Palm Health Foundation Makes College Possible for Health Professions Students Amid Financial Struggles


Palm Health Foundation Makes College Possible for Health Professions Students Amid Financial Struggles

The Foundation awards more than $400,000 in scholarships to low-income and first-generation students striving to pursue careers in nursing and behavioral health as economic challenges and shortages increase.

July 14, 2022 – As college enrollment continues to decline across the country, the Palm Heath Foundation is easing financial burdens for students pursuing degrees in nursing and behavioral health at South Florida colleges and universities. Over $400,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 61 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, who shared stories of how the lingering economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has stymied dreams of careers in fields facing devastating shortages.

Many Palm Health Foundation scholars have suffered financial loss during the pandemic due to job loss or reduced income. The hardships wiped out college savings in some cases, while others found it nearly impossible to return to intensive study courses while having to work full-time to make ends meet.

“We must make it financially possible for students who are passionate about careers in the health professions to graduate and join the fields that desperately need their services,” said Patrick McNamara, President and CEO of the Palm Health Foundation. “At a time when many students may feel the need to postpone or drop out of their programs, we offer the hope and stability needed to fulfill their dreams and support the health of Palm Beach County residents while providing debt relief. financial.”

Palm Health Foundation Nursing Scholars range in degrees from Licensed Practical Nurse to Doctor of Nursing Practice, filling shortages ranging from bedside care to nursing education. Graduates are needed in the short term and in the long term. According to a recent McKinsey poll, 29% of responding RNs in the United States indicated that they were likely to leave their current role in direct patient care, with many respondents noting their intention to leave the workforce altogether. The same study indicated that if no action is taken, there are likely to be more patients in the United States who need care than there are nurses available to provide it with a gap between 200,000 and 450,000 at the national scale. Also, the nursing faculty is in decline, resulting in fewer places for students.

The need for mental health professionals is also great. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the current supply of practicing mental health professionals in Florida only meets 19% of the state’s need. The pandemic has caused an increase in anxiety, depression and ongoing demand for services. According to the EAB, job openings for social workers reached an all-time high in February 2022 across the country and employment is expected to increase by 12% from 2020 to 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Nursing and behavioral health shortages existed before the pandemic and have now become more extreme,” McNamara said. “As a community health foundation, we believe it is our responsibility to strengthen the professions that are critical to our health care system. We invite donors to join us in leading change for better health.

The Palm Health Foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million in nursing scholarships to more than 1,000 nursing students for higher education since its inception in 2001. The foundation partners with the George Snow Scholarship Fund to administer the scholarships with funding provided by the Pam Health Foundation’s Nursing Advancement Fund, a gift from Valley National Bank, and donor-advised funds, including the Debra Coffman Howe Nursing Scholarship Fund, the Fund BJ and Paula Harris Scholarship Fund, Andrew P. Barowsky Scholarship Fund, Helen K. Persson Nursing Education Fund, Sutton Kailey Nursing Advancement Fund and Joseph Dolce Scholarship Fund surgical nursing. Funding for the foundation’s behavioral health professions scholarships is provided by the Frances Fisher Scholarship Fund and the John T. Merrell Scholarship Fund.

The Palm Health Foundation has been recognized by nursing leaders and educators for its dedication to growing and strengthening the nursing workforce in Palm Beach County since its inception in 2001. In addition to scholarships in nursing care, the foundation has invested more than $10 million in initiatives to build a highly skilled nursing workforce that provides care in all settings and supports optimal health in the community, including transitions of care and coordination of care. In behavioral health, the foundation’s Brain Health Innovation Fund is dedicated to strengthening local connections between scientific research, community supports and quality care to transform brain health in Palm Beach County.

About the Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community health foundation. With donor support and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors, and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, income and states of well-being. The Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $89 million in health in Palm Beach County since 2001. For more information about the Palm Health Foundation, visit or call (561) 833-6333.

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