Marquette program aimed at increasing nursing workforce diversity gets $2.2 million federal grant

Marquette University’s College of Nursing received a nearly $2.2 million federal grant for its summer program aimed at encouraging underrepresented students into nursing careers.

The grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will support Marquette’s Project BEYOND-2 program, which is an intensive, five-day summer session that focuses on readiness for college. The grant will ensure the program, which started in 2007, continues for another four years.

“One way to mitigate health disparities is to assure that we have a nursing workforce that better mirrors the population, and Project BEYOND-2 is filling that diversity gap with students educated in Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit values and with a mission to serve others,” said Janet Krejci, dean of the College of Nursing. “Our communities are faced with such inequities as high poverty and limited access to health care despite many chronic illnesses. At the same time, nursing workforce diversity in our state is lower than the national average. Marquette and the College of Nursing make an ideal location to help address these issues with our commitment to serving others and to helping to create a more just society.”

Students in Project BEYOND-2 receive financial aid through scholarships and stipends and participate in academic and informal sessions, as well as professional and peer mentoring opportunities. It’s deigned for students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, including underrepresented minorities.

“This is exciting news for BEYOND-2, which has been incredibly successful for both Marquette and the hundreds of students that have come through the program,” said Leona VandeVusse, director for Project BEYOND-2. “Through this program, the College of Nursing is serving a pressing need to add to the diversity in the nursing workforce in our communities.”

Marquette also announced Terrie Garcia, coordinator of the program, will become its director on July 1.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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