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Zahra Ladhani - Curricula and Community Health

Zahra LadhaniNew faculty member Zahra Ladhani has brought to the University of Hartford an innovative research agenda that combines her expertise in nursing and interest in community health to develop a curriculum identifying the core competencies necessary to work in community settings. The emphasis on community health in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions' curriculum, particularly the 12 credits dedicated to community health in the RN to BSN program and the experiential learning that takes place through Project Horizon, was one of the reasons she was attracted to the University of Hartford.

Ladhani started working on the topic in Pakistan as a requirement for a fellowship in medical education and research at the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). She recognized that health professionals' curricula have very few community perspectives and are not designed to address the needs of local /indigenous communities. Consequently, she decided to tackle the problem by designing a competency based curriculum for nursing undergraduate programs which can prepare these practitioners to become as competent to work in community settings as in any acute care (hospital) settings. Ladhani has been surprised that this lack of education in local/rural community health for health professionals is universal. Community based education is lacking in most nursing and medical programs as undergraduate curriculum heavily focuses on preparing graduates for acute care/ tertiary level health care settings. This unfortunately ignores the dramatic need for health professionals trained in community health, who otherwise  have the clinical competencies to address local health needs unique to each geographic area, ethnic group and/or community.

Ladhani has a deep-rooted interest and commitment to community health and community based education and recognizes that there is a shortage of nurses who have both research and clinical interest in community health. Her commitment to training nurses to be global practitioners in myriad settings gives her both the personal and professional dedication necessary to be an innovator in her field.