RAIN Program History
In the 1990 U.S. census, ethnic minorities represented 20 percent of the population. Tifft (1989) predicted that the percentage of minorities would increase to 35 percent by the year 2020.
Currently, a disparity exists between the 0.8 percent of American Indians in the general population and the 0.4 percent of registered nurses who are American Indian (DHHS, 1988). They are the most under represented group of the total 8.3 percent ethnic minorities in the professions (DHHS). This shortage is evident in the Indian Health Service, which is the primary source of health care for American Indians.
Audrey Koertvalyessy, past Director of the IHS Division of Nursing, stated in 1992 that only one-third of the registered nurses in IHS were American Indian. Student enrollment figures also reflect under representation of American Indians. The National League for Nursing (NLN) reported that in 1990-91 only 0.5 percent of students enrolled in baccalaureate and master's programs were American Indian (NLN, 1992).
Prior to the RAIN program in the Fall of 1990, American Indians represented 2 percent of the total UND enrollment and 4 percent of UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines enrollment. In Fall 1994, the percentage in the total UND enrollment increased to 2.8 percent and in the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines to 10 percent. This is evidence that the RAIN Program has made an impact.
In the fall of 1990, the University of North Dakota College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines received funding for a project to increase the number of nurses prepared to provide health care to Indian people. The Recruitment/Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) Program (#ISD000396) was one of four projects funded under Section 112 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, 1988 Amendment, Public Law 100-713, 25 USC 1616e. This law, through the Indian Health Services (IHS) Division of Nursing, provides grants to educational institutions to increase the number of nurses, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners delivering health care services to Indians.
In 1992, the RAIN Project was elevated to program status by passage of Senate Bill 2412. This established the Quentin N. Burdick Indian Health Programs at UND with authorization until the Year 2000. This was done in honor of late North Dakota Senator, Quentin N. Burdick, who was a strong advocate for the Indian people. The Program encompasses the RAIN Program, the Indians into Medicine (INMED) Program and the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) Program.
The purpose of the Quentin N. Burdick Indian Health Programs is directly linked to the "fulfillment of (the Nation's) special responsibilities and legal obligation to the American Indian People" through the enhancement of educational opportunities for American Indians pursuing degrees in health professions. The provision of health services to American Indian people by providers who are from similar cultural backgrounds, knowledgeable of the socioeconomic realities of reservation living, and who are committed to the improvement of health in their home communities is the long-term expected outcome of the Quentin N. Burdick Indian Health Programs collectively working together to achieve this end.