The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) School of Nursing recently received a $1.3 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a program to recruit and retain 30 Native American nursing school students.

The project is called “Success Through Recruitment/Retention, Engagement, and Mentorship (STREAM) for American Indian Students Pursuing Nursing Careers” in alignment with a Wisconsin Center for Nursing goal to expand the diversity of the nursing workforce to mirror the diversity of the population they serve.

Native American students are among the most under-represented on the UW-Madison campus, including the nursing program. According to Nursing.Wisc.edu, the Wisconsin nursing workforce is 94 percent white, but the Wisconsin population is only 79 percent white. In addition, 90 percent of nurses who provide services in Wisconsin tribal health facilities are white while a majority of patients are American Indian.

Dr. Audrey Tluczek, director of the recruitment program, tells Channel3000.com, “Having nurses who are actually members of a community is really vital to addressing the great health disparity that actually exists in these communities…We only have one or two students per year who self-identify as American Indian, or Native American.”

The UW-Madison School of Nursing is working with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council to recruit and retain 30 Native American nurses and create opportunities for future students and impact health outcomes in their local community. Funding from the grant will provide financial support for Native American nursing students and help develop peer support programs for these students. To learn more about the STREAM grant, visit here.

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