Hispanic nursing student mentoring program, developed in San Antonio, receives $500,000 funding

SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 3, 2010) — Hispanics account for 15 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, yet they make up less than 2 percent of the nation’s registered nurses. That disparity is the impetus behind a Hispanic nursing student mentoring program that recently gained federal funding of $500,000. The program will include activities at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s School of Nursing.

The National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) mentoring program will identify Hispanic students who aspire to enter careers in nursing, and will assist them throughout their nursing education in Texas, Arizona and California. Funding was announced by U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which includes U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez of San Antonio.

Health Science Center’s mentoring program to be national model
“The program will be based on the template of Juntos Podemos, a mentoring program for Hispanic students that has proven successful at our School of Nursing in San Antonio,” said Norma Martinez Rogers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor of family nursing care at the Health Science Center. She is president of NAHN and will lead the program.

‘Together We Can’
Juntos Podemos is Spanish for “together we can.” Launched in 2000 by the School of Nursing, the program matches second- and third-semester nursing students with first-semester nursing students who are considered to be at risk for dropping out of school. The mentors serve as role models who positively influence and guide students to continue through school and to realize their career goals. Mentors receive a stipend and serve as tutors, counselors and resources for their protégés.

Improving access to education and health care
Dr. Rogers said such a program fits well with NAHN’s mission to improve the quality of health and nursing care of Hispanic consumers and provide equal access to educational, professional and economic opportunities for Hispanic nurses.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 25,600 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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