University of Central Florida Receives Grant to Increase Hispanic/Latina/o/x Health Care Graduates, Decrease Gap in Representation

progress Initiative empowers Hispanic/Latino/O/X adults to achieve economic and social mobility through impactful careers

ORLANDO, Fla., October 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — University of Central Florida (UCF) was awarded for two years $250,000 Bank of America Scholarship to support Hispanic/Latino/o/x students pursuing careers in healthcare progress Initiative. The initiative was created to help Hispanic/Latin/o/x students achieve economic advancement through careers in healthcare while helping to increase representation and address the shortage of culturally competent, Spanish-speaking healthcare providers .

As the nursing shortage continues to impact the country, an alarming statistic shows that less than 6% of the nursing workforce is Hispanic/Latina/o/x, disproportionate to the growing community that is often critically underserved in healthcare. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing is the largest health care profession in the country with more than 3.8 million nurses.

Thanks to the investment from Bank of America and support from education consulting firm EAB, UCF has new tools to increase recruitment efforts and support the success of Hispanic/Latin/o/x students in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. UCF was one of 12 Hispanic Serving Institutions selected to participate in the program. UCF was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution HSI in 2019 after surpassing 25% of Hispanic/Latina/o/x undergraduate enrollment.

“UCF’s partnership with Bank of America and EAB allows us to expand our efforts to foster the success of our students while addressing the critical shortage of Hispanic/Latino/o/x healthcare workers,” said Andrea Guzmán, vice president for Diversity, Equity at UCF and Inclusion.” The success of progress transcends access to and attainment of education by leaving a lasting impact on the industry and communities we serve.”

progress is part of Bank of America’s effort to create opportunities for people and communities of color, including a 25 million dollars Job initiative that includes partnerships with Spanish-speaking institutions.

“Hispanic/Latino students cite gaps in academic preparation and support, supervisory responsibilities, unexpected financial pressures, and language barriers as major challenges to graduation,” he said Steven Alt, President, Bank of America Central Florida. “Through the progress initiative with UCF, we are supporting Hispanic/Latino students beginning a career in healthcare while strengthening the pipeline to support employer demand.”

EAB is providing strategic advice, enrollment support and expert advice to six pairs of two- and four-year Spanish language institutions in states with large Hispanic/Latin/o/x communities and critical gaps in the healthcare workforce as part of the effort. University of Valenciaa local partner from UCF, was also selected to be part of the cohort.

“EAB is proud to partner with Bank of America to achieve better outcomes for Hispanic patients by partnering with HSIs to help more Hispanic students pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in healthcare,” said EAB Chief Partner Officer Sally Amoruso. “As an HSI dedicated to promoting social mobility in a diverse community, UCF was a natural fit to invite to the progress initiative and we look forward to working with them to create a stronger journey for their students.”

The latest data from the US Census Bureau shows that 18.5% of the US population is Hispanic. However, the representation of Hispanic/Latina/o/x individuals in healthcare is much lower. Due to population growth and rising needs for quality healthcare, Hispanic/Latino/o/x populations continue to face disproportionate barriers to access, availability and affordability of healthcare. commitments like progress are critical to increasing Hispanic/Latino/o/x health worker representation, improving capacity to deliver health services, and driving greater economic mobility for Hispanic/Latino/o/x communities. With almost 33% of the people in the metropolitan area Orlando Area identified as Hispanic/Latina/o/x, the effort is particularly effective for the local region.

part of $250,000 The investment will provide funding for a research and writing lab for students, exam prep and exam fees for health exams, and a health professions education series that will benefit more than 1,500 people. These are all areas that address multiple challenges that can prevent Hispanic/Latino/o/x students from graduating and pursuing careers in nursing and other healthcare professions.

“The UCF College of Nursing is committed to ensuring a brighter, healthier future for all,” said Mary Lou Sole, Dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “Not only will these efforts provide Hispanic nurses with more opportunities to achieve their educational goals and advance their careers, but they will have a positive impact on the health of underserved and underrepresented communities as these new Knight nurses serve as providers, leaders, educators and researchers practice.”

The health programs research and writing lab will be modeled on traditional academic success labs with peer-to-peer support, six student assistants and six faculty who will assist more than 800 students in health programs with thesis reading and critiques, as well as mentoring.

It is estimated that more than 400 students benefit from exam preparation sessions and health exam tutoring services. Standardized exams are required for most health professional programs in order for students to graduate and begin practice. The sessions and tutoring allow students to better prepare for the exam and increase pass rates. Topic-based “Lunch and Learns” will be offered in person and virtually, and virtual tutoring sessions will be recorded and made available to students as online sessions in the future. A $70,000 Hardship fund also covers up to $500 in testing fees for individuals with an identified financial need.

In addition to reaching current UCF students, the Health Career Education Series will raise awareness of the medical profession among middle and high school students through thematic discussions led by professionals from diverse backgrounds. It will also provide opportunities for adult learners who wish to retrain or upskill to attend sessions sponsored by CareerSource Florida and UCF Continuing Education.

UCF is also using funds provided through the partnership to increase awareness and enrollment in select graduate nursing programs where increasing Hispanic/Latina/o/x representation could have the greatest impact. The programs are delivered online, giving working adults across the country the opportunity to pursue quality education at their convenience.

Bank of America

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SOURCE Bank of America Corporation