• BAMBI Advocacy Student Scholars Program (BASS)

BAMBI Advocacy Student Scholars Program (BASS)

Do you envision yourself becoming a nurse advocate? Are you interested in maternal health equity and how health care policy and professional engagement can make an impact on patient outcomes? If so, we invite you to apply to an exciting co-curricular program offered to UTMB's BSN students.


To provide innovative approaches to developing the undergraduate nursing student skill set in addressing maternal health inequities through advocacy, policy exploration, professional engagement, and service-learning.

Summary / Overview

The School of Nursing BASS Program, which is offered in parallel with the BSN program, is a co-curricular opportunity for UTMB baccalaureate Spring entry nursing students interested in fostering their skills in advocacy and policy with a special focus on women's health equity. These students also will explore health disparities for vulnerable populations while developing real-time, student-led education and bedside support for pregnant incarcerated women.


Offers a unique experience for those seeking to become advocates for at-risk populations while fostering cultural competency, scholarship engagement, and leadership skills.

Opportunities to explore how the concepts can impact practice and outcomes for the communities they serve.

Provides mentorship and shadowing experiences, as well as real-time patient engagement and education for incarcerated mothers.

Program Details

Each BASS student cohort (up to 10 students) will participate in 2 modules per semester. These modules will rotate throughout each academic year, so students complete all eight before graduation. Students will experience unique opportunities such as shadowing nurse lactation specialists, attending events related to nursing advocacy and professional engagement, and engaging with nurse and community leaders who care for vulnerable populations.

Students will explore how to mitigate health disparities in maternal and population health settings through newly acquired skills and the promotion of health equity. Students will also participate in special events designed to promote advocacy growth, including a panel discussion with local nurse leaders, and community leaders as well as events that broaden their perspective on women's equity health issues and how the influence of policy and advocacy can impact patient outcomes. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA during the BSN program.

BASS Values

  • To promote a transformative experience that produces nursing advocates that will advance the nursing profession now and in the future.
  • Preparing professional nurses to seek opportunities their role provides.
  • Fostering an understanding of advocacy to discover how policy impacts practice and vulnerable populations.


  • 10 entering BSN Traditional students selected each Spring semester
  • Interested students submit short answer application and letter of recommendation from someone who can attest to their leadership and advocacy potential
  • Applicants reviewed and selected by School of Nursing faculty, leadership, and collaborators
  • An interview may be offered for final candidates
  • Applicants who have a 3.5 pre-requisite GPA or higher will be considered for this program


  • Attend and complete all 8 program modules, completed over 4 semesters in concurrence with the BSN program
  • Compile an advocacy and professionalism portfolio
  • Short reflection on module sessions
  • Prepare policy brief on topic of related legislative interest
  • End program project related to health equity, policy or advocacy
  • Attend BASS scheduled meetings and events
  • Must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the BSN program


At no cost to the participant, students will be challenged and engaged in unique activities that build confidence and leadership competencies including:

  • Strengthen skills in patient education, patient interaction, and refinement of the helping relationship for vulnerable populations
  • Increased awareness of ethical and human rights issues and policy impacts on historically excluded populations
  • Increased self-confidence and self-efficacy in communication skills
  • Additional specialty nursing focus: obstetrics, gynecology, community, and infant care
  • Service opportunities with vulnerable populations- Population Health clinical hours (3rd semester)

Program Modules

Each cohort of BASS students will participate in two modules per semester. Modules will rotate so that students complete all eight prior to graduation. Through these modules, students will explore how to mitigate health disparities in maternal and population health settings through newly acquired skills and promotion of health equity. Depending on the module's activities, students can expect to spend on average 4-8 hours per module. Modules will be scheduled to avoid class/lab/clinical time conflicts. Concepts covered include:


Meet our Inaugural class of BASS Students

Miranda Del Valle

Miranda Del Valle, a Rio Grande Valley native, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a Minor in Public Health. On her summer breaks, Miranda sought out medical shadowing opportunities and became interested in health care. Specifically, she is interested in caring for underserved and disenfranchised patient populations. Her future goal in nursing is to become a Nurse Practitioner.

This program is in partnership with an organization, BAMBI, that provides resources for offenders who are new mothers to be able to spend quality time with their infants. I believe that this program will instill in me a new appreciation for the field of nursing and will allow me to become more compassionate towards those who are different from myself. Additionally, I am very interested in obstetrics and gynecology. Ideally, I would love to be a Labor & Delivery or Mother/Baby Unit nurse. Being able to serve the mothers of the BAMBI program will allow me to learn more about the field I am interested in and may open a door for a future job in the specialty. Additionally, the learning material and modules that are completed throughout the semester will foster advocacy skills within me along with teaching me more about health care policy and how it affects patient outcomes.

Sunny Duong

Sunny Duong has always been cognizant of the health of those around her since she was a child. She developed a strong interest in health care, but it wasn't until medical scribing for an OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine clinic was she certain she wanted to pursue a nursing career in OB health. By integrating her experiences growing up in Houston, Texas with her aspirations, she strives to become an exemplary OB nurse in medically underserved areas.

I believe the BASS Program is where I will be able to contribute to change in health care disparities. This organization will help me understand the complex societal systems that impose barriers to quality health care. Additionally, I envision that the program will help me learn how to negate these barriers. I feel that dedicating my time to the BASS Program will prepare me with the necessary strategies to improve health equity within our community.

Izamar Favela Estrada

Izamar Favela Estrada earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies, with a minor in Spanish, at Texas A&M University. While attending A&M, she was a member and leader of many organizations, worked taking care of the elderly during the summer, and volunteered at the Aggieland Humane society. She completed a medical study abroad under the supervision of Spanish physicians and health professionals that only understood Spanish. While in Spain she shadowed doctors, nurses and other health professionals in different areas of the hospital. Izamar's goal is to become a nurse practitioner, but most importantly become a voice in maternal health equity.

The Bass program has already opened my eyes to the many ways I can be a nurse advocate. For example, I love that as members we get a perspective from professionals, mothers and our mentor. This has allowed me to develop new perspectives and skills. Overall, I believe this program will help me to progressively grow into becoming a well equipped nurse advocate for my future patients.

Alysa Meza

Alysa Meza was born and raised in Angleton, TX, where she graduated high school in 2010. She moved to Oceanside, CA in 2012 where she attended MiraCosta College and received an Associates in Health Science, Nutrition, & Kinesiology along with a Yoga Teacher Training Certification. She has always been interested in health science, and is now prepared to take the necessary steps to implement much needed change in the healthcare arena to better serve all people in the community.

Being a member of the BASS program has provided me with insight on the most important aspects of patient care: patient advocacy and health equity. The opportunity to strictly focus on these areas of nursing provides unique experiences that enhance our learning throughout the BSN program. Upon graduation, I am confident that I will have the necessary tools to implement change in hospitals and health care settings by integrating what I have learned about culturally competent care, patient advocacy, and health equity into each patient interaction.

Juliana Niedermaier

Juliana Niedermaier

Being a part of the BASS program would not only expose me to what advocacy looks like in the medical field but also provide me with the opportunity to help women firsthand. This program would offer a vast amount of perspective before entering the medical field as a nurse. I would be exposed to the brutal reality of the lack of equity and equality in the medical field. I will also learn how to advocate for the little man. Whether that be on a large scale like women health equity or making sure my patient is given the proper care.

Chioma Opara

Chioma Opara's path to health care began in high school. She graduated in 2014, which led her to a career in nursing, working diligently to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). She then completed her perquisites at Lone Star Community College while advancing her knowledge as a novice clinician. Further into her career, she worked as an Emergency Room Technician where she learned valuable professional skills. This experience added to her commitment to serving the community and developing skills as a leader to deepen her impact as a future nurse.

The BASS program will propel my self-confidence and leadership skills necessary to make an impact in nursing. The program will provide me with opportunities to curate my unique way of communicating within and outside my profession. I believe that the intimate way nurses are involved in the lives of others is a huge responsibility. I want to increase my awareness of the world in which nurses can drive change. The BASS program offers an opportunity to gain experience in public health, mother/baby nursing care, and the profound interactions that will amplify my ability to interact with vulnerable populations.

Nicole Saltaformaggio

Nicole Saltaformaggio

I envision the BASS Program to tremendously impact my nursing career, in the best way possible! I think that it is important to see the struggles on the health care profession side. Many times I think that people overlook the fact that there are people out there who cannot obtain the health care that they need, as some think of just assisting people that come in and out. There is much to be educated on of those that are currently lacking the deserved health care. By promoting advocation for women's equity health issues and working with professionals, I believe that this will help create a better future for women. If I am able to take part in this program, it will provide me a role in advocating and seeing the direct impact I am making. This will allow me to gain confidence and grow more into myself, as I will be pursuing something that I am very passionate about – women's health. In addition, I will gain much patience education and interaction.

Christine Ventura

Christine Ventura was born in Galveston and raised in Texas City. She graduated from Texas City High School in 2013. She earned her Associate of the Arts at College of the Mainland. She is a wife and mother to two little girls. The experience she had with her second child in the NICU is what inspired her to become a nurse. She is excited for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of her patients.

I envision myself going into either women's health care (in some capacity) or pediatrics. The hands-on experience the BASS program provides is invaluable. I have the chance to encounter situations otherwise not possible. I am very excited about the possibility of learning how to better serve and advocate for my patients. The tools this program equips its members with help to form future nurses that know how to make their voice heard to make a difference in the quality of their patient's lives.

Program Coordinator

Jacquelyn Svoboda | SON Undergraduate Studies

Jacquelyn Svoboda DNP, APRN, WHNP-C