Harper to serve on VA National Academic Affiliations Council
The NAAC will provide a forum for joint planning and coordination between VA and the nation's health professions schools and universities. The council will advise Secretary McDonald and Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel on ways to further enhance what has become the largest public-private partnership in VA's history and a cornerstone of American health professions education.
This is Harper's second Department of Veterans Affairs appointment in 2014. Earlier this year she was selected for a two-year appointment on the Department of Veterans Affairs' Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG). As a member of that Federal Advisory Committee, Harper provides advice to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary for Health on matters relating to the care and treatment of Veterans and other matters pertinent to the operations of the Veterans Health Administration.
The UAB School of Nursing has significant ties to the Department of Veterans Affairs and Veterans health care. There are a number of programs the UAB School of Nursing offers or participates in that are geared toward veterans and their families. These include the VA Nursing Academic Partnerships in Graduate Education (VANAP-GE), the only one of its kind in the country. Created with a five-year grant from the Veterans Health Administration to the Birmingham VA Medical Center, the program will put 48 new psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners into the VA workforce over the next five years.
The School also has partnered with the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center on a residency program for mental health nurse practitioners also designed to put more nurse practitioners into the VA pipeline to address the mental health needs of a growing veteran population. The program, created by a three-year pilot grant from the Veterans Health Administration Office of Academic Affiliation to the Birmingham VAMC, is one of only four in the country. The residents work Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week, and rotate through eight different interprofessional teams – made up of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists and other health care professionals – treating a variety of mental health issues, including PTSD, substance abuse and chronic mental illness. The residents will spend a month with each team and not only learn more about working with these disorders, but also how to work with other mental health care professionals.
Click here for more information on the UAB School of Nursing's work with Veterans.