The University of Massachusetts Amherst

DNP Profile: Cheru Atraga

Cheru Atraga, DNP, FNP-C, MS, MEd; Associate Professor

Location: Springfield, MA

Degree:  Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner specialization

Cheru Atraga has his sights set on improving the disparities in health care. He knows it’s an ambitious goal, but he believes that by educating fellow nurses he can achieve it. 

Growing up in Ethiopia, he lived close to a church where missionary sisters from around the world worked to help the poor. Watching the nuns care for patients struck a chord with Cheru, “I knew it was my calling to also help those in need. I realized what a wonderful opportunity I had to care for those in need no matter their race, age, sex, or financial circumstances.”

Dr. Atraga is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts. He says that the standard of education in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at UMass Amherst inspired him to give the best quality education to his students. “UMass taught me that the quality of nurses is strongly dependent on the quality of teaching and caring for students.”  Dr. Atraga speaks highly of the nursing faculty at UMass Amherst:  “What I feel most impressed by is how the majority of the faculty is not only competent and professional but also strive to help their students succeed and become wonderful professional nurses. UMass Nursing is outstanding due to its quality of leaders, including current DNP Director Dr. Pamela Aselton.”

Dr. Atraga is currently leading a project called "FIG Project" after receiving a small grant in 2017. The purpose of the project is to mentor minority nursing students with financial, psychosocial and academic challenges.The project is very successful in achieving its purpose and is currently underway with 3 different cohorts of students. Dr. Atraga is writing an article about the FIG project for publication. “As a minority student myself, it is important for me to help future minority students at the college I work and beyond, so that the nursing profession can have a more diverse population,” Cheru says.

Cheru hopes that other nurses considering furthering their education, especially those with the ability to bring their own personal experience to the profession, will be inspired to consider the UMass Amherst DNP.

We are proud to have Dr. Atraga in the UMass Nursing community!