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Funding Will Support CSON Strategic Priorities

(Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Oct. 17, 2013

The Connell School of Nursing has received some $1.8 million in external funding to support and enhance strategic priorities such as global education, reducing health care disparities and producing advanced practice nurse leaders.

   •The Elizabeth and Kevin Weiss Fund for Global Service has been established through a gift of $250,000 from BC parents Elizabeth and Kevin Weiss P’07, ’11, ’13 to support the cost of international service and learning experiences for nursing students. The fund will cover expenses such as travel, meals, lodging, and medical or educational equipment and materials.

“The Connell School of Nursing’s initiatives in global health offer students authentic exposure to the barriers and disparities endured by the poor of developing nations as well as diverse health care contexts, languages and cultures worldwide,” said CSON Dean and Professor Susan Gennaro. “International experience impacts our students as they become confident caregivers, moving beyond the classroom and into the world.”

The Connell School offers educational opportunities for its students in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Haiti, Nicaragua and Switzerland.

“This gift will provide support for our current international programs and, as the fund grows, it will allow additional students to take advantage of such transformational learning opportunities,” added Gennaro.

The Weisses commented on their gift: “We are blessed to continue our family’s commitment to health care, education, and compassion for people around the world. We are honored to partner with Boston College and Dean Gennaro in support of CSON’s commitment to training nurses to be leaders in global health and international service.  We look forward to learning how BC nursing students and graduates are lighting the world ‘for the greater glory of God.’”

   •The Connell School has also received a gift of $960,000 from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to fund financial aid for students in its Accelerated Master’s Entry into Nursing (MSE) program. Half of that amount will create an endowment for financial aid; the other half has been designated as financial aid for 20 current master’s entry students.

Since its launch in 1998, MSE — a two-year program where students holding non-nursing baccalaureate degrees can pursue careers as advanced practice nurses — has become one of the Connell School’s most popular offerings, with approximately 300 students applying annually for just over 40 slots.

The Helene Fuld Health Trust in New York is the nation’s largest private funder devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education. Its mission is to support and promote the health, welfare, and education of student nurses.

   •Funding from Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation will support the Connell School’s efforts to help create a more representative nursing workforce. A RWJ grant of $80,000 grant will fund eight New Careers in Nursing fellowships for underrepresented nurses in the MSE program. This ongoing support from RWJ brings the total number of NCIN fellowships awarded to BC students to 37.

As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to public health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is dedicated to improving health and health care in America.

“With the tremendous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the forward thinking vision of the NCIN program, this year 33 percent of MSE students were from underrepresented backgrounds, up from 26 percent in 2008, and 13 percent in 2005,” said Gennaro. “Our ongoing work to recruit and retain excellent scholars from these backgrounds as part of NCIN has reinvigorated the school’s overall commitment to reducing health care disparities.”

   •CSON’s goal of reducing health care inequality also received a large boost from a $540,000 multi-year grant from the Price Family Foundation in support of its KILN (Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing) program, which assists nursing students in maximizing their leadership potential and preparing for the challenges of providing nursing care in an increasingly multicultural society. Funding from the Price Family Foundation opened the KILN program to graduate nursing students for the first time. Overall, the Price Family Foundation is helping to fund 43 undergraduates and 10 graduate students in the KILN program.

“This grant represents the intersection of the foundation’s interests in education, medicine, and health care,” said Price Family Foundation Executive Director Joanne Duhl.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Price Family Foundation, we are able to offer our nursing students practical experience, networking and programmatic opportunities that cultivate their leadership potential,” said CSON Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Catherine Read, who has directed the KILN program since its inception in 2009.