By Emily Kent
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has been redesignated as a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for International Nursing, marking its 25th year as a WHO Collaborative Center (WHOCC).
This special designation is given by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and recognizes the UAB School of Nursing as a pacesetter in global health initiatives, primary health care and quality improvement in nursing education. A PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing acknowledges a school’s sustained involvement and interest in global nursing development. The PAHO/WHO designation in this case indicates that the education, research and clinical programs in the UAB School of Nursing are nationally and internationally recognized, and that UAB has superior scientific and technical leadership in nursing.
The School of Nursing was first awarded its PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center on International Nursing designation in 1994. The School has been redesignated every four years since then, the most recent in April 2015 for the four-year term of 2015-2019.
“This designation continues to help put our School’s global outreach work, here at home and throughout the world, on the map nationally and internationally,” said UAB School of Nursing Dean, Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing, and Director of the UAB PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing Doreen Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our School has been on the forefront of enhancing nursing education, practice and research with the ultimate goal of improving health locally and globally for almost 70 years. Our continued designation as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing provides us an exemplary platform to continue this important work for our community, state and the world.”
The UAB School of Nursing is one of eight nursing-specific centers in the United States, and among 16 Collaborating Centers in the Western Hemisphere operating under PAHO, the regional office of WHO for North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. There are 42 worldwide WHOCCs specifically dedicated to nursing and midwifery. For further information visit the Global Network Website.
As a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center, the School acts on PAHO guidelines, working to advance nursing education internationally, but more specifically in the PAHO region, through program development to enhance nursing education, practice and research and ultimately to improve global health. This includes attending international meetings, contributing towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and working with research partners around the globe.
“We are honored to have been designated for the 25th year, especially as we prepare to celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Florence Nightgale’s 200th birthday,” said Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/WHOCC for International Nursing, Ada Markaki, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC.
The School is redesignated through April 2023 and over the next four years will work toward several goals that strengthen the quality of nursing education and practice and help disseminate knowledge. Those goals include raising awareness of and building academic nursing partnerships, utilizing the Educational Quality Improvement toolkit, piloting and evaluating online courses, and promoting interprofessional education for nurses, especially those who care for vulnerable populations.
“UAB School of Nursing has shown its support towards our efforts to remain a WHOCC and the overall goal of improving global health,” Markaki said. “We have been able to complete past activities with the resources and faculty available through the School. This team effort paired with the guidance and direction from Dean Harper and our Advisory Board has enabled the School to be a WHOCC for 25 years.”
The School also has many other global initiatives in addition to the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center work, including the International Visiting Scholars program, global service learning, and integration of global health content across the curriculum. The School’s collaborative relationships with Jamaica, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, the UK and many other countries have included visiting scholars, faculty and student exchanges, and international research programs.