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Le Moyne College Receives Opioid Grant for PA Students and Community Outreach

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Le Moyne College received a $62,700 federal grant this June to develop a program to train Physician Assistant (PA) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) students on the abuse and usage of opioids.

This grant came from a non-profit organization known as HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration). The money will be used to start up a two pronged program here at Le Moyne to educate PA and Family Nurse Practitioner students on prescribing procedures of opioids, as well as reaching out to communities with limited resources and higher opioid use.

Mary Springston PA-C, director of Le Moyne’s PA program along with Elizabeth Mercer, PA-C, a Professor of Practice within the PA program, will oversee the collaboration within the community.

“This funding will have a significant impact on those who see the daily effects of opioids,” Springston said.

Cortland and Madison counties have been selected to receive $20,000 each from the grant to implement what they need. The rest of the grant
money will be put towards the new program at Le Moyne. Both Cortland and Madison county were selected due to an outstanding number of opioid related deaths. Cortland county with 13 deaths from opioids from 2013-2015 and Madison county with 19 deaths from 2013-2015, according to the New York State Department of Health. Cortland will put this money towards their providers and how to educate them on prescribing, while Madison County is still deliberating where their $20,000 will be the most beneficial, says Mercer.

Inside the classroom, PA and FNP students will learn about pain management, responsible prescribing, addiction, and barriers and limitations they have as future health care providers. “My hope is that when students leave here, they will know how to treat pain and how to responsibly prescribe medications and consider alternative therapies,” said Mercer.

Pre-med student Andrew Kolceski, a Le Moyne sophomore said, “I hope this grant will help put an end to the opioid abuse in our county, and professors will provide us with the knowledge we need to make an impact and prescribe appropriately.”

Mercer says once the program is up and running, Le Moyne will market it to other colleges in hopes of it spreading, since the college is currently the pilot of the program. The rapid growth of opioid use was caused by an increase of marketing the medication as well as making pain a “vital sign”, says Mercer.

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Le Moyne College Receives Opioid Grant for PA Students and Community Outreach