The University of Louisville announced Monday that the School of Nursing has received $6.5 million through two federal grants to help increase Kentuckians’ access to health care, particularly in underserved rural and urban areas.
The funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop and implement an accelerated Licensed Practical Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (LPN-to-BSN) pathway in those medically underserved areas of Kentucky.
A second HRSA-funded project aims to increase the number and diversity of nurse practitioners to better address the health care needs of rural and urban underserved populations.
Kentucky has a severe shortage of health care providers throughout the state’s 120 counties, with at least all or part of 113 counties designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas.
“These kinds of workforce pipeline grants are truly transformative and will make a lasting and tangible impact on the health and wellness of Kentuckians for generations to come Interim Provost Gerry Bradley said. “Our highly trained and committed nursing faculty are advancing the work that enables us to continue in our effort to expand access to high quality and diverse health care across the entire Commonwealth.”
School of Nursing Interim Dean Mary DeLetter says she’s proud of the nursing faculty who worked tirelessly to secure these grants that benefit nursing students, the nursing profession and ultimately, residents across the state.
“These programs support opportunities to enhance clinical training and bring superior nursing care to all corners of the Commonwealth, from rural Appalachia to urban Jefferson County to rural western Kentucky counties,” she stated.
For example, $3.9 million will be used to develop an accelerated LPN-to-BSN pathway for nurses in those underserved areas. The program is a statewide collaboration between the U of L School of Nursing and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and will also include academic-practice collaborations with three large health systems in Kentucky: U of L Health, Owensboro Health, Inc., and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation. It will support scholarships for up to 83 students to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Another $2.6 million goes to advance diversity and health equity in the primary care and mental health nurse practitioner workforce. The goal is to increase the education of nurse practitioners from diverse populations, including underrepresented minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
By Tom Latek, Kentucky Today