College of Nursing professor receives nearly $1 million grant

AURORA, Colo. (Aug. 12, 2009)—There are significant mental health needs in the state of Colorado. Now, thanks to a three-year $881,993 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, Mary Weber, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing and option coordinator for the college’s Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) master’s program option, will be able to focus on the elimination of health barriers by increasing the supply, diversity, and distribution of Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner providers. The revised and newly funded FPMHNP program, with funding now from the HRSA, will prepare advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners with the expertise to provide high quality mental healthcare in rural and medically underserved urban areas.

Weber was appointed to an endowed professorship on Dec. 1 as part of a $3 million gift to fund an endowment for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing specialty in the graduate program. Her primary focus is to redevelop and reopen the Psychiatric Mental Health option in the graduate master’s degree program.
“There is an extreme shortage of family psychiatric nurse practitioners,” said Weber.  “Graduates of the proposed program are greatly needed to fill an even greater shortage of FPMHNP faculty positions in the country which are critical to the continued preparation of licensed registered nurses in the country.”

The approximate costs including instruction—direct and indirect costs, course development and administration—for the three-year funding period are $1,534,267.  HRSA funds $881,993 or 57 percent of the costs. The remainder of funding comes from a combination of tuition and fees, the State General Fund and endowment earnings from an anonymous donor gift. 

“This is very exciting for Colorado because it will enable us to expand our graduate program option in psychiatric/mental health nursing and ensure that it can be accessed by nurses all over the state,” said College of Nursing Dean, Patricia Moritz, RN, PhD, FAAN.

Weber has been at UC Denver College of Nursing since Aug. 1, 2008. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor and co-director at the Center for Psychopharmacology at the School of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington. Weber has 20 years of clinical experience in various roles and approximately 15 years in psychiatric nursing as a CNS/NP. She has more than seven years of experience at the graduate nursing level. Her research is focused on detection and prevention of psychiatric and medical co-morbidities in those with schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses.

Located at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo., the University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing offers some of the highest ranked programs in the country — from bachelor’s through doctoral degrees and post-graduate certificate programs. The college offers several specialties through its master’s program and the only PhD program in clinical research in Colorado. It also is the birthplace of nurse practitioner education and the caring movement, and was one of the first schools in the country to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. This year, U.S News & World Report ranked the UC Denver College of Nursing nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist programs among the top 10 in the country. For more information, visit the UC Denver Newsroom.
Contact: Caitlin Jenney, 303.315.6376, [email protected]

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