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Feds Award $96M To Increase Minority Nursing Numbers

WASHINGTON - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the awarding of $96 million in grants to increase diversity in the health professions workforce and encourage nurses to choose careers as nurse educators.

The grants will go to schools to give scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds with financial need, many of whom are underrepresented minorities.  Funds will also provide low-interest loans to nurse faculty students - students who want to teach nursing - as incentive for nurses to select careers as nurse educators.  

Of these funds, $27 million is part of the $200 million appropriated to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to build the nation's health care workforce.

"The health professions workforce in the United States does not reflect the population it serves," said Secretary Sebelius.  "These funds will help support the education of disadvantaged students who are more likely to go on to serve in underserved areas, and will expand the training of nurse faculty in exchange for their service." 

Of the total funding, $66 million will be used to provide scholarships to 28,000 disadvantaged students under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program.  The funds awarded today include:

$45.7 million in FY 2010 appropriations for 308 grants to 605 health professions programs at colleges and universities; and
$20.5 million in Recovery Act funds for 273 grants to 513 programs at colleges and universities.

"A critical part of HRSA's mission is to help make sure that we have the right kinds of health care professionals serving in the right places - places where they can do the most good for the most people," said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N.  "With this new infusion of funds, we will be able to increase training opportunities for a future generation of health care professionals."
Under the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, $30 million is awarded to 165 grantees to support nursing student loans for master and doctoral degree nurses who will then become faculty at nursing schools across the country.  In exchange for teaching at a nursing school, students are eligible for an 85 percent loan cancellation during their first four years of employment. 

The funds awarded today will support the training of 850 nursing students and include:

$23.5 million in FY 2010 appropriations for 114 grants; and
$6.6 million in Recovery Act funds for 51 grants.

Awards made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be found at:
http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/hrsa/healthprofessionsawardees.html

Lists of awards from HRSA's 2010 appropriation are available at:
http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2010tables/nflpsdsregular.html

Some of the activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). More information on ARRA funding for health professions can be found at:
http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/index.html#Health

The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit
www.hrsa.gov



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