UA College of Nursing Nationally Recognized as Hispanic-Serving Health Professions School

Dec 7, 2015

The University of Arizona College of Nursing has become the fourth nursing school in the nation and the first in Arizona to be recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Health Professions School (HSHPS).

HSHPS is a member-based, nonprofit organization that consists of schools and colleges of medicine, public health, nursing, dentistry and pharmacy throughout the United States. Membership is granted to schools with a demonstrated commitment to increasing the Hispanic health workforce that will serve and promote the health of Hispanics, as evidenced by programs, activities and student and faculty diversity.

The University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS) now has three HSHPS members as the UA College of Nursing joins the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health as members.

The UA Health Sciences is committed to becoming a national leader in the training of a diverse faculty, staff, student body and health-care workforce. Substantial research underscores that minority health professionals are much more likely to treat minority patients and to serve in rural and underserved areas. These professionals bring improved understanding of cultural diversity and other issues that help better meet the needs of patients and other health service users from minority groups. Under the leadership of UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, the UA Health Sciences is making progress with above-national percentages of Latino and Native American students entering the UAHS colleges in 2015.

“It takes a strategic and dedicated effort to recruit, retain, educate and train a diverse and inclusive health-care workforce,” said Dr. Garcia. “I am proud to say the health sciences colleges at the University of Arizona have fully embraced this effort. The College of Nursing’s commitment, as recognized by HSHPS, is part of our overall commitment to eliminate health disparities and positively impact the health of Arizona’s populations and that of the nation.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012, individuals from ethnic and racial minority groups accounted for more than one-third of the U.S. population (37 percent). By 2043, minority populations are projected to become the majority. 

“We recognize the compelling connection between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide inclusive, culturally congruent, high-quality health care,” said Dr. Joan Shaver, dean of the UA College of Nursing. “We have made major strides in recruiting and graduating nurses to better reflect our patient populations. We have strategically pursued our goals to reflect our faculty’s powerful commitment to advancing nursing and health-care careers, especially for those of Hispanic heritage.”

According to a 2013 survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, nurses from minority backgrounds represent 19 percent of the registered nurse workforce, and only 3 percent identify as Hispanic. At the UA College of Nursing, minority students represent 39.3 percent of the total student population, with 11.2 percent identifying as Hispanic.

A number of UA College of Nursing faculty members have their research focused on promoting health equity within Hispanic populations, including:

  • Dr. Marylyn M. McEwen, who studies how capitalizing on familismo (the strong cultural value of family) can strengthen how Mexican-American adults manage their type 2 diabetes.
  • Dr. Terry A. Badger, who tests a telephone-delivered counseling intervention for Latinas with breast cancer and their supportive partners to treat depression.
  • Dr. Janice D. Crist, who developed a “telenovela” intervention for Mexican-American elders and their families to reverse the underuse of home health-care services.

HSHPS status will allow UA College of Nursing faculty members and students to apply for additional programs that advance Hispanic health research, education and workforce development, and access resources for identifying and securing funding for research, including grant preparation assistance and a bi-national network of potential collaborators.

About Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS) is a 501(c)3 member-based nonprofit organization. Established in 1996, HSHPS supplies academic and career development programs and services to prepare emerging health professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to address the many health disparities Hispanics and other ethnic minority groups face today.

About the University of Arizona College of Nursing

Faculty at the University of Arizona College of Nursing envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, the college ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information: www.nursing.arizona.edu