Media Contact: Alex Lyda;
For immediate release — Dec. 8, 2022
(DALLAS) — The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Dallas College a $1 million grant to increase the number of underrepresented student nurses who can provide high-quality, culturally sensitive care in underserved communities.
Under a “Nurse Education, Practice Quality and Retention” grant, HRSA funding over the next three years will help Dallas College boost enrollment and attract more nursing students. The federal grant will fund scholarships for underrepresented students and cover recruitment efforts targeted to potential students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). With the help of this funding, the nursing program will also seek to boost BIPOC representation among teaching staff.
The need for nurses is at an all-time high with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 194,500 average annual openings for nurses over the next 10 years and employment opportunities projected to grow 9% during that time. The need for highly skilled nurses is especially acute with Dallas County federally designated as a “medically underserved area” where many residents face numerous barriers to health care, including not having health insurance, lack of transportation and a shortage of medical information translated into other languages.
In order to advance health equity and support for underserved populations, Dallas College aims to disburse about 70 scholarships to students in its associate degree nursing program and in the new nursing bachelor’s degree that Dallas College expects to offer next year, pending the degree’s approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
By increasing the number of students who will learn the fundamentals of working in a hospital setting — and how to work as integral members of allied health teams with expanded skills to reduce health disparities — Dallas College will be training the next generation of nurses. Registered nurses as well as nursing assistants trained by Dallas College often go on to work at regional and local health care facilities like Parkland Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White and in other health care settings.
“Dallas College is committed to diversifying the nursing workforce by empowering low-income and underserved students,” said Tetsuya Umebayashi, vice provost for the School of Health Sciences at Dallas College. “This grant will provide a significant opportunity to provide substantial support that will encourage disadvantaged and underserved students toward nursing education completion.”
According to U.S. census data, the overall population in Dallas County is 41.4% Hispanic or Latino and 23.8% Black or African American, yet only 12.9% of the nursing workforce is Hispanic or Latino and only 18.6% are Black or African American.
“Currently, the nursing workforce in Dallas County is not fully reflective of a diverse population and falls short in several key demographic areas,” Dr. Umebayashi added. “Through our programs, Dallas College is creating a pathway to equity in nursing, to the ultimate benefit of the patient.”
As enrollment increases in Dallas College nursing programs, the School of Health Sciences is aiming to increase the retention and completion rates of diverse and disadvantaged students by also creating peer support groups that offer mentoring for current and incoming students who will be matched to upper-level students. Additional information on the social determinants of health and health disparities will also be integrated into the curriculum as a result of this funding.
“Our commitment to diversity — combined with investments in real-world pathways such as this — deepens our impact in the community,” said Dallas College Chancellor Justin Lonon. “Dallas College is committed to training and educating a population that represents the community we serve. With this grant, our School of Health Sciences is poised to help deliver better health care to the citizens of Dallas County and beyond.”
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