Provided By: Luisa Buttler
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been awarded a federal grant of $650,000 to help encourage diversity among health care professionals by providing aspiring medical students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds with scholarships, U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced this week.
The funding comes through the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, which promotes diversity among health profession students and practitioners by providing scholarships to full-time students with financial need from disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in health professions and nursing programs.
“Greater diversity among health professionals is associated with improved access to care for racial and ethnic minority patients, greater patient choice and satisfaction, and better patient-clinician communication,” read the grant summary. “In addition, evidence suggests that minority health professionals are more likely to serve in areas with a high proportion of uninsured and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.”
According to Dr. Bunny Forgione, Interim Dean for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS), the grant will support 325 Islander Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students who have financial need, including students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups, over the 5-year grant period. The potential of the grant, if renewed over the 5-year period (July 1, 2020-June 20, 2025) is more than $3.2 million.
During the grant, CONHS will provide educational and social interventions and train the students in primary care and medically underserved community sites to increase graduates working in those areas.
“This grant greatly enhances the efforts of TAMU-CC to recruit, retain, and graduate students from our BSN program,” said Forgione. “Strategies like advising, tutoring, mentoring, test-taking and review sessions, individualized success plans, and regular individual contact with staff will ensure that students will be much more likely to succeed in graduation and their pursuit of a nursing career.”
Nationally, the SDS grant award this cycle was more than $48 million and was only awarded to 79 recipients. In addition, the grant was awarded to universities that support a myriad of healthcare programs including medical, dental, veterinary, mental health, and nursing.
“Investing in the next generation of Texas medical leaders will provide those students with invaluable skills now and keep Texas strong in the future,” said Sen. Cornyn.