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Colorado State University Pueblo Awarded $510,000 From The Colorado Health Foundation

Release Date: June 16, 2023

Gena Alfonso

Director of Marketing/PIO

Marketing, Communications & Community Relations


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Colorado State University Pueblo’s Denver-based Advancement team has been awarded a three-year $510,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation to support the project, "Grow Where You're Planted: Southern Colorado Partners Leading Advancement in Nursing Track” (PLANT). The proposal, stewarded by Alexandra Hansen, with support from the university’s Operations and Advancement division, was created as a collaboration between CSU Pueblo’s School of Nursing, the Graduate School, and the Extended Studies rural outreach program. The goal of the project will be to connect high school students, primarily students of color and rural students, throughout Pueblo and Southern Colorado with the resources they need to earn a degree in nursing and serve their communities who have limited access to health care.

According to CSU Pueblo’s regional development officer, Alexandra Hansen, “The funding through the Colorado Health Foundation is a first for CSU Pueblo. We’re incredibly grateful for the trust the Foundation has placed in our campus, and we know how needed access to nursing pathways can be for diverse provider representation and for expanding rural care. We’re honored to help close this gap with support from the Colorado Health Foundation.”

The grant will be funded over three years. The first year of the project will provide support for recruiters to meet with high school students in Pueblo and Southern Colorado and discuss the challenges they face when they apply to a nursing program. Based on their feedback, strategies will be developed to help students earn a degree in nursing.

“The healthcare industry has needed diverse nursing professionals who are able to provide immediate and accessible services to rural communities throughout Southern Colorado,” said Dr. Donna Souder Hodge, Vice President of Operations and Advancement. “With this grant, we’ll be able to meet students in their hometowns and learn what they need to help them earn a degree and give back to their community through their service.”

The second and third year initiatives include forming partnerships with health care providers, including safety net clinics in Pueblo, Southern Colorado and rural communities. By year three, the goal is to have a cohort of graduate nursing students employed in positions within their respective local community.

“Our students experience real-world situations and are trained by excellent faculty who have remained active in the profession,” said Dr. Kristyn White Davis, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Extended Studies. “With this grant, we will be able to establish relationships with regional partners who specialize in rural care and understand the need to provide healthcare service in areas where immediate care is not readily available.”

This funding from the Colorado Health Foundation aligns with CSU Pueblo’s dedication to an accessible and affordable education that equips students with hands-on learning that will allow our graduates to make significant contributions to their families, their communities, and their work. CSU Pueblo’s PLANT proposal will have a significant impact on the CSU Pueblo School of Nursing and expand community partnerships that share in advancing health equity solutions for Southern Colorado’s diverse community.


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