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Independence Blue Cross Foundation announces first doctoral nursing fellows

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation today announced the first three Foundation Nurse Fellows who will participate in the Future of Nursing Scholars program, a new initiative created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to increase the number of PhD prepared nurses in the United States. Two of the scholars are attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the third is attending the Villanova University College of Nursing.

The Foundation is a founding funder of RWJF's Future of Nursing Scholars program and has committed $450,000 over three years to support transformational leadership in education, research, and policy.

The three scholars who will receive the first Independence Blue Cross Foundation fellowships are:

  • Faith Ikarede Atte, RN, MSN (Villanova University College of Nursing)
  • Liz Novack RN, BSN (University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing)
  • Stephen Perez, RN, MS, NP (University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing)

"It's important to create practical opportunities for nurses to earn PhDs to build a pipeline of qualified nurse educators and leaders," said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. "We are excited to partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of our nation's premier public health leaders, to be the first foundation to help fund this important initiative. It is a natural extension of our deep commitment to nursing."

A $20 million program, RWJF's Future of Nursing Scholars program aims to develop the next generation of PhD-prepared nurse leaders who are committed to long-term leadership careers, strengthen nursing education, and bring transformational change to nursing and health care. The students will receive stipends, mentoring, leadership development, and dedicated post-doctoral research support.

"The generous funding our scholars will receive from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation will alleviate the financial barrier that often impedes nurses from continuing their education," said Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "Through the commitment of two leaders in health – funding from the Foundation and nursing expertise from the RWJF – nurses will gain the knowledge to become model educators and innovative, thoughtful leaders. We value the opportunity for our students to contribute to and enhance their experience as part of this prestigious national program."

"We're very excited to welcome Faith into our program and are grateful to the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their commitment to nursing education," said Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing for Villanova University College of Nursing. "For over 60 years, Villanova has been committed to furthering advanced nursing education and earning the support of these two nationally-respected health care leaders is extremely gratifying."

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The foundation targets the following areas of impact:

  • Securing the Blue Safety Net: Supporting private, nonprofit community health center clinics that increase access to quality, affordable healthcare in medically underserved areas.
  • Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Strengthening the nursing, primary care, and allied health workforce through education, career development, and research.
  • Addressing Health Priorities: Collaborating with wellness partners to tackle the region's most pressing health challenges; currently combating the obesity epidemic through the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative.
  • Building Healthier Communities: Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.

Learn more by visiting our website: www.ibxfoundation.org. Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter and Instagram at @ibxfdn.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Ruth Stoolman Independence Blue Cross Ruth.stoolman@ibx.com 215-241-4807 (office) 215-280-3335 (cell)

Source:Independence Blue Cross Foundation