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Dean of the School of Health Professions Advocates for Key Workforce Development Initiatives on the Hill

Health professions gropack featured
Health professions gropack
Stacy Jaffee Gropack and Congressman Nick LaLota on Capitol Hill.

On February 29, Stony Brook University’s Dean of the School of Health Professions, Stacy Jaffee Gropack, met with New York congressional delegation members and staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. During the meetings, Gropack urged members and staff to expand STEM federal financial aid opportunities for all students studying health professions.

“The jobs our students in the School of Health Professions seek to secure upon graduation are considered STEM occupations and their academic curriculum includes rigorous math and science courses. However, the federal government does not consider these students to be achieving STEM degrees,” said Gropack. “Thus, our students who are studying health science as an undergraduate major and are enrolled in professional programs such as respiratory care, physical and occupational therapy, and physician assistant studies are not eligible for the same STEM federal financial aid grants that students studying to be engineers and general scientists can apply for. As a result, studying these critical health programs is becoming less desirable for students, increasing the workforce shortages in many essential health fields. Congress needs to enact a legislative solution that would expand STEM financial aid funding to include these students.”

In addition to discussing financial aid, Gropack urged Congress to provide robust FY25 federal funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support Title VII Health Professions and Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs, which are essential to shaping, educating and bolstering the health workforce at all stages of the continuum.

Stony Brook’s Office of Federal Relations located in Washington, DC, coordinated these congressional meetings and works closely with SBU leadership, faculty, staff and students to advance SBU’s federal priorities.

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