Spring 2024


Back to E-News

Spring 2024 Issue


We Appreciate Your Time and Efforts

Thank you to the numerous organizations across Iowa, Illinois, Colorado andOklahoma that contributed significant time to develop applications for our recent grant deadline. As you may know, Health Workforce Development applications were due March 5, and the request for proposal was divided into several sub-priority areas. We received a total of 151 thought-provoking applications from throughout our four-state footprint that covered a broad range of sub priorities — illustrating that health workforce needs are varied and interconnected. We are grateful to have so many worthy applications for our grant support from organizations both small and large, all of which are striving to make meaningful change in the health care system that will positively impact their patients and our communities.

"We applaud all the applicants in the health workforce space. The need for creative solutioning to build health career opportunities, pathways and early career exploration has never been more clear or more important." — Matt McGarvey, Executive Director, Telligen Community Initiative

The following summary highlights proposals received by sub-priority grouping.

Matt McGarvey, Executive Director


Themes Woven in 2024 Grant Applications

As we studied the 2024 applications and applicant field in its totality, three major themes emerged, including:

Nursing Workforce Challenges Abound Throughout Health Care Settings. The challenges to develop, support and maintain a nursing workforce are profound. Individuals leaving the nursing field (retirement and pandemic burnout) combined with aging of the existing workforce and populations being served in all types of health settings creates an urgent need for advancing career laddering opportunities while maintaining current nursing employment. The issues are clearly challenging, especially in rural health care settings.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Peer Support Specialists Are Critical to Success. The sophistication of applicants’ plans to advance community health worker and peer support specialist roles is impressive and inspiring. CHWs play a vital role in bridging the gap between health services and the communities they serve, making a positive impact on public health and well-being. Grant proposals highlighted ways to attract individuals to this field, how to best support and mentor their development, creative training methods, and efforts to give the field voice and recognition. Similarly, there were strong proposals to advance peer support specialists — persons with “lived experience” who have been trained to support those who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma or substance use. Personal experience provides peer support specialists with expertise to navigate these challenges that professional training cannot easily replicate. When peer support specialists are effectively trained and supported, these individuals can be a vital part of a supportive path for a client or patient.

Supportive Processes and Structures for Practical Learning in the Field Are Needed. Another concept that was well articulated in the grant proposals is the need for resources dedicated to structured training and supervision of provisionally licensed mental health clinicians. This support is often under-resourced for emerging clinicians, organizational hosts and those providing supervision and mentorship. Though requests for resources in this conceptual space have been successful in the past, this grant cycle highlighted (in multiple health disciplines and pathways) the need to strengthen early career support structures to foster growth of mental health workforce professionals. Themes around resiliency, self-care and the ability to support individuals, organizations and communities to attract new professionals through supportive structures is critical now more than ever.


Building Brighter Futures


Oklahoma Christian University (OC) created a unique opportunity for healthcare workers in entry level jobs to advance their careers and education.

In 2020, OC offered a small group of workers in entry-level healthcare jobs the option to earn their nursing degree through online courses while continuing to work.

What started as a 20-person pilot project has blossomed to more than 350 students — who are workers from a total of five hospitals across the Oklahoma City area, including Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, the Integris System, the Mercy System, Oklahoma Heart Hospital, and SSM Health System.

TCI 2023 grant funding allowed OC to hire a program director, produce marketing materials and refresh the program’s courses, all of which will support the continued growth of the popular and effective new program.

OC’s out-of-the box thinking has allowed the program to successfully recruit non-traditional students as well as underserved participants – ultimately supporting them to reach their educational goals, earn a livable wage and advance their careers.

UPDATE: Employees have embraced this opportunity. To date, NCLEX data from OC's first class of nurses to graduate from this work-based program revealed a first-time pass rate of 91 percent. Congrats to OC and all these new nurses who graduated from the program!

Caring for Our Caregivers


In the wake of the pandemic, healthcare workers continue to find themselves battling long hours, staffing shortages and sustained high stress levels. Healthcare organizations across the nation are searching for the most effective strategies and programs to address self-care for direct care workers and to reduce staff burnout.

Iowa CareGivers (IC) is leading the charge to support and care for its staff in critical patient care positions. With assistance from TCI grant funding, IC is piloting a structured and branded self-care program for its direct care workers who provide care and support to Iowans of all ages and abilities.

Iowa CareGivers is collaborating with partners, including Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa) and Northeast Iowa Community College (Dubuque - Peosta) to involve additional healthcare employees from the community, including community health workers and public health workers.

Together, the partners have developed programming and self-care events — Reservoir Replenishing Retreats — that will target an estimated 75 direct care and other health care workers. Direct care workers’ self-care is a critical issue. Decreased staff burnout will result in increased resiliency of these employees and stabilized patient care delivery.

UPDATE: The first round of Reservoir Replenishing Retreats was held in early April. IC hoped to have 50 attendees at each event. Results showed they exceeded expectations by nearly 50 percent. Congrats to all involved on a very successful start!


July 2 — Strengthening Families and Communities

Applications for our Strengthening Families and Communities grants are due July 2, 2024. Find the full RFP on our website. We are seeking projects that address the following themes:

Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy - healthy births.

School readiness and school health.

Healthy parenting skill development / strengthening family supports.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) prevention / protective factors.

Nonprofits from all four states, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Oklahoma, can apply for this funding opportunity. In addition, the per-grant maximum award is now $75,000 to more adequately address the project scope presented in many worthy applications that we have received in the past. In our initial 2024 grant cycle (health workforce development), the average grant request was $71,410. The applicant planning take-away is: We encourage you to ask for what is truly needed to support your scope of work, all the way up to the funding ceiling if needed.

As you prepare upcoming grant applications, TCI staff are available to discuss your project and answer your questions. Please contact Matt McGarvey at 515-554-2908 or mmcgarvey@telligenci.org. You may also schedule a technical assistance or grant planning discussion with Matt by directly accessing his schedule at https://calendly.com/mmcgarvey/telligen-community-initiative.

TCI seeks to resource organizations that help us all live healthier lives.

Back to E-News

Have Questions?

Read Our FAQ Page