Frontier Nursing University was recently featured in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a publication offering news, information and insightful commentary on issues concerning diversity in American higher education. The article, “Frontier Goes the Distance in Serving the Underserved,” shares the story of FNU Founder Mary Breckinridge and her path to becoming a champion for improving health care for Americans living in rural and underserved areas.
The article discusses the challenges that rural areas of the country still face, such as “health disparities exacerbated by social conditions, like poverty or a lack of access to care.” The article cites a 2008 Harvard School of Public Health study on life expectancy rates that shows troubling trends in rural areas, particularly the Deep South and parts of Appalachia. According to Diverse, “…the 2008 Harvard study showed a divergence in outcomes between wealthy and less wealthy counties. In some counties, life expectancy has actually declined, the study found, attributing the causes to diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.”
After losing both of her young children, Breckinridge dedicated her life to improving health conditions for women and families living in remote areas without easy access to hospitals and healthcare providers. Today, FNU is committed to reaching and offering graduate-level education to nurses living in rural and underserved areas with an online distance education model.
FNU graduate and part-time faculty member Erin Tenney shares in the article how important distance education was to her finishing her education. She also speaks to the importance of FNU’s community-based approach to health care.
Tenney shared with Diverse, “I think that’s really where the care piece happens: in the community and in the home. Rural communities are very different than urban communities, and each has very important historical, cultural, family based-beliefs and practices that are absolutely essential to health.”
The mission of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is to provide their audience with information that is honest, thorough and balanced. Diverse seeks to be a catalyst for change. The publication’s ultimate objective is to contribute to the building of educational, cultural, social and economic structures that will allow every individual to achieve his or her full human potential and contribute to the greater good of the community and the nation.