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STHS Grants $25k to VIDA to Create Healthcare Career Pathways for Students

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STHS and VIDA Officials holding a check for $25,000 to help clear the way for students to follow in the healthcare system. Courtesy Image
STHS and VIDA Officials holding a check for $25,000 to help clear the way for students to follow in the healthcare system. Courtesy Image
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In aiding patients to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases while offering crucial education on prevalent health issues, public health assumes a critical role in safeguarding the holistic health and welfare of entire communities. The COVID-19 pandemic further underscored the importance of public health and the urgent need for a proficient workforce of public health practitioners.

To continue to help meet the ever-growing demand for healthcare workers in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas Health System (STHS) has renewed its important partnership with Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) through a second annual grant in the amount of $25,000 to continue funding a mentorship program for VIDA students pursuing careers in nursing and allied health professions. 

“We express our immense gratitude to STHS for granting VIDA this invaluable investment, recognizing the significance of improving equitable educational pathways for student achievement in healthcare professions. This funding opportunity will enable VIDA to continue promoting workforce development of our most vulnerable demographics by educating one life at a time, particularly in high demand healthcare careers while responding to our region’s industry needs” said Felida Villarreal, VIDA’s President & CEO.

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According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, there is a shortage of approximately 6,000 nurses across the Rio Grande Valley, and the shortage is not projected to decrease through 2032. 

Historically, VIDA serves an average of 600 students annually, of which more than half pursue healthcare careers such as licensed vocational nursing, registered nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, emergency medical sciences, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, medical billing & coding, surgical technology, and more. Through this collaboration, VIDA will enhance workforce development by supplementing its students’ coursework with specialty workshops and industry expertise from South Texas Health System leaders across its 11 facilities, as well as mentorship opportunities with STHS staff members. 

“South Texas Health System is committed to helping meet the healthcare needs in the ever-growing communities we proudly serve. This partnership with VIDA has allowed us to help meet the critical demand for healthcare workers in the Rio Grande Valley while providing us an opportunity to strengthen the overall healthcare workforce through additional learning opportunities, including hands-on training and career development opportunities, at our facilities,” says Kennetha Foster, Chief Nursing Officer, South Texas Health System. “Since launching our partnership with VIDA last year, students pursuing careers in healthcare through the non-profit organization have been able to witness first-hand what life is like in the hospital setting while learning from seasoned professionals who’ve lived through the greatest healthcare challenge of our generation.” 

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