Pacific Lutheran University has secured a new $2.8 million federal grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to help boost the number of PLU Doctor of Nursing Practice students who can serve rural and underserved populations in the state.

The HRSA grant, from the agency’s Advanced Nursing Education Workforce program, will support training for 72 Doctor of Nursing primary-care nurse practitioners, beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

The grant will be used to:

  • Ensure that every PLU nurse-practitioner student experiences at least three months of training with preceptors (experienced clinicians who serve as trainers in the field) at a rural or medically underserved site.
  • Recruit, educate, develop, support, and evaluate new preceptors to work with nurse-practitioner students, including hosting an annual workshop for them.
  • Increase the number of underrepresented minority students who apply to and graduate from PLU’s nurse-practitioner program.
  • Enhance training opportunities for students to integrate mental-health care into primary care.
  • Provide roughly $350,000 each year in tuition assistance and stipends for students who wish to pursue primary-care training in rural and underserved communities.
  • Offer funding for doctoral student projects focused in the areas of mental health, opioid addiction treatment, care of rural/underserved populations, and telehealth.