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University of Providence receives $100K grant to help student well-being

Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 07, 2023

GREAT FALLS — Keeping in line with faith and academic success, the University of Providence will further that mission after they recently received a $100,000 grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation to support new and innovative ways to assist students with their academic, mental, and physical well-being.

Dr. Joel Bluml, who serves as the university's VP of student engagement & athletics stated, "we were made aware of an opportunity through the Montana Healthcare Foundation for an IBH (Integrated Behavioral Health) grant and we started our conversations there.

Bluml credited Interim VP of Advancement, Kylie Carranza noting that she was highly influential in making that initial connection.

"As the process continued, we realized that what we're designing at UP did not fit directly with what the Montana foundation had in the IBH grant process," Bluml said. "They were wonderful and redirected us to a process to where we can get our grant approved as an innovation grant and a capacity-building grant, so we are extremely thankful to the Montana Healthcare Foundation for their partnership."

Like many small, private institutions, the University of Providence has been working to address a number of challenges facing American colleges and universities, including securing funds to support student success and retention initiatives. The campus advocate hired through this opportunity will coordinate both short and long-term care of students in need including student advocacy, mental health resources and student health care.

Bluml explained the role of the campus advocate.

"Connecting students that are in need of resources that they may not know how to navigate on their own, or even know exists. Those resources could be related to on-campus services or off-campus services. We feel very fortunate to be located in the Great Falls community that has a plethora of services designed to support the mental health needs and physical health needs of our community."

The resources and relationships developed through the campus advocate will help the nearly 500 students at the University of Providence and their families access appropriate health care services in the Great Falls area.

Bluml said, "having someone in place to kind of break down some of those barriers or educate students about what resources exist will be extremely instrumental, both meeting the needs of the student for their personal lives, as well as helping the university retain, educate, and graduate more students."

The Campus Advocate position is expected to open shortly on their job postings: https://www.uprovidence.edu/employment/open-positions/