Georgia Southern awarded millions in grant money to diversify health professions

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- Across the country city and state leaders are taking a critical look at what contributes to systemic racism. Georgia Southern University knows healthcare is part of it, which is why they’re using grant money to make a change.

Faculty from both the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and the Water’s College of Health Profession were each awarded a $3.25 million dollar grant from the U.S Department of Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).

The grant funds the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program, designed to diversify health professions and the nursing workforce. The award is specifically for institutions that provide scholarships to students from economically, educationally, or environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Having the opportunity to fund these students, it’s a really big deal,” said Dr. Nandi Marshall, an Associate Professor of Public Health.

When it comes to healthcare, research shows a diverse workforce leads to more positive outcomes, this is especially true in underserved communities.

Dr. Marshall says health professions don’t just need diversity, they need young, eager graduates.

“Our workforce in public health is retiring and so we need new people,” said Dr. Marshall. “This is something we’ve been talking about for years, particularly with the American Public Health Association about the importantance of continuing to build our workforce.”

As a public health educators Marshall is trying to do her part. She and Medical lab Science Lecturer Amy Frazier both contributed to the grant application process.

Together they were awarded more than 6 million dollars to bring students who can’t afford college into health related degree programs.

“We are able to directly help the healthcare community by producing medical lab scientists that can help run the test,” said Frazier, “but also diversify our healthcare force and help it look more like the communities that we are serving.”

Graduates of these programs will go on to work for health departments, clinical laboratories, and governmental bodies.

“This is a way to say ‘here’ we have you,” said Marshall. “Here’s the funds, you do the work so I think from that aspect we are trying to increase this access,” she said, “but even outside of that because our students are working in medically underserved communities they are finding solutions to community problems.”

Through 2025 up to $650,000 will be available each year for scholarships. Students can earn individual scholarships of up to $40,000. The application deadlines is the first week of August and the funds will apply to the fall and spring semesters.

If you are interested in applying click here.

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