The federal government has awarded more than $13 million this year in grants to colleges and universities for a program intended to promote diversity in the nursing field.

The “Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) Program,” which is part of the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), aims to increase “access to high quality, culturally-aligned registered nurse providers that reflect the diversity of the communities in which they serve,” with a particular emphasis on helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds to become nurses.

The HRSA also provides a table outlining the amount of money awarded through the NWD Program, reporting total grants of $13,357,596 to 33 institutions so far in 2017.

One of the more recent recipients, Western Michigan University (WMU), recently received $2 million to spend on nursing diversity over the next four years, according to Daily Nurse.

The annualized award of just under $500,000 is consistent with the grants given to many other recipients, only eight of which received less than $400,000 in 2017.

WMU’s program, called “Empower Success,” aims to increase diversity within the university’s School of Nursing, with an ultimate goal of the number of underrepresented students in the nursing program by 60 percent, according to the abstract of WMU’s grant application.

In addition to providing financial support to underrepresented students, the program provides beneficiaries with “academic and peer support.”

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The University of Alabama was also approved for an NWD grant, receiving around $2 Million over four years for a program called BAMA-Latino, which aims to bring more Latino students to their nursing program.

The program will “target and recruit” 80 Latino students who have their associate’s degree in nursing, and give them financial support to attend online classes at the University of Alabama.

“According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are 2.7 million registered nurses (RNs) in the country with only 136,600 identified as Latinos,” the UA abstract states. “The Latino nurses population has grown only 0.7% over the last 20 years. There is a dire need to increase the Nursing Workforce of Latino nurses at the baccalaureate level.”

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