Two Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation Senior Health Fellows are working to influence U.S. health policy. Mary Beth Bigley, ANP, DrPH, MSN, and Catherine Wisner, FNP, PhD, FNP, are completing their second year in the Office of the Surgeon General, helping to provide the best evidence-based science as a reference for public health programs.
Bigley serves as a key leader for the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future initiative, which was launched in November 2007 to bring attention to the nearly 34% of children and teens in America who are either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Bigley also developed marketing plans for the Surgeon General’s Family Health History Initiative, a program that encourages family members to learn about health risks based on family history.
Wisner is working to improve the delivery of care to underserved populations living with HIV/AIDS. Using current technology, such as electronic health records and Internet tools, Wisner hopes to improve health literacy among providers and patients.
In addition to addressing specific public health issues, Bigley and Wisner are focusing on expanding health communication, recognizing it as an opportunity to incorporate the nursing point of view. “The overarching issues affecting public health today are prevention, quality of care, and access,” says Bigley in a news release. “All clinicians and health care systems need to communicate more efficiently and effectively to achieve positive health outcomes and understand the importance and value of health information technology.”
After completing their fellowships this year, Wisner and Bigley plan to work in collaboration with the NPHF to help NPs become proactive about public health issues and more effective in influencing policy on the local, state, and federal levels.Catherine Wisner, RN