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Healthcare Initiative Foundation Grant Helping to Launch Careers For Students at Montgomery College, Universities at Shady Grove

Grant Funds from Montgomery County-based Non-profit Provide Scholarship Support, Clinical Opportunities for Students in Nursing, Social Work, Public Health

(Rockville, MD) — Philanthropy for higher education scholarships goes beyond helping students complete a degree and enter the workforce. This was the case when the Montgomery County-based Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) awarded a five-year Strategic Sustainability grant to Montgomery College (MC) and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG).

While the goal was to build a diverse healthcare pipeline of professional who would enter the county’s workforce, HIF President and CEO Crystal Carr Townsend wanted to go beyond just awarding scholarships. Townsend also requested that MC and USG provide wrap-around services that enhance recipient’s success both in school and as they enter the workforce, through initiatives such as internships, a Bilingual Mentoring Writing Program, an interdisciplinary Mass Casualty Drill, and the opportunity to earn Qualified Bilingual Staff certification to help medical providers communicate with patients and families whose first language is not English.

Grant funding is helping more than 140 students launch careers in nursing, social work and other health care professions, by supporting them with scholarships and clinical training opportunities as these students pursue their degrees.

“Montgomery County is an extraordinarily diverse community and we need to ensure we have a healthcare delivery system that is reflective of that diversity and meets the needs of those we serve,” said Crystal Carr Townsend, president of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation.  “Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove are answering this call and we are delighted to support them with additional resources to help in educating and preparing the healthcare professionals that are in high demand in Montgomery County.”

Once selected as a HIF scholarship recipient, students continue to receive financial assistance each semester at MC and USG, with the goal that they earn both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in either nursing, public health, mental health or social work, and then enter the Montgomery County healthcare workforce.

In fact, more than one student has returned to school and this scholarship program after dropping out. For example, Matilda Adu stopped attending Montgomery College after her work hours were reduced leaving her unable to pay rent and utilities. After an MC staff person reached out and learned of her situation, Adu received assistance both from the College and the HIF scholarship that enabled her to resume taking classes the following semester. Now, she is back on track to graduate with her associate’s degree and then transfer to USG to earn her bachelor’s degree in social work.

In just the first three years of the five-year grant, the joint initiative has yielded promising outcomes.

142 MC and USG students have received HIF scholarships;

33 scholarship recipients have graduated from Montgomery College with an associate’s degree;

65 have graduated from the Universities at Shady Grove with a bachelor’s degree;

71 percent of the MC/USG graduates are bilingual; and

32 of these HIF scholars have entered the healthcare and behavioral care workforce, 19 of them working in Montgomery County.

“This program is yielding incredible results and helping to turn out the kinds of well-prepared healthcare professionals that are needed to serve our community,” said Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University System of Maryland and Executive Director of the Universities at Shady Grove. “We are grateful to the Healthcare Initiative Foundation for their support and for their commitment to student success.”

“Research shows that diversity among healthcare professionals leads to improved access and care for the underserved and, ultimately, better health outcomes,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College. “At Montgomery College, we are committed to training a workforce that will better serve our community in every way. It’s wonderful to see, alongside our partners from USG, the results of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation’s shared commitment to this mission.

When this grant partnership concludes in 2021, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation grant program will have exceeded its original targets to enable approximately 120 students to earn associate’s and/or bachelor’s degrees, including at least 60 of whom will have entered Montgomery County’s healthcare workforce.

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About the Universities at Shady Grove

The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is part of the University System of Maryland and the partner campus of nine Maryland public universities, all of which share in the mission of creating educational and economic opportunities for the residents of Montgomery County and the surrounding region. Since its founding in 2000, USG has been providing innovative approaches to some of higher education’s biggest challenges — quality, access, and affordability. Students who successfully complete their coursework on the USG campus graduate with a degree from one of these universities: Bowie State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and University of Maryland University College.

About Montgomery College

Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

About the Healthcare Initiative Foundation

The Healthcare Initiative Foundation supports organizations that offer solutions to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare for residents of Montgomery County, Maryland. Within our geographic and focus area, we consider efforts to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare, expand the availability of comprehensive healthcare, build appropriate capacity in the healthcare network, and grow the healthcare workforce. To learn more, please visit our website at and like us on Facebook at

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