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Local Collaborative Team Receives $450,000 Grant to Address Nationwide Nursing Shortage; Wegmans School of Nursing Chosen as Initiative Partner


The Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation announced today that it has been chosen as one of eleven foundations nationwide to receive funding from Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN). PIN is a multi-year, multi-million dollar national investment in the America's nursing workforce to prepare them with the skills needed to serve an older and more diverse population. In Rochester, the Foundation has forged local partnerships with the Wegmans School of Nursing as the educational partner, and the Senior Health Alliance of Greater Rochester (SHAGR) as the nursing partner in the project, known as Academy for Leadership in Long-Term Care.

Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Northwest Health Foundation, PIN supports the capacity, involvement, and leadership of local foundations to advance the nursing profession in their own communities. PIN invests in local partnerships that create innovative model projects that can be tested and, if successful, shared nationally. Now in its sixth year of funding, PIN leverages $14 million in grants by RWJF with more than $14 million in matching funding.

"This unique national effort aims at lessening the nursing workforce shortage across the country," Donald W. Whitney, President/Trustee of the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, said. "The Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation is proud to play a role in this critically important initiative through its support of a strong local collaboration designed to strengthen health care delivery to seniors in Monroe County by developing strategies for creating and sustaining a viable nursing workforce." The Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation matched a $225,000 grant from the RWJF and the Northwest Health Foundation with an additional $225,000, for a total amount of $450,000.

The project is a collaborative approach to address Rochester's urgent need to build a skilled, diverse, and committed nursing workforce in long-term care in preparation for the aging of the baby boomer generation. The project is focused on establishing a sustainable learning academy at the Wegmans School of Nursing which will provide management training for nurses in long-term care; the development of networking opportunities to share leadership best practices; and the creation of programs to support clinical experiences and summer internships for undergraduate nursing students in geriatrics and long-term care.

The newly-funded project builds on current nursing workforce efforts of the Rochester partnership and allows the local collaboration to build upon the work completed during a previous PIN grant project known as Nurses as Leaders in Long-Term Care: Building Competencies and Commitment.

"In our previous PIN project, we used themes from staff focus groups and literature reviews to identify competencies needed by nurse leaders in long-term care and offered training pilots. For this project, establishment of the Academy allows us to expand on those training pilots. Offerings will help nurses practice to the full extent of their training, achieve higher levels of education and engage in lifelong learning, and become leaders in health care redesign through professional networking," said Janet Englert, Executive Director of SHAGR.

Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, Associate Dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing, added, "Given the projected shortage of nurses in the Rochester area, the aging of our local population, and the fact that a significant percentage of registered nurses are reaching retirement age, we recognize the urgency of addressing nursing workforce issues. The partners' involvement in developing the Academy for Leadership in Long-Term Care will help the community address issues in regional health care planning, namely long-term care nurse retention, recruitment, and best practices."

Locally, RN Laurie Kuter of The Friendly Home has already benefited from this unique initiative. As a result of the work completed in the first funding cycle, Kuter, a registered nurse, attended monthly classes at the Wegmans School of Nursing. The classes, led by nursing professionals with extensive management experience, helped Kuter further develop essential skills such as communication, team building, and problem solving.

"As nurse managers, the opportunity to network and learn from our instructors as well as our counterparts at other skilled nursing facilities was invaluable. We are all facing the same challenges in the workplace, and sharing experiences and solutions that could be applied in our daily jobs was very beneficial," said Kuter.

The goals of Academy for Leadership in Long-Term Care are closely aligned with the recommendations of the recent Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which seeks to prepare the nursing workforce to meet the needs of America's health care system and the patients it serves, and ensure an adequate supply of nurses for a growing, aging population.

This new funding creates a new total of 61 PIN projects in more than 37 states and collectively, collaborating with more than 500 partners. There are over 220 partners that provide local funding, including private foundations, hospitals and health systems, workforce investment agencies, economic development programs, banks, private industry and individuals.

"All health care is local, and nurses are the cornerstone of our health care system. We need community solutions that address the challenges facing a changing health care system and that utilize local and regional experience," said Judith Woodruff, J.D., director of workforce development at the Northwest Health Foundation and program director for Partners Investing in Nursing's Future. "With this partnership, Rochester is in the forefront of communities nationwide helping to create a well-prepared nursing workforce."

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable and timely change. For nearly 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

Founded in 1997, Northwest Health Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that seeks to advance, support, and promote the health of the people of Oregon and southwest Washington. We achieve our mission through a variety of means, including grantmaking, technical assistance and training, convening, commissioning research, and supporting policy advocacy. See

The Senior Health Alliance of Greater Rochester was formed in 1997, by five leading independent, nonprofit long-term care organizations in Monroe County, each with a century or more of service. They are: St. Ann's Community, St. John's Senior Communities, Jewish Senior Life, The Friendly Home, and Episcopal SeniorLife Communities. These nonprofit organizations serve more than 7,000 persons annually with 30% of long-term care beds and 50% of nonprofit long-term care beds in Rochester-Monroe County. Through SHAGR, the group shares common goals and activities: service excellence; workforce development; cost effectiveness and efficiency; and community education and advocacy. The member organizations have extensive experience benchmarking as a group and comparatively with each other using the same tools. Over a 15-year period, this unusual consortium has brought competitors together as colleagues to improve the quality of care in our community.

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