Grant helps UAH’s College of Nursing address shortage of healthcare providers

Susan Hammond, Dr. Haley Hoy, and Kim Lassiter

Susan Hammond, Dr. Haley Hoy, and Kim Lassiter worked together to disburse federally funded nursing scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The College of Nursing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) was recently awarded a two-year Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship (AENT) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of a larger U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program to address the growing shortage of primary care providers across the nation.

"With the Affordable Care Act, the number of people with insurance has increased," says Dr. Haley Hoy, who serves as 
Interim Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and is also an associate professor in the College's acute-care nurse practitioner and doctor of nursing practice programs. "So this is a way to provide increased access to care, by increasing the number of providers."

The funds, totaling almost $700,00, will primarily go toward providing scholarships for up to 20 family nurse practitioner for each of the two years. "I think it allows more students to complete their course of study full time," she says. "Without the grant, they'd probably pursue part-time study and not graduate in a timely manner."

This isn't the first year the College has been awarded the AENT grant – far from it. "We've received this grant for several years," says Dr. Hoy. And thanks to the data she has collected from past recipients as part of the grant's requirements, the results are encouraging. "They don't have to work in an underserved area," she says, "but it's strongly encouraged and about 80% of them do."

As for the 2014-2015 academic year, Dr. Hoy says scholarships have already been disbursed, thanks in large part to the "significant help" of staff assistant Kim Lassiter and resource manager Susan Hammond. But nursing students are still eligible to apply – or re-apply in the case of current recipients – for the scholarship next year.

"The College of Nursing is pleased to offer traineeship support for advanced practice nurses to train health care professionals for communities who need them," says Dr. Hoy.