The Rapides Foundation Awards $3.4 Million in Grants to Health Professions

The following items were provided by the Rapides Foundation:

The Rapides Foundation has awarded seven grants totaling $3,392,313 to help meet the health workforce needs of employers in central Louisiana. Grants were awarded to four student-serving post-secondary institutions in the Foundation’s service area: Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Louisiana Christian University, LSU at Alexandria, and Northwestern State University.

The multi-year grants were awarded through the Foundation’s Health Professions Program, which aims to increase the number of health care graduates ready to achieve the entry level of licensing or certification required by employers to initial hiring of high-demand health occupations.

“Access to quality health services is important for reducing health disparities and improving health status,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of the Rapides Foundation. “We know that the shortage of qualified healthcare professionals is often cited as one of the biggest barriers to people receiving care. These grants will solve the problem by increasing the number of qualified health professionals ready to provide essential health services in the region.

Health Professions Program Grant helps accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities add and expand current health care program offerings and concentrations to meet the critical workforce needs of local employers , and specifically addresses shortages in the three professional fields of nursing, behavioral health and health.

The Rapides Foundation first offered the Health Professions Grant Program funding opportunity in 2016 following its analysis of the region’s health workforce landscape and awarded six grants totaling $2.1 million. After updating its health workforce analysis in 2021, the funding opportunity was reopened and in February 2022, the Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded seven grants totaling $3.4 million. This brings the total grant amount awarded under this funding opportunity to $5.5 million.

The grant opportunity is offered through the Foundation’s Healthcare Access Initiative and supports its mission to improve the health status of central Louisiana. Through its Health Care Access Initiative, the Foundation bridges the gap between supply and demand for health care workers and builds the capacity of regional post-secondary institutions to meet labor needs. work in health care.

The following Health Professions Program grants were awarded in February 2022:

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) received two grants totaling $2 million to establish the Central Louisiana Rural Nursing Network and the Central Louisiana Rural Allied Health Network. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will provide $2 million in Rapid Response Fund matching dollars to support the projects.

The CLTCC will lead a consortium of colleges in the Louisiana Community Technical College System (LCTCS) to expand and advance nursing and allied health education and training in the service area of ​​the Foundation’s nine parishes. CLTCC’s partners in this effort are Bossier Parish Community College, Fletcher Technical Community College, South Louisiana Community College, and Southwest Technical Community College. The Nursing Network project will add an evening course in practical nursing to the Winnfield campus, expand its traditional LPN to RN program to the Natchitoches campus, and expand its online LPN to RN program to the Alexandria, Ferriday, Jena, Winnfield campuses and Avoyelles. The Allied Health Network project will focus on expanding several different allied health career programs across multiple campuses. The Rural Nursing Network project is expected to produce 80 nurses per year and over 200 paramedic graduates are expected over the life of the paramedic network grant.

Louisiana Christian University received $396,753 for two projects. The Social Work Behavioral Health Care Workforce and Education Enhancement Project will increase the number of Master of Social Work graduates. Over the three years, the project is expected to see 75 social workers at masters level specializing in behavioral health care and committing to work in the service area of ​​the nine parishes for two years after graduation. . The second project increases the number of nursing graduates by focusing on strategies to retain, graduate, and prepare traditional and accelerated nursing students to pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX).

Louisiana State University at Alexandria received a grant in the amount of $223,960 to fund its ASN Accelerated Momentum for Completion and Holistic Achievement project. The project will include a three-pronged approach to providing emotional, social, and academic support to students, which should lead to on-time completion of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.

Northwestern State University received two grants totaling $771,600. One of the grants will establish a sonography training program to increase the number of medical sonographers in high-need areas in the region. NSU’s second grant supports the intervention of at-risk students in the ASN program by providing mentoring, emotional intelligence development, and student support services. The project is expected to improve retention of ASN students from first to second year and ultimately increase the number of nursing graduates ready to enter the workforce.

The Health Professions Program grant opportunity is currently open to new proposals with Letter of Intent submissions due by Monday, April 25. Grant and submission requirements can be found by visiting www.rapidesfoundation.org and clicking on the “Grants” tab.

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Michael A. Bynum