The American Lung Association has a long history of support for nursing education. In the 1960’s, the emphasis of educational programs offered by NTRDA broadened from tuberculosis to encompass chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders. In addition to continuing education programs offered at the annual meeting, the NTRDA (through the auspices of the NLN advisory service), provided a grant to the University of California, San Francisco in 1968 for the development of a Respiratory Disease Clinical Nurse Specialty Program (funded 1968-1971). The first director of the program was Hattie MacIntyre followed by Marie Kurihara. In 1972-1973, the University of Arizona, under the direction of Gayle Traver, received seed money for a post-masters certificate program in pulmonary nursing.
In 1973, the ALA offered a grant program, the Clinical Nurse Specialty Program Award for competitive application. This program offered training grants to academic institutions for the development of graduate programs for adult clinical specialists in respiratory nursing. Awards were made on an annual basis with up to two renewals. In the first four years of the program, 23 proposals were submitted and five schools were funded. The first five programs and program directors were the University of Arizona (Gayle Traver), University of Cincinnati (Barbara Schare), University of Florida (Linda Moody and Betty Bunke), University of California, Los Angeles (Doris Holmes and Marilyn Chrisman), and the University of Colorado (Anne Harrison). By 1980, nine programs had been funded. Also in 1980, ALA developed the Institutional Training Grant in Pediatric Pulmonary Nursing for the development of pediatric clinical nurse specialists in respiratory. Programs funded included the University of Rochester and the University of Florida. A total of $300,000 was granted for seed money to provide the necessary support to institutions to eventually develop self-supporting programs in the preparation of clinical nurse specialists and/or academic nurse specialists in respiratory care.
As the availability of pulmonary programs increased, the ALA grant programs moved to the funding of individual nurse fellowships. Beginning in 1974 (through 1984), ALA offered Nursing Fellowships of up to $9,000 a student, to provide funds for doctoral as well as master’s level education. By 1979 these grants were expanded to offer support for the preparation of nurse practitioners, public health specialists and occupational health nurses. By 1981, 30 nursing fellowships had been awarded. By 1985, seven doctoral candidates had been funded. From 1974 to 1984 ALA funding for nursing education totaled $1,700,000.
Funding continued to be available after 1985 through various mechanisms. A predoctoral Fellowship Grant was available in the amount of $11,000 through 1996. Beginning in 1996 a Lung Dissertation Grant became available in the amount of $21,000. This Grant was designed to assist doctoral students (from all disciplines) in completing their education. Additionally, a Clinical Research Grant in the amount of $25,000 a year for two years was offered to address clinical research needs.
The American Lung Association, at the national and state levels have been a generous and significant supporters of pulmonary nursing and nursing education for over 50 years.