UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing receives $3 million federal grant to further boost Hispanic engagement

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School seeks to graduate more than 1,960 Hispanic nurses over 5 years

Contact: Steven Lee, 210-450-3823, [email protected]

SAN ANTONIO – UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing received nearly $3 million in five-year Department of Education grant to expand Hispanic-serving institutions to further drive engagement and well-being low-income Hispanic students at a peak in nursing demand.

Specifically, the grant aims to increase research and clinical mentorship, increase student well-being through mental health counseling and wellness programs, and improve student financial health. It will include peer mentoring, additional instruction and tutoring, and will also address the need for more data on Hispanic student success.

Vanessa Bográn Meling, EdD, MBA

“Our project is designed to provide a holistic strategy for nursing students where they will share high-impact experiences that enable holistic support, to meet the demand for frontline nurses compounded by the global pandemic, respond to a nurse nationally and to a nursing faculty shortage and support the well-being of future nurse leaders,” said Vanessa Bográn Meling, EdD, MBA, Associate Dean for Admissions, Student Success, and Engagement and Assistant Professor for Research at UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing. Meling is the principal investigator of the grant.

“At the end of this project,” she said, “the School of Nursing will have graduated over 1,960 Hispanic nurses, with baccalaureate degrees, who will enter our healthcare system to achieve our vision of improving lives by promoting health as an act of social justice. .”

The Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutional Development Program provides grants to help Hispanic-serving institutions recruit and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students. The grants are also designed to expand and improve academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability, according to the federal agency.

As it stands, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, which has trained nurse leaders, clinicians, scientists, and teachers to serve South Texas’ diverse and underserved population since 1969, enrolls more than 700 undergraduate nursing students – 56% of whom are Hispanic and 38% first-generation. The total grant amount for the five years is $2,997,990.

Meling said the project will produce significant and measurable results through two main activities:

  • Mentorship to enhance nursing students by increasing Hispanic nursing student engagement through two distinct faculty-student mentorship pathways – an undergraduate research pathway through research experiences and activities academics, and a clinical mentorship journey through knowledge translation and clinical practice.
  • Wellness Support to Advance Female Nursing Students by supporting Hispanic female nursing students through wellness and resiliency programs, including mental health services, financial health literacy, and on-campus employment , and increasing student persistence to graduation through the development of a nursing student success data warehouse.

“This grant will have a significant impact on the implementation of strategies designed for greater student retention and a sense of belonging, which are fundamental to graduation,” said Sonya Renae Hardin, PhD, MBA/MHA, APRN, FAANdean and professor at UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing.


University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), South Texas’ largest research university, has an annual research portfolio of $350 million and a Department of Education designation as a Hispanic-serving institution. His School of nursing offers five academic programs, including BSN, DNP, and PhD degrees and specialty certificates, and is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nursing profession. First-generation college students represent a third of its workforce. The school also operates a growing patient care practice that provides primary and acute care at its Wellness 360 clinics, both on campus and at various community partner sites. To learn more, visit https://www.uthscsa.edu/academics/nursing.

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