Thomas Golisano has donated $5.8 million to St. John Fisher College to create the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing. The gift includes $800,000 from the Golisano Foundation.

Photo credit: St. John Fisher College

First of its kind in the nation, the institute will be part of Fisher’s Wegmans School of Nursing and is designed to transform the health care and support of individuals with developmental disabilities. Dianne Cooney Miner, founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing, will lead the institute.

The school expects to draw on 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 Golisano Foundation’s collaboration with Special Olympics Health to extend the institute’s reach.

The Golisano Institute plans 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.  Cooney Miner also noted that 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.

“The creation of the Golisano Institute is a major step forward in filling the gaps in access to care and ensuring inclusive health for individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Cooney Miner said.  “There is a real need to develop advocacy leaders in development disability health care to encourage dialogue and promote positive change to ensure that this population receives the quality of life that they deserve.”

Through the Golisano Institute, 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.