CHARLOTTE – A new scholarship program aims to increase the diversity of the student body at Carolinas College and to remove barriers for underrepresented students who may have a desire to work in health care professions.

Atrium Health Foundation has received a commitment from Charlotte business executives Todd and Janelle Collins to establish the program at Carolinas College of Health Sciences.

The Todd and Janelle Collins Nurse Aide Scholars Program will offer full scholarships to qualified Charlotte-area high school students and graduates to attend the nurse aide program at Carolinas College.

A preference will be given to racial minority students and those living in Charlotte-area underserved neighborhoods. The goal of this effort is to increase the diversity of the student body and to remove barriers for students who want to break into the health care field.

Additionally, numerous studies have shown that a higher representation of racial minorities in the health care workforce can have a positive impact on not only the level of patient care, but patient outcomes as well.

We believe in the strength of Atrium Health’s nurse aide program and are honored to contribute towards helping applicants complete the program and begin their career in nursing,” Todd Collins said. “We hope recipients of this scholarship, whether a recent high school graduate or someone looking for a career change, will have a strong start to the program knowing a significant portion of their program expenses are covered.”

Collins is the founder and CEO of Red Hill Ventures, a leading real estate investment and technology firm based in Charlotte. He’s also a member of the Atrium Health Foundation Board of Directors.

Janelle Collins is the director of brand and communications at Red Hill Ventures.

Our hope is to eliminate any potential financial barrier to someone ready to dedicate their career to the nursing field, particularly for applicants of color,” Janelle Collins said. “We believe representation matters in education and in health care. Learning and working in a more diverse environment helps strengthen the perspective and empathy a patient of color receives.”

In addition to providing a full tuition scholarship for five recipients in its first year, the program will provide an additional stipend to allow for students to work part time while enrolled in the nurse aide program. The number of scholarships will be reevaluated each year.

The nurse aide program at Carolinas College is for anyone looking for a first step into health care. Students learn basic nursing skills in a structured health care setting under the supervision of a registered nurse. Students will be set up for success to become a certified nursing assistant.

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