Tester Announces Funding to Increase Access to Healthcare in Rural Communities

MSU Nursing Program will Place Students in Community Health Centers Throughout the State

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester announced that Montana State University (MSU) will receive a $250,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund its Nurse Education Practice, Quality and Retention program. The grant is funded through the HRSA’s Nursing Workforce and Development Program, which Tester has consistently supported.

“Montana’s rural communities continue to struggle with a shortage of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and physicians’ assistants,” Tester said. “That’s why initiatives like this are so important, because they provide critical care to thousands of Montanans who would otherwise go untreated.”

The purpose of the initiative is to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses working with Montana’s rural and underserved populations by placing MSU-Nursing students in community health centers across the state. The program will be run by Dr. Wade Hill, through the MSU College of Nursing, with significant partnership and support from MSU’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Montana Primary Care Association, and community health centers across the state.

“One of the biggest predictors of where our students go to work after graduation is their clinical placements during school,” Dr. Hill said. “Community health centers are cornerstone of health care in our state’s rural and undeserved areas, so naturally they’re the places we want our graduates to be.”

The plan is to place 50 – 60 students through the initiative, which kicks off at the beginning of next month and runs through June of 2018. Dr. Hill hopes that by providing students with specialized training and clinical experience in Montana’s rural areas and community health centers, these students will not only be able to help administer care while in the program, but continue to work in these regions upon graduation.

Tester has been a strong advocate for community health centers, working hard to increase access to healthcare among rural and underserved populations.