Ashland University Receives Grant to Help Other Institutions Replicate and Sustain Benefits Realized through Innovative Nursing Scholarship Program

ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University is one of nine higher education institutions to receive grants to share and build upon the lessons learned through an innovative and highly successful scholarship program for second-career nurses, New Careers in Nursing (NCIN). NCIN was created eight years ago by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce by providing scholarships to people from groups underrepresented in nursing to earn accelerated baccalaureate or master’s degrees in nursing. Schools of nursing that received NCIN grants to provide these scholarships report great success in recruiting and retaining minority and male nursing students and making their institutions more diverse and inclusive.

The new grant program, Innovations in Accelerated Nursing Education, funds teams of nursing schools that have received NCIN grants. Each team received $10,000 to develop and enhance an educational project to implement innovative approaches to accelerated nursing education that can be taken to scale and replicated in a variety of educational settings.

Ashland University College of Nursing and Health Sciences is part of the team that also includes Duquesne University’s School of Nursing. Ashland University’s dean, Faye Grund, stated that their project, Strengthening Cultural Competence in Prenatal Care with a Virtual Community: Building Capacity through Collaboration will explore alternative clinical experiences, focusing on health promotion outcomes in diverse, high risk, underserved populations, specifically prenatal care for pregnant women. The project also provides on opportunity for faculty to role model sound assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of maternal health care and integrates cultural care learning outcomes.

Dr. Lisa Young and Dr. Faye Grund are Project Directors from Ashland University and collaborated with Dr. Yvonne Weidemann and Dr. Joanie Lockhart, Project Directors from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to develop the project. Collectively, the project team has an extensive background in successful simulations, health promotion, program evaluation, teaching Accelerated Second Degree students and collaborative cultural care projects using a virtual learning environment.

Dr. Young stated, “We look forward to collaborating with Duquesne University in advancing nursing students’ knowledge regarding prenatal care of patients, addressing specific cultural needs within our communities”.  

The other Innovations in Accelerated Nursing Education grantees are:

NCIN Alumni Toolkit

New York University

SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Nursing

Stony Brook University

Replicating an Innovative Educational Pedagogy for Physical Examination and Problem-Setting Skills

Mount St. Mary’s College 

Yale University

Gaming the System

Quinnipiac University

Southern Connecticut State University

“We are so proud of all that NCIN has accomplished over the last seven years,” said AACN President Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our grantees have dramatically increased their recruitment, retention and graduation of students from groups underrepresented in nursing. They have truly changed the culture of their institutions, which are now more diverse and inclusive. There is much to learn from them.”

“It’s our great hope that by gathering the ideas and stories of our grantees, we can sustain and encourage replication of NCIN’s successful efforts and expand them to more institutions,” said David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, RWJF senior program officer. “These grants are intended to provide information that will help schools of nursing continue to do the important work of increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce, including nurse faculty, and increasing the number of nurses holding BSN degrees or higher.”

The 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher, and increasing the diversity of students to create a nursing workforce prepared to meet the health care demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. NCIN is helping to advance those recommendations by enabling schools to expand student capacity and by encouraging more diversity. Since 2008, the NCIN program has distributed 3,517 scholarships to students at 130 unique schools of nursing.

To learn more about the NCIN program, visit

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

About NCIN

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) joined with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to create New Careers in Nursing (NCIN), an RWJF Scholarship Program to help alleviate the nursing shortage and increase the diversity of nursing professionals. Through annual grants to schools of nursing, NCIN provides $10,000 scholarships to college graduates with degrees in other fields who wish to transition into nursing through an accelerated baccalaureate or master’s nursing program. For more information, visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About AACN

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 750 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice. For more information, visit