University of Southern Indiana Uses Grant Funds to Alleviate MSN Students’ Financial Burdens

Results from the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) survey showed that the top public health concerns in Southern Indiana’s Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties are:

  • Behavioral health
  • Cancer
  • Child health
  • Exercise/weight/nutrition

The annual assessment is mandated by the Affordable Care Act as an indicator of the general health in a specified area.

This year, the CHNA was organized and executed by the Deaconess Health System alongside ECHO Community Health Care, Welborn Baptist Foundation, St. Mary’s Health, United Way, and the Vanderburg County Health Department.

Despite the CHNA results, the region recently received a leg-up from the federal government when the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRCA) agreed to give the University of Southern Indiana’s College of Nursing and Health Professions over $2 million from two separate grant funds.

According to the USI, the school will receive a $1.7 million grant to inaugurate the Primary Care/Mental Health Integrated (PCMHI) Model, while an additional $350,000 grant will support the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program. The latter grant is expected to be a welcome relief to MSN students bogged down by the financial stress of a graduate nursing education.

Essentially, the HRCA set up the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program as a way to help advanced nursing students to afford books, living expenses, tuition costs, and extraneous fees during the remaining year of their nursing program. By doing so, the program expedites graduation and facilitates quick entry into the workforce. Its ultimate goal is to lessen the rising nursing shortage throughout the country.

This year the USI’s Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program will aid approximately 60 students but certain students will be given priority over others.

This program will offer tracks in three nurse practitioner specialties:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

The program is looking to attract a diverse body of students whose career goals involve working in the rural areas of Indiana that are notorious for being underserved. The ultimate goal of this program has always been to increase the number of advanced practice nurses serving the state’s most medically underserved communities.


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