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Dean’s Annual Update

As I take a moment to reflect with you about the extraordinary year it has been so far for Columbia Nursing, I am filled with excitement.

We kicked off the year commemorating the school’s founding 125 years ago and have held a total of eight Spotlight events across the country, as well as a special anniversary edition of Reunion.  These events have all celebrated our legacy of excellence, our impact on science, education, and practice, and the profound voice we have as thought leaders in policy, leadership, clinical and educational innovation. I am pleased to say that 125 years later, Columbia Nursing continues to be at the forefront of nursing education and contributed to redefining the profession. We’ve seen many major achievements this year, which I’m thrilled to update you on.

First and foremost, we dedicated our new building in June; it is not only beautiful and technologically rich, but also serves our mission to prepare nurses as clinicians, leaders, and researchers, benefitting patients and improving health and health care in communities across the country, and around the world.  I hope you will come see it when it officially opens this fall.  To date, it includes 31 named spaces, 23 of which are connected to Columbia Nursing graduates.  It is exciting to note some of the most recent leadership commitments.  A $1 million commitment to name the lobby atrium came from the Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association.  A $1 million gift from Roy & Diana Vagelos names the fourth floor.  Another $1 million commitment just came from Rose Hoynak ’45 to name the Skills Laboratory on the third floor of the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center.   And a $700,000 gift from an alumnus from the Class of ’93 names the northern terrace of the rooftop garden.    

It has been a banner year in other ways. Our primary care faculty practice, the Nurse Practitioner Group, now has three locations in New York City. The Washington Heights site offers specialties including a psychiatric-mental health NP who can provide therapy and medication management, family health care, and LGBT care.  The Nurse Practitioner Group recently launched a house calls service for adult patients living in Upper Manhattan who need comprehensive, in-home primary health care. As you know, the Nurse Practitioner Group also facilitates a rigorous clinical learning experience for our students, providing an opportunity for them to learn side-by-side with faculty, representing a natural transition from the classroom to the exam room. 

We recently graduated our first cohort of 173 students from the new Master’s Direct Entry (MDE) program, and welcomed 191 students in our second cohort in June. This fall we will welcome 120 students (both MDE and Lateral) in the new DNP program for RNs. Our student body is an impressive representation of academic excellence and diversity. Our MDE program focuses on care coordination, evidence-based practice, and culturally sensitive care. It was designed to prepare nurses to meet the challenges of caring for more complicated, longer-living patients and prepare our students to be leaders, to be capable of adapting to and meeting the changing demands of the profession.  This past year we also had over 400 applications for our Doctor of Nursing Practice program--double the applications from the previous year. Over $4.5 million dollars in scholarships was awarded to students, the largest amount in the school’s history.

On the research front, our faculty members have more than 70 active grants. A few examples of new federally-funded studies include: a National Institute of Nursing Research Center of Excellence in Self-Management of Symptoms; a clinical trial using mobile phone technology to deliver HIV prevention information to at-risk young men; the use of technology for heart failure symptom management; validation of a new tool to improve patient safety; and a study focused on infection management and palliative care at the end of life.  You might have seen coverage in the Wall Street Journal on Columbia Nursing’s study of long-term care facilities and drug resistant infections: The Bug Problem in Nursing Homes.

I am also excited about a new program called Linking to Improve Nursing Care and Knowledge (LINK) that connects hospital-based registered nurses from NewYork-Presbyterian with nurse scientists at Columbia Nursing to carry out specialized research for nurses in clinical settings who have identified recurring problems in patient care. The LINK team provides conceptual, statistical, and logistical support, including assistance in determining feasibility and pursuing funding. More than a dozen studies are currently in the pipeline

Our Office of Global Initiatives (OGI), in tandem with the Pan American/World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Advanced Practice Nursing, is organizing a symposium on Advanced Practice Nursing Regulation in Latin American and Caribbean Countries, bringing together stakeholders from throughout the region.  OGI and Columbia Global Centers | Amman, Jordan hosted the third and final Summit meeting in July for the Global Nursing and Midwifery Clinical Research Development Initiative, convening nursing and midwifery leaders from countries in Southern/Eastern African and Eastern Mediterranean regions to gain consensus on clinical research priorities to influence policy and foster better regional and global health care outcomes for all.

The Annual Fund raised nearly $550,000, with the number of gifts increasing 8% over the prior fiscal year.  Approximately $370,000 was directed to the Scholarship Fund, while the Building Fund received nearly $60,000 for the school’s game-changing new facility.  The Dean’s Discretionary Fund benefitted from gifts totaling more than $58,000, allowing me to augment resources for financial aid and global fellows support.   The Global Fellows Fund raised over $23,000 to support students pursuing clinical and research experiences around the world.  Our newest allocation -- the Innovations in Simulation Fund -- supplied over $34,000 for equipment, technology and educational programing for the new Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center. Whether through contributions to the Annual Fund, or through capital gifts that named spaces in our new building or endowed scholarships—you have helped us to raise $23.7 million towards our $25 million goal for Nursing’s Building the Future Campaign.

In closing, it is a pleasure to note that on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, Columbia Nursing will host a 125th Anniversary Gala at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. It promises to be a wonderful celebration and all funds raised by the Gala will support student scholarships, helping to ensure Columbia Nursing attracts the best and brightest future nurse leaders without financial constraints. More information can be found on our website.