The Maryland Higher Education Commission secretary, James D. Fielder, announced that $29.3 million was awarded for 29 competitive institutional grant proposals at 14 Maryland nursing programs by MHEC’s Nurse Support Program II, according to a MHEC news release.

The FY 2021 competitive institutional grant awards include one-year planning grants, five-year full implementation grants, continuation grants and nursing resource grants.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these grants are critical to our healthcare professionals as they navigate new and unexpected demands on our workforce,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) said. “We need to offer as many opportunities as possible to ensure success on the front lines, by providing the funding necessary to promote new and creative options for our nursing professionals.”

All recommended proposals were approved for funding by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission during its May meeting. This joint effort between HSCRC, MHEC and the higher education institutions in Maryland has concentrated on meeting the needs of nursing professionals at hospitals and nursing schools for more than 30 years.

“Despite the numerous challenges to our healthcare professionals, due to COVID-19, MHEC remains focused on funding opportunities that will continue to enhance our pool of well-educated and qualified nurses to serve Maryland residents, now and in the years to come,” Secretary Fielder said.

The nine-member review panel recommended funding for 29 of the 40 total proposals, at 14 institutions of higher education with nursing programs in Maryland. Schools that received funding for FY 2021 include:

• Allegany College of Maryland

• Carroll Community College

• Cecil College

• Coppin State University

• Frostburg State University

• Harford Community College

• Johns Hopkins University

• Montgomery College

• Morgan State University

• Notre Dame of Maryland University

• Prince George’s Community College

•  Salisbury University

• Stevenson University

• University of Maryland

The most highly recommended institutional proposals awarded included:

• Expanding enrollments for 77 additional Associate Degree Nursing graduates at Harford Community College with 286 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completions in partnership with Towson University and UM Upper Chesapeake Health.

• Planning a BSN program to expand pre-licensure capacity at Frostburg State University.

• Implementing a new Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program at Johns Hopkins University in partnership with Johns Hopkins Healthcare System.

• Continuing the Faculty Academy and Mentoring Initiative (FAMI) at Salisbury University to include advanced curriculums and expanded partners at schools and hospitals across the state to prepare 500 clinical instructors.

• Implementing Care Coordination Education to Practice programs at the University of Maryland with University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and UM Midtown hospitals.

• Implementing the R3- Renewal, Resilience and Retention program at Johns Hopkins University for nurses, nurse residents, educators, and faculty at four universities, two community colleges and six hospital partners including Anne Arundel Medical Center, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, UMMC, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, and Atlantic General Hospital.

• Expanding enrollments and entry-level BSN graduates at the University of Maryland at Shady Grove with 180 additional BSN graduates projected over five years.

• Planning a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Consortium to develop dual PhD and DNP program opportunities at Coppin State University.

• Supporting academic progression initiatives to expedite the completion of the BSN at two nursing programs: Cecil College and Carroll Community College.

The NSP II focuses on nurse faculty and increasing the educational capacity to prepare a strong nursing workforce for Maryland's hospitals and health systems. Over the years the Nurse Support Program, both NSP I and NSP II (originally Nurse Education Support Program), has been expanded to encourage new and innovative approaches to address the challenges and demands facing the nursing workforce. The Nurse Support Program is funded by HSCRC and administered by MHEC.