The School of Nursing at Fresno State was awarded a $349,717 grant by the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program as part of a nationwide effort to increase the number of advanced education nurses in the Central Valley trained to practice as primary care providers and nursing faculty.

“All the money goes toward helping deserving students in good standing who commit to work with the underserved in our Valley,” said Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes, director of the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing at Fresno State. “This money helps to cover a significant portion of their tuition and expenses for the year.”

Photo: Cary Edmondson, Fresno State.

This is the fifth consecutive year Fresno State has received funds from the program, totaling over $1.3 million since 2012.

The program, launched by the Health Resources and Services Administration, provides funds to nursing education institutions that train students to serve rural or underserved populations, or those that help to meet the needs of local health departments.

“We have a shortage of physicians in the Valley to care for all of the patients in need, so having enough qualified nurse practitioners is very important, and having enough faculty who can teach the nurse practitioners is also extremely important,” said De La Cruz-Reyes. “This grant helps to make this possible.”

About 30 nurse practitioner students graduate from Fresno State annually, and many stay to serve the Central Valley in pediatrics and family medicine.

“The Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship scholarship helped by allowing me to only have to work part-time, which made achieving my total clinical hours less stressful,” said Sheri Cooley, a second-year student in the Family Nurse Practitioner program who received a scholarship from the grant last year. “I was able to use the money toward purchasing books, computer programs and commuter costs since I live in Madera County. This allowed me to better focus on my studies.”

Photo: Cary Edmondson, Fresno State.

For more information, contact De La Cruz-Reyes at 559.228.2155 or