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Emory to launch new programs training mental health nurses
Media Contact
J. Michael Moore

ATLANTA – Prior to the onset of COVID-19, our state and nation was experiencing a mental health crisis. The depth and severity of COVID-19’s impact on the mental health on our citizens of all ages is evident and the need for vital mental health care services have intensified dramatically impacting patients and providers alike.

Shortages of qualified mental health professionals are at crisis levels, nationally.  According to Mental Health America (2021) Georgia ranks last in the nation in access to mental health care. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University plans to launch postgraduate and doctoral programs to train psychiatric nurse practitioners to provide expert mental health care.

“We  were facing a critical shortage in access to mental healthcare before the onset of COVID-19 and are now facing an unforeseen demand,” said Dorothy Jordan, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, an associate professor and lead of Emory’s psychiatry and mental health nursing program. “In these continually changing and disruptive times, there is a significant increase in rates of depression and anxiety in our adult population. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable as most mental health disorders are diagnosed during this sensitive developmental period and the social isolation and ­­disruption of this pandemic can compound mental health problems  

“We must begin to fill this devastating gap in mental health care and with the expertise of Emory faculty and practitioners begin to address our state and nation’s mental health crisis”

Pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the School of Nursing’s Post-BSN DNP and post-master’s certificate programs will start this fall. According to Jordan, the curriculum is designed to teach the complex skills associated with mental health nursing and promote the core centrality of the nurse-client relationship. Students will learn evidence-based practice across the life span, to provide exceptional psychiatric care to clients, families, and communities.

“Nurses are more than healthcare providers, they’re advocates for their patients and families,” said Dean Linda McCauley, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAAOHN. “Nurses with a focus in psychiatry and mental health have a unique set of skills that speak closely to one’s mind and body. This is a great representation of our school’s values and mission to provide quality care and make lasting change in the world.”

For more information on the psychiatric and mental health programs at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, visit


About Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing produces nurse leaders who are transforming healthcare through science, education, practice, and policy. Graduates go on to become national and international leaders in patient care, public health, government, research, and education. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in various specialties. To learn more, visit

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