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New Yorkers Graduate from Poverty to Nursing Careers in HHC-Long Island University Nursing Program at Kings County Hospital

First graduation class includes students supported with scholarships from the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity

May 12, 2011

New York, NY

Six New Yorkers received Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees today and will secure a career in nursing as part of a New York City program for economically disadvantaged students. They are the first group to graduate from the Long Island University-Kings County Hospital nursing program supported with scholarships from the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO).
The CEO anti-poverty nursing program, a partnership between the university and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), was launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007 to ease the nursing shortage and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing to individuals earning no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty level (less than $25,000 for a family of four). All CEO program graduates will be hired as Registered Nurses at city public hospitals, with a starting salary of $65,897.
“This program has made it possible for me to join a profession that I am passionate about and that will allow me to improve my economic future,” said Godfrey Aneke, a Brooklyn resident originally from Nigeria. Aneke became a U.S. citizen three years ago, has been in the Navy reserves for three years, and today graduated with a 3.7 average. He plans to become a nurse anesthetist.
Aneke and Alicia Quammie, also of Brooklyn, have been named to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.” Quammie, who was born at Kings County Hospital, is graduating cum laude and is receiving a distinguished alumni award. She has also been granted automatic admission into the Nurse Educator Masters Program at Long Island University and plans to attend in the fall of 2012.
“We congratulate these students on their impressive accomplishments,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “Nurses are the backbone of any hospital or skilled nursing home. Having nurses who reflect the diversity of the patients that we serve is especially valuable to a mission-driven system like HHC, a system that serves as the safety net for all New Yorkers.”
The HHC and LIU Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Kings County has expanded the capacity of local nursing education. Nursing professionals say that increasingly, today’s Registered Nurses are expected to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Students in the RN program must complete two years of pre-clinical academic work and two years of professional training in the LIU-Kings County program that includes hands-on practical experience in new classrooms and laboratories at the Kings County site, as well as clinical rotations at HHC hospitals and private hospitals throughout the city.
There are currently 120 students attending classes at the LIU-Kings County Hospital nursing school site. Of those, 42 are sponsored by CEO scholarships.
The country’s nursing shortage — the result of a large number of older nurses retiring and the overwhelming health care needs of an aging population — is expected to worsen over the coming years. The federal government says nursing is among the few recession-proof careers in the current economy, with more than one million new and replacement nurses needed in the United States by 2016.
The nursing school is located in the “T” Building, renovated space that was home to the old Kings County Hospital School of Nursing from 1897 to 1977.
“We are proud to congratulate these first graduates,” said CEO Executive Director Veronica M. White. “CEO’s mission is to educate and advance the careers of New Yorkers through innovative and promising programs. Today that investment will begin to pay great returns for not only the graduates and their families, but for all who are served by the city’s hospitals.”
These are the six CEO nursing program graduates:

  • Godfrey Aneke – Brooklyn, NY, (Borough Park): Godfrey has been selected as the Honorary Recipient of the nursing degree on behalf of the entire nurse graduating class. He has a GPA of 3.7, and has also been recognized by “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” Godfrey is originally from Nigeria and speaks English and Ibo. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2008. Godfrey has been in the naval reserves for approximately 3 years. He is a member of the Nursing Student Association, and volunteers at Brooklyn Senior Centers where he takes blood pressure and helps seniors with arts and crafts. Godfrey plans to become a nurse anesthetist.
  • Assata Arango – New York, NY (Upper West Side): Assata is the youngest graduate at age 21. Assata graduated from Bard HS Early College (BHSEC). Several nurses have positively influenced Assata to pursue a career in nursing, in particular, her aunt and cousin. Assata is drawn to the midwifery area of nursing so that she can positively impact the lives of women and their families, and provide women with care that would lessen the stress of their pregnancy and thereby reduce the risk for complications during their delivery.
  • Derrin Maxwell – Staten Island, NY (Stapleton): Derrin plans to become a Geriatrics Nurse Practitioner, specializing in HIV AIDS. She would like to serve the Kings County community. Derrin is the mother of 4 children, and as a student has successfully balanced her home life and her demanding school schedule.
  • Lorena Modesto – Brooklyn, NY (Kensington): Lorena, the U.S. born child of Mexican immigrants, will be the first in her family to receive a Bachelors degree. Lorena plans to become a Labor and Delivery nurse or Family Practice nurse. The mother of three children, Lorena decided to become a nurse after her critically ill son received great care while in an intensive care unit.
  • Alicia Quammie – Brooklyn, NY (Bedford-Stuyvesant): Alicia is graduating cum laude, is receiving a distinguished alumni award and has been named to “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” She has also been granted automatic admission into the Nurse Educator Masters Program at Long Island University and plans to attend beginning the Fall 2012 semester. Alicia, who was born at Kings County Hospital, will be the first college graduate in her family. She has been a medical math tutor and is the Kings County campus representative for the Student Faculty Liaison Committee of LIU Nursing.
  • Ketsia Regis – Brooklyn, NY (Bedford-Stuyvesant): Born in Haiti, Ketsia emigrated to the U.S.A. with her family at age 1 ½. Ketsia returned to Haiti in 2001 on vacation and upon seeing the poor living conditions and health issues of so many people, she decided she wanted to become a nurse. She plans to become a Medical-Surgical Nurse for public health.

The Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity was established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. Led by Executive Director Veronica White and supported by a combination of public and private funds, the Center for Economic Opportunity works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction. The Center manages an Innovation Fund through which it provides City agencies annual funding to implement such initiatives and also oversees a rigorous evaluation of each to determine which are successful in demonstrating results towards reducing poverty and increasing self sufficiency among New Yorkers. For more information about all of CEO’s initiatives, go to www.nyc.gov/ceo.


About HHC

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlusHealth, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nychhc.org/hhc or find us on facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or twitter.com/NYCHealthSystem.