$1.2 million gift provides initial funding

Judson Services Inc. and the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University recently announced a collaborative effort to create an endowed position that will serve both organizations.

The cornerstone of what will be named the Phelps Collaborative for Older Adult and Family Engagement will be a faculty position at the School of Nursing that includes a clinical appointment at Judson. The appointed individual, selected from a national search, will split his or her time between teaching nursing students about aging adults and interacting with and learning more about that population and their families at Judson.

Initial funding of $1.2 million was given by Charlene Phelps (NUR ’65), a graduate and longtime supporter of the School of Nursing, retired chief nursing officer for University Hospitals Health System and resident at Judson’s South Franklin Circle retirement community in Chagrin Falls. Her commitment will be shared equally between the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Judson to implement the program. Future fundraising will focus on expanding the initiative.

“Charlene has been a true leader throughout her career as a nurse, faculty member, administrator and volunteer. She has improved the lives of her patients and their families while expanding the understanding of best practices of care,” Mary E. Kerr, dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, said. “Her gift creates a unique opportunity to continue this forward thinking and improve the lives of generations to come. I’m thrilled that FPB can partner with Judson on this important initiative to continue her legacy.”

This collaboration will include research looking at how older adults and their families manage health and wellness as well as how to improve quality of life at a lower cost to all. The hope is to distribute the initiative’s findings to organizations serving older adults.

“My vision is that we can grow this initiative in the future to provide the opportunity for research and education at multiple levels—in the classroom, in the field with older adults and also for their families,” Phelps said. “We want to listen to them, study them and gain their ideas. We seek to develop better ways to help older adults and families make good healthcare decisions. This will both lower costs and help that population to function better and live longer.”

Judson President and CEO Cynthia H. Dunn expressed that Phelps’ gift will benefit aging adults in the future.

“The Judson community is excited to partner with the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, one of the leading educational and research institutions in the nursing field,” Dunn said. “Judson can serve as a microcosm for implementing a new model of person-directed support based on coordinating the educational, clinical, administrative and research components built around community nursing. This collaboration breaks new ground for a retirement community and it extends our existing strong relationship with Case Western Reserve on multiple levels.”