Nursing alumna receives a top military health care award

School of Nursing alumna Kimberly Davis '19 received a top U.S. military award for the DNP quality improvement project she developed. Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, presented the award to Davis on Dec. 5, 2019 in Washington D.C.

Kimberly Davis, D.N.P., M.S.N., RN, ACNS-BC, received a top U.S. military award for the comprehensive behavioral health screening program she developed to promote health awareness among veterans, active-duty service members and their families.

Her project, “Implementing Standardized Comprehensive Behavioral Health Screenings in a Military Primary Care Clinic,” was chosen from submissions from throughout the Military Health System, including Air Force, Army and Navy installations around the world, to be recognized with a Department of Defense 2019 Advancement Toward High Reliability Healthcare Award in Healthcare Quality.

Davis went to Washington D.C. on Dec. 5, 2019, to receive the award and on Dec. 11, 2019, she graduated from UT Health San Antonio with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

For her project, Dr. Davis developed and directed the successful implementation of a standardized, comprehensive behavioral health screening program conducted at five primary care clinics in Brooke Army Medical Center’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, where Dr. Davis is performance improvement coordinator. Through the project, she educated more than 180 nurses and other health care providers that serve over 60,000 BAMC patients.

The centerpiece of the program was a behavior health screening, used at each office visit with adult patients to assess a military member’s, veteran’s or family member’s mental health status. The screening included questions about depression, suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol/substance use.

The project consisted of:

·       A one-hour educational presentation for staff members about the screening tools,

·       Creation of an exam room guide to help patients identified as having a behavioral health crisis,

·       A new adult encounter form that patients complete upon arrival to streamline the screening process without causing an increase in patient wait times, and

·       Monthly chart audits to review data using the Joint Commission Resource with Accreditation Manager Plus. This software helps the organization take a proactive approach to improving the quality of care and patient safety.

Retired Army Lt. Col. and UT Health San Antonio faculty member Marta Vives, D.N.P., FPMH-NP-BC, PMH-CNS-BC, served as Dr. Davis’ mentor. “Dr. Davis’ project implements an all-inclusive process that identifies individuals at risk and promotes health awareness among veterans, active-duty service members and their families. This process will allow the military population to make essential behavioral changes to improve their health and well-being,” said Dr. Vives, a mental health nurse practitioner.

She added: “Dr. Davis’ extraordinary performance improvement project already has made an impact in how primary care providers assess behavioral health care needs resulting in timely, effective and efficient health care interventions to ensure combat readiness throughout all military services. Her efforts will have a long-term positive effect in the military community locally and abroad. As a UT Health School of Nursing faculty member, I am deeply honored by her success.”

“I am extremely proud of the hard work I have done and how UT Health San Antonio has molded me into a better leader,” Dr. Davis said. “My journey has not been without struggle, but I now have the tools to accomplish great things for my organization and more importantly, for our military population.

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