Introducing the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies


Name Change Reflects Expansion of Healthcare Education

March 4, 2013
Contact: Stacy Downs
(816) 235-1441,

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing is taking on a new name today: The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“The name change of a school might not seem significant, but it reflects the important, evolving role of health care in our community and in our country,” said UMKC Provost Gail Hackett. “The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies provides more opportunities for more students to meet the need to care for more people.”

School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean Lora Lacey-Haun said the school has expanded beyond nursing in numerous ways to meet those needs. The school now trains professionals with a background in health to administer hospital and clinic operations, conduct community outreach, serve as patient advocates and health educators and manage conversion to electronic health records.

“We wanted a name that more closely represents the breadth of offerings we are providing,” Lacey-Haun said.

In 2011, the school added a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. “The program has become increasingly popular, growing from an initial enrollment of 20 students to more than 200 today,” Lacey-Haun said. “We believe the program will have more than 500 students in the near future. This program allows us to prepare health professionals for a variety of roles.”

Last fall, the Collaborative for Excellence in Behavioral Health Research and Practice moved to the school from a non-academic unit. It includes the national Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network Coordinating Office, the Mid-America ATTC Regional Center (HHS Region 7), and a number of grant- and contract-funded projects, all of which implement evidence-based clinical practices into substance-use disorders treatment, integrate behavioral health into healthcare settings and provide training on substance-use disorders. The Affordable Care Act is expected to increase the number of professionals who treat substance-use disorders, so the need to educate health professionals in that field is growing.

Later this month, the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies and MU will announce a health education partnership.

UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Studies is actively addressing other gaps in healthcare. It recently won a competitive $2.4 million federal grant to offer full scholarships to help diversify the nursing workforce. The program will assist 240 students who are underrepresented in nursing — men as well as those with African-American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan native backgrounds — during four years. Given the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected need for more than 1 million new and replacement registered nurses by 2016, breaking the cultural divide is increasingly important. The minority nursing workforce hasn’t kept up with the U.S. population. Minorities made up 34 percent of the population in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But the minority nursing workforce is only 16.8 percent; and 6.2 percent of nurses were men, according to a 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.

UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Studies also offers high-quality distance learning. It was recently ranked No. 15 of the nation’s best online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report — the highest of any public university in Missouri or Kansas.

Lacey-Haun, who has been a UMKC nursing faculty member since 1981 and dean since 2004, is a leading health advocate locally and in the U.S. In January, Kansas City Mayor Sly James appointed her co-chair of the Kansas City Health Commission. Lacey-Haun and other health leaders nationwide recently signed a petition asking the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of caloric sweeteners in sodas and other beverages, arguing that scientific consensus is that the level of added sugars in the products is unsafe.

“We felt it was very important for us to make a statement that the FDA should be making policy about what the appropriate level of sugar consumption is,” she told The New York Times in February, noting about 30 percent of Kansas City’s population was overweight and another 30 percent was obese.

About the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies
The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies offers a full range of education programs. Bachelor’s degree offerings include a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing; the RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Bachelor of Health Sciences, which prepares students for professional careers in health administration, community outreach, patient advocacy and public health. Graduate programs include a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) and the PhD in Nursing. Research at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is focused on urban and cultural health issues, and includes collaborations such as the Muscle Biology Research Group with the UMKC School of Medicine. For more information about the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies, visit You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2013. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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