From left: Elaine Conroy, PMHNP resident; Charles Primich, UCSF-SFVA project director; Rosalind De Lisser, UCSF-SFVA project director; Bethany Sullivan, PMHNP resident; Matthew Tierney, UCSF-SFVA faculty; Katelyn Brady, PMHNP resident (photos by Elisabeth Fall)
September 2016 • By Andrew Schwartz

When presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced a “comprehensive” mental health agenda that recognizes some 40 million Americans are coping with a mental health problem, it was a pretty good indicator of how far public awareness has come in understanding the toll that mental illness can take on individuals, families and communities. By most accounts, raised awareness is a good thing.

The challenge is that it also increases demand for mental health professionals – a demand, as we noted in a 2014 commentary, for which many health care settings are not prepared. This has led to widespread interest in the recruitment and preparation of psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) as primary mental health providers, especially because they are knowledgeable prescribers.

That demand is also a driver for a recent partnership between UC San Francisco School of Nursing and the San Francisco VA Health Care System, which is charged with addressing the often demanding mental health needs of the area’s military veterans. One of 18 Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Partnerships in Graduate Education (VANAP-GE) around the country, the UCSF-SFVA project is a five-year collaboration focused on both scholarship and clinical training for PMHNPs. In addition to providing rotations for PMHNP students, the partnership includes a rare postgraduate residency, the first of its kind in California.

The Dean's Blog | Sandra Weiss

Sandra Weiss, RN, PhD, FAAN, is interim dean of the UCSF School of Nursing while the School conducts a national search for a successor to former Dean David Vlahov. Dean Weiss has been a deeply respected professor at the School for many years and has held a number of administrative positions within the University of California. She is the Robert C. and Delphine Wentland Eschbach Chair in Mental Health, co-director of the UCSF Depression Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

In the months ahead, Dean Weiss expects to contribute her own blog posts as Science of Caring undergoes a redesign. We look forward to her thoughts.

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