Five American Indian students are attending the California State University (Cal State) San Marcos School of Nursing through a recently awarded grant called Graduating American Indians into Nursing (GAIN). The grant covers tuition, books, fees, and a stipend of $1,500 per month for each student.

Dr. Deborah Morton, an assistant professor of public health and co-principal investigator on the grant identified the potential students for the program. Dr. Denise Boren, co-principal investigator and director of the Cal State San Marcos School of Nursing will step down from her director role at the end of the academic year to focus on grants and more direct involvement with GAIN students.

Dr. Boren tells News.CSUSM.edu: “Nurses spend so much time with patients. It’s really important to have nurses who understand the American Indian culture.” This is one of the reasons for the grant, helping provide American Indian students with a path to pursue a nursing degree and improve healthcare for American Indians as these students graduate into the profession. Dr. Morton also commented on the benefits of the grant: “We have a nursing shortage in California and we have more American Indians than any other state. It was a great opportunity for us.”

One of the requirements of the grant is that students spend an equal amount of time working in an Indian Health Service clinic upon graduation as a form of scholarship payback. This means committing three years of their time after graduation, which aligns perfectly with grant goal of helping improve healthcare for American Indians.

To learn more the GAIN grant and the American Indian recipients pursuing nursing degrees at Cal State San Marcos, visit here.

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