Dec 13, 2016

Connecticut Hosts Successful Summit

Nurses and others from Connecticut convened on November 30 for the second summit of the Connecticut Nursing Collaborative-Action Coalition (CNC-AC). Carole Bergeron, RN, PhD, State Implementation Program grant principal investigator opened the day with a quote from Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Connecticut summit participants listen to presenation The day included presentations about the accomplishments of the Connecticut Nursing Collaborative-Action Coalition, a dynamic keynote address about diversity and inclusion from Kenya Beard, EdD, AGACNPNP-BC, NP-C, CNE, ANEF and panel presentations about initiatives aimed at building a Culture of Health in Connecticut. The summit signaled the transition from “focusing inward on the nursing workforce to using the strength of our workforce for population-based initiatives,” said Lisa Sundean, RN, MSN, MHA, CNC-AC director. While the CNC-AC continues to work toward developing a strong and diverse nursing workforce and is embedding its work throughout state agencies, organizations, universities, and colleges, it is also promoting the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health framework as a powerful and meaningful guide for addressing community-based health needs in collaboration with multisector stakeholders.

One session highlighted key accomplishments of the CNC-AC. Paula McCauley, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, CNE described the process used by the CNC-AC to establish a statewide nursing data management infrastructure partnering with state agencies and universities. Linda Perfetto, MS, RN, CNE, CNOR, FAADN reported on academic progression in Connecticut quoting the number of BSNs or higher in Connecticut at 55 percent based on the recent analysis of the 2015 National Nursing Workforce Survey. Cindy Hollie, RN, DNP, MBA described the online Population Health program, to be piloted in early 2017, to educate incumbent nurses about current concepts in population health. Denise Bell, RN, MPH Diversity Committee co-chair, described the development of the Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit and plans to address nursing leadership diversity.

“We avoid the important conversations because of fear – fear of saying the wrong thing.” Beard offered a compelling keynote address calling participants to consider personal perspectives and engage in the critical dialogue needed to address implicit bias. A short “movement break” of light exercise in the name of health was followed by awards and recognitions for CNC-AC leaders and key partners.

Connecticut summit participants listen to presenationThe afternoon was devoted to creating healthy communities in Connecticut. After setting the context with an overview of the RWJF Culture of Health framework, six panelists described five programs throughout the state that aim to build healthier communities. Millicent Malcolm, DNP, GNP-BC, APRN, FNAP, associate professor at the UConn School of Nursing, described the GOT Care! Program, which is funded by Health Resources and Services Administration to address the health needs of aging individuals within an interprofessional education model. Gina Federico Muslim, BA, director of the North Hartford Pilot Health Program through Community Solutions, shared the vision and outcomes of this multistakeholder community program funded, in part, by RWJF to achieve the neighborhood triple aim. The mission of the Connecticut Data Collaborative was described by its director, Michelle Riordan-Nold, MPP, as a public-private partnership that seeks to provide open source data to address a wide range of social issues in Connecticut. One RWJF Culture of Health prize winner, The City of Bridgeport Mayor’s Initiative for Re-entry Affairs, was described by directors Louis Reed, CADC, CAC and Maritza Bond,MPH. The program aims to provide services and training to recently incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry into the community.  Finally, Maritza Estremera, MBA program administrator for United Illuminating, described the Clean, Tune and Test program she developed to address energy efficiency in client homes with the added benefit of significantly reducing risks for carbon monoxide exposure. The program is operationalized through a host of partners.

Summit participants brainstormed about multistakeholder initiatives to address food security, veterans’ health, and the opioid epidemic, among others. Participants commented, “Excellent program!” “One of the best conferences I have been to all year.” CNC-AC’s initiatives are resulting in meaningful outcomes for nurses, students, and consumers, and have served to bring new partners together to address a variety of health issues. Sundean reflected, “I am encouraged by the networking that occurred at the summit and the relationships that are developing as a result. People came away feeling energized and ready to engage at a new level to address broad health issues. That’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

CNC-AC is a two-time recipient of the RWJF State Implementation Program grant.