News Releases

University of Maryland School of Nursing Innovation Honored Through Two AACN Awards

November 29, 2016

UMSON’s collaboration with a local community outreach center and its baccalaureate curriculum recognized.

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) is pleased to announce that its Community and Public Health (CPH) master’s specialty, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, received two American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) awards for its forward-thinking initiatives: the Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award in the Academic Health Center category and the Innovations in Baccalaureate Population Health Award. This is the second time that UMSON has received the Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award in the Academic Health Center category, and it is the only school to have received the award more than once.

AACN’s Innovation in Professional Nursing Education Award recognizes the work of member schools that re-envision traditional models for nursing education and that lead programmatic change. Over the past six years, UMSON has radically changed its model for working with Paul’s Place, a community outreach center in Southwest Baltimore. Under a formal service agreement, Paul’s Place pays for 20 percent of one doctorally prepared CPH faculty member’s time to serve as director of health and wellness for the center, ensuring there is a director to coordinate and supervise community health and wellness services year round. Through this model, Paul’s Place has been able to double the services it provides, including a community-based, nurse-led clinic and faculty practice and a full array of interdisciplinary services through collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s five other professional schools.

The Innovations in Baccalaureate Population Health Award was established to recognize a curriculum that demonstrates an innovative strategy that enhances population health in a baccalaureate nursing program. Beginning in 2014, UMSON significantly revised its baccalaureate curriculum to strategically integrate CPH/population health during the four-semester program. UMSON students are now introduced to population health in their first term, and they build upon this knowledge throughout the course of study from classroom, learning labs, and community field placements in the Baltimore and greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

In addition to integrating population health early in its undergraduate curriculum, UMSON has implemented four other innovations that set it apart in its commitment to and embrace of population health in baccalaureate nursing education, including: 1) an emphasis on home visit simulation and principles of asthma management; 2) hands-on, interprofessional education and outreach to ensure basic competencies to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the area; 3) a focus on understanding social justice and social determinants; and 4) exposure to a broad array of community-based clinical experiences. The School’s extensive network of community field placements ensures 200 students engage in more than 75 individual and group preceptor experiences every semester. In a single semester, UMSON students have close to 1,800 encounters with community members through a variety of venues.

“We are thrilled and deeply honored to receive these two prestigious awards. Recognition by AACN is a wonderful testament to our community/public health faculty and the innovative curriculum and experiential learning opportunities that they create,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are especially grateful to Paul’s Place; through our longstanding partnership, we have developed new approaches to addressing the health needs of significantly underserved members of our community. Collectively, our community partners are an important part of what makes it possible for us to educate well prepared nurses to serve a diverse population in a wide variety of settings. It is particularly meaningful to have our work recognized during the 50th anniversary of the School of Nursing’s Community/Public Health master’s specialty as we look ahead to the future innovations that will keep us on the cutting edge of nursing education.”

AACN serves as the catalyst for excellence and innovation in nursing education, research, and practice. It has a long tradition of recognizing individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in support of the nursing profession. 

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top 10 nursing schools in the United States. Enrolling more than 1,800 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.