Barry University’s Occupational Therapy program is the proud recipient of a $3.2 million grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). With the goal of promoting diversity within the health-care field, the HRSA funding will provide scholarships to minority and disadvantaged graduate students in Barry’s Occupational Therapy program. The award will be allocated over five years, providing $650,000 annually to fund 90 enrolled graduate students from economically, environmentally, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Over the five-year grant period, up to 450 Barry OT students will benefit from this generous funding.
“The OT program is unique and attracts a large proportion of minority students,” says Program Director and Professor Belkis Landa-Gonzalez, who collaborated with Sandra Mancuso from Grants and Sponsored Programs to propose and secure the HRSA grant. Their goal: to lessen the burdens many of these students incur as they pursue their education while also encouraging new applicants who have not yet had the opportunity to develop their talents. Thanks to the HRSA tuition grant, Barry’s OT program can expand opportunities for recruiting, training, and graduating minority and disadvantaged students.
In the true Barry spirit of service and community engagement, Landa-Gonzalez sought the grant funding for a project called “Occupational Therapy Primary Care Workforce of Tomorrow,” which she designed not only to open doors for future OT professionals but also to pay it forward by bringing care to populations in need. “The [project] will serve as an impetus for students to practice in primary care settings and/or medically underserved communities (MUCs),” says Landa-Gonzalez. Every grant beneficiary will spend time training and practicing in MUCs, allowing a new generation of OT professionals to devote their skills to addressing the challenges facing these populations.
Barry’s Occupational Therapy program enjoys a long reputation of diversity and service in MUCs. The HRSA tuition grant is both a recognition of the program’s strength and an investment in the many exceptional students who will continue to advance their OT careers with Barry University.
Who is eligible for this award?
As of the fall 2020 semester, students who enroll in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program may be considered for this grant funding. There is no application, but interested students must complete a questionnaire and meet the criteria of minority or disadvantaged. Funding cannot be retroactively applied to a student’s previously completed semesters. Grant recipients must commit to practicing in medically underserved communities for a period of time.
Did you know...
Barry University’s MS in Occupational Therapy integrates face-to-face and online learning, with twice-monthly weekend classes that allow students flexibility while earning their degree. We emphasize hands-on learning by ensuring every student completes a 12-week, fulltime fieldwork placement. Additionally, our faculty members are practicing occupational therapists with years of experience across a variety of professional settings.