Kent State’s College of Nursing Awarded $225,000 Grant From Peg’s Foundation

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Summer 2022 – Vol. VI, Issue 2

Kent State University’s College of Nursing was recently awarded a three-year $225,000 grant from Peg’s Foundation, formerly the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, a private grant-making foundation that supports mental health programs in Northeast Ohio. These funds will support the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, as well as improve recruitment and increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working in Northeast Ohio.

“Financial support from Peg’s Foundation encourages nurses to return to school for psychiatric mental health. By supporting Kent State University College of Nursing students, we are helping to attract, educate and keep advanced practice nurses in Northeast Ohio,” said Thom Craig, Peg’s Foundation Director – Mental Health Program. “Upon graduation, these students will be providing care and treatment for individuals living with mental illness, addiction, and complex health issues, especially those who reside in underserved communities.”

A generous donor to Kent State’s College of Nursing, Peg’s Foundation has been supporting the college for nearly 15 years. More than 130 Kent State nursing students have benefited from more than $550,000 in financial assistance from the foundation.

Funding from this grant was awarded to Jim Tudhope, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, Kent State’s psychiatric Mental health Nurse Practitioner concentration coordinator and assistant professor, and Lisa Onesko, DNP, APRN-BC, Kent State professor and director of the DNP program. This award designates $105,000 to continue the Peg’s Foundation traineeship program for graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner APRN concentration; $90,000 to support three DNP scholars; and $30,000 to develop a sustainable community of practice to further support professional development of past traineeship recipients.

“There has been a growing need for psychiatric nursing services in Northeast Ohio,” Tudhope said.

Citing an aging workforce in which three out of five psychiatrists are age 55 or older, increased demand for psychiatric mental health services in the community and the Affordable Care Act, which has allowed more individuals to have access to insurance and health care than before, Tudhope explained that the current workforce has struggled to meet the demand.

“There's a lot of work to be done and not enough clinicians in the field,” Tudhope expressed. “Through the generous continued support of Peg’s Foundation, we can carry on providing traineeships for students, which has increased our admittance capacity. Our students receive a strong foundation and education throughout their program from dedicated faculty who are committed to supporting them in their future careers.”

Financial support goes directly to students to offset the costs of student debt. Three DNP student scholarship recipients will be fully funded, enabling them to complete their DNP without accumulating student debt.

Over the next three years, 30 full-time and 30 part-time traineeships will support students in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner MSN program. As a cohort, these students will commit to providing a combined 750 volunteer service hours that positively impact mental health initiatives and social determinants of health within Northeast Ohio. Students may complete their volunteer hours on the Kent State campus or within their local communities.

Upon receiving funds, students also commit to working as psychiatric mental health practitioners in Northeast Ohio for at least two years following graduation.

Beginning with this new cycle of funding, Kent State’s College of Nursing will build on the impact it has previously achieved by creating a sustainable community of practice to further support the professional development of past traineeship recipients.

“We will be identifying where our graduates of the past 10 years are now and how things are going for them in the work environment,” Tudhope stated. “By identifying their needs, we can mentor and network with them, which will allow the college to continue to support the workplace wellbeing of our alums.”

A two-time recipient of these funds, Tudhope is passionate about ensuring that other students pursuing advanced nursing degrees in psychiatric mental health have similar opportunities. He received the MSN scholarship award, and years later, was the first recipient of the DNP scholar award granted to the college. Today, he has come full circle as coordinator of the college’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program and liaison with Peg’s Foundation.

“My journey speaks to the commitment of both Peg’s Foundation and Kent State’s College of Nursing to graduate students,” Tudhope said. “These entities want to see our students succeed. Now coming alongside the students as a faculty member and having a part in creating opportunities for them to take the next steps, it is wonderful to see such partnership in action. Personally and professionally, it is fulfilling to see the investment others made in my life be extended to the students who come after me. I am proud I get to continue this great work.”

Feedback from students over the years includes expressions of gratefulness and excitement.

“When students see how other organizations are interested in the needs of our community, it helps solidify that they made the right decision to enter this field,” Tudhope explained. “To have backing from strangers who believe you are going to make a difference and are willing to invest in you is a huge blessing for our students.” 

Students interested in learning more about participating in the Peg’s Foundation traineeship program can reach out to Tudhope at


Learn more about Kent State’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

Learn more about Peg’s Foundation.


Photo Description:  Kent State nursing and Peg's Foundation scholarship recipient alumni, along with their colleagues, contribute to the integrated and interprofessional care learning environment at Portage Path Behavioral Health in Akron, Ohio. (Back row left to right: Kristin Poole, Pharmacy Technician - Genoa; Adam Quisno, Pharmacist - Genoa; Vhari Kashay, PMHNP-BC, Peg's Foundation scholarship recipient, Portage Path Behavioral Health; Jen Smith, PMHNP-BC, Peg's Foundation scholarship recipient, Portage Path Behavioral Health; Katy Pirozhkov, PMHNP-BC, Portage Path Behavioral Health; Susan Linz, Pharmacy Technician - Genoa; Mark Werstler, PMHNP-BC, Peg's Foundation scholarship recipient, Portage Path Behavioral Health. Seated left to right: James Tudhope, DNP-Psychiatry, Portage Path Behavioral Health; Vikil Girdhar, MD-Family Medicine, AxessPointe)

POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2022 01:51 PM
UPDATED: Saturday, May 18, 2024 12:29 AM
Mariah Gibbons