New $900,000 UT Health Science Center grant to encourage and support diversity in nursing

SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 27, 2010) — More undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds may consider entering the UT Health Science Center San Antonio nursing program, thanks to a new mentoring and support program.

The “Diversifying Future Leaders in Nursing” program aims to bring more minority students into the School of Nursing’s undergraduate programs. Once enrolled, students will benefit from various support programs to ease their transition into higher education and increase their chances of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program also will encourage students to continue their education to become nurse leaders, researchers and educators.

Norma Martinez Rogers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a professor in the Department of Family & Community Health Systems, will lead the program. The program was funded earlier this August by a three-year grant of $911, 750 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The most successful way to bring more nurses to South Texas is to recruit students from our university’s service area in hopes that they will graduate and return home to provide care,” Dr. Rogers explained. The Health Science Center’s service area includes 38 counties mainly south and west of San Antonio extending to the Mexican border. Almost all of the counties have been designated by the federal government as medically underserved areas, meaning that those counties do not have enough medical or health professionals to provide care.

“Because many of these students are the first in their families to attend college, they sometimes need extra encouragement and support to envision themselves as students in higher education, and then as researchers, educators and leaders,” Dr. Rogers said. “This grant will empower these students to achieve their dreams.”

Working with The University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) University Health Professions Office, a longstanding educational partner of the School of Nursing, Dr. Rogers will develop Web-based recruitment and retention programs, as well as educational materials to attract minority students into the field of nursing. Students often earn their prerequisites at UTSA, then transfer into the Health Science Center’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to complete their degree.

The nursing professor also will develop and implement three Health Science Center educational tracks for students, based on their interest in research, teaching and leadership. “With so many nurses retiring and the many more people now eligible for health care or entering older age, it is very important not only to attract students from all backgrounds into the nursing profession, but to encourage them to continue their education to become the nurse leaders, researchers and nursing school faculty for tomorrow,” Dr. Rogers said.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 2 percent of all U.S. institutions receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced 27,000 graduates. The $753 million operating budget supports six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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