Touro Gets $3.25 Million for Scholarships

HRSA Grant Provides Funding for Disadvantaged Students to Earn MSW Degrees at Touro College Graduate School of Social Work

July 16, 2020
For Christian Rodriguez, '18, his scholarship gave him hope to keep moving forward.

Touro College and its Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) have secured a five-year, $3.24 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fund scholarships for disadvantaged students seeking a career in social work. Applications are now open for fall 2020 for new students.

Administered through the “Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students” Program (SDS), the scholarships will cover at least 50% of the student’s educational costs. Applicants must be economically, educationally or environmentally disadvantaged; show financial need for a scholarship; and be enrolled for this fall’s semester. 

The SDS Program aims to increase the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds including students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. 

“Now is the Time”

“We are very interested in students who have financial need and are drawn to working with underserved populations,” said Nancy Gallina, Ph.D., LCSW, Interim Dean and Director of the MSW Program. “Now is the time. We want to provide communities with social workers who have the skills necessary to effect change.” 

“We are proud to be chosen for this grant,” said Touro College and University System President Dr. Alan Kadish. “Touro’s Graduate School of Social Work is dedicated to providing quality education that is accessible and affordable to all, as part of our mission. We are proud to help develop careers of those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to further their education.”   

The GSSW is being honored this year as “Social Work School of the Year” by the National Association of Social Workers – New York City, for furthering the mission of social work through its commitment to social justice and equity.    

$7 Million in Four Years

The grant is the third from HRSA the school has received in the past four years. In 2016, $2.5 million was received for SDS scholarships to be provided over four years. Last year, the GSSW, along with Touro’s School of Health Sciences Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, was awarded $1.3 million from HRSA, and another $60,000 from the National Council for Behavioral Health, to train students, faculty and staff in fighting the opioid crisis. 

Krishna Harilal, a second-year student in the MSW Program, received a SDS scholarship. A resident of Flushing, Queens, Harilal came to the U.S. at age five with his family from Guyana. He is raising a daughter, 11, who has autism. After graduation, he plans to work with children who have developmental delays, aged six months to three years.

Harilal is grateful for the support. “The scholarship helped tremendously. I couldn’t have afforded to go without the grant,” he said. 

Scholarship “A Game Changer”

Eden Mitrany, another SDS scholarship winner, said when she qualified for the scholarship, it was a game-changer for her. When she enrolled at Touro, 18 years had passed since her college graduation. She had married and had eight children. She wanted to go back to school and earn a graduate degree both for her financial future and to further her education, and felt that social work was her calling. 

“I believe I can help people outside of my family with my skills and knowledge, but any natural gifts need to be honed and guided and that’s what Touro is giving me,” she said. “The scholarship was the key that unlocked the door for me to social work.” 

First-generation New Yorker Christian Rodriguez, Class of ‘18, said the scholarship gave him the support he needed to build on his work helping populations grappling with substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. “The HRSA grant appeared at just the right time and provided me with the hope I needed to keep moving forward,” said Rodriguez.  

Awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students enrolled in the Graduate School of Social Work. Applicants interested in the HRSA SDS Program should contact program directors Dr. Annecy Baez at or Dr. Eric Levine at For information or to apply online to the MSW Program, please go to MSW admissions


The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $3.24 million with no percentage financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

The Touro College and University System

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro has 35 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Illinois, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For more information, visit