Georgia Baptist College of Nursing Receives Nearly $2 Million to Improve Workforce Diversity


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Georgia Baptist College of Nursing was recently awarded a nearly $2 million grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities who are underrepresented among registered nurses.

The College of Nursing is one of 29 nursing programs across the country – and one of only two in the state – to receive this grant. A total of $1,992,044 will be awarded to the College over four years.

In concert with the legislative purpose under Title VIII of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, the Dedicated to Diversity: Risk to Resilience (R2R) program is focused on promoting successful transition to the nursing workforce for baccalaureate (BSN) nursing students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. The project's goal is to identify and mitigate risk while fostering resilience and ultimately increasing diversity in the nursing workforce and enabling health equity.

The R2R program is built upon a strong foundation of lessons learned through the 2016 Dedicated to Diversity (D2D) program, which focused on the retention of diverse and disadvantaged BSN nursing students through a multilayered program of academic, social, physical and mental health, financial, and professional interventions.

“Our nursing program is strongly committed to improving the recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of our diverse nursing student population,” said Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean of the College of Nursing. “The goals of the R2R program are truly innovative, and they reflect the mission of the University and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing where every student matters.”

Dr. Lanell M. Bellury, associate professor, will serve as the principal investigator and project director for the grant, which involves collaboration with faculty in Mercer's College of Health Professions and Tift College of Education, the Center for Nursing Excellence, student affairs and minority affairs offices, as well as the Atlanta Black Nurses Association.

The 2016 D2D program supported 20 qualified undergraduate nursing students who evidenced strong academic potential as well as economic need. The 2017 R2R program will continue support up to 20 qualified progressing senior students and support up to 15 qualified junior nursing students annually.

“In our work with the 2016 D2D scholars, the project team discovered that while underrepresented minorities are at increased risk for attrition in nursing school, an uncommon resilience was present in successful students. Our goal is to nurture resilience and success. Additionally, the R2R program aims to heighten the overall cultural awareness within the College and University to one that can foster health equity through a diverse nursing workforce,” said Dr. Bellury.

The project is supported by the HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under grant number D19HP30842, Nursing Workforce Diversity Program, for $1,992,044. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

About Health Resources and Services Administration

HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the healthcare workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity. HRSA's programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

About the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing

Founded in 1902 as a school of nursing, the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is the oldest nursing program in Georgia. Over its 115-year history, the College has graduated more than 7,800 nurses. The College remains dedicated to educating the person, fostering the passion and shaping the future of nursing. The College merged with Mercer University in 2001 and offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Ph.D. in nursing. The College of Nursing is one of four academic units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center.