University of Texas at Austin Children’s Wellness Center receives $108,000 Impact Austin grant to train nurse assistants

June 12, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas—The Children’s Wellness Center (CWC) at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has received a $108,000 grant from Impact Austin to train economically disadvantaged youth as nurse assistants.

The CWC, a school-based health clinic created in 1996 in partnership between Del Valle Independent School District and the School of Nursing, provides primary care, preventative care, immunizations and home visits to predominantly Hispanic, low-income and medically underserved children. It is the only provider of pediatric health care services in the Del Valle area.

The Impact Austin grant enables the center to offer 12 young high school graduates in the Del Valle community the opportunity to obtain education and training toward a career in healthcare. Three students every six months will be recruited to attend an accredited nursing assistant program. After completing classroom training, the students will be enrolled in a paid internship at the center and then continue in employment there for 20 hours a week for six months.

The new nurse assistant program also will benefit the center and its patients because it frees up nurse practitioners to perform more patient visits each year.

“The CWC has become a model teaching lab for nursing students and also for interns from social work, business and educational psychology,” said Dr. Linda Carpenter, assistant dean of nursing. “We’ve seen the positive influence our college students can have on the young parents and high school students who come to the clinic. The CWC is a perfect environment to mentor and encourage young people in this area.”

CWC Director Pat Budd said the Impact Austin grant will create a “ripple effect. By giving these young people the training to become clinical assistants, we give them a way to help support their families, to break the cycle of poverty, to secure a chance for their future and help broaden their chances for a higher education.”

Too many times, said Budd, “we see young people in this area who say they are afraid for the future.

“Many, especially girls, are interested in nursing and health care but have no hopes for attending college or any other type of post-high school training due to lack of financial support.”

Nursing is an attractive career and statistics still indicate that there will be overwhelming shortages of nurses in Texas over the next several years, Budd said.

Other recipients of 2006 Impact Austin grants are Literacy Austin and EmanciPet, Inc. The women’s philanthropic organization reviewed 121 grant proposals in the areas of culture, environment, education, health, and wellness and family.

Last month, the CWC received a $50,000 “Healthy Community” grant from the Dell Foundation to underwrite the center’s pharmacy voucher program, which helps fund prescription medications for children of economically disadvantaged families. Another $25,000 grant from the Topfer Family Foundation to support the pharmacy voucher program also was received.

For more information contact: Nancy Neff, School of Nursing, 512-471-6504.