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Saipan Tribune: Torres eyes scholarship for medical students (September 29, 2017)

Using a portion of the nearly $20 million community contribution fund of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, the Torres administration wants to create scholarships for students pursuing medical and nursing degrees.

Speaking at the Current Issues class of nursing students at the Northern Marianas College last Sept. 26, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that he and Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog are looking into scholarships for nursing and doctor programs and $1 million from the community contribution fund can be allocated to it.

“We have been talking to some universities abroad such as University of Hawaii, University of Utah, and University of Washington medical school for a possible collaboration with the students here at NMC to open some slots for their doctor program. The idea is for the students to come back and practice here,” he said.

Torres highlighted the importance of nurses in the CNMI, as there is currently a shortage at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. He cited the difficulty of getting nurses for Rota and Tinian.

One student said she is glad that the administration is planning to establish the scholarships for nurses because going to college is expensive.

She spends between $1,500 and $2,000 on uniforms alone. In anticipation of the National Council Licensure Examination that they are due to take in May 2018, students have been doing fundraising to help them with the costs. She asked the governor to contribute to their fundraising.

Torres asked the student how many are taking the NCLEX. When the students said 17, he was quick to assure everyone that he will pay for their tests.

“This is why we are proposing $1 million to go to the scholarship because this is going to go to the nurses’ tuition and books,” Torres said.

“It is critical. The nurses are the first people we see and we receive treatment from them at the hospital, that’s why this is important. I look forward to it and what I would like to do is to talk about the plans with your director (Rosa Tudela, RN) and work with NMC president [Dr. Carmen Fernandez],” he added.

Torres said he is also working with NMC to give the college $2 million to finish construction work at the school.

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