Grant helps to expand diversity in UAB nursing program

A $1 million continuation grant is allowing the University of Alabama at Birmingham to expand their nursing workforce diversity.{} The three-year grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Service Administration for the Enrichment Academy for Nursing Success (EANS) project.The EANS project is designed to significantly increase the number of bachelor's-degree prepared nurses by providing education and financial assistance to students from diverse backgrounds - including minorities, students from rural areas and first-generation college students - to facilitate academic success and degree completion.Minorities comprise 32 percent of Alabama's population, but only 16.7 percent of the nursing workforce. Alabama's shortage of minority nurses affect the state's persistent population health disparities, said Linda Moneyham, Ph.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs in the UAB School of Nursing. "The populations we care for as nurses are quite culturally diverse, so we need nurses from those same populations to help improve access across the state, as well as deliver culturally competent care," Moneyham said. "Interest in this program over its first three years has primarily been from African-American students, but we would also like to recruit more Hispanic/Latino students, first-generation college students and students from rural areas."Moneyham said the continuation grant will allow the school to expand the existing EANS pre-nursing preparation program, which provides support services to current pre-nursing students to help them reach their junior year and full enrollment in the nursing program.{} The expansion will go from four students per year to 10 students. The renewal will also allow the school to recruit and enroll 12 nurses with an associate's degree into the bachelor's degree completion program, as well as enroll 58 students into the traditional bachelor's degree program. The goal during this final three-year term will be for 44 students in the program to graduate with their bachelor's degree. The grant will also provide financial assistance and academic support outside of the classroom, including tutoring and social-skills development, dedicated advising and mentoring and academic support workshops on topics such as test taking and study habits.