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Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing

By preparing the next generation of nurses and thought leaders and a network of health care professionals who care for people with developmental disabilities, St. John Fisher has demonstrated a commitment to making a significant impact on improving access to quality inclusive health care for people who are underserved.-- Tom Golisano

The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing is the first institute of its kind in the country. It is dedicated to promoting positive change in developmental disability nursing to continuously advocate for this underserved population. Through collaboration with one another, world-wide thought leaders, and community-based organizations, it will will have local, national, and international impact, leveraging expertise to develop more nurse leaders in developmental disability nursing practice.

Golisano Institute Mission | Partners | Educational Materials

Photo: Ann Costello, Executive Director of the Golisano Foundation, Gerry Rooney, President of St. John Fisher College.

The creation of the Golisano Institute was announced October 30, 2018 by St. John Fisher College, Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation thanks to a $5.8 million gift that included $5 million from Tom Golisano and $800,000 from the Golisano Foundation. 

The Golisano Institute is designed to transform the health care and support of individuals with developmental disabilities. It is fully integrated into Fisher’s Wegmans School of Nursing, the largest enroller of nursing and mental health counseling students in the Rochester, NY region. The School of Nursing, which consistently achieves rankings as a top nursing program in the region, state, and nation, will draw upon relationships with professional nursing associations, and partnerships with international nursing schools such as the Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.  It will also capitalize on the network of Golisano Children’s Hospitals and community health centers as well as the Foundation’s collaboration with Special Olympics Health to extend the Institute’s reach. 

The Institute is led by Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing,  

Video of Announcement – St. John Fisher College Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing Work - Oct 30, 2018

Ongoing research conducted by the Special Olympics has revealed that there are significant health disparities between individuals with developmental disabilities and the general population.  The study revealed that a greater number of individuals with developmental disabilities face health issues such as tooth decay, bone deformation, and obesity. Some of those issues go untreated or undiagnosed due to the limited availability of health care services, leading to even more serious and often life-threatening conditions.  The research also points to the fact that many health care providers are inadequately trained or not trained at all to provide care and support to this population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the barriers facing individuals with developmental disabilities is their provider’s lack of knowledge and understanding of their unique needs and challenges.

  • The Golisano Institute will deliver an internationally recognized and technology enriched curriculum for developmental disability nursing education through on-the-ground and online micro-credential formats, as well as the use of avatars and the state-of-the-art simulation lab in the School of Nursing. 
  • It will lead the effort to enhance nursing curricula in the care of individuals with developmental disabilities at the national and global level to ensure that entry level and advanced practice nursing graduates are fully prepared to care for this special population.
  • Hospitals, health centers, schools, advocacy groups, and families around the country and across the globe will also have access to a strong network of community clinical nurse specialists who will advise them on providing care for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • The Golisano Summer Fellows Program will offer specialty training in developmental disability health care and policy to develop the next generation of thought leaders who will care and advocate for this unique population. 
  • Current health care professionals will be exposed to best practices through a biannual national symposium bringing together expertise from health systems and health practitioners, specialty organizations along with other Golisano supported institutions including the Special Olympics.

Related News & Resources

Summit Creates Network of Developmental Disability Nursing Experts - Sep 2, 2020

Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, Waterford Institute of Technology Partner to Advance Health Care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities - Feb 2020

Fisher’s Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing Announces International Partnership - May 15, 2019

Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at St. John Fisher College

PR Newswire News Release

Golisano, foundation give $5.8M to St. John Fisher for disability nursing institute, Oct 30, 2018 - Democrat and Chronicle

Golisano, foundation give $5.8M to St. John Fisher for disability nursing institute, Oct 30, 2018 - Democrat and Chronicle PDF

New institute at Fisher nursing school aims to help patients with disabilities, Oct 30, 2018 - 13WHAM TV

Tom Golisano donates $5.8 million to SJFC for developmental disabilities nursing program, Oct 30, 2018 - WXXI

Golisano Foundation gifts $5.8M for developmental disabilities nursing program, Oct 20, 2018 - WHEC TV

Golisano gift helps Fisher launch Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, Oct 30, 2018 - WROC TV YouTube