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New staff brings changes to Ohio State’s College of Nursing

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On paper and with personnel, the College of Nursing is making changes that some hope are “transforming health, transforming lives” at Ohio State and beyond.

The college will open a nurse practitioner-managed health facility on Sept. 1 that will provide local practice sites and opportunities for students’ clinical rotations.

“Having our own practice site will let us be in control of whom and where we see patients,” said Laurel Van Dromme, chief of staff and strategic partnerships.

Van Dromme said Dr. Bernadette Melnyk, dean of students, associate vice president for health promotion and university chief wellness officer, likes that the staff is able to practice as part of their teaching at the Total Health and Wellness Center.

While only one health facility is opening in the fall, there are plans for the creation of more in the future. These health centers will provide mental and physical health care. Patients can seek primary care and manage such chronic illnesses as high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Several other health science team members will be there also to cover a range of treatment a patient might need,” Van Dromme said.

One person who will influence these changes is Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the 17th United States surgeon general and the dean’s distinguished professor of health promotion and entrepreneurship. He will lead panel discussions, participate in outreach, give guest lectures to the health sciences’ students and faculty, and help students create innovative ideas for more efficient health care.

Before becoming a physician and trauma surgeon, Carmona was a registered nurse.

“He has a good handle on, and is such a proponent of nurses, as well as advanced practiced nurses and nurse practitioners,” Melnyk said.

Carmona will manage his obligations to the university in conjunction with his positions as vice chairman of Canyon Ranch, president of Canyon Ranch Institute and distinguished professor at University of Arizona by scheduling brief visits for multiple audiences.

OSU also recently received a bronze rating in U.S. Healthiest’s HealthLead assessment, which judges the types of health and wellness activities and benefits are provided.

“We were actually the first university in the country to go through their accreditation process,” Melnyk said.

The Alliance for U.S. Healthiest recognizes employers for promoting health and well-being among their employees by encouraging them to make healthy choices. The college is working with the Alliance to develop an accrediting tool designed for academic institutions.

“What we’d like to do is help them create a survey tool that is, from the beginning, designed to address faculty and staff, but also students,” Van Dromme said.

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