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Representative Cuellar Announces $2.3 Million Grant for TAMIU’s Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program Posted: 11/22/19

Representative Cuellar Announces $2.3 Million Grant for TAMIU’s Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program


Congressman Henry Cuellar
Congressman Henry Cuellar '82  

Congressman Henry Cuellar  (TX-28) announced $2,330,291 for Texas A&M International University (TAMIU)’s Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program (TOFP) in a press conference Friday at TAMIU. This online program will ensure more Hispanic students have the opportunity to practice medicine and help address the nursing shortage in Texas. 

“Our nurses are the front line of our health care system, but with the growing number of staffing shortages across the country, it is becoming difficult to meet the needs of our patients,” said Cong. Cuellar,  “This funding will create an online nursing program that will help create more opportunities for Hispanic students to study medicine and increase the number of nurses in underserved populations in the region. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fund programs that will make education more accessible and improve our community’s health care system. I want to thank TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz, Interim Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dr. Marivic Torregosa, and the rest of the University staff for their dedication to advancing the education experience of Hispanic and low-income students in the region.”

Dr. Arenaz shared his appreciation for the funding, noting it helps build on the University’s established strengths. 

 “We are deeply appreciative of the leadership and partnership in delivering this grant provided by our Congressman Cuellar  (’82).  A University does its best when it develops and delivers relevant programs for its students and our service communities.  This Grant will fund the TAMIU Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program and expand opportunities for our students to earn a postgraduate degree in this field.  We’re especially pleased that this Grant recognizes and builds on the success of our FNP program. TAMIU FNP students have earned an enviable 100% pass rate on the national certification examination for the last four years…on their first attempt. 

 “Most importantly,” Arenaz added, “the students completing this program have the potential to impact over 600,000 patients every year.  Throughout this, our 50th Anniversary year, we have been celebrating the transformative impact of this University. With the support that this grant provides, we ensure that our legacy of transformation continues forward.”

TAMIU received the funding through the Department of Education’s Title V, Part B, Promoting Post-baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program. In the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, Congressman Cuellar secured $30,000,000 for Title V, Part B, a $18.9 million increase from FY19. 

Webb County is designated a Medically Underserved Area as well as an area with a Health Professional Shortage. With the establishment of TAMIU’s Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program, more students will be able to study medicine and practice in the area. The online program will emphasize workshops on Business Planning, Reimbursement and Billing, and Small Business Management.  These courses will prepare students to launch a clinical practice of their own. The grant will support 72 participating students who then can potentially provide high quality primary care to as many as 604,800 patients every year, once they are employed.

College of Nursing and Health Sciences interim dean Dr. Torregosa said the program’s conversion from face-to-face to online hybrid delivery will accelerate building a larger capacity of healthcare providers.

“The rigor and standards practiced in the face-to-face format will be mirrored in the online hybrid delivery. By building a capacity of health care providers through quality and affordable education, TAMIU pushes its mission to improve the quality of lives for citizens of the border region, the State of Texas, and national and international communities,” Torregosa said. 

For more on the  TAMIU Online FNP Program, contact Academic Advisor Anna Buentello at the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing at 956.326.3110, email or visit offices in Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 111.  Information is available online at 

TAMIU is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and its 25th Anniversary at its north Laredo campus throughout 2019-2020.  A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University. It includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at

For more on the University’s story, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email, click on or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Federal funding announced at TAMIU will help to expand opportunities for students and help address the shortage of Family Nurse Practitioners.  Left to right at the grant announcement at TAMIU are Celeste E. Kidd, TAMIU research associate; Dr. John Kilburn, associate vice president of Research and Sponsored Projects; Congressman Henry Cuellar; Dr. Marivic Torregosa, interim dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr. Pablo Arenaz, president; Dr. Tom Mitchell, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Dr.  Rose A. Saldivar, TAMIU Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing clinical assistant professor.

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