On Thursday September 7 I’m on the way to my former hometown of Rochester, NY, to be honored for one of my philanthropic projects. Ben and Sara are joining me, which I very much welcome. The event and award are courtesy of the University of Rochester School of Nursing, where I established a fund in both Jerry’s and my names. The fund, awarded at the discretion of the Dean, supports early stage research from a promising faculty member whose project isn’t yet far enough along to apply to larger funding sources like NIH.
You might wonder why, since I’m not a nurse and there’s no strong tradition of nursing in my family — although my Houston cousin Pat is a retired nurse executive — I support nursing research. There are two reasons. I worked at the School of Nursing in the 1990’s, and found the leadership to be among the smartest people I’ve ever met. I think that supporting the work of smart people whose profession carries with it a sense of mission or calling is a good thing to do. The other reason is that whenever any of us encounter the health care system — which is pretty much everyone — we are touched by nurses. We all have stories about nurses making a key difference in the quality of our care. And that’s not just true in the U.S. On Minga’s second night in the hospital during her acute episode of kidney failure, a nurse noticed that Minga had not received the dialysis ordered by the nephrologist. The nurse set the wheels in motion for the order to be re-instated and for Minga to receive the treatment she desperately needed.
The trip to Rochester is a quick in and out, and the very next weekend I’m in Minneapolis performing the wedding ceremony for two young friends.
Very glad I get to be at both!