First Quality, a manufacturer of adult incontinence care products, has established a new, three-year, bladder health initiative at the UNC School of Nursing. Designed to partner with Umphlet Distinguished Professor Mary H. Palmer, an expert in urinary incontinence and gerontology, the initiative aims to prepare the next generation of nurse leaders in bladder health education and research, and to fund innovative scholarship to improve the quality of life and care for people who have, or are at risk of developing, lower urinary tract symptoms.
Funded by a grant from First Quality and directed by Dr. Palmer, the First Quality Bladder Health Initiative will tackle issues related to lower urinary tract symptoms by preparing graduate nursing students at UNC to lead the field in bladder health education, research and practice; funding studies by UNC nursing faculty and students centered on bladder health; and providing financial support for an annual post-doctoral fellowship for a visiting international scholar studying aspects of bladder health.
Already, the Initiative has made Dr. Palmer’s expertise available to an international audience of health care providers gathered at a conference in Shanghai in September to learn ways to improve geriatric care. While in China, Dr. Palmer and First Quality’s Clinical Director, Michele Mongillo, RN, MSN, gave addresses at multiple nursing homes and forums on the topics of urinary tract infections and incontinence.
“Our goal is to create a critical mass of nurses who are highly educated in bladder health to conduct clinical research to advance knowledge and improve life and care for adults with incontinence,” said Palmer. “Education is the first step to creating that critical mass, and I’m thrilled to partner with First Quality to develop the leadership and knowledge we need to address an issue of increasing concern as our population ages.”
The Bladder Health Initiative marks the third formal partnership between First Quality and Carolina Nursing. In 2014, the company established a graduate nursing scholarship, and in 2016 the School of Nursing hosted the inaugural First Quality Care Summit: Advancing Quality of Life in Vulnerable Populations.