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AANP Member Spotlight: Talking Opportunity With the Johnson & Johnson QuickFire Challenge Winners

Quick Fire Challenge

Hear From AANP Fellows Drs. Erin Athey and Christina Calamaro on Innovating Into Excellence.

Johnson & Johnson collaborated with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) and the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN) for the seventh Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge — “Improving Access to Care” — and awarded $50,000 each to two standout nurse practitioners (NPs). AANP Fellow Erin Athey, DNP, FNP, RN, FAANP, is based in Washington, D.C., and her innovation is to pair what she calls “high touch on the front end and high tech on the back end” to treat patients in the underserved Ward 8 neighborhood. Christina Calamaro, PhD, PPCNP-BC, FNP-BVC, FAANP, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and her project combines technology and visual aids to assist patients for whom language acts as a barrier to care. Athey and Calamaro work in different parts of the country, but both demonstrate the time-tested abilities of NPs to advance health care innovation and to meet patients where they are.

Erin Athey is the founder and CEO of C3: Community Concierge Care, a new clinic that she hopes will launch next month. Athey told AANP that she had an ah-ha moment when she was working with a patient who is HIV-positive and who was having difficulty coming into a clinic for necessary medication. That spurred Athey to work on a place-based clinical model designed to work with the patient in addressing their health care needs. Athey’s innovation is pairing what she calls an older school model of person-centered care — specifically embedding clinics in public housing and hosting pop-up clinics in the Washington, D.C., area — with data collection from residents to best understand what kind of services they need.

Christina Calamaro is a director of research and evidence-based practice for nursing and allied health at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her project, the Visual Communicator Tool, is a mobile app developed to assist patients who are facing a language barrier or another kind of communication barrier. The app uses visuals instead of words to help these individuals express their symptoms. “Most of my experience has been with underserved populations,” Calamaro said in an interview at the 2022 AANP National Conference. “I’m really thinking in these terms: What is the health disparity that limits access to care for those patients, where are they located and how can I get them to the best care possible?” Calamaro is partnering with Georgia Tech and Emory University’s center for innovation, The Hatchery, to develop the app with a launch date in August.

Like Athey and Calamaro, NPs across the country identify innovative ways to engage their communities and overcome barriers that prevent patients from receiving high-quality care. If you are among those innovative NPs, support from AANP and other institutions that value the work NPs do can be critical to your success. Johnson & Johnson’s QuickFire Challenges are just one opportunity you can utilize to foster professional innovation. AANP also offers a variety of grants and scholarships to support you as you step forward as a health care leader.

Gain the Skills You Need for Health Care Innovation

NPs are on the front lines of health care delivery, leading teams and identifying innovative ways to improve patient care. To support your success, AANP provides access to a variety of resources and educational opportunities that can help you enhance your leadership skills, build your professional network and gain the funding you need for health care innovation.

Consider joining the AANP Entrepreneur Specialty Interest Group — one of the 28 available AANP Communities — to connect with NPs who share your interest in business ownership and other entrepreneurial endeavors. By attending the 2022 AANP Fall Conference in Anaheim, California, Sept. 15-18, you will have the opportunity to earn a leadership certificate after completing all conference leadership sessions. You could also opt to complete one or more leadership sessions, along with sessions from all six topical areas, to design your unique conference experience.

A separate AANP Introductory Certificate on Leadership course is also available if you would like to be considered for the AANP Executive Leadership Program.

Become a trusted resource for your patients with relevant, evidence-based educational experiences.