Dominican University’s School of Social Work has received a $1,775,106 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to enhance recruitment and retention strategies for economically disadvantaged minority students and to ultimately train them for placement in primary care settings in medically underserved communities.

The four-year grant (July 2016 to June 2020), titled “The Horizons Project: Recruiting, Retaining and Training Social Workers for Primary Care,” will focus on increasing the number of individuals with master’s degrees in social work employed in primary care settings in medically underserved communities in Chicago’s Austin, North and South Lawndale, Pilsen, and East and West Garfield Park neighborhoods as well as in Lake County, Illinois. The grant will provide scholarships up to $22,200 per academic year for 51 racial and ethnic minority students in Dominicans MSW program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is the primary federal agency for achieving health equity through access to quality services and a skilled health workforce. The HRSA programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. This includes people living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, mothers and their families, and those in need of high quality primary health care.

The scholarships will be awarded or renewed annually to new or current student who enroll in the MSW program at Dominican University.  HRSA Eligibility requirements must be met prior to applying and students will be notified if the meet the following:

  • Citizen of the United States
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Full-time Student (minimum 9 credit hours)

The SSW Horizons Project also defined additional qualifications and requirements to apply:

  • Commitment to work with high need and high demand populations in the medical, mental and behavioral health field
  • Students must be from an underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders)
  • Students must live/work in medically underserved communities on Chicago's Westside Community (Austin, North and South Lawndale, Pilsen, East and West Garfield Park) or Lake County, Illinois)
  • Student must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75/4.0 scale or a 3.5/5.0 scale at their undergraduate institution.
  • Complete and sign Horizon Project Scholarship application and submit all required materials including:
    • A personal statement (2 pages in length) detailing their interest in working with underserved populations and communities in the medical, mental and behavioral health field. The personal statement should also include the work they do at their current place of employment with the targeted population, their experience in the helping profession and long-term goals within the field of social work.
    • The student’s employer must submit a letter or recommendation. The employer’s letter should include a brief description of the agency and its services, community(ies) served, population the student currently works with.

New Students Only:

  • Must have submit a completed MSW admissions application (which includes all required admissions materials—application, 2 letters of recommendation, personal statement, resume, application fee and transcripts).
  • Must have been accepted for admission to GSSW

Post Award Requirements:

  • Student must register for and maintain a minimum of 9 credit hours (3 courses) per Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Students must remain in good academic standing (GPA of 3.00 or higher)
  • Scholarship recipients will sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back any and all scholarship funds disbursed if the student:
    • Willingly terminates employment with agency employed at time of receiving scholarship.
    • Discontinues working with an underserved, underrepresented, financially challenged population.
    • Drops more than 2 courses during the course of completing MSW degree.
    • Is placed on academic probation (less than a B average) for more than one semester during the course of completing MSW degree.
    • Drops out of Dominican University’s GSSW prior to completing MSW degree.
  • Recipients of the scholarship are required to sign a letter of intent to work with the underrepresented population within the Westside of Chicago or Lake County for two years post-graduation.
  • All scholarship recipients will commit to continuing employment with the agency they are working with at the time of receiving the scholarship. In cases where budgetary cuts dictate termination of employment, scholarship recipients commit to continue working within the Westside of Chicago or Lake County with a diverse, underrepresented, underserved and economically challenged population in the targeted geographic area.

Post Graduate Requirements

  • Scholarship recipients will agree to be contacted every 3 months for 2 years post-master's to document continued employment as defined in the promissory note.

Please direct all questions to Charles Stoops at cstoops@dom.edu or 708-366-3288

“This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T08HP30154 titled “The Horizons Project: Recruiting, Retaining and Training Social Workers for Primary Care for $1.8.  This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”