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Fisher’s Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing Announces International Partnership

May 15, 2019

Officials from the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at St. John Fisher College and the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), in Waterford, Ireland, announced today a formal partnership to advance the Institute’s mission of transforming the way nurses treat the unique needs of individuals with developmental disabilities (DD).

From left to right: Dr. Kevin Railey, President Gerard Rooney, Dr. John Wells, Dean Dianne Cooney Miner, and Ann Costello.

Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College and founding director of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, Dr. John Wells, head of WIT’s School of Health Sciences; Ann Costello, executive director of the Golisano Foundation; and Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College, offered remarks about the partnership and signed an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“Today we celebrate our continued collaboration, which will bring the best practice, research, and science—along with the compassion and values that are part of our profession—to the Golisano Institute,” Cooney Miner said.

The partnership, a culmination of a decades-long relationship between the two institutions, will allow the Institute to draw on the expertise of faculty members at WIT, which has offered a specialized degree in developmental disability nursing since 2002. There, the curriculum addresses challenges in effective communication, applied behavioral analysis and positive behavioral change techniques, and early intervention strategies, among other training.

“Waterford is a very rich academic environment, and the School of Health Sciences, led by Dr. Wells, is a robust part of the Institute. It is doing leading research with scholars who are both in practice and are also exploring important topics in health, much like on our own campus,” Rooney said. “I am thankful for Dianne’s leadership of the Wegmans School of Nursing, and of this partnership through the years. And, we are most grateful to the Golisano Foundation and Tom Golisano who have helped us create new opportunities for delivering health care to vulnerable populations.”

Dr. John Wells joins Dean Dianne Cooney Miner at the podium to offer remarks.

Dr. John Wells joins Dean Dianne Cooney Miner at the podium to offer remarks.

With the signed MOU, the Institute and WIT will work to develop an exchange with faculty members from WIT’s bachelor’s degree in intellectual disability nursing program. Those faculty members will be embedded at the Wegmans School of Nursing and WIT faculty advisors will also make short-term visits to New York to offer guidance in curriculum development and implementation, and share best practices in creating models of inclusive nursing care.

“This relationship is much more than a partnership between two organizations, it is a partnership built on interpersonal friendship, trust, and a shared view of the role of nurses, nursing, and our approaches to the care of people,” said Wells. “I’d like to say something about you at Fisher, and you, as a country. You are open, you are forward thinking, you are flexible, and adaptable. And, Fisher represents that. We’re deeply honored to partner with you, deeply honored to know you as individuals, and deeply honored to be a part of this amazing initiative.”

Fisher has enjoyed long partnerships with colleges in Ireland, including WIT and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland School of Nursing and Midwifery. Cooney Miner participated in a research project with WIT faculty focused on work-related stress in health care settings, served on doctoral dissertation committees, and was awarded a visiting professorship in recognition of her leadership and service in nursing education. In 2015, she was named an Honorary Faculty Fellow of Nursing & Midwifery by the Royal College of Surgeons; it is the highest honor the faculty can bestow upon an individual.

For more information about the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, visit