“The financial challenges presented when pursuing advanced-level nursing education are insurmountable for many fulltime students, forcing them to either abandon their goal of nurse practitioner (NP) training or drop to part-time status so they can continue working to earn an income,” said Dr. Johis Ortega, Principal Investigator of the funded project and Associate Dean for Master’s Programs and Global Initiatives at the SONHS. “These obstacles are more prevalent in minority student populations, who are the students we need to retain if we are going to diversify the nursing workforce. The HRSA award will significantly relieve that burden, accelerate graduation rates, increase the number of nurse practitioners from disparity populations, and help meet the growing need for primary care providers in Miami-Dade County.”
The number of applicants to the SONHS’ Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP programs has tripled over the past five years, while the advent of health care reform and a decline in the primary care physician workforce are straining an already-taxed primary care system. This nationwide crisis is being acutely felt in Miami-Dade County, where the number of family practice physicians is only half that of the rest of the state and the 30% uninsured rate ranks well above the national average.
SONHS Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano explains, “While we are fortunate to live in a region that is culturally diverse, the burden of chronic diseases and their associated risk factors are greater among minorities. The HRSA funding is timely and will help us prepare advanced practice nurses, many from minority groups themselves, to work in medically underserved communities and address serious health disparity gaps in Miami Dade County.”
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T08HP30147, “Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students,” for $2,520,000.