Corizon is pleased to have funded scholarships through the NCCHC Foundation to students from historically black colleges and universities, mental health professionals and nurses, allowing them to attend the NCCHC National Conference in October 2021.

January 18, 2022
National Commission on Correctional Health Care

The future of correctional health care looks brighter with the introduction of eight scholarship winners at the November 2021 NCCHC Conference on Correctional Health Care.

NCCHC Foundation received targeted funding from Corizon Health, Centurion Health, and foundation donors to provide scholarships to students from historically black colleges and universities, mental health professionals, and nurses. The winners shared their stories at a reception on November 1.

Jean Muckian, PhD, RN, CCHP, a nurse educator from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, noted that her exposure to NCCHC began when she was handed a copy of the NCCHC Standards two years ago upon starting her job. Dr. Muckian found NCCHC information to be so critical that she became a CCHP in 2021. With 400 nurses depending on her for direction, she saw the conference as an opportunity to catch up on best practices to raise the level of quality of care. Reflecting on the conference, Dr. Muckian noted that it was “refreshing” to find that other health systems have similar issues and that other attendees were so “friendly, helpful, and easy to talk to.” She thanked her mentor, Sue Medley-Lane, RN, CCHP-A, for giving her feedback and suggestions for getting the most out of the conference.

While Dr. Muckian is an experienced nurse practitioner, another participant was just starting her career. Meghan Wilke, MS, is a mental health provider with the Kentucky Department of Corrections through Wellpath. She wanted to attend the conference because she is “eager to make a difference.” She noted that she did not believe that she could “reach her own career goals without improving patient care and the services she provides to the facility.” After the conference, she said that “it was incredibly reassuring and validating to learn that many of my struggles were shared by my mentor [Sharon Barboza, PhD, CCHP-MH]. Having been in the field significantly longer, Dr. Barboza offered valuable advice and feedback that I am implementing daily.”

Dr. Barboza commented that “the challenges of providing quality care in correctional settings can seem overwhelming and those new to the field may not know where to get information or how to navigate what information is available. Being a mentor allows the opportunity to assist and guide individuals as they learn about care in our settings.” She mentioned that it was exciting to see Ms. Wilke get engrossed in the sessions and network with other mental health professionals and that “it is important for us to foster growth and learning among young clinicians and those new to correctional healthcare.”

The scholarship program even reached into undergraduate and graduate programs, allowing students to travel to Chicago to fully participate in the conference. Ariella Adams received her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health right after the conference. She and her mentor, Alison O Jordan, MSW, CCHP, spent time at the conference identifying the ideal environment for her first job in corrections. Ms. Jordan was impressed by Ms. Adams’ interest in “creating, implementing, and evaluating health policies to improve correctional institutions.” She volunteered to continue to be a resource as Ms. Adams begins her career with the New York Department of Corrections.

Deborah Ross, CCHP, NCCHC CEO, notes that, in addition to the eight scholarships awarded for the National Conference, the Foundation funded an additional eight scholarships for the Virtual Fall Conference. “We are reaching people who never before could access NCCHC education and helping them make a difference. Reading the scholarship applications, you just can’t help but be humbled by their dedication and enthusiasm for correctional health care. I know we are connecting with the future leaders of the field.”