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Jewish Healthcare Foundation Gives RMU Grant in Honor of Alvin Rogal to Support Nursing Research 

Pittsburgh -- The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has awarded Robert Morris University a five-year, $250,000 grant to support research that improves patient care and safety.

The foundation’s gift will establish the Alvin Rogal Research Award in Safety and Quality Improvement, which will benefit students in RMU’s doctor of nursing practice program (DNP). Eligible doctoral students will receive $10,000 annually to support a research project that promotes quality and safety in patient care.

“The purpose of the DNP program is to use clinical research to improve patient care and quality of care, so this is an important gift in terms of our program and the importance of applied research by clinicians who work directly with patients,” said Judith Kaufman, director of the DNP program and an associate professor of nursing at RMU. “I could not be more thrilled and honored that the Jewish Healthcare Foundation chose our program for this award.”

RMU’s DNP program, launched in 2007, was the first BSN-DNP program in Pennsylvania to be approved  by the State Board of Nursing . It prepares  advanced-practice nurses at the doctoral level to use current research based evidence to provide a wide range of preventive and diagnostic medical services.

“Alvin Rogal wisely recognized that dedicated people lead positive change; change doesn't just happen,” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, president and CEO of JHF. “How better to advance the healthcare reform that he championed than to prepare the next generation of nurse leaders, through a Research Award in his name, to lead.”

The first class of students in RMU’s DNP program graduated in May, 2010 and the second cohort will graduate in December 2010. Current clinical projects have included studies on: the use of vitamin D by patients with spinal stenosis; diagnosis and management of pediatric mental health disorders in primary care; use of  insulin pumps in the control of Type 2 diabetes; and educating parents in the use of CT scans in children with head injuries.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has recommended that by 2015, doctorate-level education become the requirement for entry into the field for advanced practice nurses including nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists.

Alvin Rogal, a longtime member of the RMU Board of Trustees, was the founding chairman of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. An active and distinguished leader in the Pittsburgh region, he served as president of United Jewish Federation and received the foundation’s highest honor, the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award, in 1974. He was president of the Montefiore Hospital Board of Trustees and also a director of the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, St. Francis General Hospital and Winchester Thurston School, as well as a fellow of Brandeis University and a life trustee of Carnegie Mellon University. Rogal died in 2007 at age 84.

“Alvin was an admired and experienced civic leader who loved many organizations, but the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Robert Morris University were at the top of his list,” said Feinstein. “There is no better way to honor his memory than for JHF to endow a RMU Research Fellowship in his name.”