LOUISVILLE, Ky. –Providing healthcare to the backside workers at Churchill Downs has been the passion of Whitney Nash, PhD, MSN, APRN-BC, assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Nursing, since 2005. Because of her leadership at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center (KRHSC), Nash has received the Outstanding Faculty Practice award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.
Nash has served as director of KRHSC since its inception. The not-for-profit nurse managed care center was started as a joint venture between the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund (KRHWF) and University of Louisville to provide free comprehensive health care services to backside track workers and their families. To date, the center has served about 2,500 patients.
Along with other nursing faculty and students, Nash treats acute conditions and chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension. Open five days a week, the center also provides preventive services such as physicals and women’s annual exams. Dependent children also can receive care at KRHWC, located in the “Old Schoolhouse” basement on the corner of 5th Street and Heywood Avenue across from Churchill Downs.
“Dr. Nash is an innovator in her approach to teaching and clinical services,” said Rosalie Mainous, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, associate dean for graduate academic affairs and research, UofL School of Nursing. “Training nursing students by utilizing an interdisciplinary model is one Institute of Medicine recommended change for nursing education – and Nash already is doing this.”
It was Nash’s idea to partner with faculty and students in the UofL Latin American and Latino Studies program. KRHSC is one site for undergraduate and graduate students to conduct internships. The students who work with Nash and her team help with translation for the primarily Latino immigrant population of patients.
“Students frequently comment on how much they learn at the clinic and how gratifying it is for them to help the Spanish-speaking patients,” said Rhonda Buchanan, PhD, director of Latin American and Latino Studies.
The center was also the object of UofL’s 2010 Community Engagement Award for Student Engagement. Under the direction of the community health faculty, eleven students from the School of Nursing Community Leadership Practicum course received the award for their efforts to provide health education and services to KRHSC patients.