Gov. Jay Nixon announces the new Caring for Missourians initiative during a visit to the College of Health and Human Services at Missouri State University in Springfield on May 28, 2009. This initiative will invest $40 million during Fiscal Year 2010 to help Missouri's two- and four-year public colleges and universities increase their capacity to train students to work in critical-need health care positions, including as physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists and physician assistants. Joining Gov. Nixon at the Missouri State event was State Rep. Sara Lampe.
Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the nursing and allied health programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State University to launch Caring for Missourians, a new initiative that will train more than 900 additional Missouri students to enter high-demand, critical-need health care fields.
Under the program, which was established by the legislature as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, the state will provide an additional $40 million dollars next year to help Missouri's two- and four-year public colleges and universities increase the capacity of their health care training programs, in fields such as primary care, nursing, pharmacology and dentistry. In future legislative sessions, Gov. Nixon is committed to working with the General Assembly to sustain funding for this program.
"During these difficult economic times, Missouri still faces a critical need for trained and educated professionals in a variety of health care fields," Gov. Nixon said. "And that need is only going to increase as our population ages in the years to come. Caring for Missourians will help us train the next generation of medical professionals to meet the health care needs of tomorrow, while also helping turn our economy around today."
Currently, 95 Missouri counties are considered "health professional shortage areas," which means they lack necessary primary care, mental or dental health providers based on the county's population. Missouri's hospitals alone are facing a shortage of more than 7 percent, or more than 1,500, of the Registered Nurses they need to serve their patients. In addition, they lack 6 percent of the pharmacists they need; 8 percent of the physical therapists they need; 8 percent of the occupational therapists they need; and 7 percent of the medical laboratory technicians they need.
Through Caring for Missourians, each of Missouri's two- and four-year public colleges and universities will receive a specific grant as part of their appropriation for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2009. The institutions will be responsible for developing a specific plan to maximize the benefit of those funds for expanding the capacity of their health career training programs, and the schools will be responsible for meeting defined accountability targets.
At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, campus officials project that Caring for Missourians will allow the school to increase the number of students entering its Medical School by seven next year; add 17 new students to its Dental School from fall 2010 to fall 2013, and renovate and outfit additional classroom and laboratory space to accommodate these students; and boost enrollment in its online Master of Science in Nursing program by 12 students.
"The University of Missouri System plays a key role in meeting Missouri's need for highly trained, highly qualified health care professionals," said Gary Forsee, president of the University of Missouri System. "By providing these additional resources, Caring for Missourians will allow us to enroll more students in our health care programs and reduce the critical shortage of trained health professionals in the state. We look forward to working closely with Gov. Nixon to establish clear benchmarks to ensure that this program has the maximum positive benefit for the people of Missouri."
For Missouri State University in Springfield, Caring for Missourians funds will help provide upgrades for classrooms, clinical facilities and equipment, while also supporting the University's efforts to hire new faculty and support staff. In total, the University projects that Caring for Missourians will help increase enrollment in its nursing program by 41 students; 10 in physical therapy; and 9 in its physician assistant and audiology programs combined.
"Here at Missouri State, we have a strong record of training and educating nurses, physician assistants, and other health care professionals," said Michael T. Nietzel, president of Missouri State University. "At a time when our state is facing a critical shortage of health care professionals, Caring for Missourians will help us expand these programs to allow additional students to enter these high-demand, high-paying careers. Caring for Missourians will help meet the State's demand for health professionals and move our economy forward."
Individual institutions will receive the following appropriations through Caring for Missourians:
|Linn State Technical College||$154,151|
|Harris-Stowe State University||$513,870|
|Missouri Southern State University||$1,100,871|
|Missouri State University||$2,198,607|
|Missouri Western State University||$847,724|
|Northwest Missouri State University||$527,319|
|Southeast Missouri State University||$1,172,210|
|Truman State University||$756,339|
|University of Central Missouri||$1,216,361|
|University of Missouri – Columbia||$9,422,307|
|University of Missouri – Kansas City||$11,814,460|
|Missouri University of Science & Technology||$513,869|
|University of Missouri – St. Louis||$2,527,563|
|East Central College||$318,765|
|Metropolitan Community College||$1,017,134|
|Mineral Area College||$339,666|
|Moberly Area Community College||$372,266|
|North Central Missouri College||$304,333|
|Ozarks Technical Community College||$471,224|
|St. Louis Community College||$1,490,447|
|St. Charles Community College||$768,177|
|State Fair Community College||$407,599|
|Three Rivers Community College||$365,610|