CHI Saint Joseph Health, Kentucky State University form alliance to increase number of nurses in Kentucky

CHI Saint Joseph Health, Kentucky State University form alliance to increase number of nurses in Kentucky

Posted on May 25, 2022

Health system to provide $2.5 million in tuition assistance, program support over five years

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 25, 2022) – CHI Saint Joseph Health today announced plans to invest $2.5 million in tuition assistance and program support of the Kentucky State University School of Nursing over the next five years. The alliance will include direct job placement for nurses at CHI Saint Joseph Health upon completion of the KSU nursing program.

“CHI Saint Joseph Health and Kentucky State University share common core values – collaboration and inclusion,” said Anthony A. Houston, Ed.D., FACHE, market CEO, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “We are excited about this opportunity to form a transformational and lasting relationship with Kentucky State University to help educate the next generation of nurses across the commonwealth and to build on the quality nursing team we have across Kentucky at CHI Saint Joseph Health.”

Under the partnership, CHI Saint Joseph Health will provide scholarships of up to 30 students enrolled at any time in the KSU School of Nursing of up to $20,000 total. The total award for each student is intended to cover the two years of the associate’s degree (AASN) or the final two years of the Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program. Students who receive the scholarship must meet program requirements and work with a CHI Saint Joseph Health-appointed liaison through the program, and commit to working in a CHI Saint Joseph Health facility as a registered nurse for 30 months.

“The dire nursing shortage across the country is expected to intensify over the next few years,” said KSU Acting President Clara Ross Stamps, Ed.D. “This partnership with CHI Saint Joseph Health will allow us to work together to expand and increase the diversity of the nursing workforce in Kentucky by helping students achieve their goal of caring for others as we work to continue a journey to excellence in our School of Nursing.”

Senator Gerald Neal – 22 Senate District and Kentucky State alumnus – spoke about the need for a facility on campus to support this partnership and address the shortage of nurses.

“Kentucky State University is uniquely positioned to address the need for the current nursing shortage now and into the future; however, to meet that need, growth and expansion is necessary,” he voiced. The School of Nursing program is currently housed in the 52-year old Betty White Health Center constructed as the original campus infirmary. “Kentucky State has requested that the Kentucky General Assembly invest in the future of healthcare by providing $18.4 million for a new health sciences building. I trust that the General Assembly will step up to the plate and do what is necessary to continue this success story.”

Representative Derrick Graham – 57 House District and Kentucky State alumnus – talked about the importance of this day for CHI Saint Joseph Health and Kentucky State University.

“This new partnership will create a lasting and positive difference for many students while tackling a critical nursing shortage,” he shared. “I am invested in making sure my alma mater succeeds as it strives to meet the needs of those it serves. This institution is a major educational and economic engine of central Kentucky and its mission extends around the world.”

Representative Graham also said that he has encouraged support from House and Senate colleagues to fund the $18.4 million state-of-the-art project so Kentucky State can be competitive and better support students pursuing nursing as a profession. 

“This is not just another university project; it would be a critical part of our comprehensive efforts to tackle the nursing shortage in Kentucky and all across the country.”

Recent Kentucky State nursing graduate Kenadi Williams welcomed guests to today’s press conference.

“Kentucky State University has produced many healthcare professionals to address the needs of the Commonwealth and the nation,” shared the AAS nursing alumna. “The School of the Nursing maintains strong ties with hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state enabling students an array of clinical experiences. This partnership will ensure future nursing students have many opportunities.”

Kentucky State Alumna Kim Potter-Blair, chief of staff at the Kentucky Department of Corrections, spoke of her personal experience with nurses and shared one of Florence Nightingale’s notable quotes.

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit?”

Prior to offering the innovation, Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles remarked on his personal relationship with Kentucky State University.

“My mother spent 30 years teaching nursing at Kentucky State; this institution is a second family for me. I am thankful for the collaboration with CHI Saint Joseph Health,” he shared, adding, “We need to promote what’s great on this campus like the 100 percent rate of our BSN nursing students on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

CHI Saint Joseph Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Melissa Bennett talked about the nursing shortage across the United States.

“We have nearly 90,000 nurses. While that number is impressive, it falls potentially 12 to 20 percent short of the estimates from the Kentucky Board of Nursing. While the shortage is of concern and what we’re focused on, we don’t always acknowledge the devoted nurses.”

Bennett recognized the more than 3,000 nurses with CHI Saint Joseph Health that make sure patients get the care that they need and deserve. “Nursing careers always start with education and I am happy to be here with Kentucky State and to recognize that they have been preparing nurses since 1967.” 

The press conference concluded with a check presentation and signing of the memorandum of agreement by Dr. Anthony Houston and Acting President Stamps.

The scholarship application period is open. For more information about CHI Saint Joseph Health, visit; to learn more about the KSU School of Nursing, visit


About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, home health agencies and an ambulatory Care Center. The hospitals in CHI Saint Joseph Health are Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph Jessamine, Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.

About Kentucky State University
Kentucky State University is a public, comprehensive, historically Black land-grant university committed to advancing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, enhancing society, and impacting individuals by providing quality teaching with a foundation in liberal studies, scholarly research, and public service to enable productive lives within the diverse global economy.