September 7, 2001

New SDSU Grant Aims to Increase Diversity in California's Nursing Work Force

San Diego State University's School of Nursing recently received a $302,000 grant from The California Endowment, the state's largest health foundation, to support development of nursing student recruitment and retention/mentor programs. These programs will aim to address the nursing shortage and diversity the nursing work force in San Diego and Imperial Valley regions.

The grant will be used to hire two half-time faculty members to plan and implement the recruitment and retention programs, which will target Latino and African-American students. The goal is to increase minority enrollment and help students graduate.

"This project supports The California Endowment's initiative on work force diversity," said Jose Marquez, program officer for The Endowment. "It's essential the nursing work force more adequately reflect the demography of the state in order to effectively serve California's richly diverse communities."

This grant also supports the mission of the SDSU Nurses Now program, which will increase the number of new nurses available for employment in San Diego and Imperial Counties. SDSU Nurses Now partnership hospitals and health care organizations —Tri City Medical Center, Paradise Valley Hospital, Sharp Healthcare, Alvarado Hospital, Scripps Health, Kaiser Permanente, Children's Hospital and Health Center, and UCSD Medical Center— each made a three-year commitment to fund one faculty member in SDSU's School of Nursing, which traditionally has more qualified applicants than the program can accommodate. The eight new faculty members allow the school to nearly double enrollment—an estimated 150 additional students— over a four-semester period. The total value of the partners' commitment to the partnership is more than $1.6 million.

Dr. Patricia Wahl, director of SDSU's School of Nursing, said that the first SDSU Nurses Now graduates will enter the work force in 2003.

"SDSU's School of Nursing is addressing the needs of the community with programs like SDSU Nurses Now," Wahl said. "A focus of our program is to prepare a work force that is representative of our community, and support of The California Endowment assists us with this goal."

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