The School of Nursing received a two-year $703,000 grant from St. David’s Foundation, the University announced Tuesday.
The funding will support the UT School of Nursing Wellness Center in providing care for the uninsured, low-income community of Central Texas. The Wellness Center operates in two locations, the Children’s Wellness Clinic in Del Valle, Texas and the Family Wellness Clinic in East Austin.
“We’re delighted that St. David’s Foundation has chosen once again to support the School of Nursing,” said Alexa Stuifbergen, School of Nursing dean. “We’ve had numerous supporters . . . but our most consistent and generous has always been St. David’s Foundation.”
Stuifbergen said the center was first started 16 years ago in Del Valle when a local school nurse reached out to the nursing school because of the lack of pediatric care in the area. Since then, University students who study nursing, business, social work and pharmacy have worked with faculty members in serving the community through both clinics.
“It’s a great source of direct experience for students,” Stuifbergen said. “It’s a way that UT gives back to the community.”
Now the center has recruited more public health nurses on staff to increase outreach programs. It is also adding more specialty programs to help people manage diabetes and asthma.
“This is a continuation of a long-standing relationship that we’ve had with the UT School of Nursing,” said Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation. “The [center] serves low-income people in our community, and that’s the focus of our foundation.”
Elizabeth Loika, associate professor of clinical nursing and director of the Family Wellness Center, said the center has become an integral part in the lives of many patients.
“This brings up the standard of care to where it needs to be. We’re very grateful,” Loika said.
Many patients first came as teenagers and grew up with the center. These patients, especially the geriatric population, have been receiving care for as long as ten years.
“We like to be able to provide an extended way of teaching,” Loika said. “We’re doing something that is meaningful.”