In the largest single grant of its history, the West Virginia University School of Nursing has received $600,000 to establish the Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship Fund for Baccalaureate Nursing Students. The school will use the money to help alleviate West Virginia’s shortage of nurses.

“We are ecstatic. This gift moves us forward in our commitment to help meet the growing need for nurses in the state,” said Georgia L. Narsavage, Ph.D., dean of the WVU School of Nursing. “Too many promising students cannot afford to attend a four-year baccalaureate program to become a nurse. The Helene Fuld grant will help correct that.”

Half of the money is earmarked to become a permanent endowment fund. The grant is scheduled to be paid in three annual installments of $200,000, with $100,000 each year to become available immediately for scholarships.

“We anticipate being able to award approximately 20 scholarships to our current nursing students by fall of 2010,” said Elisabeth “Betty” Shelton, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs of the WVU School of Nursing. “We are excited and pleased to be able to offer financial help to students who might otherwise not have been able to complete a nursing degree.”

In applying for the grant, Narsavage stressed the School of Nursing’s focus on gerontology in the curriculum as well as the school’s emphasis on providing care for vulnerable populations in rural areas. Nursing students complete more than 100 projects each year that deliver public education and healthcare to underserved communities in West Virginia, including volunteer work in free clinics as part of their training.

Other strengths of the curriculum include:

• Opportunities for students to be involved in research projects with faculty and nurses at WVU Hospitals

• Ability to work in teams with students from the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy

• Outstanding clinical experiences

The WVU School of Nursing currently has about 400 students enrolled in its baccalaureate programs. More than 90 percent of graduates pass the nationwide standard nursing exam, a rate higher than both the state and national averages, and become licensed as registered nurses within six months of graduation.

Information on applying for the scholarships will be available on the WVU School of Nursing web site,, by the end of the fall 2009 semester.

About the Helene Fuld Health Trust
The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the nation’s largest private funder devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education. In 1935, Dr. Leonhard Felix Fuld and his sister, Florentine, created a foundation in honor of their mother, Helene. In 1965, the foundation was converted to the Helene Fuld Health Trust with a mission to support and promote the health, welfare and education of student nurses.


For More Information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087