California Nursing School Initiative Targets Hispanics, Asian-Americans

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Enrollmentin California community college nursing programs has increased by 60% over thepast three years, with minority enrollment increasing by 13%, largely as aresult of the three-year, $10 million Nursing Diversity Initiative, New America Media reports. Much of the minoritystudent increase is among Hispanics.

The University of California-San Francisco Center for California Health Workforce Studies evaluated the program.

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The Nursing Diversity Initiative, funded by the California Endowment, was aimedat encouraging more Hispanics, Asian-Americans and males to enroll in nursingprograms in California's Central Valley to counterbalance the state's nursing shortage. There arecurrently 589 registered nurses per 100,000 state residents, compared with thenational average of 825 registered nurses per 100,000 people, according to a2004 U.S. Health Resources and ServicesAdministrationreport.

The six counties targeted -- Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare --have 497 registered nurses per 100,000 residents, and because of the area'shigh poverty rate and remote location, hospitals have a more difficult timeattracting and retaining physicians and nurses.

Increasing enrollment is only part of the solution to the state's nursingshortage, as there is also a shortage of nursing faculty; however, many programadministrators say it is difficult to maintain enrollment improvements withoutadditional aid, according to New America Media (Gokhale, NewAmerica Media, 2/6).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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