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Grant Boosts U College of Nursing’s Diversity Efforts

Nov. 19, 2004 — The University of Utah College of Nursing’s efforts to help diversify the nursing workforce got a boost recently with a $736,831 grant for its Diversity Recruitment, Retention, and Leadership Development program.

Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the project targets students underrepresented in the nursing profession, including those who are economically disadvantaged, from rural areas, and ethnic minorities, said Penny S. Brooke, APRN, M.S., J.D., professor and director of outreach.

“The nursing profession does not have enough nurses who reflect the increasingly diverse population we serve,” said Brooke. “Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and American Indian groups are greatly underrepresented in nursing, and they have not been traditionally encouraged to come to a university to pursue a baccalaureate in nursing.”

Brooke said the project will also help Utah’s rural areas by training students who will return to their communities as nurses and provide much needed services.

Students are considered economically disadvantaged in accordance with the federal guidelines defining poverty. They are deemed “educationally disadvantaged” either because they graduated from a high school without honors-program and laboratory-science courses, or because they are the first in their families to pursue college education. Men, who constitute 5.4 percent of nurses in this country, are also encouraged to apply.

The program will offer $3,000 stipends and $5,000 scholarships to pre-nursing and nursing students for the next three years, beginning in the spring 2005. A total of 36 students (12 every year for the next three years) will be chosen for the $3,000 stipends and eight students for the $5,000 scholarships (two students in 2005, three in 2006, and another three in 2007).

Recipients must pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which typically takes four years to complete. The program will provide opportunities for mentoring with nurses and upperclassmen nursing students, offer supplemental instructional courses, and the chance to network and hone leadership skills through involvement in committees within the University or outside.

“I’m calling on leaders of campus or community committees and boards to consider allowing students to participate in their activities,” said Brooke.

Applicants don’t have to be Utah residents, but they must be U.S. citizens. Applications for the autumn 2005 awards are currently being accepted. For more information, call Sally Valdez, recruiter and counselor, (801) 585-3411, or check the College of Nursing Web site,