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Bridging the Atlantic Program

Bridging the Atlantic Program - The Azores, Portugal

The Bridging the Atlantic (BTA) program is an international alliance in community health among American and Azorean nursing students and faculty. Both the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMassD) and the University of the Azores (UAc) have established a robust and lengthy collaborative relationship. The UMassD College of Nursing & Health Sciences and UAc School of Health have worked collaboratively in creating and sustaining the BTA program since its inception in 2013, with the first nursing student exchange in 2015 and expansion in 2017.

The goals of the BTA program are to:

  • establish collaborative professional relationships
  • prepare culturally competent nurses 
  • develop collaborative research to improve health outcomes in both countries

Since 2015, 110 students have actively participated in eight bilateral week-long exchanges while engaging community agencies in both countries to promote health education to vulnerable groups. The Bridging the Atlantic experience has been significant as nursing students have learned about two distinct, but related countries through health facility and cultural visits, university classes, language instruction, health promotion activities, and dissemination of new knowledge.

UMass Dartmouth has a strong relationship with Portugal, which provides an ideal opportunity to develop a specialized program for student nurses to improve health outcomes in both countries. UMassD has several exchange agreements with universities in Portugal and houses the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, and the Tagus Press, which publishes literary works.

In 2018, BTA was presented an international "The Projects That Work" award, sponsored by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical and Education Research (FAIMER).

Feature story: Bridging the Atlantic 2022-23

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