Touro University Nevada Receives $3.25 Million From Dept. of Health and Human Services

Money Will Fund Scholarships for Disadvantaged Physician Assistant Students
Jul 13, 2020

Touro University Nevada has been named the recipient of the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Physician Assistant Students (SDS) grant in Southern Nevada. Totaling $3.25 million over five years, the grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and will provide scholarships to first- and second-year physician assistant studies students at Touro.

The SDS grant aims to increase diversity among physician assistant students who have demonstrated financial need. The program’s goal is to increase the number of Physician Assistant (PA) practitioners working in underserved communities. Touro will have access to $650,000 a year for five years, including the ability to provide ten $35,000 scholarships to first-year PA students and ten $30,000 scholarships to second-year PA students each year.

“This grant will significantly benefit the increasing number of underserved and disadvantaged students who are enrolled or will enroll at our University,” said Phil Tobin, director and professor for the School of Physician Assistant Studies. “Too often, economic circumstances and financial backgrounds dictate who can fulfill their dreams of earning a degree. With this scholarship, many of our students who demonstrate financial need now can focus on what matters most – the coursework needed to complete their Physician Assistant Studies. In turn, they can prepare themselves to join a profession growing in demand, particularly in underserved communities – truly closing the loop and coming full circle with this grant.”

“During the last three years, our recruitment of underserved students has grown from 14 to 19 percent, and we are predicting that number to continue growing,” said Dr. Philip Tompkins, Touro’s Dean of Students and Chief Student Affairs Officer. “The current global pandemic has already impacted every aspect of our lives, including job loss for thousands of men and women across the nation. This grant is exactly what we need to encourage students to pursue their dream of becoming a Physician Assistant and inspire them to continue working towards their medical career, without financial burden.”

“Thanks to this grant, dozens of Physician Assistant students from underprivileged backgrounds will be able to pursue higher education in Nevada,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV). “If you see it, you can be it— that is what this grant is about. It’s not just about access to an excellent education for many local students, but also about the future and setting an example for what higher education can be. I am so proud to have an institution like Touro University in my district — an institution that invests in the future workforce of our community.  Thank you for helping our students and holding Nevada’s higher education to the standard our students deserve.”

In addition to identifying the disadvantaged PA student population, the grant selection also took into consideration the size of the medically underserved population in the region. Unlike other PA programs in the country, Touro’s PA program requires a one-month community medicine clinical rotation, giving students first-hand experience and exposure to its medically underserved communities and populations. Earlier this year, Touro was also awarded the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant by the Department of Health & Human Services through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Totaling $306,000, the grant is awarded over three years and will support Touro’s “Raising Resiliency Together” program that provides medical and graduate students with counseling and mental health treatment services to help them deal with the extreme stresses and pressures they face. The grant will allow Touro to create a more robust network of resources, introduce a coaching program for underserved students to build self-monitoring and self-improvement skills, fill two positions and conduct more screenings and assessments.

Learn More About Touro Nevada's PA Program