GHR Foundation renews two grants benefiting health education at St. Kate’s

The Legacy and Academic Excellence Grants will continue to fund innovations in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing.
Two health science students participate in a simulation in a hospital room.

Two major grants benefiting St. Catherine University’s School of Nursing (SoN) and Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Sciences (HSSHS) have been renewed by the GHR Foundation. Beginning in January 2024, the Legacy Grant will provide $1 million a year through 2028 for a total of $5 million, while the Academic Excellence Grant will provide $2 million a year through 2026 for a total of $6 million. Both grants enable the University to grow and evolve in its mission to provide students with a high-quality education that prepares them to make an impact in the field of healthcare.


Legacy Grant


Over the past five years, the GHR Legacy Grant has enabled the SoN and the HSSHS to grow a curriculum that ensures students will graduate prepared to work collaboratively on diverse teams and with a nuanced understanding of social determinants of health. 

As the Legacy Grant moves into its next phase, one of the major focal points will be building a Center for Student Achievement for health profession students. The center will serve as a hub where students from the SoN and HSSHS can access discipline-specific resources and services that will bolster their learning and holistically support their needs as students. The center’s services will include peer mentoring, study groups, technical writing support, house licensure exam preparation, and career development services, among others, and it will function as a place where health profession students can seek and receive all manner of assistance.

In this upcoming phase, the University also seeks to expand and strengthen campus- and school-based clinical partnerships, which give students valuable clinical experience while also providing accessible health care for the community. The ongoing partnership with St. Mary’s Health Clinics has allowed students to develop cultural fluency and deepen their understanding of the ecological approach to health, and with the renewal of the grant, the University hopes to broaden that impact. Additionally, this next phase of the grant aims to strengthen infrastructure across the health sciences, including leadership and support staff, and marketing efforts.

“The GHR Legacy Grant has provided the essential funds to embrace innovation in our clinical experience model, which has included the establishment of a school-based clinic, joint partnerships to increase clinical placements, work on our inclusive excellence goals, and new program offerings,” said Laura Fero, PhD, dean of nursing. “The focus on sustainable models has progressed with this vital support.”


Academic Excellence Grant


The Academic Excellence Grant (AEG) awarded by the GHR Foundation aims to improve societal health and well-being by preparing students to be collaborative and culturally competent health providers. 

The first two phases of the Academic Excellence Grant, from June 2017 to May 2023, focused on growing the offerings and impact of the School of Nursing and the School of Health. The grant allowed the schools to launch new programs, including master’s programs in public health, healthcare informatics, and nursing; create a year-long faculty fellowship program; grow expertise in simulation; and develop a unifying framework for health students that highlights the tenets of cultural fluency, ecological approaches to health, and interprofessional collaboration.

With this renewal, the Academic Excellence Grant enters its third phase, which runs from July 2023 through June 2026 and provides $2 million a year for the continued advancement of the SoN and the HSSHS, for a total commitment of $18 million over nine years. Phase three will focus on expanding the St. Mary’s Medical and Rehabilitation Therapy Clinic, growing the Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Learning (I-SAIL), and increasing the impact of research across the two schools. 

The renewal of the Academic Excellence Grant will continue to aid both schools in graduating students who are prepared to make a difference in the lives of their patients and clients. 

“St. Kate's has long held a strong reputation in nursing and health sciences,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, PhD, dean of Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Sciences. “The resources these grants provide, the expertise and dedication of our faculty and staff, and our students' hard work and commitment to social justice ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet the health needs of our communities.”