February 25, 2020

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

Group of people posing for a photo

The Golisano Institute of Developmental Disability Nursing at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY and the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in Waterford, Ireland have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together in the field of intellectual disability nursing.  This is the second MoU between WIT and Fisher.

The signing took place on February 20 at a symposium on Intellectual Disability Nursing held at WIT.  Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of Fisher, and Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of Fisher’s Wegmans School of Nursing and executive director of the College’s Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, were present for the signing. This partnership will include an exchange with faculty members from WIT’s bachelor’s degree in intellectual disability nursing program. Those faculty members will be embedded at the Wegmans School of Nursing, home of the Golisano Institute, and WIT faculty advisors will also make short-term visits to New York to offer guidance in curriculum development and implementation, and share best practices in creating models of inclusive nursing care.

“We are so proud and happy to continue our important relationship with Waterford Institute of Technology in the interest of advancing nursing education and practice in the field of intellectual and developmental disability nursing. We are very happy to be joined by Special Olympics International in this work made possible by the generosity of Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation,” said Cooney Miner.

Ann Costello, executive director of the Golisano Foundation, said, “Our global mission to advance inclusive health for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can only happen when we forge partnerships such as the one being celebrated today with St. John Fisher College Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing and Waterford Institute of Technology. We have shown that there are no boundaries when it comes to sharing and leveraging expertise when you have the will to improve the health and access to care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Dr. Sara Kennedy, head of the Department of Nursing and Healthcare at WIT, welcomed the continued partnership with St. John Fisher College and the opportunity to collaborate further with Special Olympics through the involvement of the Golisano Foundation.

“This MOU marks a hugely significant collaboration between WIT and St. John Fisher College. Intellectual disability is a multi-pronged and complex issue and through collaboration between the three organizations, we hope to further the treatment and understand the unique needs of people with an intellectual disability. We are honored to play a part in the transformation of the nursing domain of training, care and support for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the United States.”

Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis shared her support for this continued collaboration noting, “It’s fantastic to see this cooperative effort continue between WIT and St. John Fisher College.  This intellectual disability nursing program will give nursing students the opportunity to better understand how to identify and treat ALL patients’ needs.  We must all concentrate on the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and bring a message of inclusion to every community around the world.  We can achieve so much more when we engage in partnerships such as these that truly change the way we approach inclusion.”

In October 2018, St. John Fisher College, Tom Golisano, and the Golisano Foundation announced the creation of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing thanks to a $5.8 million gift, $5 million from Tom Golisano and $800,000 from the Golisano Foundation. The Institute is designed to transform the health care and support of individuals with developmental disabilities.

About St. John Fisher College

St. John Fisher College is a coeducational liberal arts institution located in Pittsford, N.Y. The campus community consists of over 2,600 full-time undergraduates, nearly 200 part-time undergraduates, and nearly 1,000 graduate students.

Founded in 1948 by the Congregation of St. Basil as a Catholic College for men, St. John Fisher College became independent in 1968 and coeducational in 1971. As it moves through the twenty-first century, the College remains true to its Catholic and Basilian heritage. The College now offers 38 academic majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business, education, and nursing, as well as 11 pre-professional programs. Fisher also offers a variety of master’s and doctoral programs.

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