The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso a $2,997,739 federal grant through the agency’s Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program.
“Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) play a critical role in closing the educational achievement gap for Hispanic Americans, who – as a group – face unique barriers that can impede completion of postsecondary education goals,” said Christiane Herber-Valdez, M.A., Ed.D., assistant vice provost for Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Accreditation, and assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education at TTUHSC El Paso’s Foster School of Medicine.
The Title V Puentes Hacia El Exito (Bridges Toward Success) grant project aims to increase the number of Hispanic Bachelor of Science in nursing graduates to address the critical shortage of nurses in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The award will provide $599,912 in annual funding for the next five years.
TTUHSC El Paso was recognized as an HSI by the Department of Education in April 2018, making it the first health-related institution on the U.S.-Mexico border to receive the designation.
“The key word in HSI is ‘serving,’ which signifies these institutions’ dedication to supporting Hispanic students beyond admissions, in order to aid in their persistence and attainment of higher education degrees. Being designated an HSI by the Department of Education was a critical step in our institutional efforts to serve our community. Through Title V HSI funding, we’ll implement specific, targeted programming to better support our Hispanic students throughout their academic journey at TTUHSC El Paso,” Herber-Valdez said.
Three Texas Tech University System institutions have been designated as HSIs: Texas Tech University, Angelo State University and TTUHSC El Paso.
The Puentes Hacia El Exito grant program will work toward curricular innovation to expand academic paths toward undergraduate and graduate nursing degree completion, strengthen the student success infrastructure, offer certification and continuing education to enhance graduate-prepared and culturally competent nursing instruction, and increase early and enriched outreach activities.
“We want to provide our community with new pathways for student success so more students graduate and meet the critical shortage of nurses in our region and in Texas,” said TTUHSC El Paso Senior Vice Provost Valerie Osland Paton, Ph.D. “We also aim to accomplish this by helping students manage their finances while in school and reducing their student debt burden.”
Increasing the number of fiscally knowledgeable and financially prepared graduates will be achieved through partnerships with area organizations, including Desert Mountain Area Health Education Center and Project ARRIBA, and by expanding the current internal program, From Red to Black Financial Literacy Program, to Hunt School of Nursing students.