SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will host the inaugural Public Health Nursing Clinical Conference in Western Mass. on Friday, Dec. 1. The conference, developed by the Massachusetts Assoc. of Public Health Nurses (MAPHN) – Western MA Chapter, is designed to give nursing students a realistic view of the role of a public-health nurse and provide first-hand experience.
The keynote speaker, Colleen LaBelle, is program director of the Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT), program which serves more than 450 patients in the Boston Medical Center (BMC) outpatient General Medicine practice. OBAT provides consultation and services to BMC’s Family Medicine, Infectious Disease, Psychiatry, Homeless, and Obstetrics departments. In addition, OBAT provides training and technical support to 14 community health centers in the Commonwealth. LaBelle also serves as the executive director of the International Nurses Society on Addiction, Boston Medical Center.
The morning session will be devoted to educational seminars geared toward public-health nursing, infectious diseases, and the opioid epidemic. A mock Hepatitis A vaccination clinic will take place during the afternoon session to simulate an actual infectious-disease outbreak in the community. The clinic will be followed by a panel discussion.
According to Cesarina Thompson, dean of AIC’s School of Health Sciences, “public-health nurses comprise the largest segment of the professional public-health workforce and play a critical role in promoting the health of communities and populations. We are honored to host this inaugural conference that will provide our future nurses and health professionals with the ability to participate in important discussions regarding contemporary population-health issues.”
AIC provided oversight on the development of the program and is the first of the regional nursing schools to make the conference available to its students. It will be held at the AIC Edgewood Campus, Hall of Fame Room, in the Butova Gymnasium, 125 Cortland St., Springfield, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Approximately 100 people will be in attendance, including 60 senior AIC nursing students, RN to BSN students from Bay Path University, Western Mass. public-health nurses, and members of the Western Massachusetts Nursing Collaborative.