The College of Health and Human Services was awarded nearly $300,000 in grants to help fill a regional void of primary health care providers. The grants were awarded by the Song-Brown Commission, which encourages universities and health care professionals to provide quality health care in underserved areas.

The first grant of $149,899 will be used to expand the number of underserved clinical preceptor sites, increasing the number of nurse practitioner students who will become primary care providers in the Central Valley.

The second grant of $148,924 will establish a faculty practice clinic at the Spirit of Woman. Established in 1997, Spirit of Woman is a nonprofit treatment facility that provides substance-abuse treatment programs for women who are pregnant or parenting. About 200 women and 45 children receive services there annually.

Dr. Cricket Barakzai, chair of the Department of Nursing, said the facility will become an additional clinical site for community health nursing and nurse practitioner students. With public health and social work students already receiving training at Spirit of Woman, she envisions students of other academic fields like nutrition can also make use of this facility.

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University communications news assistant Jodi Raley contributed to this report.