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MHA Announces Tufts Health Plan Foundation Nurse Scholarship Awardees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:June 01, 2009       


Clare Densmore, MHA
(781) 262-6031

Patti Embry-Tautenhan, THP
(617) 972-1090

Nursing Initiative Improves Faculty Shortage

The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE), today announced the recipients of Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s Nurse Scholarship Awards. The scholarships of up to $10,000 are granted to clinical nurses in masters and doctoral nursing programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to address the nursing shortage by ensuring our ability to educate new nurses.

MHA awarded eight scholarships to the following candidates, each of whom committed to teaching nursing in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. The awardees, their hometowns, and the degree track and school of nursing in which they’re currently enrolled are:

  • Dawn Carpenter, Foster, RI, PhD, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA;
  • Kathleen Courtney, Tyngsboro, MA, PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA;
  • Cara Feinzeig, Boston, MA, MS, Simmons College, Boston, MA;
  • Eugenie Formel, Becket, MA, MS, College of Our Lady of the Elms, Chicopee, MA;
  • Sharon Galloway, Warwick, RI, MS, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI;
  • Annette Griffin, Swansea, MA, PhD, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA;
  • Kathryn Phillips, Needham, MA, MS, Boston College, Boston, MA;
  • Jacqueline Sly, Canton, MA, MS, Regis College, Weston, MA.

The combination of an aging workforce, a generation of nursing faculty approaching retirement, and the increasing healthcare demands of baby boomers is expected to soon place burdens on the healthcare delivery system that far exceed the supply of available nurses.  According to a 2005 MDHE survey, the most effective strategy for addressing the growing nursing shortage is to expand the number of nursing faculty available to teach. To meet this urgent need for nurse educators, Tufts Health Plan developed the Nurse Scholars Program in collaboration with MHA and MDHE.

MHA’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Karen Nelson, R.N., co-chaired the award selection committee with Anne Marie Boursiquot King, director of grants of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, and Erin Mawn of MDHE. Mawn said, “The workforce pipeline is jammed at the education level with nursing schools flooded by applications, but not enough nursing faculty to meet the demand.”

“This program will help put both nursing educators and students into classrooms, increase the workforce, and ensure enough nurses are at the bedside,” Nelson said.

David Abelman, executive director of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, believes that investing in nursing education is one way that the Foundation demonstrates its commitment to promote quality healthcare. “It is well-documented that the shortage of qualified nurses has been an issue in recent years. All of us are patients at one time or another and will be affected by this problem, so Tufts Health Plan is glad to partner with like-minded organizations that are seeking solutions. We believe that providing scholarships to nurse educators is one solution, and we are pleased to congratulate the scholarship awardees,” he said.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation granted $250,000 to MHA, supporting another year of the Nursing Initiative and funding awards of up to $10,000 for the summer 2009, fall 2009, and spring 2010 semesters. MHA and MDHE, in collaboration with the Foundation, also applied to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for a Partners in Nursing (PIN) grant. If awarded the PIN grant on July 1st, RWJF would match the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s $250,000 for the program, providing additional scholarship opportunities and advancing the current collaborative efforts of the MDHE Nursing Initiative to other New England states.

About MHA: The Massachusetts Hospital Association is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of hospitals and health systems, related organizations, and other members with a common interest in promoting the health of the people of the Commonwealth. Through leadership in public advocacy, education, and information, MHA represents and advocates for the collective interests of its member hospitals and health systems, and supports their efforts to provide high quality, cost effective, and accessible care.  

About the Tufts Health Plan Foundation: Tufts Health Plan launched the Tufts Health Plan Foundation in 2008. The Foundation’s mission is to promote healthy lifestyles and the delivery of quality care in our communities. In its first year, the Foundation focused on Disparities, Nursing Faculty Education and Health Consumer Education and awarded $2.5 million to more than 60 non-profit organizations throughout Massachusetts. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation is currently focusing on healthy to help meet the challenges of an aging society. Through grants in the three areas of Vibrant Lifestyles, Intergenerational Collaboration and Keeping Our Seniors Safe, the Foundation seeks to fund programs that will  elevate the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of older adults; enable them to contribute their experiences and knowledge to their communities; and ultimately help older adults live longer, healthier lives. More information about the Tufts Health Plan Foundation can be found on its Website www.tuftshelathplanfoundation.org.

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