The University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing was recently gifted $1 million by the McMurry Foundation to support mental health education and outreach.
"The needs of Wyoming in terms of mental health are huge. Virtually every county in Wyoming is underserved for mental health services," said Mary Burman, a professor in the School of Nursing.
Burman said this gift will be instrumental in creating new resources for the school and the state. They plan to use the funds in three different parts.
"The first part is a faculty position. This will be a chair in psychiatric mental health nursing in the School of Nursing. There's another part of it that we're calling faculty fellowships, these are funds for faculty across the board," said Burman. "And then the last part of it is an ECHO project and ECHO professional network."
An ECHO professional network is a nation-wide, digitally mediated collaboration of healthcare professionals. The School of Nursing's network will also be available to students and will focus on integrated care.
"Most primary care visits actually have a mental health component to them. Someone's scared about their diagnosis, their anxiety [has] made something worse. So it's how to bring those different arms of healthcare together, so we can address mental health issues much more appropriately," said Burman.
The faculty fellowships will be available to all faculty in the School of Nursing who are interested in including mental health in their teaching.
"They don't have to be psychiatric mental health faculty; they could be a faculty of teaching and adult health who wants to integrate more of psych mental health into their courses. They're funds to help develop our faculties expertise in psych mental health," said Burman.
She said the fellowships will be available to faculty this year. The ECHO network is planned to be up and running by January, and the chair position will be hired by next fall.
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