The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has awarded a one-year, $150,000 grant to Russell Sage College’s Department of Nursing for a partnership to encourage high school students interested in nursing careers.

The I Can Achieve a Degree in Nursing program, or ICAN, will create a collaborative community mentorship model for underserved youth to achieve a bachelor’s degree in nursing and employment as a registered nurse. The program will address the nationwide nursing shortage and focus on preparing a diverse workforce to serve underrepresented communities with accessible quality health care.

ICAN will focus on the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities in New York’s Capital Region. Sage will work with Albany Medical Center, the Black Nurses Coalition and Albany Leadership Charter School for Girls.

This program will recruit and support students from target populations through high school partnerships; match high school students with professional nursing mentors from diverse backgrounds; provide academic support to guide students through high school and a nursing degree; motivate and guide underrepresented and underserved minorities into professional nursing careers; and create meaningful employment and professional experiences in diverse health care settings.

“The opportunity to create a replicable, collaborative model with our partners is a win-win for the community by helping to lead the way in creating both academic and future job opportunities for BIPOC students who can then provide quality, accessible care to our minority, underserved populations in the Capital Region,” said Glenda Kelman, Ph.d., RN, ACNP-BC, professor and chair of Sage’s nursing department.

“Russell Sage College is committed to providing opportunity to populations that are underrepresented in bachelor’s and graduate health sciences programs,” said Chris Ames, Russell Sage College president. “We are grateful to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation and excited to continue our work with Albany Med, Albany Leadership Charter School and the Black Nurses Coalition to help individuals meet their career goals and to strengthen the nursing workforce in New York state.”

“Exposure to nursing is the first step to becoming aware of nursing as a possible career,” said Geoffrey Miller, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Sage and one of the ICAN organizers. “We believe that ICAN will foster an interest in nursing and help make education and career pathways more accessible for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.”

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