Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF)

Introduction

The Cohen Scholars program honors Dr. Hal Cohen and Mrs. Jo Cohen.

Dr. Hal Cohen was the first Executive Director of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). As an economist, he was quick to understand the cost of care and is credited as being instrumental in keeping Maryland's health care costs below the national average throughout his career. Under his leadership, Maryland was the only state out of five states with the opportunity to pilot the Medicare waiver in the late 1970's to maintain it for 36 years. The rules of this model provide for all patients being charged the same amount for the same care. The HSCRC, as the rate setting agency for the state, has worked through revisions to the model to ensure that hospital costs and the costs of care are kept low, without impacting high quality and full accessibility.

At Dr. Cohen's death in January 2012, the staff at the HSCRC and MHEC determined to keep his legacy alive. He was a staunch advocate for nurses and started the first Nurse Education Support Program in 1986 at the HSCRC. His wife, Jo, was a nurse and he valued her perspectives on health care. In the April 2012 revisions to the Nurse Support Program II Graduate Nurse Faculty Scholarship, it was renamed to honor Dr. Hal Cohen and his wife Jo. Dr. Cohen served as Executive Director of the HSCRC from 1971 until 1987. He was a sharp economist with a talent for compromise and a high level of political acumen. He is credited with controlling hospital costs, demonstrating decades of cooperation between industry and government. His distinguished service to Maryland was recognized by Senator Ben Cardin when he said that Dr. Cohen "was a public servant of the highest caliber". He considered the interests of hospitals, insurance companies and patients in a fair and equitable process. NSP II honors Dr. Cohen for his long, distinguished career in healthcare and his wife, Jo, as a nurse who advocated for her profession.

The Maryland All-Payer Model which launched in 2014, was an evolution of the Medicare waiver implemented successfully by the HSCRC for over 30 years. In 2019, Maryland built on the model for the Total Cost of Care Model to bring health care provided outside the inpatient setting onboard. Maryland is the only state in the nation to maintain a model, where every payer pays the same charge for the same care. As the rate setting agency for the State, the HSCRC plays a vital role in the implementation of the Total Cost of Care Model.

For more information, visit: HSCRC and Total Cost of Care Model.

The Nurse Support Program II provides funding for Cohen Scholars to complete the graduate degrees (MS, MSN, DNP, PhD, EdD) and core education coursework, including post-master's teaching certificates, necessary to prepare to become a nurse educator, nurse faculty or clinical educator in one of Maryland’s nursing degree programs. Maryland institutions with nursing degree programs may nominate a limited number of new Cohen Scholars each academic year. The Cohen Scholars are recognized as the next generation of nurse educators to fill the positions needed now and in the future. The program is administered through the NSP II with grants across participating nursing programs to award Cohen Scholars. The Cohen Scholars will serve as new nursing faculty and clinical educators to produce the additional nursing graduates required by Maryland’s hospitals and health systems.

Awards: Funding will be provided to higher education institutions for distribution to their selected recipients of the Cohen Scholars. The maximum amount of the award is equal to all tuition and mandatory fees for courses in the approved nursing plan of study at Maryland public and independent colleges and universities. Once awarded, grants are individualized according to the student plan of study to cover two to four years, assuming continuous performance at the expected level and completion of all requirements to maintain the award.

Guidance and special provisions for current GNF students who are transitioning to the Cohen Scholars program in Summer 2020 and will graduate in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021.

The NSP II Faculty Workgroup made provisions for current graduate students to be "grandfathered" into the new requirements if graduating in Academic Year 2020-2021. There will be a year of transition and personalized mentoring plans for current students to meet the new requirements through their nursing contact at the school.

GPA Requirement
The current minimum GPA requirement for 3.0 will be acceptable as we grandfather the current students graduating in the next AY- by Spring 2021. All new students and those going forward after AY 2020-2021 are required to meet the minimum 3.25 GPA.

Education Coursework: 9 SH requirement
If a student already completed the 9 SH in a prior program or have completed two required or elective education courses (6SH) in their current plan of study, they have met the requirements.
Students may use the FAMI-MD ( Faculty Academy and Mentorship Initiative for Maryland) program in lieu of 3 SH of education credit this Academic Year.
Ex: Fall 2020 graduates need 3 SH ( or FAMI), Spring 2021 graduates need 6 SH (FAMI and 3 SH or 6 SH total).
FAMI is free to the student, if this option is selected and prepares them for the clinical educator role. Please review the virtual 30 contact hour program and reach out to Dr. Seldomridge. She can be contacted at laseldomridge@salisbury.edu.

Financial Literacy Requirement
The financial literacy requirement can be met several ways.
The Faculty workgroup included a recommendation to fund all students to use a course like the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University (FPU) online program for ~~$120-$130 along with their full tuition and fees.

There is also a Foundations in Personal Finance college level course online with a textbook.

If the student has a formal Finance Course in the existing graduate degree plan of study or completed one previously on their transcript in a previous program, or a Health Finance course may be part of the MS/DNP plan of study; therefore, these formal courses would satisfy the financial literacy requirement.

Summer Funding
As a current GNF, transitioning to a Cohen Scholar, your summer tuition is funded along with all of your tuition and fees. There is an internal process at the school to ensure all tuition and fees are paid and there are no special student requests needed for Summer.

For information at the institution, contact directly:
-Bowie State University: Dr. Euwanna Heard, eheard@bowiestate.edu
-Coppin State University: Dr. Tracey Murray, tmurray@coppin.edu and Dr. Joan Tilghman, jtilghman@coppin.edu
-Frostburg State University: Dr. Stefanie Hay, sehay@frostburg.edu
-Johns Hopkins School of Nursing: Dr. Rita D'Aoust, rdaoust1@jhu.edu
-Morgan State University: Dr. Maija Anderson, maija.anderson@morgan.edu and Dr. Jennette Logan, jennette.logan@morgan.edu
-Notre Dame of Maryland University: Dr. Sabita Persaud, spersaud@ndm.edu
-Salisbury University: Dr. Jeffrey Willey, jawilley@salisbury.edu
-Stevenson University: Dr. Judith Feustle, jfeustle@stevenson.edu and Dr. Laura Petri, lpetri@stevenson.edu
-Towson University: Dr. Hayley Mark, hmark@towson.edu and Dr. Kathy Ogle, kogle@towson.edu
-University of Maryland School of Nursing: Dr. Carol O'Neil, oneil@umaryland.edu
Contact email for general questions for the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF): peggy.daw@maryland.gov or kimberly.ford@maryland.gov

Eligibility: New nominees will be selected by the Dean or Director of nursing graduate degree programs, reviewed and recommended by faculty committees at each participating school, with Cohen Scholars mentoring plans completed. Current GNF students transitioning to Cohen Scholars cohorts must maintain eligibility through the agreed upon mentoring plan and individualized outline for preparation to teach upon graduation. The funding support is provided for the graduate student to complete the educational preparation necessary for their chosen career path as nurse faculty or clinical nurse educators. Nominees should be enrolled at a Maryland college or university as a graduate student in a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, post-graduate certificate program in nursing education, Doctorate (PhD, DNP, EdD) program or another graduate-level program required to advance the nursing educator career path. Grant awards have a service obligation component and are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award.To be eligible, nominees must agree to the plan of study, core educational coursework, mentoring plan and maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA. Those who have received this award in a prior year will continue to be eligible for the full program of study if they meet the requirements, follow the mentoring plan and continue to make good progress in the program.

A second limited option for eligibility will be for the non-participating Cohen Scholars schools who do not have a defined annual number of current and future Cohen Scholars. It will be limited, based on the number of new nominees and administered by the Nurse Support Program II through a nomination process to include the same requirements, mentorship and service obligation components. Deans and Directors may nominate current Maryland nurse faculty, educators, clinical instructors, adjunct faculty or hospital nurse educators who are enrolled at a Maryland college or university as a full-time or part-time graduate student in a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN, MS) program, post-graduate certificate program in nursing education, Doctorate (PhD, DNP, EdD) program or another graduate-level nursing program required to prepare individuals to become nursing faculty. Students must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. The student is required to enter the program with 9 SH of education coursework or complete the minimum of 9SH of education coursework during the degree program.

For purposes of this graduate nursing Cohen Scholars program, full-time is defined as nine or more graduate level credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study (e.g. mini-mester, quarter, continuous year-round enrollment plan, accelerated course program); part-time is defined as any credit hours taken less than nine credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study. Audited courses cannot be used to reach the credit hours required for full-time or part-time status.

Grant awards have a service obligation component and are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award.

Nomination Process: All students must provide prior to the start of the semester:

1. the approved Cohen Scholars Nomination and Mentoring Form with signatures of dean or director of the Maryland nursing school, mentor and student

2. an official transcript from all institutions which the applicant attended for any registered nursing programs and graduate nursing programs;

3. plan of study that includes 9 SH of education core coursework or description of prior completion on transcript. The nurse educator will include preparation in their plan of study to meet the National League for Nursing's Nurse Educator Competencies to ensure a smooth transition to employment in a nurse educator role.

Selection Method: Priority will be given to recipients who are: 1) employed as current faculty, adjuncts or clinical instructors in a nursing program, or 2) enrolled in accelerated programs and programs that prepare faculty for positions that have historically been difficult to fill or are deemed critical to nursing faculty infrastructure at Maryland nursing programs or 3) serving in a professional development position in a Maryland hospital. To produce nursing faculty and educators as expeditiously as possible, preference will be given to students pursuing full-time graduate study in the priority areas above. Applicants who do not fall into one of the priority areas will be ranked by grade point average (GPA) and awarded as long as funds remain available. Grant awards are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award.

Renewal and Continuation: The Cohen Scholars awards are automatically renewed for the full term of approved plan of study provided all eligibility requirements are fulfilled.

An annual update on the mentoring plan should include program progress, any change in the plan of study and is required at the completion of each academic year.

A recipient who is academically ineligible, decides against a faculty career path or who is not making satisfactory progress will not continue to be funded as a Cohen Scholar.

Service Obligation: A recipient must sign a promissory note affirming that the recipient will serve as a nurse faculty at a Maryland institution with nursing degree programs by doing the following:

1. work one year as a full-time nurse faculty member/hospital educator/ approved educational role for each academic year, or portion thereof, the award was received as a full-time or part-time student; or
2. as outlined in a recipient’s service obligation agreement and promissory note.

Individuals fulfilling their service obligations as a part-time nurse faculty member or hospital educator or approved educational role serving Maryland must work two years for each year of their full-time employment obligation. Full-time employment is defined as 35 or more hours per week or a contract for 12 or more academic credit hours per semester in didactic instruction. Part-time employment is defined as 20-34 hours per week or a contract for less than 12 academic credit hours in didactic instruction or a clinical instruction contract for less than 12 contact hours or combination of less than 12 academic credit and/or contact hours per semester.

The service obligation begins within six months after completion of your degree program, and cannot be fulfilled prior to completion. If you hold this scholarship with any other award requiring a service obligation, you must perform your service in consecutive years. A recipient must meet the service obligation at any Maryland institution granting nursing degrees and is not required to work at the sponsoring institution. If the service obligation is not met, the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF) award must be repaid with interest.

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Repayment: A recipient will be required to repay the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF) if the recipient:

1. has the award revoked;

2.fails to meet the required GPA of 3.25;

3.fails to complete the 9 SH of education core coursework;

4.fails to complete the appropriate degree or certificate program;

5.fails to graduate or demonstrate professional behavior;

6.fails to become licensed or certified as required;

7.has a license or certification revoked during education or service;

8.fails to complete the Cohen Scholars mentoring plan with annual updates;

9.fails to complete the annual questionnaire on performance of service obligation;

10.fails to perform the required service for the required amount of time; or otherwise fails to carry out the obligations of the scholarship.

Interest charged on the funds advanced is at an interest rate equal to and matching the interest rate established by the United States Department of Education for the Federal Stafford Loan on the first day of July of each year, with interest not accruing prior to notification to the Commission of a recipient’s graduation or termination from an institution of higher education. The repayment schedule is established by MHEC, and payment must be completed within 3 years after repayment begins.

Deferment of the Service Obligation and Repayment: A recipient is required to seek employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields.

A recipient may receive a deferment during the time the recipient is:

1. on a temporary leave of absence approved by the employer from full-time employment in the required employment field;

2. temporarily totally disabled, for a period not to exceed three years;

3. unable to secure employment for a period not to exceed twelve months by reason of the care required by a spouse or child who is disabled;

4. seeking and unable to find full-time or part-time employment for a single period not to exceed twelve months;

5. an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal;

6. the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal; or

7. completing additional approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships


To qualify for any of the deferments a recipient shall notify MHEC and the Central Collection Unit if the repayment period has begun, of the recipient's claim for the deferment and provide supporting documentation. Such documentation shall consist of:

1. certification by the employer that the recipient is on a temporary approved leave of absence from the required employment;

2. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician that the recipient is temporarily totally disabled;

3. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician if the recipient is unable to find employment by reason of the care required by spouse or child who is disabled;

4. a certified statement including a list of possible employers with their addresses and telephone numbers to which application for employment has been made if the recipient is seeking and unable to find full-time employment;

5. a copy of military orders; or

6. documentation of approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships.

MHEC shall review all documentation to determine whether the deferment conditions have been met and, if so, for what time periods. Before a deferment based on inability to find employment in the eligible field is granted, MHEC will review the submitted documentation and any other information available for evidence that the recipient has sought employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields.

MHEC shall review appeals on a case-by-case basis from individuals assigned military duty outside the State, or the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside the State that exceeds the three year deferral limit. Appeals must be in writing and include a copy of the military orders. During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments described, the recipient need not make the scholarship repayments and the interest does not accrue.

Waiver of the Service Obligation and Repayment:

A recipient's grant repayment obligations if MHEC determines:

1. on the basis of a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician, that the recipient is unable to perform the service obligation on a full-time basis because of an impairment that is expected to continue indefinitely, or result in death;

2. on the basis of disability to work based on evidence of approved Social Security disability documentation; or

3. on the basis of a death certificate or other evidence of death that is conclusive under State law that the recipient has died.

The Dean/Director must complete the Cohen Scholars Nomination and Mentoring Plan Form as a sponsor/mentor of the graduate student.

Click on link for information on the Faculty Academy and Mentoring Initiative of Maryland (FAMI-MD).

Click on link for information one an NSP II funded option for Preparing Clinical Faculty Resources.

Click on link for information on the Maryland Student Loan Repayment Tax Credit.

Contact email for the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF): peggy.daw@maryland.gov or kimberly.ford@maryland.gov