Montana State University

Nurse practitioners, rural patients and affordable healthcare to be discussed at March 3 Café Scientifique

February 3, 2016 -- MSU News Service

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Peter Buerhaus, a renowned nursing economist and Montana State University nursing professor, will be the featured speaker at the university’s upcoming Café Scientifique.

Buerhaus will present “Nurse Practitioners and the Future of Primary Health Care: New Evidence on Access, Costs and the Quality of Care” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Baxter Hotel Ballroom in downtown Bozeman. The event is free and open to the public.

Buerhaus’ talk will summarize recent and ongoing studies comparing nurse practitioner and physician contributions toward primary health care. The presentation will compare variables such as geographic locations of respective practices, types of services provided, patient characteristics, cost of services and preliminary evidence concerning quality of care. 

The talk will include details from a recent study Buerhaus and others published in Medical Care, the Journal of the American Public Health Association, indicating that nurse practitioners are more likely than medical doctors to practice in rural areas and that people living in rural areas tend to have the least access to a primary care clinician (primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants).

Buerhaus will conclude his talk by discussing potential ways to improve rural access to primary care, including reducing restrictions for nurse practitioners, initiating payment reforms, increasing use of tele-health care, locating medical schools in rural areas and exposing physicians and nurses to rural health topics early in their education.

Buerhaus is well-known for his studies and publications on the nursing and physician workforces in the United States. Five of his nearly 120 publications are designated as “classics” by the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Buerhaus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine and, in 2010, was appointed chairman of the National Health Care Workforce Commission. The commission was created under the Affordable Care Act to advise Congress and the administration on health workforce policy.

Café Scientifique, co-sponsored by Montana's INBRE and COBRE programs, provides a relaxed setting for people to learn about current scientific topics. The concept started in England in 1998 and has spread to a handful of locations in the United States. Following a short presentation by a scientific expert, the majority of time is reserved for lively conversation, thoughtful questions and respectful dialogue. Refreshments are provided free of charge.

Housed at MSU, Montana INBRE and COBRE are each an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant numbers P20GM103474 (INBRE) and GM103500 (COBRE).

For more information, contact Laurie Howell with Montana INBRE at (406) 994-7531 or For more information about the Café Scientifique concept, check the Web at

Contact: Laurie Howell, Montana INBRE, (406) 994-7531 or