News Story

HRSA Funding Continues to Support Georgetown Doctor of Nursing Practice Students

July 10, 2020 – Dr. Ella Heitzler, assistant professor of advanced nursing practice, is principal investigator on an award from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The nearly $145,000 in newly received funding is a part of HRSA’s Nurse Faculty Loan Program, which seeks “to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty by supporting schools of nursing to establish and operate a student loan fund in accordance with the terms outlined in the authorizing statute.”

Dr. Ella Heitzler portrait
Dr. Ella Heitzler

“Grant funds will be used to support post-master’s DNP students who are dedicated to becoming full-time nursing faculty after graduation,” said Heitzler. She noted that, with the most recent continuation award, more than $1 million in federal funding has been received from HRSA since 2013 to support Georgetown students pursuing advanced nursing degrees who are are dedicated to becoming nursing faculty.

Addressing National Shortage

“By decreasing financial barriers, we aim to increase the number of doctorally prepared nurses who are qualified to be nursing faculty, thereby addressing the national shortage of nursing faculty,” Heitzler said.

According to HRSA, “Recipient institutions shall make loans to individuals consistent with that purpose, and an amount up to 85 percent of any such loan (plus interest thereon) shall be canceled by the school, according to the schedule prescribed in statute, upon completion of up to four years of full-time employment as a nurse faculty member in an accredited school of nursing.”

Dr. Mary Haras, chair of the Department of Advanced Nursing Practice, and Dr. Edilma Yearwood, chair of the Department of Professional Nursing Practice, congratulated Heitzler.

“The Nurse Faculty Loan Program is an excellent resource to our students enrolled in the post-master’s DNP program at Georgetown University,” Haras said. “These funds will provide much-needed financial assistance to students who are interested in securing a full-time teaching position within one year of graduation, which will also help to alleviate the nationwide nursing faculty shortage.”

“I am grateful for Dr. Heitzler’s ongoing efforts to secure important funding to support our doctoral students and the nurse faculty workforce,” said Yearwood. “Funding like this is crucial as we seek to provide a Georgetown education to future faculty.”

Editor’s Note: The $144,856 award described in this article (award number E01HP28791-05-00) is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.