Posted by William Nunnelley on 2011-02-11

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing received the 2011 Life Without Limits Outstanding Program Partner Award from United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Greater Birmingham at its annual awards program Jan. 25.

            The award recognizes the nursing school’s “outstanding efforts to support individuals with disabilities” through a partnership that helps UCP to provide medical care to individuals with disabilities, according to UCP chief executive officer Gary M. Edwards.

            The nursing school used its mobile wellness van to provide health clinics for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Moody, Ala., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.  The clinic offered free screenings, primary care services and referrals.  In addition, the clinics provided education about proper nutrition, exercise and sun protection.

            The mobile wellness van meets two primary goals—combating barriers to care that individuals with developmental disabilities often face, such as transportation, and teaching others how to care for this special patient population, noted Dr. Jill Cunningham, project director for the Mobile Health Services for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities and associate professor at the nursing school.

            The clinics also help to ensure that Samford nursing students are prepared to care for individuals with developmental disabilities by providing experience in the field.

            “Many do not realize that there is a national shortage of healthcare providers educated to care for persons with developmental disabilities,” said Dr. Margaret Findlay, project coordinator and professor in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.

            “The nursing school strongly believes in the importance of providing students with the opportunity to refine their ability to deliver quality health care to this population.”

            In addition to the van program, Samford’s Nurse Anesthesia Department sends student volunteers two days a week to assist UCP with group assignments and activities, feedings and a weekly outing to a bowling alley.

            “We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with clients at UCP and have appreciated the blessings they bring,” said Amy Snow, director of clinical services for the Nurse Anesthesia Department.  “The clients have opened our eyes to the challenges some of our patients face and made us more comfortable when communicating with those that have special needs.  This opportunity has also provided a way for Samford’s Nurse Anesthesia community to serve others.”