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Contact Information
Phone: (602) 496-0710
Fax: (602) 496-2405

502 E. Monroe Street, Suite 205
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4431
Mail Code 8220

American Indian Students United for Nursing

The American Indian Students United for Nursing (ASUN) Project was established in the fall of 1990 by a grant from the Indian Health Service (IHS). The purpose of ASUN is to increase the number of American Indians/Alaskan Natives studying nursing at ASU and the number of nurses providing care to American Indians/Alaskan Natives. ASUN is not a separate nursing program but rather provides scholarship support to American Indian/Alaskan Native students studying nursing at ASU.

The ASUN Project seeks to support and add to curriculum material and clinical opportunities which focus on American Indian health issues. ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation provides students with the best of two worlds: the resources of a large metropolitan university and the closeness and support of a small college. Scholarships which include, in whole or part, tuition and fees, required books and living expenses are available for study at the BSN level. Post-graduate service is required of all recipients with the Indian Health Service, increasing the number of nurses providing care to American Indian.


  • Recruit American Indians/Alaskan Natives into the various programs at ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation
  • Provide programming to empower American Indian/Alaskan Natives students to successfully complete their studies in nursing
  • Increase the number of American Indian/Alaskan Natives nurses
  • Increase the number of nurses providing care to American Indians/Alaskan Natives


American Indian Students United for Nursing (ASUN) was established at the ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation in the fall of 1990 through a section 112 grant from Indian Health Service (IHS). The grant provides scholarships for students in the Traditional Pre-Licensure Clinical Nursing program. Every five years, ASUN is required to submit a competitive grant to continue the project. Although the competition has been intense at times, we have been successful every time we have applied. Our current award extends the ASUN Project until 2016.

American Indian Health Background

Health care for American Indians is based on treaties (contracts) between the Federal government and tribes in which land and natural resources have been exchanged for social services that include housing, education, and health care. The health care system created by these treaties is unique because, although health care is not a right for most people in the United States, it is for American Indians.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the primary Federal agency responsible for delivering health care services to the American Indian population. IHS is severely underfunded, and American Indians have among the worst health disparities in the country. Also, due to underfunding, IHS has a significant health professional shortage, including nurses.

Mentorship Programs

The ASUN mentorship program is a partnership and collaborative project between ASUN, Native American Nurses Association (NANA), and IHS division of nursing. The nurse mentorship program is aimed at helping Native American/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students succeed in nursing related fields. The mentorship program provides academic, professional, and personal support for AI/AN nursing students at any educational level and to non AI/AN nursing students interested in working with Indian Health Services, Tribal, and Urban (ITU) Communities.

With the help of ASUN, NANA, and IHS leadership; and with the guidance of our dedicated volunteer mentors, the program is committed to supporting AI/AN students through nursing school and to help them transition into the nursing profession. Nurse mentors are required to attend an orientation on the mentoring program prior to becoming a mentor.

Volunteer Nurse Elder
Retired American Indian Nurse Elders volunteer to mentor our students by visiting the office weekly. Our nurse elders offer mental, emotional and spiritual support while acting as a surrogate grandmother to our nursing students. The elders offer encouragement and wisdom through their own career pathway as a nurse. The elder promotes learning the art of nursing while empowering students to succeed.


ASUN provides tutoring services for ASUN scholars absolutely free! Contact or visit the ASUN office.

ASUN Scholarship

The ASUN Scholarship is an Indian Health Service (IHS) funded scholarship for full-time study (12+ credit hours) undergraduate American Indian nursing students in the Traditional Pre-Licensure Clinical Nursing program or RN-BSN completion program. The ASUN Scholarship covers tuition and fees, required textbooks, some nursing school supplies and a monthly living stipend. There is a service obligation to the IHS or a tribe within the United States upon graduation and licensure.

Talking Circles

Talking Circles are held three times per semester and are for students (and their guests). It is an opportunity to share experiences happening in your life whether it's school, family, relationships or any challenges you may be facing. Rachel Carroll (Northern Cheyenne Tribe) facilitates the group and will smudge using burning sage and other elements (tobacco, cedar & sweet grass) to start out the group. Experiences shared with the group stay with the group. Contact ASUN if you're interested in learning more.

Native American Nurses Association (NANA)

NANA encourages American Indian nursing students’ involvement by attending the NANA monthly meetings and various planned events and activities. ASUN works collaboratively with NANA to enhance the nursing student experience and to serve as mentors for the ASUN students. Visit NANA on Facebook


The American Indian Students United for Nursing (ASUN) Project is funded through September 2016. This three year competitive bid encompasses the following dates: September 15, 2013 to August 31, 2016.

Additional Resources

American Indian Programs at ASU:

Indian Health Service