Broadening Horizens in Health Care
Program is designed to address minority health care issues
September 22, 2005 6:52 PM
An expanded program at SF State aims to train the next generation of nurses to address the widely varying needs of patients from different ethnic groups.
The Diversifying Leadership in Nursing program was designed to address inadequate health care in minority communities.
Under the program, exceptionally qualified Master of Science in Nursing students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds gain extra preparation through a series of academic and clinical experiences.
“I want to help our people, the Hispanic people,” said Nancy Rivas, 38, a graduate nursing student participating in the program. “I want to have the knowledge and power to give them what they need.
“You need power in higher levels to make a change.”
The clinical aspect of the program requires the student to do supervised hands-on work in their field of choice.
The program’s main goal, organizers said, is to prepare the student to continue their education and get a Ph.D. in nursing.
“Those who go on to earn a Ph.D. are the core of leaders,” said Hilary K. Pritchard, program coordinator at the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at SF State. “They are the researchers, the decision makers and the ones that teach in the classroom.”
The pilot program, originally called U-56, started in 2002 through funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.
The program operated in a three-year trial period, which turned out to be a success. Due to the funding from the NCI, the initial focus of the program was on cancer treatment.
Once the trial period ended, some instructors felt that the areas of focus should be expanded beyond cancer. Students are now able to choose from many different health specialties for their focus.
“We felt if we were able to expand beyond cancer it would make it easier to recruit (new students),” said Pritchard.
When the trial period ended, many staff members said they felt that the program was a success and needed to continue, but they were going to need more funding. Through a $330,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and approximately $210,000 from the California Wellness Foundation, the new Diversifying Leadership in Nursing program was formed.
The new grants will allow the program to run for another five years, with a goal of graduating 20 new students in that time.
The masterminds behind the program are Charlotte Ferretti, a registered nurse and the director of the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at SF State, and Dr. Judy Martin-Holland, assistant dean for academic services and diversity enhancement at the University of California, San Francisco.
“What a fabulous opportunity this is for students,” said Ferretti. “It’s life-transforming.”
Before the recent change of programs, only two students per year were admitted into the core curriculum. They have since upped the number to four students.
To date, two students have graduated and two more are set to finish this December. Four new students, who have already been admitted, will begin next semester.
Angela Johnson, 37, a graduate of the U-56 program, said that the program was very beneficial to her in many ways.
“It helped with the financial impact (of being a student),” said Johnson. “I was also able to meet and get to know a lot of people, like doctors.”
Rivas also endorsed the change.
“I would recommend this program to anybody,” said Rivas.
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