The goal of the project is to recruit, retain and educate culturally competent rural and ethnic minority students in North and South Carolina. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration will award $250,179 the first year. Rebecca Bagley, certified nurse-midwife and director of ECU’s nurse-midwifery graduate concentration, is the project director. Objectives are to: recruit undergraduate nursing students enrolled in historically black colleges and universities and a Native American-serving university in North and South Carolina; enhance the academic experience and retention of nurse-midwifery students through an online mentoring program; develop courses and clinical experiences that focus on primary health care and address health disparities of rural and ethnically diverse women; promote the ability of midwifery students to secure and sustain employment following graduation through participation in a mini-business institute in collaboration with the ECU College of Business; prepare nurse-midwives to deliver culturally competent care with emphasis on the Hispanic population and the use of traditional healing practices among rural and ethnically diverse populations.
“This funding allows the College of Nursing to move forward with goals to increase cultural competency among our graduates while preparing care givers who may have a strong interest in practicing in areas where health disparities exists,” Acting Dean Sylvia Brown said.ECU’s nurse-midwifery curriculum is the only one in North Carolina. It was initiated in 1991 as part of a legislative mandate to combat high infant mortality.A special intent is for graduates to assume care provider roles in rural areas to meet the needs of underserved women and infants. Currently 80 percent of ECU’s nurse-midwifery graduates work in rural and underserved areas. For more information, go to www.nursing.ecu.edu.