The Catholic University of America

July 27, 2006

CUA Nursing School Awarded $1 Million to Foster Minorities in Nursing

Carmen Ramirez mentors high school students considering a nursing career during a summer workshop at CUA.

WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America's School of Nursing has been awarded a $1,017,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration to foster bilingual nursing students. The federal government has funded the program since 2003.

The three-year grant, titled "Latino Nursing Career Opportunity Program," will continue to fund an ongoing mentorship program designed to prepare middle and high school age students for a career in nursing. Students in 11 public and charter schools throughout the D.C. metropolitan region participate in the program's yearlong and summer workshops.

"We recognized a tremendous need for bilingual capacity within the nursing field," said Carmen Ramirez, project coordinator and an adjunct assistant professor of nursing. Ramirez noted that less than 2 percent of the nursing workforce is Hispanic, and an even smaller percentage of nurses are bilingual.

"Dr. Ramirez's grant helps a growing number of young Latino, minority and financially challenged students to envision a future as a nurse," said Nalini Jairath, dean of CUA's School of Nursing. "This will help alleviate a nationwide nursing shortage, while expanding the pool of culturally competent nurses."

Ramirez said that while the program was initially aimed at Latino students, the participation has swelled to include a diverse group of young people, including minorities and recent immigrants.

Students who identify themselves as having a potential interest in nursing participate in a series of programs throughout the school year or summer that help them prepare for college, and specifically, a school of nursing. Graduate nursing students mentor the participants in a range of areas, including study skills, college essays and selecting a nursing school.

"We're trying to get students to understand that their high school experience is their educational preparation for success in college," Ramirez said.

The grant provides scholarship awards for program participants who are accepted to a school of nursing, as well as full-scholarship and stipend benefits for graduate students facilitating the workshops. Ramirez noted some of the program's participants have gone on to attend CUA's School of Nursing.

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Media contact(s):
· Chris Harrison, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,
· Katie Lee, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,