Southern Arkansas University’s Department of Nursing will be able to enhance its instruction and simulation center thanks to one of two grants awarded simultaneously by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas. SAU submitted two proposals that were both included among the $3.4 million in grants awarded by the Blue & You Foundation.
A grant totaling $149,339 was awarded to SAU in support of a proposal entitled, “Tip of the Iceberg: Patient Safety, Opioids and Drug Diversion Among Health Professionals.” This grant will enhance the SAU Nursing Science and Simulation Center through the addition of an automated medication dispensing system, iPad technology and faculty training on mental health issues that specifically addresses medication safety.
Dr. Karen Landry, Chair of the Department of Nursing at SAU, is author and project director for this grant. Dr. Landry’s vision for the nursing department is to incorporate state-of-the-art technology in the Nursing Simulation Center that can help current and future nursing students address life-altering healthcare issues. The current grant will put the SAU Nursing program at the front lines in helping to respond to prescription drug abuse and medical addiction issues. In addition to current best practices in healthcare technology for nursing students, the funding from this grant will also provide a community-wide healthcare symposium next fall on the state of the science pertaining to the opioid crisis facing the region. This symposium will be held on the SAU campus and will be free to the public.
The second grant funded by the Blue & You Foundation was presented to the SAU Aquatic Center. This grant of $19,696 will purchase water exercise gear, fitness equipment and hydro exercise products to benefit users of the University’s indoor pool.
“Our grants went to programs across the state that address issues that organizations have identified as important to their communities,” Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, said. “These include physical and mental health programs, opportunities to participate in exercise and good nutrition, and building the future medical workforce that will care for all of our citizens.”
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation awards grants annually to non-profit or governmental programs that have a positive effect on the health of Arkansans.
In 18 years, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to 1,922 health improvement programs throughout the state.