New UTA course aimed at rural health care practitioners

Online course teaches rural health professionals the art of applying for funding assistance

Monday, Aug 07, 2023 • Neph Rivera : Contact

Headshots of Aspen Drude, manager of the Center for Rural Health and Nursing and Timothy Ponce, Department of English professor and grant writing expert." _languageinserted="true

Thanks to a new course from The University of Texas at Arlington, rural health organizations in Texas are learning how to make their voices heard in the world of fundraising.

UTA’s Center for Rural Health and Nursing teamed up with Timothy Ponce, assistant professor of instruction in the Department of English and grant writing expert, to offer an online, self-guided course that teaches rural health professionals how to excel in grant writing.

“There’s a big need for grant writing in rural communities,” said Aspen Drude, manager of the Center for Rural Health and Nursing. “In urban areas, a lot of the bigger hospitals have a team of grant writers. Rural communities don’t have that.”

The course is designed for medical practitioners and will teach the basics and logic behind grant writing, tips in finding the right grant for a particular need and what organizations look for in selecting grant applications. The goal is to give rural health practitioners, who may be taking on grant writing in addition to their regular duties, a toolbox of techniques.

“Grant writers in rural areas are not actually grant writers; they are generalists and physicians,” Drude said. “These are people taking time—likely out of their personal schedules—to write these grant applications.”

Ponce, who teaches a version of the course to UTA undergraduate students, urges grant writers to avoid getting frustrated if their first applications don’t result in funding.

“You’re going to get a lot more nos than yeses,” he said. “But if you ask a lot of questions and build relationships with program officers and foundations, you’re going to find yourself getting a higher level of acceptance.”

Through the course, Ponce said he hopes to create an online community of rural health grant writers who can ask questions and provide feedback to each other. He envisions an online “community where we have people who have been a part of larger grants who are able to give feedback,” he said.

“If you are going against a team of professional grant writers, compared to yourself who maybe has only written a couple, that can be frightening,” Drude said. “This is our way to lend a hand.”

Rural health professionals who are interested in learning more about the online grant writing course can contact Drude at