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October 25, 2002


Emory Nursing School Receives $5 Million Endowment For Nursing Education Program

ATLANTA -- An innovative program to increase the nation's supply of university-trained nurse leaders has received an extraordinary boost with the commitment of $5 million from The Helene Fuld Health Trust to Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The largest single gift in the school's history will establish an endowment to support the Nursing Segue Program —a specialized program for individuals who have earned bachelor's degrees in other fields.

"Students who come to nursing with degrees from other fields bring a unique capacity for caring," says nursing dean Marla Salmon, RN, Sc.D, FAAN. "Their grounding in arts and sciences positions them to lead nursing in improving health care. The Helene Fuld Health Trust gift enables these students to realize their enormous potential, which in turn is a gift to all society."

With the nation experiencing an unprecedented nursing shortage, nursing school administrators see the Segue program as a unique way to produce more nurses and expand the leadership pool within the nursing community.

After three years of study, graduates of the Emory Nursing Segue Program will have earned both bachelor's (BSN) and master's of science (MSN) degrees in nursing.

A pilot program was initiated in which eight highly promising students were provided with an accelerated option for completion of both the bachelor's and master's degrees. The outcome of this pilot demonstrated its success and also highlighted the need for scholarships to support exceptional students who qualified for the program.

"The Fuld gift has generously addressed this need," Dr. Salmon says. "From the pilot program, we know that careful selection of students based on both clinical performance and academic success is necessary. Our undergraduate faculty will work closely with the students to select clinical placements that will enhance their capacity for clinical excellence and leadership while moving towards a nursing practice specialty."

Through the nursing school's Office of Service Learning, students will have the chance to live in and provide health care services to migrant farm communities, join a health care expedition to Haiti or Cuba, or conduct health screening and education programs at an inner city Atlanta high school.

"The Fuld gift enables us to provide scholarships for students—a critical element for the Segue Program's success," explains Anne Bavier, assistant dean of development/alumni and external relations in the nursing school. "Typically, students who enter school for a second baccalaureate degree have exhausted their eligibility for federal loans in the course of their first undergraduate program. Because they have usually been employed and have income after their first undergraduate degree, their eligibility for student loans from any source is jeopardized. Thus, these endowment funds are a resource to insure the participation of dedicated students."

"Providing financial aid to nursing students remains the top priority of the Helene Fuld Health Trust," says Stephen Boies of HSBC Bank USA, the Trustee. "The Nursing Segue Program impressed us with its plan to prepare highly qualified students for rewarding careers in nursing, providing its graduates with education and leadership skills that will enable them to shape the future of healthcare."

The $5 million endowment will be distributed in $1 million annual installments for five years, beginning in September 2002. The Fuld Health Trust granted an additional cash amount to aid the first group of students while the endowment continues to grow.

In recruitment efforts for the incoming BSN class of 2003, the Emory nursing school faculty began to promote the Segue Program and Fuld Scholarships to those with baccalaureate degrees in other fields.

"Declining enrollments in nursing schools, drastic changes in the financing and organization of health care systems, and rapid technological advances in all aspects of healthcare contributed to the current nursing shortage," Dr. Salmon says. "The Segue Program will produce more nurses and a leadership corps with a broad background to find innovative solutions to our healthcare challenges."

The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the nation's largest private funder devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education. In 1935, Dr Leonhard Felix Fuld and his sister, Florentine, created a foundation in honor of their mother, Helene. In 1965, the foundation was converted to the Helene Fuld Health Trust, and in 1969, HSBC Bank USA (formerly Marine Midland Bank) became its corporate trustee. HSBC Bank USA is currently responsible for overseeing and administering the Fuld Trust.

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