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Cleveland Clinic has received a gift of more than $12 million from The Howley Foundation to double the number of nurse scholars at Cleveland Clinic beginning in fall 2023.

In recognition of this new generous gift and the Foundation’s cumulative support, all programs within the ASPIRE initiative at Cleveland Clinic will be renamed to honor the Howley name, including the Howley ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program.

The nursing program is for local high school and college students and seeks to increase diversity in healthcare, address opportunity gaps and reduce health disparities in the community.

“It’s essential that we diversify the pipeline of our future healthcare workforce, including nurses, to better represent our patients and the communities we serve,” says Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic and the holder of the Morton L. Mandel CEO Chair. “We are grateful for the Howley’s continued support and passion for increasing diversity and equity in our next generation of caregivers.”

The gift will allow the nurse scholars program to double enrollment annually to approximately 50 students from Cleveland-area high schools.

Students enter the program as high school juniors and are taught an innovative curriculum that explores the nursing profession, socialization, and integration into healthcare. High school graduates then can earn a scholarship to pursue a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions at Ursuline College.

Students work as patient care nursing assistants at Cleveland Clinic during the summer after high school graduation and throughout their college careers. They then can return to work as registered nurses at a Cleveland Clinic facility after college graduation and licensure.

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“We feel strongly that a quality education is the best way to address social inequality and promote economic mobility,” says Nick Howley, chairman of The Howley Foundation and executive chairman and founder of Transdigm Group Inc. “We want students to be able to complete their nursing degrees poised for success.”

Launched in 2017, the program was the brainchild of Kelly Hancock, DNP, Chief Caregiver Officer of Cleveland Clinic, and the holder of the Rich Family Chief Caregiver Chair, and Lorie and Nick Howley. It has been sustained by The Howley Foundation’s generosity, which has committed more than 20 million dollars to date, and other donors, such as Beth E. Mooney and the KeyBank Foundation.

“We remain committed to cultivating a workplace that embraces diversity, inclusion and equity to better serve our patients,” says Dr. Hancock. “The Howley ASPIRE Program serves as a key element in supporting these efforts. This generous gift allows us to offer this wonderful opportunity to more nurse scholars in Northeast Ohio and increases public awareness about the vital role our nurses have in delivering high-quality healthcare.”

In December 2022, the nurse scholars program celebrated its first five graduates who are now employed as full-time registered nurses at Cleveland Clinic. More than 15 students are expected to graduate from Ursuline College with nursing degrees by 2024.

The Howley ASPIRE Program also offers additional pathways for other healthcare careers, including respiratory therapy, surgical technology, and sterile processing.

Cleveland Clinic is accepting nurse scholar applications from high school juniors through Oct. 1, 2023. To learn more and apply online, visit clevelandclinic.org/ASPIRE.

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