Samuel Merritt University Wins New Scholarship Grants

Samuel Merritt University


Samuel Merritt University Wins New Scholarship Grants

Funds Will Boost Diversity in Healthcare Programs


(October, 2012 — Oakland, Calif.) Samuel Merritt University (SMU) has been awarded grants totaling more than $5 million over the next four years that will boost the school’s continuing efforts to expand its scholarship program and diversify its student body.

SMU received two grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of a highly competitive grant program called Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS).  

“These grants will advance Samuel Merritt University’s goal of educating a healthcare workforce that reflects the diverse ethnic and socio-economic communities we are committed to serving,” said SMU President and CEO Sharon Diaz. 

One of the federal grants was awarded to SMU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in the maximum amount of $650,000 per year for four years, and the other was given to the Master of Physician Assistant Program in the amount of $650,000 annually for four years.  Both awards, totaling $5.2 million, were granted pending availability of HRSA funds and satisfactory progress reports.

The purpose of the SDS program is to increase diversity in the health professions by providing grants to eligible schools for the benefit students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The scholarship program gives funding priority to educational institutions with certain percentages of full-time underrepresented minorities, graduates practicing in primary care, and graduates working in medically underserved communities. 

In addition, SMU has been awarded a $150,000 grant from The California Wellness Foundation to provide academic enrichment and scholarship support for underrepresented students pursing health careers. 

A total of 86 students per year will receive scholarship funds due to the grants.

“Increasing student diversity is a major priority for SMU,” said Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Roberts. “Expanding our scholarship program will help eliminate the financial obstacles often faced by underrepresented minority students who are seeking a quality higher education in the health professions.”

For more information, please contact or call 510.869.1528.



Samuel Merritt University has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909.  The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and podiatric medicine.  For more information visit

Request more information

Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper. Nullam id dolor id nibh ultricies vehicula ut id elit. Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis. Donec sed odio dui.