Joining 300 supporters at the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare 10th Anniversary Gala, Barbara and Donald Jonas celebrated all that has been accomplished since they founded the center 10 years ago. They also reaffirmed their commitment to continue their philanthropic work supporting nursing education through 2028. Academic nursing leaders and researchers, scholars, alumni, friends and family, gathered March 18 at the Rainbow Room in New York City for this special anniversary. Nurse scholars, 1,000 strong, have advanced their degrees as a direct result of the generosity and support of the Jonas Center.
Among the 20 nurse scholars in attendance was Sheridan Miyamoto, PhD, RN, FNP, assistant professor, Penn State University College of Nursing. She was a Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar from 2010-2012 and received a PhD from UC Davis School of Nursing.
Miyamoto said every time she hears the Jonases speak with passion about their commitment to nursing scholars, it reaffirms her commitment to work on solutions aimed at improving the lives of children and to share what she has learned with the next generation of nurses.
“The Jonases’ investment, the center’s dedication to ensuring nurse scholars have the tools they need to thrive in their careers, and the very personal attention the Jonases and Darlene Curley give to the center have elevated the field of nursing. How wonderful it is to have made such a difference in so many people’s lives,” Miyamoto said.
Jonas Scholar Annie J. Rohan, PhD, RN, FAANP, assistant professor, director of pediatric research, Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, School of Nursing said the Jonases and the center they founded have empowered her.
After practicing for two decades as an NP, Rohan was selected to be one of the first six Jonas Scholars in 2008. She was funded by the Jonas Center to attend the PhD Program at Columbia University in New York City to pursue a career as nursing faculty. “The generosity, vision and innovation of Mr. and Mrs. Jonas have led to a first-of-its-kind, philanthropic project that is meaningfully shaping the future of our nation’s nursing leadership and scholarship,” Rohan said. “The creation of a legacy of this magnitude is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Among the 40 nursing school deans at the gala was Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN, dean, Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tenn. She said federal funding for doctoral students has diminished in the past 10 years making Jonas scholarships even more valuable to students and schools.
The number of doctorate-prepared nurses, whether in roles as advanced practice nurses or nurse scientists, has increased significantly through this program, and as a result, more nurses understand the needs of veterans and more hold leadership positions, Norman said. “Funding 1,000 nurses to pursue doctoral study is an amazing accomplishment, and the event gave all of us a chance to celebrate the generosity of the Jonases and say thank you to them,” she said.
Special awards were given to Lt. Gen. (ret) Patricia D. Horoho, MSN, RN, FAAN, managing director for defense health at Accenture Federal Services, and Johnson & Johnson in recognition of their outstanding contributions to nursing and healthcare.
Brigadier Gen. (ret) William T. Bester, senior adviser, Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, presented Horoho with the Jonas Award for Nursing and Military Medical Leadership. Bester recognized Horoho for her consistent and dedicated support of continuing education opportunities for Army nurses as well as the advancement of nursing faculty to support Army education programs.
“Her selection as the 43rd Army Surgeon General, the first woman and first nonphysician to be selected in any of the three military services, is testimony to her many accomplishments within the military nursing community and the positive impact she has had throughout the profession during her 33-year career,” Bester said.
Horoho said she was humbled and grateful to be recognized for her nursing and military medical leadership. “It was amazing to look out and see Barbara and Donald Jonas, who have accomplished so much, as well as the giants of our profession and community leaders who have given so much to support our service members,” Horoho said.
For Horoho, what has been most meaningful is the feedback she has received from men and women of foreign countries about her role as surgeon general. “They have commented that seeing a U.S. woman who is not a physician in that position caused them to rethink how they could open up leadership opportunities for women and nurses in their military medical department,” she said.
Sarah Colamarino, vice president, Global Corporate Equity & Partnerships, Johnson & Johnson, accepted the Jonas Award for Advancing Nursing and Global Health from Louis Sullivan, MD, advisory board, Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare.
“To Barbara and Donald and everyone at the Jonas Center, I’d like to thank you so much for all that you have done and for recognizing the wonderful work nurses do every day,” Colamarino said. “We are happy to raise awareness and let our voices be heard so everyone knows what nurses do and how they make a difference in the lives of patients and healthcare across our great nation.”
After a severe nursing shortage in 2002, Johnson & Johnson launched the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, a multi-year, $50 million national initiative designed to enhance the image of the nursing profession, recruit new nurses and faculty and help retain nurses in the profession.
The campaign has expanded its focus to help solve new issues such as improving access to healthcare, expanding the quantity and quality of the nursing workforce and enabling more capacity within nursing schools.
To top off the evening, the Empire State Building embellished the New York City skyline with green, blue and purple lights, the colors of the Jonas Center, in recognition of its 10 years of advancing healthcare through nursing.