Professor Donna Rolin opens doors for Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars

Dr. Donna Rolin with psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner students

As concerns over mental health resources reach a fever pitch in Texas and the rest of the nation, one professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing is tackling these issues head on. As the director of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program, Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC, Clinical Associate Professor, is creating new opportunities to access services, while creating a more diverse health care workforce within the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $1,771,127 over four years to support to the IBHS program which Dr. Rolin co-directs with counterparts at the UT Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, the Department of Psychology and Dell Medical School. An additional HRSA grant awarded $1,349,943 over three years to sister-program, Recovery and Addiction Scholars. Both grants are targeted to expand interdisciplinary work with the co-directing schools. Meanwhile, the Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded the programs $60,000 to assist in recruiting and enrolling minority graduate students.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our program to build on its foundation of diversity and inclusion in order to impact real world healthcare systems.” says Rolin. “Our students train in facilities that are managed in an intentionally interdisciplinary manner. This allows our PMHNP students to become acclimated early on with professionals in other fields like medicine, social work, psychology and pharmacy. Learning to work as a team is a major component in maximizing mental health care efficiency.”

While Dr. Rolin’s programs may be considered ambitious, one already boasts an impressive figure—a one hundred percent pass rate. Since its inception in 2011, students of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at The UT at Austin School of Nursing have all passed the American Nurses Credentialing Center board certification exam upon graduation, the only board certification exam in the nation.

“We are thrilled with Dr. Rolin’s work and continued success.” Alexa Stuifbergen, Dean of The UT at Austin School of Nursing, said, “These pass rates tell us a lot about the quality of the curriculum and faculty. I expect that the program and the students will continue to attract national attention and impact the health care industry.”