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Hale and Cragin honored for focus on veterans health

Outstanding Poster Award stresses importance of asking patients ‘Have you served?’

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

abril 26, 2016
  Janet Hale, PhD, is pictured in front of the award-winning veterans health poster she and Linda Cragin, MS, presented at the National Organization of Nurse Practitioners Faculties annual meeting.
 

Janet Hale, PhD, is pictured in front of the award-winning veterans health poster she and Linda Cragin, MS, presented at the National Organization of Nurse Practitioners Faculties annual meeting.

UMass Medical School veterans health experts Janet Hale, PhD, and Linda Cragin, MS, were honored for providing valuable information to nurse practitioners in training, many of whom will serve on the front lines of primary care, about why health care providers should ask patients if they or someone close to them has served in the military.

“Since 75 percent of veterans do not seek care through the Veterans Health Administration, it is important that our health professions students learn to include the question ‘Have you or someone close to you served in the military?’ as part of taking a routine health history,” said Dr. Hale, professor of nursing, associate dean for academic affairs and director of interdisciplinary and community partnerships in the Graduate School of Nursing.

She and Cragin, instructor in family medicine & community health and director of the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center administered by Commonwealth Medicine, received the Outstanding Poster Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties at the society’s 42nd annual meeting in Seattle on April 16.

“Our future physicians and nurse practitioners need to understand the unique concerns that a veteran may present with when seeking care,” said Cragin. “It is important to teach the next generation of providers the importance of asking this question.”

Hale, a retired United States Army colonel, and Cragin are co-directors of the UMMS Population Health Clerkship focused on veterans health, which Cragin launched in 2012. Population health clerkships are two-week immersion courses required of all second-year medical and first-year graduate nursing students to introduce them to public health and communities as a unit of care. The veterans health clerkship class of 2015’s community service project also focused on increasing awareness of veterans health issues by asking about military service.

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is the only organization specifically devoted to promoting quality nurse practitioner education. Since its founding in 1974 as a small group of educators meeting to develop the first nurse practitioner curriculum guidelines, the organization has evolved as a leader for faculty committed to excellence in nurse practitioner education.

“I was delighted that our poster was selected for this award, most importantly for the honor I believe it bestows upon veterans, their services and sacrifices,” said Hale. “It also indicates nurse practitioner educators’ appreciation of the health risks and health care needs that veterans are likely to face as a result of their military service, and how we can help them receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled.”

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Medical, nursing students learn about veterans unique health care needs
Nurses and doctors in training run free flu clinic at Veterans Inc.
Medical and nursing students focus on veterans: Military population has specific health care needs