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Norton Healthcare Announces $500,000 in Scholarship Support for Bullitt County Students; System Pledges Support for New College in Bullitt County

LOUISVILLE, KY. (September 20, 2006): Norton Healthcare today announced its commitment to fund more than $500,000 in scholarship support for Bullitt County students wanting to pursue health care careers, and its strong support of efforts to establish a new college in Bullitt County.

At a press conference today in Bullitt County, Thomas D. Kmetz, president of Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Healthcare's South/Central Market, announced the system's commitment to fund 10 four-year scholarships, valued up to $24,000 per student, for students attending a potential new Bullitt County college. He also announced Norton's commitment to fund 12 additional four-year scholarships, also valued up to $24,000 per student, at other colleges and universities throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The scholarships will benefit students pursuing health care careers in nursing and allied health disciplines.

"As the baby-boomers age, ensuring an adequate supply of nurses and allied health professionals is a critical issue for the health care industry," Kmetz said. "Norton Healthcare is nationally recognized as a leader in workforce development, and we are pleased to further enhance our efforts by reaching out to Bullitt County students to encourage them to pursue health care careers."

Kmetz also pledged the system's support of Dr. Mohana Arla's leadership efforts to bring a college to Bullitt County. Dr. Arla, who has been practicing family medicine in Bullitt County for more than 27 years, chairs a committee of Bullitt County leaders exploring the feasibility of bringing a college to Bullitt County.

 "Dr. Arla is committed to improving the health of Bullitt County residents and to encouraging Bullitt County students to consider and pursue health care careers," Kmetz said. "Norton Healthcare shares Dr. Arla's commitment to Bullitt County and we pledge to support his efforts in every way possible to bring a college to Bullitt County that would include nursing and allied health programs.

"We also join Dr. Arla in recognizing the broader value to the community and its businesses of having a well-educated and well-trained work force and affording Bullitt County-area students and residents the opportunity to attend college close to home."

Norton Healthcare, Louisville's and Bullitt County's leading health care provider, serves Bullitt County through a variety of facilities and services, including its four hospitals: Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Suburban Hospital, Norton Hospital and Kosair Children's Hospital;and physician, diagnostic and specialty centers in Mt. Washington (Norton Medical Associates - Mt. Washington) and Shepherdsville (Norton Medical Associates - Shepherdsville). The Shepherdsville facility also includes a Norton Immediate Care Center.

The pledged scholarship support is through the Norton Healthcare Scholars Program, which provides financial assistance and other support for students working toward a health care degree. Scholars are eligible for up to $6,000 per year in tuition and other college-related expenses. Students can choose from several in-demand fields, including nursing, medical lab technology, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, physical therapy and others. Since its inception in July 2000, more than 900 students have graduated from the Norton Scholars Program and some 550 are currently enrolled.

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