Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Leach College of Nursing (LCON) was recently notified it was approved for another Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant will award the university approximately $1.35M over four years to help increase access to quality health and behavioral health care for underserved and rural areas in Illinois—especially in Will, Grundy and Cook counties.

The project will build upon USF’s previous ANEW grant and will support the training and graduation of Family Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners who will practice in underserved areas.

“The continuing ANEW project is designed to sustainably train a workforce capable of addressing urgent health and behavioral health needs. Our FNP and PMHNP curricula are designed using national standards for best practices in online instruction, and USF has strong relationships with local sites for experiential training. Also, USF has created an alternative model, which is to establish strong working relationships with partners to improve health and behavioral healthcare access in the service area in Illinois and Wisconsin. Continuing the project will allow USF to develop a pipeline of preceptors to better serve our FNP and PMHNP students and the public,” said USF LCON dean Yeijin Yeom, Ph.D., RN, CNE.

Additionally, LCON was awarded a $100,000 Nursing School Grant through the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The grant will be used to address equity gaps in enrollment and course completion for USF Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and BSN Completion students, of which approximately half are African American, Latinx, low-income, first-generation, from rural communities, and/or working adults. With the grant funding, LCON will purchase equipment, including a medication dispensing system and simulation cart, and increase 24 additional hours per week of simulation labs for BSN students in order to accommodate working students. They will also offer remediation on evenings and weekends to reinforce preparation our students for clinical practice. LCON expects an increase of the retention rate of students. As a result, highly competent and well-prepared students maximize their employment opportunities while benefitting patients in Illinois.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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