Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing receives grant to expand behavioral health services in Maywood and Melrose Park

By Kate Hedlin

Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing faculty Diana Hackbarth, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Fran Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, have been awarded a $928,000 grant over two years from the Health Resources and Services Administration to integrate behavioral health providers into nurse-led primary care teams.
The goal is to increase access to care, enhance care coordination between providers and improve outcomes in underserved community-based settings.
“There is so much need in our community to recognize and provide services to people with behavioral health needs,” said Dr. Hackbarth, who is a professor at Niehoff. “It’s a great opportunity to reduce the stigma of mental illness, promote social and emotional health and expand needed services.”
Part of the funding is for the expansion of behavioral health services at Proviso East High School, where Niehoff faculty have been providing behavioral healthcare as part of its School Based Health Center (SBHC). The program will also support behavioral health services in elementary schools in Maywood and Melrose Park.
In addition, the grant will be used to expand behavioral health services at the Family Medicine Clinic, located at the Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt, 1211 W. Roosevelt Road, Maywood. The grant will pay for an additional behavioral health provider and a consulting psychiatrist, allowing for easier access to mental health screenings and earlier access to treatment.
Finally, the project will promote interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) by training nurses, nursing students and other health professionals to be comfortable in screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment.

"We want people to get the mental healthcare they need as soon as possible through better integration of behavioral health services into primary care at Loyola," said Dr. Vlasses, who is also a professor at Niehoff.

This effort is a collaboration between Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola University Health System.