Barbara and Donald Jonas Awarded Dean's Medal for Distinguished Service by The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Couple honored for profound influence on the nursing profession
PHILADELPHIA, May 19, 2014 -- The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) today honored Barbara and Donald Jonas, co-founders of the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare (Jonas Center), 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.
Donald Jonas and Dean Afaf Meleis
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 for Distinguished Service is awarded at the Dean's discretion and thus is an especially significant distinction. 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. 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," said Penn Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis, PhD, DrPS(hon), FAAN. "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 the leading national philanthropic funder dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, launched in 2008, is the largest initiative of its kind working to stem the faculty shortage by providing scholarships to support nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs - the highest degrees in the field. Building on this model, in 2012, the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program (JVHP) was created to address veterans' pressing, often life-altering health issues by expanding the field of qualified caregivers through scholarships to doctoral nursing candidates.
Today, these programs 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. We are inspired daily by the tremendous work of our Scholars and countless nurse leaders who touch so many lives," said Barbara Jonas. "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."
About the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare
In 2006, Barbara and Donald Jonas established the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare (formerly known as the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence), the leading national philanthropic funder dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans' healthcare. These programs currently support nearly 600 doctoral scholars nationwide, with a goal to support 1,000 Scholars by 2020.