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The Howley Foundation Grantee Spotlight: ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program

Mission: The ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program seeks to provide a supportive, direct pathway to a sustainable and rewarding career for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students, and to expand the team of diverse BSN-prepared Cleveland Clinic nurses.

The Need: More than 30 percent of the U.S. population is Black/African-American or Hispanic/Latino, according to the Census Bureau, yet less than 13% of nurses fall into those categories. Mitigating or eliminating barriers that prevent minority populations from becoming healthcare professionals is critical to diversifying the pipeline of our future healthcare workforce and addressing the disparities in care received by minorities.

Proud Program Moment: In December 2021, the first two ASPIRE Nurse Scholars will be graduating with an Associate degree in nursing from Tri-C, with an anticipated 10 Scholars graduating the following year. The first Scholar to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Ursuline College is on track to graduate in Fall 2023.

What The Howley Foundation Funded: Cleveland Clinic benefactors Lorie and Nick Howley originally conceived of the ASPIRE program and The Howley Foundation later donated $10 million to expand the partnership between the Clinic and Ursuline College to give students the opportunity to earn four-year degrees instead of two. Why The Howley Foundation Funded This Work: Supporting educational programs that directly address issues of equality and upward mobility is the central focus of The Howley Foundation. The ASPIRE program is a shining example of that work.

About the ASPIRE Program:

• Approximately 25 high school juniors are selected each year from a long list of applicants from Cleveland-area high schools.
• The students participate in a 12-week enrichment program to develop their understanding of a nursing career.
• Students are taught relationship-based care, research and evidence-based practice, simulation healthcare, and more.
• Students are introduced to specialties to help determine those that best align with their interests.
• Resources and wraparound services are provided to ensure student success.
• Seniors who choose to return to the program participate in a clinical nursing experience and have the opportunity to earn a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions at Ursuline College after high school.
• The ASPIRE Nurse Scholars receive continued support from the program throughout their education at Ursuline College.
• Long-term goals include growing the program to allow for more students and replicating the ASPIRE model in other areas.

Click here or on the image below to download a PDF of this spotlight.