USD to Improve Nursing Care in Underserved Areas of San Diego with $144,000 State Grant

Grant Will Also Support Veterans’ Health Care Needs

Through a $144,000 grant from the state of California, the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science will be able to boost the number of students from underrepresented minorities, ensure students practice in underserved areas in the region, and develop plans to treat combat veterans.

Under the grant, a USD program for professionals seeking a new career in nursing will add five additional students this fall from minority or economically disadvantaged groups. These students will receive additional mentoring and support in areas such as academics, test taking and balancing family and school demands. In addition to the extra support, the five additional students may also be eligible for scholarships and financial aid. Currently about one-third or 16 of the 49 students in the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) are minority or underrepresented students, up from 25 percent two years ago.

“Our mission is to develop nurses with excellent clinical skills, along with a multicultural perspective and an appreciation of the needs of vulnerable populations,” said Linda Urden, professor of nursing, who will administer the grant along with Susan Bonnell, MEPN coordinator and associate clinical professor nursing. “With these funds, we hope to increase our ability to provide care for our county’s vulnerable populations by directly impacting both the knowledge and the diversity of our nursing workforce,” Urden said.

All MEPN students spend 200 hours working with low-income, vulnerable populations at locations throughout the county including the Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista; the City of Refuge, a mission providing services to recent immigrants, and Rachel’s Center, a downtown homeless center. About 75 percent of all MEPN students also attend a course in Medical Spanish. Of the 85 graduates from the last two years who responded to a recent survey, more than 70 are working in practices serving a majority of Medi-Cal or uninsured patients.

Along with meeting the health care needs of a diverse population, another challenge facing San Diego County is the growing number of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. A portion of the grant from the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development Song Brown Grant Program, will also be used to develop a series of standardized patient case scenarios to prepare MEPN students to provide competent care to this large population of patients and families.

USD’s nursing school is among some 500 schools of nursing across the country which have pledged support to the Joining Forces partnership for veterans created by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. The grant will help improve services for acute, mental health and long-term care. “We are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of veterans and their families,” said USD Nursing School Dean Sally B. Hardin.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.