Spotlight on Excellence in Community Engagement

 The WVU School of Nursing remains committed to providing the highest level of undergraduate professional nursing education while expanding opportunities for graduate education. To this end, many of the faculty continue to practice as healthcare providers in clinics, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations. This “real-world” experience gives the faculty (and students) unique perspectives because they are actively caring for patients. For the past eight years, Ms. Susan Pinto, a faculty member of WVU School of Nursing, has been providing individual and group health-related services to Bartlett Housing Solutions. This January, Susan informed Bartlett staff of her decision to retire at the end of the semester.

“Susan Pinto serves as a brilliant example of how a gifted educator can foster and nurture a program, so the needs of the community and those of higher education come together and produce quality outcomes for real people,” says Joe Sengewalt, Bartlett’s Client Services Manager. “Susan and her team have provided invaluable medical services to our residents since 2012. At any given time, we have upwards of 50—60 residents at Nitor Suites and Apartments located at 10 West Run Road, Morgantown, WV. Many of these individuals have highly complex needs, with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. Susan’s team works seamlessly with our staff, making themselves available to all our residents each week while school is in session. She provides a high level of professional care coupled with a sincere empathy for the underserved population we serve. Her engagement with our clients includes assessment and referral for health care and serving as an advocate when there is an issue with access to care. Susan also collaborates with various health professions faculty and offers opioid education at Bartlett Housing Solutions staff’s request.

“The WVU School of Nursing class “Nursing 411” is a comprehensive theoretical introduction to community health nursing paired with clinical experience focused on promoting health and preventing disease in multiple populations. The class culminates in a Capstone project that addresses an identified community health need. At Bartlett Housing Nitor Suites and Apartments, Susan leads students as they work with our residents each week. With an emphasis on self-empowerment, students encourage residents to develop ongoing relationships with their primary care providers and the health care system. She helps to coordinate inter-professional health-related screenings and education, and provides direct, ongoing oversight to these nursing students while they are on site. Students serve various roles in our setting with a focus on health education and socialization. Based on assessed needs, together, they work with residents to develop self-care strategies.

Susan Pinto is one of those rare, high caliber individuals who consistently demonstrate such a high level of dedication to our residents that she has become an integral part of our client programming. So much so that we have come to think of her as a part of the Bartlett Housing “family.” We will sorely miss Susan, but know her legacy includes having designed and developed a robust, evidence-based program that will continue to impact our resident’s health for years to come. We are deeply indebted to Susan for the essential services she has provided to our professional staff and especially our residents. Our thanks also go out to Dr. Toni DiChiacchio, Assistant Dean at the School of Nursing, for agreeing to work with us to find a way to continue Susan’s work in the future.

WVU School of Nursing students and faculty are an integral part of the community and take pride in providing valuable resources that improve the lives of people living all over the world. Along with the program at Bartlett, the School has faculty-led clinics, including a local diabetes clinic, and provides mental health services to those who need it. For more information on these community-based activities, please go to