CALEXICO – The nursing program at the San Diego State Imperial Valley campus recently received a $1 million grant meant to promote diversity.
A ceremony was held at the Imperial Valley campus library to recognize the achievement. The federal government awarded funding to the Health Resources and Service Administration to help people with diverse backgrounds. According to SDSU’s main campus School of Nursing Director Philip Greiner said the focus of the grant was to promote diversity in the field of nursing.
The majority of the students in the program are bilingual adults who are the first in their family to attend college. Many students are also working more than one job.
Greiner said in the program, 92 percent of students are of Hispanic background and 12 percent are Asian-American. He also said 80 percent of nurses are from an older white background.
The grant allows funding for more than 70 students to go through nursing school and 70 percent of the money goes to the students. The program will give $125,000 worth of scholarships annually. Awards will be based on competitive GPA. The top ten students will be awarded $9,000, the next five will receive $4,000, and the additional 15 can receive $1,000, according to Helina Hoyt SDSU-IV Registered Nurse and Program Coordinator.
“It is exciting and serious at the same time. The new focus of this funding was to create a professional workforce,” Hoyt said.
The curriculum of the school will change so students understand the social determinants of the World Health Organization. There will be coaches in the program providing help.
One of the coaches will focus on teaching students to write at a professional level. The students will also be teaming up with members of their community, such as the Mexican border commission campus, the prison, immigration, schools and hospitals.
“One of the key things here is we are impoverished economically and this pathway is huge for us,” Hoyt said.
Imperial Valley is one of the poorest counties in California and it has a very high asthma rate. These funds will allow the nurses to tackle these health issues and make a contribution to their community. They will also be attending a local conference to showcase their work and effort given during the program.
If you’re interested in the nursing program, visit the Imperial Valley website.