ORU Nursing School Receives $1 Million Grant to Recruit Minority Students

A special emphasis will be placed on recruiting Hispanic students

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a grant for Nurse Education, Practice, and Retention (NEPR) to the Anna Vaughn College of Nursing at Oral Roberts University (ORU). The grant award of $977,792 will be disbursed over a three-year period. The primary objective of the grant is the recruitment of minority students, primarily Hispanic, as well as implementation of a retention program to promote their completion of the program and return to the community as registered nurses.

Although Oklahoma's minority population is increasing faster than the Caucasian population, the nursing workforce does not reflect this diversity. The NEPR grant will facilitate increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce so that it mirrors the demographics of the region. The grant also emphasizes clinical experiences in rural areas where the majority of medically underserved persons reside. In addition, the grant includes integration of "cultural competence" along with health promotion and disease prevention, particularly metabolic syndrome.

"I am very pleased that HRSA has awarded the NEPR grant to the Anna Vaughn College of Nursing. The grant will enable the school to more intentionally recruit and retain minority students to reflect regional demographics. With the Hispanic population rapidly increasing, recruitment of Hispanic students will be a priority," said Dr. Kenda Jezek, dean of the Anna Vaughn College of Nursing.

This grant furthers ORU's efforts to recruit Hispanic students. To reach this exploding population, the university recently opened the ORU Hispanic Center. The center is the first of its kind in Oklahoma and the first in the nation at a Christian university. The center is meant to be a place to make Hispanic students and prospective students feel welcome and help them build community at ORU. There are also resources available to help them achieve academic success while at the university.

ORU is also the senior educational partner for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).

"Oral Roberts University stands today as our nation's preeminent Christian University committed to reflecting the multi-ethnic reality of our culture. As the Senior Educational Partner of the Hispanic Evangelical community, ORU already exists as the leading educational institution reaching out to the Hispanic community," said Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC. "This grant will enable ORU to expand the outreach to minority students in fields where diversity and cultural contextualization will enrich and empower communities both domestically and abroad."

This grant award provides resources primarily to hire additional personnel and faculty for this recruitment effort. The grant also includes an agreement with the Northeastern Oklahoma Area Health Education Center who will help with recruitment and placement for all students in rural health areas. The federal government provides 100 percent of funds to facilitate this project.

This is the second HRSA grant awarded to the school. Last summer, HRSA awarded a $1.1 million Workforce Diversity grant for the recruitment and retention of minority and disadvantaged students from Oklahoma.