ETSU College of Nursing and Amerigroup Tennessee reaffirm commitment to improving healthcare in rural communities
Driven by a commitment to improve healthcare in rural and distressed areas of Tennessee, Amerigroup Tennessee has created a new scholarship opportunity at East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Amerigroup Rural Medicine Scholarship (ARMS), which will be awarded in the fall of 2021 to three students in ETSU’s Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) concentration. Valued at $52,000 per student, the scholarship will cover all tuition and fees.
Recipients of the scholarship will agree that upon graduation, they will aim to fulfill a nurse practitioner position that allows them to serve in a distressed county in Tennessee for at least three years.
Each year, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) prepares an index of county economic status for every county in the United States, measuring them based on average unemployment rate, per capita market income and poverty rate. Currently, Tennessee has 11 distressed counties, including Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, Perry, Wayne, Clay, Grundy, Bledsoe, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.
Thousands of rural Tennesseans receive care in a less timely fashion than their urban counterparts, lack access to locally available healthcare services and even face long distance travel to reach a hospital or to access medical specialty care. In response, Amerigroup Tennessee and the ETSU College of Nursing have joined forces to help care for patients residing in rural areas where services and resources may be limited. Amerigroup’s investment will create primary care access for approximately 3,750 Medicaid members per year.
"I congratulate Amerigroup and applaud their efforts to serve our students and residents by making nursing scholarships at ETSU a top priority," said State Senator Rusty Crowe. "It is a win-win – our students will be able to make their dream of obtaining a university education a reality and communities needing access to healthcare in Tennessee will benefit as well. I also appreciate their efforts to help alleviate the nursing shortage we have in Tennessee. I look forward to seeing how these scholarships will benefit Tennesseans."
Amerigroup Tennessee presented $156,000 to ETSU to fund the scholarships at a virtual event held on Jan. 29 which was attended by several local, state and federal elected officials.
"The Amerigroup Rural Medicine Scholarship was established to remove financial barriers and allow students to focus on reaching their education and career goals creating a straight path to success, and to encourage students to seek Nurse Practitioner positions that allow them to serve in a distressed county in Tennessee," said Robert Garnett, plan president, Amerigroup Tennessee. "Amerigroup continues to invest and work with our community partners to find innovative solutions that bring more providers to eastern Tennessee to practice in traditionally underserved and non-urban areas. We are grateful to work with the ETSU College of Nursing to deliver on our mission of improving lives and communities and most importantly, strengthening our healthcare workforce in rural areas."
The new scholarship opportunity aligns with ETSU College of Nursing’s commitment to improving healthcare in rural communities.
"We are excited that Amerigroup has partnered with the ETSU College of Nursing to assist in addressing the nursing shortage facing our communities, particularly rural and distressed areas," said Dr. Kathryn Wilhoit, interim dean of the College of Nursing. "These scholarships will open doors for students to prepare to be advanced practice nurses able to provide much needed care services to many areas of our state."
When considering applications for ARMS, preference will be given to in-state students who have demonstrated a strong desire to serve in their local neighborhoods and communities or to those who have been a caregiver to individuals in their immediate families. Applicants who demonstrate financial need or are first-generation graduate-level students are strongly encouraged to apply.
More information about how to apply for the Amerigroup Rural Medicine Scholarship (ARMS) is available at www.etsu.edu/nursing/amerigroup_scholarship.php.
To view the virtual presentation ceremony, held Friday, Jan. 29, visit: https://youtu.be/dmmeQH35wzg.
About East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University was founded in 1911 with a singular purpose to improve the quality of life for the people of the region. Today, the university offers more than 150 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has more than 98,000 living graduates. The footprints of our students, alumni, faculty and staff can be seen across the region and around the world.
About Amerigroup Tennessee
Amerigroup Tennessee, Inc. helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than 460,000 Tennessee residents who participate in the state’s various Medicaid programs. Amerigroup serves Tennesseans by developing and delivering innovative care management programs and services. Amerigroup Tennessee members are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. It provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their healthcare. For more information about Amerigroup, please visit our website at www.myamerigroup.com/tn.
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