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Posted: 10/29/2009

Of the almost 135,000 students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs in 2008, only 26 percent were minorities, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) hopes to change that.

Through a new Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the School will increase the number of enrolled students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with an emphasis on ethnic and racial minorities. The $1 million, three-year grant is supported by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), HRSA, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The School will give financial support to incoming students, known as LEADS (Leadership, Excellence, Achievement, Diversity, and Success) scholars, in the form of scholarships, stipends, and other resources to enable them to enter the program and successfully graduate. The LEADS program also provides scholars with intensive advising and academic support, additional leadership opportunities, and a new mentorship program. The initiatives include scholarships for six students and stipends for 15 others.

The program is designed to: Increase the number of potential future nurses by developing partnerships with local Baltimore City schools -- Dunbar Senior High School and Dunbar Middle School; add to the number of students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds enrolling at JHUSON; and reduce the number of matriculated students from disadvantaged backgrounds who do not graduate, or experience a delayed graduation/entry into the workforce due to failure of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

According to Linda Rose, PhD, RN, the project director, "This grant offers us an outstanding opportunity to introduce potential students to nursing as a career and to ensure the success of current LEADS scholars through financial and academic support."

Rose added, "It will introduce potential students to nursing through our outreach activities in the community, and it will allow us to provide additional support and scholarships to our selected LEADS scholars to ensure their success in the JHUSON nursing program."

Six additional JHUSON faculty join Dr. Rose as grant component coordinators: Associate Dean Sandra Angell, MLA, RN; Jo Waltrath, PhD, MS, RN; Phyllis Sharps, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN;  Joan Kub, PhD, APHN, BC;  Sarah Schaefer, PhD, RN;  and Linda Gerson, PhD, RN, APRN, BC.