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Utah Selected as One of 15 Sites to Engage Nurses in U.S. Health Care Transformation

Salt Lake City—The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a collaboration created by the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJF) Foundation and the AARP Foundation to implement solutions to the challenges facing the nursing profession, and to build upon nurse-based approaches to improving quality and transforming the way Americans receive health care, has selected Utah as one of 15 sites nationwide to help improve the nation’s rapidly changing health care system through nursing.

The Utah Regional Action Coalition for Health (URACH) is a partnership between HealthInsight and the Utah Organization of Nurse Leaders (UONL). The group will look at ways nurses can play an even greater role in health care quality, access, and affordability for everyone.

“It was an honor to be chosen as a site,” says Maureen Keefe, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean and professor of the University of Utah College of Nursing and member of the UONL. “Utah has excellent nurses and nationally recognized education programs. I’m confident our nurses will rise to meet the challenges of health care reform and provide both Utah and the country with recommendations that will benefit all patients.”

Currently, nurses make up the largest segment of the nation’s health care work force, but a number of systemic barriers – organizational, educational, and others – prevent nurses from being able to respond effectively to a rapidly changing health care system. Compounding these barriers are the challenges of a population that is increasingly older and sicker, health care disparities, and spiraling medical costs.

To address these issues, RWJF and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) joined forces to create a blueprint on the role of nurses at the national, state, and local levels. This blueprint is detailed in The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report issued by IOM in October 2010.

RWJF and the AARP Foundation have partnered to advance the recommendations, which include:

  • Encouraging all health care professionals to practice to the full extent of their education and training
  • Improving nursing education
  • Preparing and enabling nurses to lead change
  • Improving workforce data collection and analysis

Following the successful implementation of five pilot Regional Action Coalitions, RWJF and AARP have selected 10 additional states to participate, including Utah. These sites around the country will implement the IOM recommendations and work to advance them. URACH will evaluate and adapt the recommendations to Utah, and make further recommendations for the country. The Utah Department of Health and the Colleges of Nursing at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University are URACH supporting organizations.

By 2012, RWJF and AARP hope that Regional Action Coalitions will be active in all 50 states, which will emulate the most successful strategies proven to work best; states will share information on best practices and where appropriate, employ similar approaches that worked in other areas. Additionally, RWJF and AARP are enlisting campaign support across the health care spectrum and engaging prominent leaders and organizations from the public and private sectors.

“I am delighted that the great state of Utah is demonstrating its commitment to improving health by advancing the work of nurses through its Regional Action Coalition,” said Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior advisor for Nursing at RWJF. “The Campaign for Action was developed to realize a vision of improved health care for all Americans. The groundswell of support demonstrated by the creation of Regional Action Coalitions all across the country shows the vigor and dedication that is driving this effort.”

For more information about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, visit