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Couple honored for support for nursing education

Saturday May 31, 2014
Donald Jonas accepts the Dean’s Medal for Distinguished Service award from Penn Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis.
Donald Jonas accepts the Dean’s Medal for Distinguished Service award from Penn Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis.
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The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia has honored Barbara and Donald Jonas, co-founders of the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, with the Dean’s Medal for Distinguished Service in recognition of their commitment to professional nursing and support of nursing education through the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program. The Dean’s Medal is among the school’s highest awards.

Created to honor individuals who have a deep influence on Penn Nursing or the profession of nursing through their philanthropy, volunteerism, scholarship or advocacy, the Dean’s Medal is awarded at the dean’s discretion. The Jonases are the fourth recipients of the medal, established in 2010. Donald Jonas accepted the award at Penn Nursing during Alumni and Commencement Weekend.

“The Jonas Center has been an extraordinary partner of Penn Nursing and has played a leading role in preparing the next generation of nursing faculty leaders,” Penn Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis, RN, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN, said in a news release. “Around the world, there are very few foundations that support nursing education, and even fewer that understand the impact of PhD prepared nursing in improving care and care delivery.

“We can count the number of Jonas Scholars, but we could never put a number to the lives and families that will be impacted by the Jonas family’s generosity.”
The Jonas Center is a leading national philanthropic funder dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, launched in 2008, works stem the faculty shortage by providing scholarships to support nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs. In 2012, the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program was created to address veterans’ pressing, often life-altering health issues by expanding the field of qualified caregivers through scholarships to doctoral nursing candidates.

These programs now comprise nearly 600 Jonas Scholars at 110 schools, including 12 scholars at Penn Nursing. In March 2013, the Jonas Center announced what is believed to be the largest commitment specifically for nursing faculty and clinical leader training — nearly $25 million — to support 1,000 scholars by 2020.

“We are honored and humbled to receive the Dean’s Medal and for recognition of efforts that have been a privilege,” Barbara Jonas said in the release. “We are inspired daily by the tremendous work of our scholars and countless nurse leaders who touch so many lives. America’s nurses face greater demands than ever before, from an aging population to comorbidities to saving costs, while consistently ensuring quality care. It is our mission — and our hope that others will join our cause — to prepare them for pivotal roles in clinical care, education, policy and leadership.” •


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