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The College of Nursing is helping to address our state’s most pressing health care challenges—access, quality, and cost—through the development of the Tennessee Nursing Institute for Leadership and Policy.

The college is launching the institute on behalf of the Tennessee Action Coalition (TAC). The College of Nursing and AARP Tennessee are co-leaders for the TAC.

The institute is made possible through a two-year $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing State Implementation Program and matching funds from several Tennessee organizations.

The mission of the institute is to equip nurses in Tennessee with the knowledge and skills necessary to transform health care delivery. It will provide educational programming and training to practicing nurses and other health care professionals across the state. It also will provide expert analysis to promote access to high-quality patient-centered health care in Tennessee.

“Increasingly nurses are taking on leadership roles in redesigning and improving health care environments,” said Vickie Niederhauser, dean of the College of Nursing. “The institute will provide the knowledge and skills for novice as well as experienced nurses to lead these changes.”

“It is evident that Tennessee’s health care system needs to change by looking at our low health rankings in key areas,” said Mary Gunther, associate professor and director of the institute. “For example, in a national report, we were ranked forty-seventh for overall well-being, thirty-fifth for obesity, and forty-fifth on infant mortality. The Tennessee Nursing Institute for Leadership and Policy will give nurses statewide the tools to transform care and improve the health of our citizens.”

The institute is fulfilling TAC’s goals to implement leadership, education, and practice recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

“At the request of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Institute of Medicine developed this action-oriented blueprint for maximizing the contributions of nurses for the needed transformation of health care,” said Carole Myers, associate professor and Tennessee Action Coalition co-coordinator. “The TAC, under the leadership of our board of directors, is already working to advance the recommendations of the report.”

The Tennessee Action Coalition was formed in 2012. Its board of directors includes key leaders representing Tennessee academic institutions, businesses, consumer advocacy groups, and nursing and other health care provider organizations. For more information, visit the website.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing State Implementation Program has provided $3 million to 20 state-based action coalitions. The grants call for states to obtain matching funds. The foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. For more information, visit the website.

C O N T A C T :

Carole Myers (865-974-7626,

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,