The NCRN received funding in 2002 from AHRQ to build an infrastructure for a practice-based research network (PBRN). This network links advanced practice nurses who provide primary care in non-traditional community nursing center settings. Research is being conducted within this infrastructure. The documentation of primary health care practices and outcomes in community nursing centers will provide critical data to reduce the health disparities currently experienced in vulnerable populations in the United States.
The heart of the research network currently lies in NCRN member nursing centers at universities located throughout the U.S. These centers, some of which have been in operation over 20 years, provide primary care services primarily to underserved populations. The research network has unlimited capacity for expansion, as more university schools/colleges of nursing join the MNCC.
The goals of the NCRN include:
- expand the regional network to a national network (Accomplished 2007)
- establish a web-based system for data collection and transfer that will comply with evolving data privacy mandates (Accomplished 2004)
- establish a collaborative program of community-based participatory research with vulnerable populations that will inform primary care practice, health professional education and the development of health policy (ongoing)
- establish a fiscal plan to ensure long-term viability (ongoing)