Three men and a woman holding a large check made out to Russell Sage College from Highmark Blue Shield for $150,000
Russell Sage College received a $125,000 grant from Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York to expand efforts to grow and diversify the numbers of students pursuing nursing degrees.

Russell Sage College is the proud recipient of a $125,000 Blue Fund grant from Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York to address the nursing shortage and diversify the nursing pipeline across New York state.

The grants, which are aimed at improving health outcomes and equity, were presented by Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York at an August 10 ceremony.

Russell Sage will receive $125,000 from Highmark to implement mentor training to support the ICAN (I Can Achieve a Nursing Degree) program. The program empowers BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) high school students to seek nursing degrees, reduces the nursing shortage, and increases the diversity of nursing professionals across New York state.

The College was one of five nonprofit organizations across the region that will be supported by the Blue Fund. The other Blue Fund recipients were the Black Nurses Coalition, Siena College, Bethesda House, and the South End Children’s Café.

Mentors participating in the ICAN program serve as professional nurses from across partner organizations, including Albany Medical Center, Black Nurses Coalition, and nursing faculty on staff at Russell Sage College. These mentors will nurture and guide students from Albany Leadership Charter School for Girls to garner interest in the health sciences, specifically nursing, and provide access to labs and science classes, opportunity to shadow nurses in healthcare situations, witness the effectiveness of care delivery teams, and engage in scholarly activities associated with nursing.

“This grant allows us to expand the work of our ICAN program as we partner with community organizations to encourage more BIPOC students into the nursing profession and support their journey toward their degrees,” said Glenda Kelman, Ph.D., RN, ACNP-BC, professor and chair of the Nursing Department at Russell Sage. “We are very grateful for Highmark’s commitment to creating a healthier and more equitable community.”

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