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Shepherd nursing department receives $1 million grant from HRSA

ISSUED: 12 October 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd nursing department receives $1 million grant from HRSA)

Shepherdstown, WV--Shepherd University recently received two grants from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, including the Nursing Workforce Diversity grant, totaling $1 million over three years, and the second, to provide scholarships for disadvantaged students, funded for $58,000.

The grant will be used to implement the Partnership for Academic and Social Student Success Program (PASSS), aimed at improving health care quality and increasing nursing workforce diversity in the Shenandoah Valley through improving the representation of minorities on campus, increasing the number of disadvantaged pre-nursing students eligible to enter the nursing program, and improve graduation passing rates for disadvantaged nursing majors.

Dr. Clarise Ottley, assistant professor of nursing, will serve as the project director for the grant.

Ottley said that the Department of Nursing Education is proud to be in the select group of universities who received this funding, for the PASSS project.

"This project will increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented among registered nurses, by providing student scholarships or stipends, pre-entry preparation and retention activities," Ottley said. "The PASSS Project will strengthen the cultural competency of the Shepherd University community of faculty and students as it removes any potential barriers that would jeopardize the success of the underrepresented, economically, and educationally disadvantaged and minority students."

The department will develop a set of academic, social, and financial support programs for 180 disadvantaged pre-nursing and nursing majors.

Main objectives for the grant will be to create more diversity of nursing in faculty positions; increase the number of disadvantaged pre-nursing students eligible to enter the nursing program; and increase graduation and National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses pass rates through mentoring programs and tutoring. In addition, the grant will provide 30 stipends at a value of $3,000 for disadvantaged pre-nursing students.

The grant will also allow for two new faculty hires: a full-time academic improvement specialist and a part-time social support specialist.

"This is a significant accomplishment for us to provide increased opportunities for scholarships and mentoring for our nursing students," Dr. Sharon Mailey, chair of the nursing department said. "The department has experienced significant growth in the past couple years."

Mailey said that nursing was the number one major selected among incoming freshman last fall.

According to Mailey, the grant will help improve the shortage of nurses in the region.

"Shepherd has positioned itself to be a premier liberal arts university in the region," Mailey said. "This will further assist the department to leverage itself and the university into the region."

A second grant was also received from HRSA to provide scholarships for disadvantaged nursing students in the amount of $58,000 for the upcoming academic year.

The purpose of the grant is to increase diversity in the health professions and nursing workforce by providing grants to eligible health professions and nursing schools for use in awarding scholarships to financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The grants will be given to students currently in the nursing program.

Students interested in applying for scholarships should contact Mailey via e-mail at An e-mail will be sent to eligible students.


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Dr. Clarise Ottley

Dr. Sharon Mailey

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