UNC School of Nursing secures $1.2 Million HRSA Grant to enhance nursing education for underserved communities

The University of North Carolina School of Nursing is proud to announce that Susana Barroso, PhD, RN, and her dedicated team have been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This significant grant, titled “Closing the Gaps: Strengthening Nursing Education through Partnerships to Improve Care for Underserved and Rural Communities,” will support a transformative three-year initiative to invest in a comprehensive simulation-based curriculum through expanded clinical partnerships and recruitment and retention of faculty and pre-licensure nursing students from diverse populations.

In addition to the exceptional leadership of Barroso, the team includes Jennifer Alderman, PhD, MSN, RN, CNL, CNE, CHSE; Jean Davison, DNP, RN, FNP-C; Carol Durham, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, FSSH; Megan Ross, MSN, RNC-MNN; Shielda Rodgers, PhD, RN; Louise Fleming, PhD, MSN-ED, RN; Valerie Howard, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN; and Megan Williams, EdD, MSN, RN, FNP.

“We are excited and honored to have received this grant. This grant aligns seamlessly with our mission of advancing health for all. It also speaks to our continuing commitment to develop and implement curricula that provides the requisite knowledge to foster cultural humility in clinical practice, education, research, and service, and retain highly qualified, diverse students and faculty that represent the people of North Carolina,” expressed Barroso.

Quality nursing education is crucial for expanding the nursing workforce and retaining nurses, especially in the face of the ongoing nursing and faculty shortage. Limited clinical sites have compelled nurse educators to seek innovative methods to enhance readiness for practice. One highly effective approach is simulation-based education.

Barroso outlined a comprehensive approach, stating, “We will accomplish these goals by expanding current academic-clinical partnerships with a lens towards culturally responsive care, health literacy, and interprofessional collaborations. Moreover, the program will integrate across the undergraduate curriculum innovative simulation experiences with an emphasis on interprofessional team-based care, behavioral/mental health, maternal/child health, homelessness, survivors of domestic abuse, HIV/AIDS, and aging populations in medically underserved areas. Students’ training will include understanding the impact of the social determinants of health (SDOH) and how to implement the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes.”

The UNC School of Nursing will collaborate closely with five clinical partners, including The Chatham County Council on Aging, El Centro Hispano, The UNC SON Mobile Health Clinic, Chatham County Health Department, and the Student Health Action Coalition. Together, they will work to achieve the program’s goals by expanding current academic-clinical partnerships and focusing on retention of students from diverse populations.