SUNY Downstate College of Nursing receives $3.25m scholarship grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Jun 17, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: John Gillespie | | (314) 708-9090

Funds will provide five years of financial assistance for more than 200 traditionally underrepresented students from disadvantaged communities

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (June 17, 2020) – The College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has been awarded a five-year, $3.25M scholarship grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The award is specifically designed to support the educational costs of masters and doctoral level nursing students from and traditionally underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. The award will benefit between 40-60 students this year, and more than 200 students over the life of the five-year program. Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on underrepresentation in the field and financial need. Grants do not have to be paid back.

The award comes as the United Nations and the World Health Organization celebrate 2020 as “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, a year in which members of the nursing profession have been vital in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This award from the HRSA is a recognition of the quality of the advance degree programs of our College of Nursing,” said Wayne J. Riley, President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. “More importantly, it provides critical financial support for professional nursing opportunities to students who are traditionally underrepresented in nursing leadership positions.”

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have seen an increased interest in nursing careers from prospective students of color who often lack the resources to pursue these studies,” said Lori A. Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN, Professor and Dean of the College of Nursing. “This award will provide them with opportunities to pursue advanced practice nursing careers and be at the forefront of delivering outstanding care in the same communities, while advancing the discipline of nursing.”

Dean Escallier credits Associate Professor, Chair of Graduate Studies and Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Annie Rohan, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, NNP-BC, FAANP, with securing the grant from HRSA. Dr. Rohan has secured more than $5.5 million in HRSA grants for scholarships for disadvantaged students since 2016. 

The College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate is nationally ranked for the quality of its programs including:

  • #89 for its Master’s level nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report out of 552 U.S. Nursing colleges with graduate programs.
  • #15 in New York#45 in the Mid-Atlantic Region and in the 90th percentile for its overall Master of Science in Nursing programs by Nursing Schools Almanac
  • #2 among the top 25 Online Nurse Midwifery programs by Nursing School Hub

The College of Nursing at SUNY Downstate offers the full spectrum of nursing education including:

  • A fully online RN to BS degree programs for registered nurses
  • A 15-month accelerated BS program for students seeking a second degree
  • Master of Science in Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Family Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nurse Midwifery with the School of Health Professions
  • Post-Graduate Certificates in Women's Health, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educator
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Nearly 450 students are enrolled in the College of Nursing Fall term, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2019, including more than 100 undergraduates and more than 300 students seeking advanced degrees. Approximately 40 students are enrolled in the new Doctor of Nursing Practice program.


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.