Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing students who received STAND grant scholarships are beacons of change for health care and their communities.
CGN celebrated these students at a luncheon Sept. 28, 2023, on WesternU’s Pomona, California campus.
The College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) received a $1.64 million Strategically Transforming and Advancing Nursing Diversity (STAND) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide scholarships to underrepresented minority nursing students as well as supportive services to help them succeed.
The funding supports 20 Master of Science in Nursing – Entry (MSN-E) students per year. These first-year MSN-E students who were honored on Sept. 28 are the second cohort to receive scholarships. STAND scholars also have the support of Assistant Professor and Student Success Counselor Michael Baello, MSN-HSL/ANL, APRN, PHN, RN-C, PCCN-K, FNP-BC, who serves as a tutor and mentor.
“The federal government has recognized that we need a diverse nursing workforce. What we intend to do is to contribute to the preparation of a workforce that mirrors the population of California,” said CGN Associate Dean Rodney Hicks, PhD, APRN, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN.
The luncheon is an opportunity to break bread and celebrate the students’ good work, said CGN Dean Mary Lopez, PhD, MSN, RN.
“As a STAND recipient, you are working to build a healthier future for our nation by becoming master’s prepared advanced practice nurses and beacons of change for our communities,” Lopez said. “You can make a difference and be a beacon of change for your community because your unique focus on the health care challenges affecting people of color is critical to advancing health equity.”
Health equity is one of CGN’s tenets, and the College wants to provide health care in an equitable fashion for all of our communities, Lopez said.
“I am grateful for your essential work as nursing students and closing our health care gaps by serving many of our country’s historically underserved communities. And it is my hope as you go through nursing school and as you get your first job that you do choose to help some of those who are in those underserved communities,” Lopez said. “You are the most trusted professional in America, being a nurse, and you are going to help diverse communities thrive. Congratulations on being a STAND recipient and celebrating culture, caring and the spirit of nurses who are the leading voice of health in our communities.”
First-year MSN-E student Lilliana Garcia Pacheco said she was pleasantly surprised to receive the scholarship, which alleviated some of her financial burden as a graduate student. Receiving this scholarship provided a more peaceful and easier transition into graduate school.
“I felt really taken care of,” Garcia Pacheco said. “This is a school that wants me here.”
First-year MSN-E student and STAND scholarship recipient Josephina Diaz Calderon said she grew up in an underserved community. She served as a translator for her family members when they went to the hospital.
“We need more diversity with health care providers so my mom, and patients in general, could feel more comfortable and become more compliant with their care,” Diaz Cameron said. “We have experienced health disparities. To be able to have that background helps us to be better providers.”