College of Health and Human Services dean, Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, testified at the June 28th California State Senate Education Committee hearing in support of Assembly Bill 422, which authorizes the California State University to award the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree on a permanent basis.

The program, which began on a pilot basis in 2010, consists of the Southern California Consortium (Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles) and the Northern California Consortium, which Fresno State is a part of, along with San Jose State. On July 1, 2018, the pilot program expires. Through AB 422, the program would be granted authorization to continue in the CSU system, ensuring the ability to grow nursing faculty and graduate highly qualified healthcare professionals into the workforce and maintain key industry partnership.

Other speakers in support of AB 422 included 31st District Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, who also authored the bill, and Dr. Michael Boytim, assistant director of the Kaiser Permanent School of Anesthesia.

The vote passed the Senate Education Committee 7-0 and will now continue onto the next step in the legislative process.

A text of Dean Hironaka-Juteau’s full testimony is below:

Senator Allen and members of the Senate Education Committee, I am Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Fresno. It is my honor to be here today to represent the University and the Northern California Consortium Doctor of Nursing Practice program, also known as DNP, in support of AB 422.

As dean, I have seen firsthand how this program impacts the educational and health care personnel of our community.  As the only DNP program in the Central Valley, we are answering the call of preparing highly qualified nursing faculty and nurse educators, who in turn, serve our growing region and beyond. Having been involved with the DNP program since its inception in 2012, the CSU campuses and Fresno State have shown proven results, and we are eager to see the program continue as a permanent component of our curriculum.

  • I am pleased to report that the Northern Consortium graduated its fourth cohort this past May, bringing the total number of graduates to 162. Of that number, six faculty members have joined our School of Nursing program as full-time and part-time faculty. In fact, this is happening across the CSU, with one in four DNP alumni taking teaching positions at CSU campuses and one in three taking faculty positions elsewhere.
  • As practice needs have advanced, enhanced education and training is needed. Take for example, Janice Sanders, a 2014 alumna and now faculty member. She was awarded a $704,000 grant from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to revitalize the School of Nursing’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. Historically, the Central Valley has been an underserved area in health care, particularly in mental health. Dr. Sanders is bringing awareness to this issue while preparing future nurses to serve in this critical area. Our University needs faculty of the highest caliber, like Dr. Sanders.
  • With the CSU facing an impending wave of faculty retirements, the importance of growing our nursing faculty is imperative now more than ever. More than two-thirds of tenure-track nursing faculty are 55 and older, and one in five are younger than 50. Simply put, as faculty retire, the number of CSU nursing faculty will continue to decrease. AB 422 is the most sufficient way to address this shortfall. It will ensure that we can continue to educate and prepare a diverse group of nurses in the Central Valley and throughout the state.

In conclusion, the DNP pilot program has been working as the authorizing legislation intended.  As such, on behalf of the Northern California Consortium DNP program and Fresno State, I urge you to allow this important work to continue by supporting Assembly Bill 422.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this morning and thank you Mr. Arambula for bringing this bill forward.

To view the entire testimony, including remarks by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula and Dr. Michael Boytim, visit The California Channel (beginning at 1:03:00)