May 25th, 2010

Great River Health Systems employees Kristen Gourley, Danville, Iowa, and Jacki Holtkamp, New London, Iowa, have been awarded $3,000 scholarships from the Iowa Hospital Education and Research Foundation, which is supported by the Iowa Hospital Association. They are enrolled in Southeastern Community College's nursing program.

The scholarship program was established in 2004 to help address the ongoing shortage of health-care professionals and encourage Iowans to remain in the state as they establish their careers. It offers students $3,000 per academic year or a maximum of $6,000 over two years. Since the program began, more than $500,000 has been awarded to nearly 200 students.

In exchange for financial support, students who receive scholarships agree to work one year in an Iowa hospital for each year they receive an award. In this way, the scholarship program helps stabilize and enhance Iowa's hospital workforce.

Hospital leaders from all parts of the state evaluated scholarship applications from more than 180 students, who were judged on grade-point average, written personal statements, letters of reference, and extracurricular, community and health care-related activities. Thirty-two scholarships were awarded.

"We are very proud to support these high-achieving students who will help Iowa hospitals continue their tradition of quality health care throughout the state," said Iowa Hospital Association President and CEO Kirk Norris.