The University of San Francisco’s School of Nursing and Health Professions Awarded $3.25 Million Grant from Health Resources & Services Administration for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

The five year grant is the largest ever awarded to the School of Nursing and Health Professions

SAN FRANCISCO (August 27, 2020) – The School of Nursing and Health Professions (SONHP) at the University of San Francisco (USF) has announced it has received a five year, $3.25 million grant for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Led and authored by nursing Professor Angela D. Banks, RN, PhD, the grant is the largest ever awarded to the USF School of Nursing and Health Professions. 

The SDS grant will award 25 SONHP students with scholarship funds for the next five years, beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, providing support for disadvantaged students as well as building capacity in the primary care workforce in service of people and communities that are underserved. The impact of the SDS grant will dramatically decrease the financial burden for undergraduate students and increase the ethnic and racial diversity of nurses working in medically underserved communities and primary care settings after graduation.

This is the second such grant that USF has been awarded in the past year. In 2019, SONHP Professor Alexa Curtis secured a $2.4 million HRSA grant entitled ‘Nurse Practitioners and Communities Together: Providing Accessible Behavioral Health Care Through Engaged Clinical Training’. This grant is vital in the preparation of nurse practitioner students and preceptors and in the extension of integrated behavioral health services in primary care. The grant objectives directly address rural and medically underserved counties in California with the highest rates of delayed and foregone care. 

“In the School of Nursing and Health Professions, we relentlessly pursue funding support for students,” stated Dean Margaret Baker of the SONHP. “Taken together, these two professors secured more than $5.6 million in federal funding that will change the lives of our students and the people they will serve. In addition, this grant, along with other SONHP initiatives, aligns with our commitment to address the lack of ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity in nursing practice, research, education, and policy.” 

Specific to the SDS grant, the SONHP will recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate students who have been disadvantaged and underrepresented in the university’s baccalaureate nursing program. The proposed project will assist disadvantaged students to overcome economic and educational barriers to college entrance, nurture their long-term career potential, empower them to become registered nurses, and prepare them to work in medically underserved communities. Additionally, SONHP will strengthen preparation of its students to offer culturally and linguistically competent professional nursing services and foster job placements in medically underserved communities. 

“Receiving this scholarship is a great honor, and, more importantly, it represents giving back to individuals from underserved communities,” stated USF nursing student Mark Ortiz. “I look forward to paying this honor forward by working in underserved communities and learning how these scholarships are created, so that I can assist future college students as I’ve been helped.”

“I am thrilled to receive this scholarship, not only because it allows me to continue my nursing education at USF by lifting a financial burden off my family and I, but also for the amazing opportunities that are available to me through the scholarship,” stated USF nursing student Naomi Burks. “The mentorship program will help me be successful for the remainder of my program and the ability to work in underserved communities after graduation has always been a passion of mine.” 

The HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. 

About the USF School of Nursing and Health Professions

The School of Nursing and Health Professions advances the mission of the university by leading in innovative solutions to health inequities and transforming healthcare using evidence-informed approaches. For more information, visit

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit