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About the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing

We are the first Institute dedicated to promoting positive change for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the vehicle of nursing.

The Golisano Institute is the only nursing institute in the country designed to transform the health care and support of people with IDD through the integration of specialized IDD curriculum into nursing undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.

Golisano Institute Mission

The mission of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing is to generate an international cadre of health care professionals prepared with the knowledge, professional skills, and competencies to effectively support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) throughout their life span and across settings.


The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at St. John Fisher College was established in 2018 with support from The B. Thomas Golisano Foundation and a personal donation from Tom Golisano. Since its inception, the Institute has grown to include four faculty members and other interdisciplinary experts in disabilities studies. Four staff members round out the team and provide technology, marketing, and project management support under the leadership of the executive director, associate director, and chief operating officer. 

The Golisano Institute works closely with the Wegmans School of Nursing to develop and implement undergraduate and graduate curricula related to the care and support of individuals with IDD.

Our Work

The Golisano Institute promotes health equity for people with IDD through: 

  • The creation and evaluation of an undergraduate and graduate academic nursing program with integrated IDD competencies
  • The development of high-impact, evidence-based learning activities in IDD health care for an interprofessional health care workforce
  • The expansion of partnerships with health care systems, community-based organizations, people with IDD, their families, and care providers to inform and shape its work
  • Leveraging technology and analytics to advance its mission
  • The development of global thought leaders to influence IDD scholarship, practice, education, and policy through the Golisano Fellowship in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Nursing
  • Influencing policy and practice to achieve health equity for the IDD population at the national and international levels


The Golisano Institute has created and integrated content and experiences for nursing students in the care of people with IDD. Golisano Institute faculty have created simulation and standardized patient experiences in IDD care and developed a series of avatar-based IDD patient case studies for a national market.

In June 2021, the Golisano Institute launched its first cohort of the Golisano Fellowship in IDD Nursing, a year-long program designed to advance thought leadership, expert practice, nursing education, scholarship, and advocacy in support of people with IDD. The first cadre of 20 Fellows comes from across the nation and Ireland, joining an international group of Fellowship faculty in the fields of disability studies, education, and expert practice.

The Golisano Institute has collaborative partnerships with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Special Olympics International, and an extensive network of partnerships with health care systems across New York state including the Erie County Medical Center, Catholic Health System, and Rochester Regional Health.

The Golisano Institute:

  • Transforms the quality of care and support for individuals with developmental disabilities regionally, nationally, and internationally by training nursing professionals in field-specific skills and knowledge
  • Delivers an internationally recognized and technology-enriched curriculum for developmental disabilities nursing education through on-ground and online micro-credential formats
  • Leads the effort to add content on the care of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the nursing licensure and credentialing examinations as a means of ensuring that all nursing program graduates are fully prepared to care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Prepares the next generation of thought leaders who will care and advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities regionally, nationally, and internationally through the Golisano Fellows program
  • Disseminates best practices through publications and presentations at national and international conferences and consultation and collaboration with health care systems, health care educators, and experts in disability research and policy
  • Establishes and supports a network of health care professionals who care for individuals with developmental disabilities across the globe, building off of existing partnerships in Ireland, Spain, Slovenia, and strong ties with the European Nursing Education group
  • Advises hospitals and health centers, including those bearing the Golisano name; schools, advocacy groups; and families around the country and across the globe on providing care for individuals with developmental disabilities by deploying Community Clinical Nurse Specialists


ANCC Accreditation Logo

The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing is accredited by the ANCC NCPD. ANCC NCPD Accreditation formally recognizes organizations that provide high-quality continuing nursing professional development and ensures educational activities are designed using evidence-based criteria. By participating in NCPD learning provided by an ANCC accredited organization, registered nurses maintain continued competence in a rapidly changing health care environment.

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