MSU-Meridian announces $1.06 million grant for health care simulation

Contact: MSU Office of Public Affairs

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Mississippi State University has received more than $1 million from AccelerateMS’s Nursing and Allied Health Grant Program.

Grant funds will be used to construct an interprofessional simulation space on the university’s evolving health sciences campus in Meridian. This facility will prepare future physician assistants, mental health providers and social workers, as well as support curriculum needs of the university’s proposed Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing program.

“We are honored AccelerateMS recognizes the impact our health sciences programs have on the vital medical community in Meridian. Furthermore, this grant expands the university’s ability to take care of what matters through our innovative Master of Science in Nursing pre-licensure program,” said Terry Dale Cruse, associate vice president and head of MSU-Meridian.

The year-long Accelerated MSN achieved Phase I approval from the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher learning earlier this year. The proposed program is currently progressing toward Phase II approval, which is expected in early 2024. Phase II approval will allow the program to admit students, which could occur as early as Fall 2024.

“A higher educated nursing workforce results in better patient outcomes. AccelerateMS reinforced our efforts to achieve that aim through our proposed pre-licensure MSN program. Mississippians will benefit from this generous award,” said Mary Stewart, dean of nursing.

The Master of Physician Assistant Studies program graduated 18 students in May 2023 and is currently conducting interviews for its fourth cohort to start in January 2024.

“Consistent with national employment opportunities for physician assistants, the majority of graduates from our first cohort received two or more job offers upon graduation. As we continue our efforts to impact the health care shortages of Mississippi, the program is currently conducting interviews of highly accomplished students competing for one of 30 seats in the Class of 2026,” according to Shey Washburn, PA program director. 

Additionally, the university received IHL approval for its first doctoral program in Meridian. More than 20 students enrolled in MSU-Meridian’s Doctor of Psychology curriculum this fall.

The AccelerateMS grant will be combined with $4 million the Riley Foundation has already given to support simulation space needs for health care programs.

AccelerateMS, a state agency, serves the people and businesses of Mississippi by developing and deploying workforce strategies to connect individuals with transformative, high-paying careers. By leveraging resources and partnering with organizations that hold complementary missions, AccelerateMS effectuates positive change, creating sustained individual, community and statewide economic prosperity. For more, see