University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program


Grand Rounds for School Nurses

August 17, 2015

Dear School Nurses,

For the past 15 years, the University of Vermont Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program collaborated with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) to deliver approximately 80 continuing education programs to school nurses statewide via the Vermont Interactive Technologies (VIT) sites. The sessions were designed specifically for school nurses “in the field” and included continuing education credits; no fees were charged to participate. Participant surveys consistently indicated these programs were helpful to school nurses in their daily practice, both in content and networking opportunities.

We are proud of our long history with the Grand Rounds for School Nurses program and our role supporting Vermont’s school nurses. With that said, we are now tasked with informing you that the AHEC Grand Rounds program will not continue in the upcoming 2015-16 school year.

Due to lack of funding, the VIT network is scheduled to close at the end of 2015. This significant infrastructure change, along with our own funding limitations, required re-examination of AHEC’s resource allocation (direct funds and human resources) and sustainability of our various health care workforce development programs. We have concluded that UVM AHEC can no longer provide the robust support needed to continue the Grand Rounds effort, nor were we able to identify an affordable delivery platform as accessible and with the high degree of professional, technical support as VIT.

We are aware that this news will disappoint many of you. This was a difficult decision; we agree that school nurses play a critical role in public health and the broader health care system and AHEC wants to continue to be supportive.

We have learned about the benefits of designing an in-person, hands-on training for new school nurses, to complement the existing online New School Nurse Orientation required by the Agency of Education licensing; this new training would not be required nor would it replace the online orientation. This effort is an excellent route for AHEC to continue to provide educational value and support while also responding to the realities of our limited resources. The specific initiative has not yet started nor has the planning team formed (it will be inclusive of public health and school nurse stakeholders); the AHEC role will be led by Brenda Perkins, RN. Additional information will be shared as we begin to move forward, with an eye toward an August 2016 training date.

Taped sessions of the past three years of Grand Rounds for School Nurses are available on the AHEC web site (, in case you missed presentations, want a refresher, or wish to refer another school nurse. We hope that you will continue to access these resources.

In closing, we express gratitude to the many content experts who shared their time and expertise, as well as VDH and AHEC staff members who worked behind the scenes to make these sessions possible for 15 years. Thank you for your suggestions, feedback, and many supportive comments over the years. We hope that you will be a part of future AHEC programs and conferences.

Thank you for all that you do for Vermont students. Best wishes for the upcoming school year.



Liz Cote

Elizabeth Cote, Director

Brenda Perkins

Brenda Perkins RN, AHEC School Nurse Liaison

Last modified August 17 2015 04:14 PM