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Press Release

July 22, 2004 Contact: HRSA Press Office
(301) 443-3376


HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced almost $15.5 million in grants to 62 universities, colleges, nursing schools, medical centers and other health care institutions to expand the nation's supply of qualified nurses and promote diversity in the nursing profession.

"The national nursing shortage threatens the quality of America's health care," said Secretary Thompson. "These grants will help us meet future demand for the essential health care services that nurses provide."

A report issued by HHS in 2002, Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortages of Registered Nurses: 2000-2020, predicted that the nursing shortage is expected to grow to 29 percent by 2020, compared to a 6 percent shortage in 2000. During Secretary Thompson's tenure, funding for nursing programs has increased dramatically, and six new nursing programs were implemented as part of the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002.

Most of the funds announced today -- $10.1 million -- will support 38 grants under the Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Program. That program is designed to:

  • increase enrollment in baccalaureate nursing programs;
  • develop internship and residency programs;
  • promote cultural competency among nurses;
  • improve access to health care for medically underserved populations; and
  • boost nurses' retention rates.

The remaining $5.4 million will support 24 grants under the Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. That program supports student scholarships and stipends and pre-entry preparation and nursing retention activities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"The workforce diversity grants effectively target resources to racial and ethnic minorities who are underrepresented in nursing," said Elizabeth M. Duke, Ph.D., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the HHS agency that oversees the nursing programs." Student enrollment in nursing schools that receive these funds averages 38 percent minority, compared to a national average of 19 percent."

The Division of Nursing in HRSA's Bureau of Health Professions provides national leadership to help ensure an adequate supply and distribution of qualified nursing personnel to meet the nation's health care needs. For more information, visit Lists of grantees
are available at

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at