Improving Health Access for Public Housing Residents: Washburn University’s Nexus Team

This webinar is part of the Accelerating Initiative Real Stories with Real Impacts: What Worked for Accelerating Initiative Teams Webinar series.


Education-Community Partners:

  • Washburn University School of Nursing, School of Business, and Department of Communications
  • Topeka Housing Authority

Focused Description: The Washburn NexusIPE™ team applied the Nexus approach in addressing limited access to health care among public housing residents in the city. Several zip code areas in Topeka experience high rates of poverty and are federally designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area in primary care. The non-traditional set of partners set out to address the social determinants of health in the Topeka community by developing a curricular model, which included non-health care disciplines (Business and Communications), to assess the needs of residents living in public and Section 8 housing.  Residents were engaged in identifying their needs, were partners in identifying how their needs could be met, and were co-creators of the primary/urgent care clinic.  The academic-community partnership has flourished and has not only been able to sustain the initiative, but is also adding additional academic programs (Social Work and Law), enhancing the services at the original site and developing a satellite clinic to provide healthcare services for place-bound public housing residents.


  • Barbara F. Brandt, PhD, EdM, FNAP, Director and Associate Vice President, National Center
  • Carla Dieter, EdD, MS, RN, Coordinator of Accelerating Initiative and Coordinator of NexusIPE™ Programs, National Center

Washburn University Presenters

  • Shirley Dinkel, PhD, APRN, FAANP, Professor Emerita, School of Nursing; Principal Investigator currently, APRN, Pine Ridge Family Health Center, Topeka Housing Authority
  • Mari Tucker, MBA, Director of Washburn Office of Sponsored Projects; currently, Partnership Liaison, RENEW Grant, Washburn School of Nursing; Advisory and Practice Team  

Key Lessons:

  • Open leadership and committed team members with community input is essential
  • Diverse academic disciplines can successfully engage in interprofessional education with non-traditional academic partners (Business, Communication) and a unique community agency (Topeka Housing Authority).  

Tool Highlight: Kennedy Model of Sustainability©

  • Successful teams thoughtfully plan for sustainability of IPE programs and broader initiatives as a part of initial planning and continued evaluation of the program. How can you engage academic-practice partners in sustainability planning in the early stages?

Professions Engaged

  • Initial:
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
  • Additional:
    • Social Work
    • Law


Webinar recording


Event Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm CDT