Kent State Nursing Researcher Awarded $1.5 Million, Three-Year Grant to Advance Nurse Education Within Integrated Care Settings

The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently awarded a $1.5 million, three-year grant to Kent State University College of Nursing research faculty member Jim Tudhope, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC (principal investigator) and his team, Wendy Umberger, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC, associate dean for graduate programs at Kent State’s College of Nursing (co-investigator), and Jeffrey Moore, M.D., and Vikil Girdhar, M.D., both co-investigators from Portage Path Behavioral Health. Their project, titled Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency Integration Program, will prepare and increase the number of new behavioral health nurse practitioners in Northeast Ohio. 

Additionally, this program will help improve access to, and the quality of, integrated, interprofessional community-based psychiatric nursing services to rural and underserved areas while also recruiting, training, developing, supporting and evaluating preceptors as program collaborators to enhance nurse practitioner resident, preceptor and clinical staff professional development.  
Funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration will allow Tudhope and his team to expand and enhance an existing 12-month residency program designed for recently graduated nurse practitioners to improve their competencies, self-confidence and role socialization. 

“We are excited to build upon the early success we’ve had and take the next steps required to grow the program and make it more sustainable,” Tudhope remarked. “We will now be equipped to offer our fellows specific training in opiate use disorder and treatments for addictions, as well as expand and enhance our current telehealth services.”
In collaboration with Portage Path Behavioral Health, the residency interprofessional clinical environment includes an on-site pharmacy and primary care clinic through a partnership with AxessPointe Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center.
“Our Kent State nursing graduates and the community will certainly benefit from this extraordinary program,” said Denice Sheehan, Ph.D., RN, FPCN, interim dean and Henderson Memorial Endowed Chair at Kent State’s College of Nursing. “I look forward to their continued success.” 
The importance of interprofessional collaboration cannot be overemphasized as it is a growing and expanding area of research and practice, explained Tudhope. 

“Interprofessional collaboration execution is a must,” he said. “Much of our healthcare system is fragmented, making it difficult to provide high-quality care. It’s frustrating and difficult for our patients and community members who are trying to understand what’s going on when they are facing a chronic illness or health issues. At the core of this problem, healthcare professionals aren’t always on the same page or working efficiently.”  
The team will recruit new behavioral health nurse practitioners committed to caring for the underserved in an integrative, community setting. At the end of the three project years, they will have trained and graduated a minimum of 15 new behavioral health nurse practitioner fellows who will be committed to providing integrative community psychiatric care to Northeast Ohio’s underserved mental health population living within an epicenter of the opioid crisis.
“Our fellows will receive interprofessional training during their first year in the program while they are still developing roots in their clinical practice,” Tudhope said. “They will learn and grow in an environment specifically designed around interprofessional development, which will make this a unique and wonderful experience.”
Tudhope is a two-time alumnus of Kent State’s College of Nursing. He specializes in psychiatric mental health. Initially, Tudhope worked as a licensed professional counselor for a mental health center where he fell in love with the work and mental health care population. As a registered nurse, Tudhope worked in hospitals with patients who were underserved and struggling. As a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), Tudhope seeks to develop new knowledge and research, but his true passion lies in implementation science and discovering best practices. 

“I enjoy studying and researching the implementation process, looking at it from a quality improvement perspective,” Tudhope said. “I want to understand how we were able to do something and provide information so other organizations can take what we learned along the way and replicate it in their own practices.”   
This fellowship program was born out of Tudhope’s own experiences in the clinical field and as a doctor of nursing practice student, in which the focus of his research was development and design of the curriculum for the fellowship program. Tudhope added that the start of this program was also made possible due to some early grants from local philanthropy organization Peg’s Foundation.
In addition to his work at Portage Path Behavioral Health, Tudhope serves as the concentration coordinator for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s concentration at Kent State’s College of Nursing. He enjoys teaching his students how to take the next step in their development and recognize the differences between being a registered nurse and an advanced practice registered nurse. He also relishes providing his students guidance and direction based on their learning experiences and insights.
When asked about his favorite part of working for the university, Tudhope immediately highlighted the camaraderie and collaborative environment on campus. 

“The work from different colleagues, whether the focus is on teaching or research and engagement, has encouraged me to become more involved in my own interests,” Tudhope explained. “I’ve learned so much from the day-to-day engagement with my colleagues at the College of Nursing. It’s been professionally and personally rewarding working alongside these individuals.”

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Photo Caption:
Kent State University College of Nursing research faculty member Jim Tudhope (pictured) and his team, which includes doctors from Portage Path Behavioral Health, have been awarded a $1.5 million, three-year grant to prepare and increase the number of new behavioral health nurse practitioners in Northeast Ohio.

Media Contacts:
Mariah Gibbons,, 330-672-8756
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2020 04:02 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 12:27 PM
Mariah Gibbons