Background: A lack of diversity in the nursing workforce nationally has been identified by Oregon state leaders as a factor contributing to health inequity. Method: The goal of Advancing Health Equity Through Student Empowerment and Professional Success (HealthE STEPS) is to graduate nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve health equity within their communities. A comprehensive plan of evidence-based strategies was developed based on social determinants of health and addresses academic socialization, learning support, financial resources, networking, curriculum development, and campus culture. Results: Ninety undergraduate nursing students participated in the program during a 2-year period. Retention of participants was 97% with graduation rates of 94%. First-time licensure pass rates were 82% and 96% of participating graduates employed in a medically underserved community. Conclusion: This comprehensive innovative program of evidence-based strategies addresses health equity by developing a diverse nursing workforce to practice in medically underserved communities.
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