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Nurses Embark on Groundbreaking Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship Program

Nurses Embark on Groundbreaking Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship Program



July 1, 2019



Rachel Kerr, DNP, RN



[Washington, DC] (July 1, 2019)  – The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) is thrilled to announce the start of a historic year-long Environmental Health Nursing Fellowship program.  ANHE, the only national nursing organization focused on the intersection of health and the environment, designed this first-of-its-kind fellowship program to train nurses to work with communities in tackling serious environmental health threats, including toxic chemical pollution, water contamination, climate disruption and related health impacts, and more.  Funded by the Kresge Foundation, the program has a particular focus on environmental health equity and justice, specifically addressing the disproportionate impact of environmental exposures on vulnerable groups.

“Many nurses interested in addressing environmental health issues want to work at the local level but may have difficulty identifying community needs or groups to work with” said ANHE’s executive director, Katie Huffling. “Similarly, community-based organizations have identified a need to partner with nurses to collaboratively address environmental challenges that communities are dealing with. This fellowship will connect nurses with communities most impacted by environmental injustices and increase the capacity of nurses doing this crucial environmental health work that improves the health of communities nationwide. ”

The program includes 30 ANHE fellows from across the United States, with three from every EPA region.  The fellows hail from Alaska to Puerto Rico and many states in between. In addition to geographical diversity, the fellows are diverse in terms of age, nursing specialty and expertise, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, gender, and more, reflecting the diverse nation and communities they serve.  Paired with expert environmental health nurse mentors, the fellows will conduct projects in their communities to address a community-identified environmental health need and build support for community-driven solutions. In addition, the fellows will work to educate health professionals and colleagues in their communities about environmental health in order to expand knowledge and engagement of health professionals on critical environmental health issues.

The fellowship kicked off earlier this month with a transformative meeting in Philadelphia, where together the nurse fellows learned about environmental health and environmental justice from environmental health nurse experts and community leaders.  ANHE nurse fellow Erika Alfaro Lemus said of the meeting, “It gave me perspective through real stories from people working in communities facing similar challenges as mine, and most importantly, [it gave me] tools to take action.”  Over the next year, the fellows will interact and learn together in monthly webinars and will meet again in person next spring.  “We see this program having a positive impact on communities nation-wide who are facing environmental challenges, and we hope this program will be considered as a practice model across the country for nurses and for informing leaders and the public about the significant work nurses are doing in environmental health,” said Azita Amiri, PhD, RN, ANHE mentor and assistant professor of nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

To learn more about the ANHE Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship and the program participants, visit Follow ANHE on Facebook and Twitter @enviRN to view updates of the nurse fellows’ work throughout the program.


About the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is the only national nursing organization focused solely on environmental health issues. The mission of the Alliance is to promote healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.