"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Keeping the Brightest and Best Right Here at Home

Guest Blogger:
Karen Johnson, Executive Director
Western Maryland Health System Foundation

Fourteen years ago, the Western Maryland Health System Foundation made a commitment to provide scholarships for local students pursuing higher education as healthcare professionals.  Using donated funds, scholarships were developed, with generous terms offering as much as $5000 per semester.  This spring, the program crossed a significant milestone:  to date, over $1,000,000 has been committed to WMHS scholars.  One hundred sixty-four individual students have been given the chance to fulfill their dreams.  Untold thousands of patients have been cared for by those very students.  

While a wonderful opportunity for students, admittedly, this strategy was to our benefit as well.  In addition to supporting local students, our vision was to grow a pool of local talent to serve the Western Maryland Health System community.  To borrow a phrase, our hope was to keep “the brightest and best” right here at home.  And that is exactly what has happened.

Take Amy.  She knew she wanted to be a nurse from earliest childhood, and applied for a WMHS scholarship as a high school senior in 2003.  Since graduating from the nursing program at Allegany College of Maryland, she has been a valued employee in the WMHS Emergency Department. In May, 2015, she was named Employee of the Month, cited as an excellent clinician with a passion for her work, a dedicated team member and community (EMT, firefighter) volunteer.  Now that’s a great investment!

In April, we announced our latest group of promising scholarship winners:   Samantha Jones, Chloe Bauermaster, Teresa Kline, Kimberly Adams, Pamela Jenkins, and Carla Weaver.  In an interesting commentary on today’s ever-changing healthcare arena, each woman is already an RN and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  

The WMHS Foundation is honored to be a part of making dreams come true.  And in addition to the original scholarships, we now manage scholarships for several individuals or families who have established those opportunities.  If you would like to consider creating a “health care dream” scholarship, we’d be happy to help you.  The Foundation number is 240-964-8003, or email me at karenjohnson@wmhs.com.  

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