University grant could benefit bilingual high school students

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Washoe County School District students who speak both Spanish and English and want to pursue careers in health care can benefit from a 5-year, $1.25 million grant awarded to the University of Nevada.

"We have a severe shortage of health care workers in Nevada," says Jacque Ewin-Taylor, University of Nevada Research Professor and Co-Principal Investigator for the grant. "We also have a significant shortage of Spanish-speaking health care workers. So the focus of this grant is on Spanish-speaking students who are interested in the health care fields. Get them involved and so that they understand there is more than to a health care career than being a nurse or a doctor."

The grant establishes a project that seeks to recruit more than 30 bilingual students from local high schools each year, with a focus on high schools that have high Spanish-speaking populations. Those students who participate would receive mentorship and research opportunities that would help guide them toward a career in health care.

"There are a lot of us who are going to need Spanish-speaking health care workers. We have a growing Hispanic population nationwide, but especially here in Nevada," says Ewing-Taylor.

"I think it would be a good opportunity for Hispanics like myself," says Alondra Hau, a junior at Hug High School who has always dreamed of having a career in the medical profession.

The University of Nevada plans to recruit students, who are in their junior or senior years, starting this spring.