School of Nursing

HealthE STEPS - Nursing Workforce Diversity

In July, 2013 the OHSU School of Nursing was awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to recruit and enroll more underrepresented students in nursing school and support them during their educational program. This work is part of a national initiative to diversify the nursing workforce. The program, Advancing Health Equity through Student Empowerment &Professional Success (HealthE STEPS) seeks to attract and advance a diverse nursing student body within the Oregon public education system, from pre-nursing through graduate education. By diversifying the nursing workforce, we believe that minority groups will be able to identify with their health care providers, resulting in increased access to health care and improved health equity across communities.

The SON was reawarded another grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2017 to launch this successful program on all five undergraduate campuses, HealthE STEPS 2.0


HealthE STEPS scholars Mare Cox (left) and Rubi Heister practice physical assessment skills. Both are on track to graduate from the Portland campus in June 2021 with their Baccalaureate in Nursing.

Navigating the health care system can be intimidating for many. Challenges such as poverty and homelessness, cultural and language barriers, and rural or social isolation often have negative health impacts and can make it difficult to access care.

That’s where OHSU’s Interprofessional Care Access Network, also known as I-CAN, comes in. The program partners OHSU students from all areas of health care — nursing, dentistry, medicine and other fields — with local agencies to help meet the needs of disadvantaged communities. Read more...

Congratulations to our award-winning HealthE STEPS undergraduates! 

Eight of our Scholars received nine graduation awards; three of them being statewide awards. 

LaGrande Campus:
Tyler Hulick was awarded a campus Rita Monahan award
Jacqueline Russell was the recipient of the statewide Rural and Frontier Nursing Award and the Eastern Oregon Nurse Leadership Council Outstanding Student Award.

Ashland Campus:
Liz Galvan received the statewide Jean Boyle award.
Thomas Bice received the campus Gloria Krueger Community Health Award

Klamath Falls Campus:
Araceli Flores received the statewide Community Service Award.
Nancy Ferrer received the campus Golden Lamp award.

Monmouth Campus:
Kelly Soto received the Sigma Theta Tau Outstanding Undergraduate Student.
Andrea Ruiz Corral received the Monmouth Student Vision Award.

Kelly Soto received an honorable mention for her Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay contest submission. This is a very competitive contest for students in healthcare across the nation, and the prompt for the 2020 competition was:

Medicine cannot heal in a vacuum; it requires connection

Take your next step into nursing!

Contact our HealthE Steps diversity coordinators: 

Tito Onesto , Ashland Campus
541-552-6256 or

Iliana Garcia, Monmouth and Portland Campuses
503-407-2398 or

Francis Rojina, Klamath Falls Campus
541-885-1383 or

Beckie Juarez, LaGrande Campus
541-962-3170 or

Financial assistance

The program provides financial assistance to nursing students in our undergraduate bachelor degree programs and graduate programs annually. 

  • Scholarships are available to OHSU Nursing students in our graduate program, OCNE 3 Year Program on all five campuses, Accelerated Baccalaureate Program on both campuses, and student in the on-campus BS completion program.
  • The program provides academic and social support to scholarship and stipend recipients in the form of case management, mentoring, and other services. 
  • Grant funds are used for community outreach to minority populations, with the goal of recruiting them to the nursing workforce;and to support minority nursing students through retention initiatives so that they can successfully complete their program of study