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New Partnership Expands Scope of Online Nursing Community


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Posted: 6/27/2007

An innovative and highly successful worldwide online community of practice – The Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery Electronic Community of Practice (GANM CoP) – has received funding that will broaden and enhance efforts to deliver connectivity and best practices to nurses and midwives worldwide. 

The GANM CoP, a component of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON), will use a $450,000 grant from the international investment company Kentrik Group to expand its global outreach efforts and to create specific learning modules and on-line teaching materials for health care practitioners in diverse settings.   According to GANM Director and JHUSON Assistant Professor Patricia Abbott, PhD, RN, FAAN, “This fund is critically important to ensuring the GANMs forward momentum in using information and communication technologies to reach and teach geographically dispersed nurses and midwives.  Many of the worlds most pressing health issues are occurring in places where access to best practices and knowledge resources are very low. Our online community has proven to be an effective tool in removing the constraints of geography.”  The funding begins on January 1, 2008.

Abbott, who will lead the GANM expansion, added “The emergence of the Kentrik Group as a supporter of global nursing and midwifery has arrived at a crucial time in global health.  We know from the [World Health Organization] 2006 World Health Report that the marked decline and migration of the nursing workforce has reached crisis levels.  Now we can address one of the root causes of the nursing and midwifery migration – isolation and marginalization.”  

Abbott is a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Health Sciences Informatics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with funding from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.  Her study of how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be used in low resource settings has contributed to the growth of the GANM CoP.

The GANM CoP is based at the JHUSON in the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing Knowledge, Information Management, and Sharing (KIMS).  In 2005, in response to WHO actions to increase the use of ICT for knowledge management and dissemination, the collaborating center created the GANM CoP – a first of its kind electronic Community of Practice specifically designed for nurses, midwives, and other community care providers in diverse and frequently poorly accessible practice settings throughout the world.   It was developed in partnership with the Implementing Best Practices (IBP/ECS) Initiative in Reproductive Health and the Human Resources for Health – Nursing and Midwifery Office at the WHO. Since its launch in 2006, the GANM CoP has grown exponentially from an initial membership of 100 nurses and midwives to a current total of 1,300 that now includes public health practitioners and policy makers and draws representatives from 118 countries. 

JHUSON Dean Martha N. Hill, who serves as the Director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center, joined Abbott in applauding the actions of Kentrik and noted that “Collaboration, innovation, and excellence are part of the history and culture of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.   We are grateful that, like the World Health Organization, Kentrik recognizes these strengths and the skill of our institution in creating partnerships and in using innovative methods to disseminate knowledge to nurses and community health workers in communities throughout the world.”

The $450,000 grant counts in the total of the Johns Hopkins Knowledge for the World campaign, which, as of May 31, had raised more than $2.69 billion towards its goal of $3.2 billion. Priorities of the campaign, which benefits both The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, include strengthening endowment for student aid and faculty support; advancing research, academic and clinical initiatives; and building and upgrading facilities on all campuses. The campaign began in July 2000 and is scheduled to close at the end of 2008.