California State University, Long Beach
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Grant to Help Produce Family Nurse Practitioners

Published: January 30, 2009

CSULB is among 13 universities and colleges named by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to receive a combined total of $1.3 million in grants to enhance family nurse practitioner and physician assistant training programs. With its $192,791 award, CSULB received the second largest of the grants.

Administered through the Song-Brown Program within the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), the funding is meant to assist the growing demand for health care practitioners throughout California.

“There is a huge need in California for more health care practitioners, and the health care workforce training programs that are receiving funding have shown a commitment to helping meet this demand while also striving for higher quality, affordable and accessible health care across the state,” Schwarzenegger said.

Loucine Huckabay, director of the CSULB Nursing Program, said the funds will enable its Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) graduate program “to produce very competent FNP graduates who will be able to work in underrepresented minority areas, caring for underrepresented minority patients and their families.”

The grant will help the program achieve three major objectives, according to Huckabay, who presented the proposal last month in San Francisco in front of the OSHPD Commission. The first will be to offer three medical Spanish courses to help FNP students communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.

The funds will also be used to pay for a part-time FNP coordinator who will be charged with finding clinical placements in underserved areas so that FNP nursing students can obtain learning experiences in those areas. The last objective is to increase FNP students’ clinical experiences in minority areas so that it accounts for up to 35 percent of their total clinical experience (approximately 244 clock hours).

“I am pleased to report that our proposal was ranked the highest along with Sonoma State’s,” said Huckabay, noting it was a tie between the two. “As a result, we received full funding for the project. We’re very excited about it.”

Since Schwarzenegger took office, he has awarded more than $33 million in Song-Brown funding, which has supported nearly 7,400 training and education slots for family medicine residents, family nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses.

The Song-Brown program was established by the Song-Brown Act of 1973 to increase the number of family practice physicians and physician assistants being trained in the state to provide needed medical services to Californians. OSHPD works in conjunction with the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission to award Song-Brown program funding.

Family nurse practitioners were added to the Song-Brown program in 1978 and in 2005 Schwarzenegger expanded the program to include registered nurses. Song-Brown funds come from a fee on health facilities that go into a special California Health and Data Fund administered by OSHPD.