Truman Receives Caring for Missourians Funds

The state of Missouri is providing Truman and 25 other public institutions with $40 million to increase enrollment in health care programs.

The “Caring for Missourians” program initiated by Gov. Jay Nixon provided Truman with $756,000 to be utilized over a three-year period. The initiative is set to increase the number of students accepted and completing health care related programs. Truman’s focus will be on the nursing and communication disorders departments.

Janet Gooch, professor and department chair of communication disorders, said the department’s long-term goals for the funds include implementing new marketing strategies to attract students from other undergraduate institutions and establishing a relationship with these institutions so the referral process will increase. She said the benefit to the state of Missouri should not be overlooked.

“If we have more health care professionals out there working in the state, then it will have a positive effect on health care in Missouri,” she said. “That’s the whole purpose, and it’s a good one.”

Gooch said the marketing efforts would also aid in attracting more students internally to the graduate program.

“We are using some of the money for student support such as assistantships for graduate students,” Gooch said. “We will now have more resources to offer students who might have made the choice to go somewhere else.”

Gooch said the curriculum and the number of faculty would basically stay the same with a few minor adjustments to provide the students with easier access to the clinic when acquiring their 375 clinical hours.

“We are using part of our money next semester to hire clinical supervisors to help us keep the speech and hearing clinic open in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Gooch said. “It’s hard for a faculty of our size to provide that supervision in a regular teaching day.”

Stephanie Powelson, chair of the nursing department, said her goal mirrors the communication disorders’ objective of increasing the number of students enrolled in the program.

The nursing department also is looking to continue to update its technology and renovations in a nursing lab.

To accommodate additional students the department has been able to hire an additional part-time faculty member.

Powelson said most state nursing programs receive more applications than they have available seats in the department. Last year the Truman nursing department received 150 applicants and admitted 62 students to the program. Her goal is to use the “Caring for Missourians” funds to increase the number of seats available in the program.

Both the communication disorders and nursing departments are exploring grants to receive additional money to fund their initiatives and keep their efforts supported.
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