Richmond City Health District Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond City Health District Virginia Commonwealth University

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Overview of Innovation

The Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Nursing have developed a partnership to support public health nursing clinical training in the health district. The five satellite clinics of the health department  have been established in public housing complexes in the district.  The Richmond Health District developed these satellite clinics with Title 10 funding beginning in 2009 with one site. Today there are five sites serving as gateway clinics connecting local residents to primary care and providing preventative and health education services to public housing residents. These services are provided cooperatively between the health district and VCU School of Nursing students and faculty. Three of the clinics act as community health clinical sites and both RN and NP staff at all sites serve as preceptors to undergraduate and graduate students. One specific clinic, the Mosby Resource Center, is financially supported by the School of Nursing and also utilizes a nurse practitioner from the school to provide clinical services one day a week. Services at the clinics focus on health education, health system navigation, and health promotion and disease prevention programs. Services are delivered using a nurse-driven model of care utilizing community health workers as well as nursing providers. 

Undergraduate nursing education is supported with didactic coursework that focuses on community-level needs assessment, epidemiology, communication, and evaluation skills. The three-credit didactic course is paired with a two-credit clinical rotation, and follows a service-learning model in which the students are embedded in community sites for the duration of the course. This course is placed in the last semester of the undergraduate year, so that students are able to incorporate knowledge from previous undergraduate clinical rotations, while partnering with the community members who work in and access these services. Students, faculty, and community members collaborate to develop a semester-long service-learning project that meets a community-identified need.  Students then present their projects at a professional-style poster session at the end of the semester. Many of these projects support community health priorities in the practice setting. Recent projects included providing a flu vaccine clinic to community residents, developing a map of accessible resources for low-income residents, and running a health careers club for school aged children.

Student evaluations of the experience are positive and the experience has also become a public health workforce development bridge since several undergraduate students have selected public health nursing as their professional focus upon graduation, while others have chosen to enter graduate education in public health. 


For further information on this exciting partnership between the Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Commonwealth University please contact:

Amy Popovich, RN MSN
Resource Center Supervisor
Richmond City Health District
400 E. Cary St.
Richmond, VA 23219