Nursing, Education faculty collaborate on U.S. Health and Human Services grant to improve graduate nursing education

Written By: DeEtte Starr,

Headshots of Karen Foli and Wanju Huang stitched together with decorative gold line

Karen Foli (left) and Wanju Huang (right)

Faculty members from the Purdue University College of Education and the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences have received a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to help educate graduate nurses about opioid use disorder (OUD). The program will use a massive open online course (MOOC) platform to deliver the training.

Karen J. Foli (PI), professor of nursing in the School of Nursing, and Wanju Huang (Co-PI), clinical associate professor of learning design and technology in the College of Education, will collaborate on the project “Advanced Practice NuRses’ Opioid Use Disorder Education Through a Massive, Open, Online Course (APROUD-MOOC).”

The three-year, $726,000 grant seeks to integrate education about substance use disorders into Purdue’s graduate nursing curriculum to make education related to substance use more widely available. The funding will be used to update a current MOOC that was designed to provide education across levels of nursing education (NSUE-MOOC) and create a new MOOC designed to provide advanced practice nurses the knowledge to accurately assess and provide OUD medication to individuals (APROUD-MOOC).

Huang is a key part of the interdisciplinary team. She assisted in the development of the first online learning course on substance use for nursing students, “Nurses’ Substance Use Education Through a Massive Open Online Course (NSUE-MOOC).” Huang will also provide instructional design assistance for the creation of the APROUD-MOOC. Foli, the project director, has led both SAMHSA projects, the NSUE-MOOC and APROUD-MOOC.

Huang, Foli and their team have already developed seven NSUE-MOOC modules which SAMHSA posted on its Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, an international, multidisciplinary resource for professionals in the addictions treatment and recovery services field.

The project offers real-world instructional design opportunities, and Huang will recruit learning design and technology students to assist with the learning module design and development.

In addition to Foli and Huang, the project team includes Libby Harris, project coordinator; Nicole Adams, nursing faculty and community liaison; Leah Gwin, liaison to the family nurse practitioner and adult gerontology nurse practitioner programs; and Lindsey Becker, liaison to the pediatric nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner programs.

Wilella Burgess, director of the College of Education’s Education Learning and Research Center, and Luke Ingersoll, research associate, will evaluate the project’s effectiveness by documenting program outcomes to guide future program improvement and decision-making.

“Professor Huang’s collaborative project is an example of scholars working together to create innovative educational resources for nursing professionals working to combat opioid abuse,” said Janet Alsup, head of the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Foli stressed the urgency of providing these resources.

“In the United States alone, 190 deaths per day occur because of opioid overdoses,” she said. “The landscape becomes more complex as dangerous drugs are mixed with opioids.”

Sources: Karen J. Foli,; Wanju Huang,