NEWS | February 19, 2014

School of Nursing awarded grants to assist with underserved clinical rotations and classroom training


The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development awarded $265,000 to the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis for the nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs to improve primary care to underserved populations through expanded clinical rotations and simulated learning based on real-life situations.

As part of the Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Training Program, the School of Nursing received $115,000 to create patient case simulations and $150,000 to provide housing and travel funds for students doing clinical training in underserved areas of central and Northern California.

“Primary-care providers need to leverage the social, economic and physical conditions that shape health and then better work together as a team,” said Virginia Hass, director for the nurse practitioner program. “The Song-Brown grant enables the preparation of health-care professionals to understand the impact of the environment on health outcomes and to deliver care within an interprofessional team.”

As part of the $115,000 one-year grant, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing will partner with the UC Davis Center for Virtual Care to develop simulated case scenarios for use throughout the two-year clinical curriculum. Plans call for specific simulations that address culturally relevant care to communities that experience difficulties accessing health care.

The second grant assists students with the costs of travel and housing during clinical rotations in underserved and rural areas. Rotation sites within the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities have priority. These 14 geographically diverse communities — ranging from Riverside to Del Norte Counties — are generally low income and rural with a significant proportion of uninsured residents.

“A primary objective of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs is to provide student rotations that improve availability of care,” said Mark Christiansen, director for the physician assistant program. “Because many of the designated communities and counties are within the school’s service and recruitment area, the program is a natural extension of current activities.”

Over the past 40 years, UC Davis graduated 1,800 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 67 percent of graduates working in underserved areas. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of graduates work in primary care, compared to significantly lower national averages of between 30 and 40 percent.

The Song-Brown Program partnered with the California Endowment to provide both grants. The California Endowment’s 10-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities invests billions in community-based strategies to prevent chronic illnesses, including obesity prevention, nutrition access and tobacco cessation programs. More information about The Endowment is available at

The Song-Brown Program was established in 1973 by the state legislature to assure access to primary-care services for Californians. UC Davis has been one of the largest recipients of the funding, with a total amount exceeding $5 million. More information about the program is available at

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. The school’s first programs, doctoral and master’s degrees, opened in fall 2010. Master’s degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities, opened in summer 2013. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit