WVU joins partnership to address nursing shortage

Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation grant includes School of Nursing

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is one of 19 foundations nationwide to receive funding from Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future, a national initiative to help address the long-term shortage of available nurses across the country.

The West Virginia University School of Nursing, Charleston Division, is part of the West Virginia Nursing Leadership Institute, which will develop nurse leadership teams to improve patient care, quality and safety and address nurse retention.  

Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation, Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future is in its fourth year providing support to local foundations to act as catalysts in their own communities and develop strategies for creating and sustaining a viable nursing workforce. These foundations have forged local partnerships to apply for the competitive grant, raising awareness of the nursing shortage in their own communities. 

In addition to WVU, local partners joining The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation through the provision of matching funds include the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Charleston Area Medical Center, the West Virginia Center for Nursing, the Arthur B. Hodges Geriatric Education Endowment, the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Association and local healthcare organizations.   

Through Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future, initiative directors are hoping that local and regional foundations create a domino effect – where innovative ideas are tested locally and shared nationally with an exponential effect on the workforce shortage. To help develop solutions and lead efforts within West Virginia, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation has been awarded a two-year grant of $137,659.

Project Director Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., who is a WVU professor in Charleston, explained that a continuing, aggregate decline in the nursing workforce is expected because of complex factors including an aging population needing more and intensive healthcare services, an aging nursing workforce unable to sustain its numbers and a nursing education system with too few educators to train the next generation of nurses.

“This grant will help us expand our efforts to prepare teams of nurse leaders to influence healthcare organizations in ways that can improve nurse retention, improve the quality of patient care and enhance the safety of care for our citizens,”  Persily said. “If we don’t deal with our shortage of nurses now, not only is patient care in our area at stake, but the health of the nation as a whole.”

The 2009 grant cycle marks the fourth year of funding, totaling more than $10 million of investment by the program in local partnerships.  In addition, Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future has leveraged more than $8 million in local and regional funding, ensuring the long- term sustainability of the projects.

During the program’s first three years, 69 foundation partners in 24 states and the territories of the Western Pacific established more than 300 local partnerships among nursing organizations, funders and workforce development boards to address the nursing shortage. To date, this is the first organization to have been funded in West Virginia through Partner’s Investing in Nursing’s Future.

For information about Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future see www.PartnersinNursing.org.

For information about the WVU School of Nursing Charleston Division see

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life and promote philanthropy in the Kanawha Valley. It serves a six-county region that includes Kanawha, Putnam, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln and Boone Counties.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing the country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.

Founded in 1997, the Northwest Health Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation committed to advancing, supporting and promoting the health of the people of Oregon and southwest Washington. Embracing its role as the community’s partner for better health, the Foundation achieves its mission primarily through grantmaking and support for advocacy efforts that influence public policy.




For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB: 08-18-09

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