Spring 2006 Table of Contents
News from the College
Nursing Clinic to Open at NYUCD

Dean Terry Fulmer

The NYU College of Nursing (NYUCN) will help expand access to primary health-care services and improve the quality of life for medically-underserved New Yorkers with the opening this summer of a Nursing Faculty Practice at the College of Dentistry.

Initially, the Nursing Faculty Practice will target older adults. Over time, services for all age groups will be offered.

"The high prevalence of chronic illness in this age group puts older adults at risk for increased morbidity with resulting disability and decreased quality of life," said Dr. Terry Fulmer, Dean of the College of Nursing. "The good news is that interventions that support and promote health, such as clinical preventive services, risk factor reduction and lifestyle behavior change, can reduce premature morbidity and mortality. Given that the traditional symptom-based, reactive approach has not proven adequate, it is time to move toward a more proactive, population-based, patient-centered approach to care. NYU nursing faculty will provide a core of services that address not only disease-based clinical management, but also health promotion and disease prevention."

The Nursing Faculty Practice will be directed by Dr. Carolyn Auerhahn, ANP, GNP, who directs the Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Programs at the NYUCN. The practice will also include Professors Caroline Dorsen, ANP, and Rose Knapp, ANP, with Robert Kennedy, MD, a long-time member of the NYU nursing faculty, as the collaborating physician.

When the NYU Nursing Program joined the College of Dentistry as a new College of Nursing within NYUCD in fall 2005, one of the stated objectives of the alliance was to seek new synergies through interdisciplinary health teaching education and research, as urged by the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. Another was to address health-care challenges of the 21st century through innovative practice models and responsive, patient-centered care.

"It is obvious that there is a need for the development of comprehensive and effective forms of healthcare delivery to support and promote the health of an ever-increasing number of older adults," said Dean Alfano. "By enabling dental and nursing faculty and students to collaborate on the development and implementation of a primary care model, the new Nurse-Practitioner Clinic at NYUCD is a step in that direction and also has the potential to help address barriers to primary health care."

According to data from a 2005 survey of NYUCD patients, the majority of whom are either Medicaid-eligible or uninsured, one-third of all patients stated that they had experienced problems in accessing primary medical services due to their socioeconomic status and lack of health insurance. Most important, when asked if they would take advantage of primary care services if these were made available at NYUCD, 77 percent of survey participants responded "yes."

Patients will be referred to the Nursing Faculty Practice by the professional and clerical staff in the NYU dental clinics-- who will be formally trained in appropriate referral procedure-- and be seen by NYUCN nurse-practitioners. Patients who have a primary care provider will be offered health promotion services that complement the care they are already receiving. Those who do not have a primary care provider will be offered the option of receiving their primary care at the clinic.

Patient records will include both dental and general health information. This shared information will provide a more comprehensive health-care record than currently exists in other practice models.

"The NYU Nursing Faculty Practice affords an unprecedented opportunity for interprofessional communication and collaboration in the provision of healthcare services to people who have experienced problems in accessing primary care services," said Dean Fulmer.