FLORENCE - The University of North Alabama College of Nursing and Allied Health has received a $2.1 million grant will pave help disadvantaged students, particularly underrepresented minorities, into UNA’s Opportunities for Entry Into Nursing program.
The program is also known as OPEN.
“OPEN is a program designed for the success of students as well as communities,” UNA President William Cale Jr. said. “The students admitted to this program would not otherwise have the opportunities they will find at UNA.
“In turn, they will benefit communities that are currently underserved by trained medical professionals like the ones these students will soon become.”
The grant will be awarded over a four-year period, beginning this semester. It will support about 67 scholarships for pre-nursing and nursing majors in its first year, and about 80 scholarships by year four.
Scholarships will cover up to nine credit hours for pre-nursing students and up to 15 credit hours for students in the nursing program.
OPEN is designed to address local and national healthcare needs among disadvantaged and minority populations as well as an underrepresentation of minorities in the nursing workforce, university officials said.
“Minorities in underserved areas are at significantly higher risk for heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes and other diseases,” said Birdie Bailey, dean of the UNA College of Nursing an Allied Health. “Through this new program, we intend to train individuals from those areas to bring a greater quality of healthcare service back to their communities.”