WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved funding that will allow Middle Tennessee State University to address two pressing national health care needs by boosting nursing education and developing new programs to reduce childhood obesity, announced U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon.
“MTSU is working to eliminate two critical health care problems in Tennessee – our nursing shortage and child obesity,” said Gordon, an MTSU alumnus. “We are facing a critical nursing shortage in this country. With this funding, MTSU will be able to graduate additional well-trained nurses to end that shortage and meet the healthcare needs of our growing population.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts the nation will face a shortage of more than 1 million nurses by 2020.
Today, the House approved $200,000 for the School of Nursing in a funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Senate must now approve the funding.
The funds will be used for equipment to enhance the education of nursing students.
“We will be able to use this funding to purchase equipment for labs that are needed to provide students with the hands-on experience they will need in their profession,” said Joe Bales, vice president for development and university relations at MTSU.
The bill also included $300,000 to enable the university to establish a Center for Physical Activity and Health in Youth, which will develop programs to address childhood obesity in Middle Tennessee.
“Childhood obesity is a problem that has been gaining attention in recent years as it becomes more prevalent,” Gordon said. “Children who are overweight are more likely to develop health problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.”
Bales said the multidisciplinary center aims to help schools and community agencies enhance their understanding of childhood obesity, increase physical activity among youth, and encourage young people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The center will operate through the health and human performance department within the College of Education.
“Childhood obesity is a national problem, and this center will help MTSU address an important health issue,” Bales said. “We want to develop strong partnerships between the university and communities to target the problem from a multidisciplinary perspective.”