Photo of a student taking a blood pressure at a community wellness center
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Community-Based Health & Wellness Center for Older Adults


The mission of the Duquesne University School of Nursing Community Based Health and Wellness Centers (CBHWC) is to provide wellness oriented nursing services to vulnerable populations. The goal is to deliver holistic and culturally competent care that promotes health, functioning, and quality of life. The CBHWC provides opportunities for interdisciplinary care experiences, as well as service and research for students and faculty from the University. In all aspects of care, the uniqueness and strengths of the community and of each individual receiving care are maximized and respected. Confidentiality and awareness of each individuals rights to choose are maintained.


Urban Pittsburgh houses many elderly minority populations who over the years have been underserved for reasons of poverty, unemployment, or poor health insurance coverage. In 1994, faculty from the Duquesne University School of Nursing established an interdisciplinary nurse-managed wellness center (NMWC) in a high-rise apartment building for older adults in Pittsburgh's Hill District neighborhood (Resick, Leonardo, Kruman, & Carlson, 2010, p. 271). Over the next dozen years, this project, expanded across inner-city neighborhoods resulted in 10 centers.

In 2005, the faculty began to actively recruit retired nurses who would volunteer to provide at least 4 hours per month of health literacy education and wellness programing to this population began in earnest. To incentivize the volunteer process, the university reimbursed the retirees expenses for licensure and malpractice insurance on a yearly basis. In 2006, the faculty members were assisted by 24 retired registered nurses (RN+WIN Program) and by 2008, over 1000 volunteer hours were logged, providing health, individual attention and wellness programs in this community. Programming included group activities such as weekly exercise programs and monthly group education programs offered to participants at each site. Some clients enjoyed sitting with the nurse for a few moments and sharing a cup of tea while talking of their loneliness or illnesses (Resick et al., 2010). Today, the RN+WIN Program continues to support the CBHWC at several sites.

Data suggests that persons who participated in these programs reported some increase in health literacy, cardiovascular disease and diabetes knowledge (Kessler & Alverson, 2007). Further study is needed to assess the participants' perceived increase in self-efficacy, and if it is possible to assess whether the participation led to improvement as corresponding data was not collected (Resick, Leonardo, McGinnis, Stewart, & Goss, 2011).

Future Plans

Duquesne University School of Nursing adjunct faculty are being trained to work alongside the RN+WINs at the CBHWC while using the centers as a "home base" for community health undergraduate students who will be placed in various community based senior citizen programs. The students will conduct health assessments and screenings and participate in immunization clinics. We anticipate that this utilization by undergraduate students will enable graduate faculty to use this model for community clinical experiences in our graduate programs. Beginning with Fall 2016, 10 senior citizen sites will be utilized:

  • Homewood
  • Hazelwood
  • Southside
  • Northside
  • Morningside
  • Lawrenceville
  • West End
  • Mount Washington
  • Sheradon
  • Greenfield

Visit Pittsburgh's Citiparks Senior Centers web site