UTPA fourth in nursing bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics
Contact: Scott Maier, Senior Editor 381-3639
Posted: 06/20/2000
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The University of Texas-Pan American ranks fourth nationally in granting nursing degrees to Hispanics.

According to the June 2 issue of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education -­ a national biweekly publication - ­UTPA was fourth behind Florida International University in Miami, UT El Paso and the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. The magazine based its rankings on 1997-98 statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.

UTPA awarded 35 nursing degrees to Hispanics (12 men, 23 women), the report said. Florida International University awarded 61 degrees, followed by UTEP with 58 and UTHSC San Antonio with 42.

Another 24 Hispanic students received an associate degree in nursing from UT Pan American during the 1997-98 academic year.

Overall, 1,096 Hispanics received a bachelor's degree in nursing. Thirty-two schools awarded 10 or more degrees, reported The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine, which explores issues related to Hispanics in higher education.

And at UTPA, the number of Hispanics receiving degrees in nursing is growing. In December, 60 Hispanic students (14 men, 46 women) were awarded a bachelor of science in nursing, while 17 Hispanics (three men, 14 women) obtained an associate degree in nursing in May.

Dr. Helen Castillo, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, attributed part of their success to the University's aggressive recruitment and retention efforts. And with the occupational therapy and physician assistant studies programs now available, she expects even more Hispanic students to receive bachelor¹s degrees in health professions from the College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

"I think we're doing a very good job in producing nurses for the Rio Grande Valley, especially nurses who can provide culturally congruent care," said Dr. Carolina Huerta, Chair of the Department of Nursing. "We're Hispanics treating Hispanics."

In addition to nursing, UT Pan American was first in medical laboratory technology degrees with seven (three men, four women), while UTEP and UTHSC San Antonio each awarded six degrees. A total of 120 Hispanics received degrees in this field.

UTPA was third in rehabilitation/therapeutic services with 23 degrees awarded to five men and 18 women.

First was Florida International University with 34 degrees, followed by The University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston with 24 degrees. This was the second most popular major behind nursing, with 289 bachelor of arts degrees awarded to Hispanics.

"This is an accolade for the departments, the college and the entire university," Castillo said. "It's encouraging to see the efforts of our faculty and staff recognized, as well as the achievements of our students. These are all nationally accredited programs, and the standards are very rigorous."

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-01 Edition, health services is one of the largest industries in the country, with about 11.3 million jobs, including the self-employed. About 14 percent of all wage and salary jobs created nationwide between 1998 and 2008 will be in health services.