'Quality education is the best way to address social inequality and promote economic mobility.'
A $12 million gift to the Cleveland Clinic will double and diversify nurse scholars to help reduce healthcare disparities.
The Howley Foundation’s gift funds the ASPIRE initiative for local high school and college students, which aims to expand diversity in healthcare and address opportunity gaps, both of which will help reduce a community’s health disparities.
"It’s essential that we diversify the pipeline of our future healthcare workforce, including nurses, to better represent our patients and the communities we serve," said Tom Mihaljevic, MD, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic.
"We are grateful for the Howleys’ continued support and passion for increasing diversity and equity in our next generation of caregivers," Mihaljevic said.
The gift will enable the nurse scholars program to double enrollment to about 50 students from Cleveland-area high schools each year.
Students enter the ASPIRE program as high school juniors, where the curriculum introduces and explores the nursing profession and healthcare.
Once they’ve graduated high school, program participants have the opportunity to earn a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions at Ursuline College.
The students work as patient care nursing assistants at Cleveland Clinic during the summer after high school graduation and throughout their college career. Upon college graduation and licensure, they may join a Cleveland Clinic facility as an RN.
The nurse scholars program celebrated its first five graduates in December 2022. They are now employed as full-time RNs at Cleveland Clinic.
More than 15 students are expected to graduate from Ursuline College with nursing degrees by 2024.
"We feel strongly that a quality education is the best way to address social inequality and promote economic mobility," said Nick Howley, chair of The Howley Foundation. "We want students to be able to complete their nursing degrees poised for success."
Because of the gift, along with the Howley Foundation’s cumulative support, all programs within the Cleveland Clinic’s ASPIRE initiative will be renamed to bear the Howley name, including the Howley ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program, according to the health system.
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Photo credit: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock.com
Diversifying the healthcare workforce pipeline helps to reduce healthcare disparities.
ASPIRE program participants may earn a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
Upon college graduation and licensure, they have the opportunity to join a Cleveland Clinic facility as an RN.