Even small grants welcome to buoy GVSU nursing program

August 13, 2010
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When the federal Health and Human Services Administration last week announced that it had awarded millions in grants for health care work-force development, West Michigan received tens of thousands of dollars compared to hundreds of thousands assigned to organizations on the eastern side of the state.

Still, Grand Valley State University Kirkhof School of Nursing Dean Cynthia McCurren said she is pleased with the school’s $32,466 grant for advanced education nursing traineeship for 2010. 

“That grant is a very traditional one that schools of nursing have done for years and years,” McCurren said. “In the 1990s and early 2000, 2001, we were getting pretty significant amounts.”

The GVSU school received as much as $86,000 under that grant. But the amounts continued to drop over the years, reaching $19,000 for the last academic year, she said.

“We’re kind of back on the upswing again, and that feels good,” McCurren said.

Without nursing programs for geriatrics and nurse anesthetists, the Kirkof school couldn’t apply for those grants, McCurren said. She said the school applied for a grant to encourage diversity in the nursing student population, but did not receive it.

Additional advanced education nursing traineeship grants went to Western Michigan University, which received $12,345, to the University of Detroit-Mercy, which received $335,000 in three grants and operates a nursing program at Aquinas College, and to eight other universities.

Michigan received $3.9 million, part of a $159.1 million package aimed at developing the nation’s health care work force. Grants were awarded in six categories. Receiving the most money were Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Also receiving grants under the HHS program were Eastern Michigan, Madonna, Northern Michigan, Oakland and Saginaw Valley State universities.

“These grants target key workforce needs,” said Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary K. Wakefield in a written statement. “In addition to training new health care workers, these grants will support efforts to better prepare health care workers to care for our diverse and aging population, improving health care quality for all Americans.”

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