UAMS Receives Federal Funds For Nursing Scholarships To Minority Students

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing recently received $80,000 from the federal government to fund scholarships for 18 minority students at a time when there is a critical need for nurses.


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the supplemental funds to a three-year, nearly $550,000 Workforce Diversity Grant that UAMS received in 2003. The grants are intended to increase the number of nurses and nursing faculty in Arkansas who come from minority or disadvantaged groups by helping with some of the costs associated with school.


The initial grant provided monthly stipends to 12 qualifying nursing students to assist with child care, gas and other expenses so those students can work less and have a better focus on school. The grant supplement will provide 18 scholarships for students to pay for tuition and books.


“We are pleased to have these funds to increase the number of nurses in Arkansas, which like the entire United States, is in the midst of an unprecedented shortage of registered nurses,” said UAMS College of Nursing Dean Linda Hodges, Ed.D., R.N. “These funds are especially important because they also enable UAMS to recruit and support minority nursing students who reflect the diverse populations we serve across the state.”


A 2000 survey of Arkansas hospitals to determine the number of budgeted unfilled registered nurse vacancies showed an average 10 percent vacancy rate, with some rural hospitals reporting vacancies as high as 30 percent.


Minorities make up about 20 percent of Arkansas’ population, according to the United States Census Bureau. The most recent census showed continued growth by minority groups in the state, including African Americans, which now make up about 16 percent of the population, and Hispanics, which make up more than 3 percent of the population.


Scholarships are available for qualified nursing students who will start classes in the summer of 2005. Scholarship information for students is available on the College of Nursing Web site at


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,170 students and 650 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of about $3.8 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.