photo of telehealth

PARTNER Fellowship Program

photo of telehealth

PARTNER trains new board-certified PMH-NPs in telehealth mental health services for children, adolescents, and adults for rural and underserved populations.

Jump Start Your Career with Telehealth!

  • MUSC College of Nursing in partnership with MUSC Center for Telehealth and the Institute of Psychiatry oversees the Psychiatric Advanced Practice Registered Nurse TechNology Enhanced Residency (PARTNER) Clinic
  • 1-year residency program for newly graduated board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP-BC)
  • Become an expert in psychiatric telehealth for children, adolescents and adults living in rural and underserved communities in South Carolina
  • Candidates may practice remotely but must reside in South Carolina

Apply to PARTNER Fellowship

Needs Assessment

  • Behavioral health disorders represent a significant chronic disease burden in the United States. In 2018, there was a deficit in mental health providers, which remains, resulting in 55.7 million primary care visits associated with a behavioral health diagnosis code.
  • In 2016, the population in SC impacted by chronic behavioral health conditions was 18.6% for adults and up to 13%-20% of children, with a higher prevalence of depression among lower-income residents (those making < $50,000/yr).
  • Since COVID-19, this number has grown exponentially. SC is a rural, economically disadvantaged state, with 21% of its population living in rural communities.Access to behavioral health services is limited due to capacity, equity, and cost. Rural patients often lack private or public transportation, but many travel over 100 miles for mental health services.
photo of telehealth

Program Goals

  • In response to the behavioral needs of the residents in SC and with grant funding from The Duke Endowment (2021-2023), MUSC College of Nursing in partnership with MUSC’s Center for Telehealth and the Institute of Psychiatry, formed the Psychiatric Advanced Practice Registered Nurse TechNology Enhanced Residency (PARTNER) Clinic.
  • PARTNER is telepsychiatric clinic staffed by board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP-BC).
  • PARTNER’s goal is to advance behavioral health equity in SC through the use of telehealth while focusing on rural areas like SC’s Promise Zone—e.g. Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.

Patient Care

Providers in the PARTNER Clinic offer two different models of care

  1. contractual services consisting of comprehensive behavioral health services
  2. the provision of collaborative care to patients across the lifespan. Option two differs from other models of care because behavioral health providers work in collaboration with primary care providers. The interaction between our providers and primary care providers creates the collaborative environment needed to provide holistic care to patients with chronic behavioral health conditions.

The supervising physician for PARTNER's providers, in accordance with SC's law for advanced practice providers, is Dr. Christopher Pelic, MD, Director of Telepsychiatry and Health, Wellness, and Human Performance I.C.C.E. Chief at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Apply to PARTNER Fellowship


Email Dr. Chinnis for more information.

photo of Simone Chinnis 

Simone Chinnis, DNP, MBA, FNP-C, AE-C
PARTNER Director and Instructor, College of Nursing Medical University of South Carolina
843-792-4631 |

Fellows' Biographies:

Alexander Van Kruysman, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC
Mr. Alex Kruysman is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. He started his career with his associates degree in nursing through New Hampshire Technical Institute. Since then, he has practiced nursing in acute care for over ten years in various settings. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science through Southern New Hampshire University, which led to his introduction into the world of mental health. He completed his masters through Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences during which he spent the majority of his time treating psychiatric emergencies in an in-patient setting.

Jillian Grzeskiewicz, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC
Ms. Jill Grzeskiewicz is a a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She began her career in nursing the Emergency Department in 2008, after graduating from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She then went on to obtain her first Master of Science in Nursing, with a focus in leadership and management, from Stevenson University in Baltimore, MD and spending several years working in leadership and hospital administration. She completed the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program at Frontier Nursing University. She has an interest in pediatric mental health and trauma-focused care. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and the American Nurses Association.


Dr. Simone Chinnis

"In South Carolina, there is a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rate of access to psychiatric care, especially in rural areas. Through the use of telehealth, PARTNER’s residents are able to provide care to patients by eliminating geographical barriers."

Read Dr. Chinnis' Story