Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM)- the largest faith-based, nonprofit, private funding source for community healthcare services to low-income families and the uninsured in South Texas, made a major contribution today to help address the shortage of nurses in our community. MHM presented the Alamo Community Colleges’ (ACC) with a gift of nearly $1.5 million dollars to help recruit more nursing faculty and increase student enrollment. The ACC will partner with other institutions in this endeavor, including the University of the Incarnate Word and Wayland Baptist University-San Antonio campus.
The grant will:
• Implement strategies to increase the supply of qualified nurse educators in order to increase nursing student enrollment and graduates.
• Use labs for the Combination Inpatient and Clinical Simulation Experience to increase enrollment without the need for additional clinical spaces.
• Provide financial assistance to San Antonio College and St. Philip’s College students who would otherwise be unable to attend college.
MHM President and CEO Kevin C. Moriarty and Mac Williams, chair of the MHM board of directors, presented a giant “check” to ACC Board of Trustees Chair Denver McClendon and Chancellor Dr. Bruce H. Leslie.
“The vacuum the nursing shortage has caused locally has severely stifled our health care industry’s capacity to serve the community,” said Moriarty. “As an organization whose mission in part is to increase access to medical, dental and social services for the least served- low-income families and the uninsured- we felt a unique obligation to be a part of a solution for the betterment of the entire community.”
He continued, “The most immediate and practical solution to the shortage is to increase the number of qualified nurse educators at our nursing programs so student enrollment will increase, and we can grow more nurses from the program. However, having more nursing faculty is only part of the answer. We need to do more than just encourage students to pursue nursing careers; we need to provide a real means for them to do so. Paving a way for students to take advantage of the program needs to be part and parcel of any plan to address this issue, so we are happy that the donation we are making here today will help to achieve both of these goals.”
Williams, added “This donation will have far greater reach than the immediate need for qualified nursing faculty and increased student enrollment; it will also help keep the talent and promise of high school students in our health careers feeder schools here, to be trained and become part of our workforce and helping sustain San Antonio’s position as a leader in health care services in our state.”
“We are grateful to Methodist Healthcare Ministries for this generous gift which will help the Alamo Community Colleges to make optimum use of our state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated nursing and allied health faculty to improve the quality of health care in our community be expanding nursing education,” said Leslie. “This is a model of what community partnerships can accomplish,” he added.
The demand of nurses locally has been growing exponentially and is likely to grow worse as the population ages and as the incidence of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes increases. The aging nursing workforce has compounded the problem; seasoned nurses tend to seek positions outside clinical or hospital settings due to the physical demands of caring for patients and many more nurses are retiring.
The donation made by MHM is expected to help ease the impact of the decrease in our nursing workforce. At present, there are nearly 600 students enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing programs in the Alamo Community Colleges. The donation provided to ACC is expected to allow for an addition of 80 students enrolled in the program by the fall of 2009, bringing total nursing student enrollment to 680; by the 2011-2012 academic year that number is expected to reach 810. As a result, the number of graduates is also expected to increase significantly. In 2007 there were 267 graduates from the program; by 2011-12 ACC anticipates graduating 316 new nurses.
The donation of nearly $1.5 million is the first step to revitalizing the nursing program; in addition, ACC could potentially receive additional funds, bringing the total contribution to nearly $4.5 million over the next three years.
About Methodist Healthcare Ministries
Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) is a private, faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medical and health-related human services to low-income families and the uninsured in South Texas. The mission of the organization is “Serving Humanity to Honor God,” by improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of those least served in the Southwest Texas Conference area of The United Methodist Church.
About the Alamo Community Colleges
The Alamo Community Colleges consist of five colleges serving the Bexar County area: Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio College, Northeast Lakeview College and Northwest Vista College. Our high quality and low costs provide exceptional value to our students and alumni, who are major contributors to the economy and culture of our community. For more information, visit http://www.accd.edu.