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NMSU School of Nursing to tackle opioid epidemic in NM with $1.35 million HRSA grant

  • By Carlos Andres López
  • 575-646-1955
  • Oct 09, 2019
A headshot of a woman
A headshot of a woman

The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has awarded a three-year, $1.35 million federal training grant to the School of Nursing at New Mexico State University to fund a project that will expand the number of professionals in New Mexico, particularly in southern counties, who are trained in interprofessional settings to effectively prevent and treat opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders in community-based practices.

The project, a collaboration between the College of Health and Social Services and the College of Education, will support interprofessional faculty and community health provider training in the prevention, treatment and recovery of opioid-use and substance-use disorders, also referred to as OUD and SUD. It is part of HRSA’s Opioid Workforce Education Program.

NMSU faculty and students from three departments – the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, the Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program and the Master of Social Work program – will participate in the project through 2021.

“NMSU will leverage its current academic-practice partnerships to develop planned clinical training experiences in the delivery of OUD and SUD prevention, treatment and recovery services,” said Shelly Noe, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and director of the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, who will serve as the project director.

In 2017, New Mexico reported a rate of 24.6 deaths per 100,000 people due to drug overdose, higher than the overall U.S. rate of 21.7, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

The agency also found that two out of three drug overdoses in New Mexico involved an opioid and that opioid overdose-related emergency room visits increased by 60 percent between 2010-2017.

“The outcomes of this project will help us achieve our long-term goal to transform integrated behavioral health teams to effectively prevent and treat OUDs and other SUDs in New Mexico’s medically underserved communities,” said Noe, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who practices in the area of medication-assisted treatment for substance-use disorders.

Eve Adams, a Regents professor in the Department of Counseling and Education Psychology, will serve as a special adviser on the project.

“We are so pleased to be collaborating with the School of Nursing on this project,” Adams said. “We have partnered with them on other projects, and I believe our combined expertise in interprofessional education and treating substance-use disorders will allow us to create a cutting-edge curriculum for our graduate students.”

Sixty percent of the funding will provide stipends for students in the three programs. Noe and Adams also will develop and implement interdisciplinary training experiences for these students.

“One of our objectives is to promote the integration of behavioral health with primary care, including trauma-informed care, with a focus on working with OUD and other SUD prevention, treatment and recovery services,” Noe said.

She added, “We also want to increase the number of community-based experiential training sites to help meet the behavioral health needs of persons in high need and high demand areas who have, or are at risk for, OUD and other SUD, including children, adolescents and transitional-age youth.”

Additionally, Noe and Adams plan to create a curriculum and training program will include enhanced opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders content in didactic courses for all three programs. They also will re-establish a minor program focused on the treatment of substance-use disorders and offer workshops and professional development opportunities for NMSU faculty, students and community providers on interprofessional collaboration and other skills required for effective-care coordination.

As part of the project, NMSU will collaborate with eight clinical partners, including 4-H, Amador Health Center Ben Archer Community Health Center, Mesilla Valley Hospital, Memorial Medical Center, Esperanza Guidance Services, the New Mexico VA Healthcare System and Haven Behavioral Health in Albuquerque.

Noe and Adams also will work toward establishing opioid-use and substance-abuse disorders prevention programs in regional school systems.