Midwifery Program receives $1.2 million federal grant to increase minority and foreign nurse enrollment

The Midwifery Program has received a $1.2 million three-year grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase minority enrollment in the program and expand the advanced-placement option for foreign-educated nurse-midwives.

The grant, which starts July 1, is funded at $469,523 the first year, with an additional $374,637 and $371,745 awarded in the second and third years, depending on funding availability.  The project runs through June 30, 2011 and is eligible for a competitive three-year continuation grant after that.  The Advanced Education Nursing Grant was awarded by the HRSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

“This is a great achievement for the Midwifery Institute and the University, and it will bring innovations and advances to our already highly regarded program,” said Katy Dawley, Midwifery Program Director.  “This grant will help the program increase enrollment, upgrade curricula and help us make a new model of 21st century midwifery education.”

“This initiative addresses important national issues, such as access to high quality health care for women in underserved areas provided in a culturally sensitive manner,” said Matt Baker, dean of the School of Science and Health.  “This prestigious grant highlights the academic quality and innovative curriculum of the University’s Midwifery Program, as well as our talented faculty and students.”

The grant is designed to increase minority enrollment in the Midwifery program from 22 percent to 40 percent of students and, in so doing, increase the total enrollment in the program from 48 students to 64 students, Dawley said.

The second main goal of the grant is to enhance and expand the program’s advanced placement option for foreign- educated nurses who want to practice midwifery in the U.S.   Through advertising and other outreach efforts, the University will target geographic areas with significant numbers of foreign nurses and also hire a full-time admissions mentor to work with foreign-educated nurses, helping with cultural and language differences and providing mentoring and remediation services, if necessary. 

The grant also includes funds to convert two B.S. Accelerated Degree Programs, offered by Continuing and Professional Studies, into an online format so prospective students without undergraduate degrees can complete the B.S. degree and advance into the Midwifery program.

Advertising and recruitment strategies will be aimed at nursing and science publications and organizations targeted to minorities, such as National Black Nurses Association, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Society for Minority Nurse and at historically black colleges and universities.

Midwifery faculty members and students also will help spread the word by talking to students at ethnically diverse secondary schools and colleges through the Kids Into Health Careers initiative.

To receive the M.S. in Midwifery, students follow a two-year primarily distance-based program, with integrated components of theory and clinical experience.  The program also requires three on-campus sessions for intensive teaching of hands-on skills.  The program’s most recent graduates in December achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the American Midwifery Certification Board exam required to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Posted in University Headlines