allow us to create, implement and test this approach like never before. We hope what we learn will be scalable in other communities across the country.”

The Clinic at Mercury Courts is located on Murfreesboro Pike in the former motor lodge of the same name.

Urban Housing Solutions is a nonprofit committed to affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

The grant will serve residents in nine apartment complexes within a 2.5-mile radius of the clinic.

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