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Routhier Foundation donates $500,000 to URI

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Routhier Foundation donates $500,000 to URI to address nursing practice, workforce issues
University appoints nationally-renowned professor to Routhier Chair of Practice

KINGSTON, R.I. – January 29, 2007 – The University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing has announced a new faculty chair, which has been established through a $500,000 gift from the E.J. and V.M. Routhier Foundation. The gift is part of the University's Making a Difference Campaign.

URI Nursing Dean Dayle Joseph also announced during ceremonies today at White Hall that Lynne M. Dunphy, a renowned professor, researcher and practitioner, is the first holder of Routhier Chair of Practice. Dunphy, who began her work at URI in September, is focusing on primary care and workforce issues as part of the College’s leadership role in addressing the multi-faceted nursing crisis.

The Routhier Foundation will provide $100,000 annually for five years to support the chair. It will be funded beyond five years if the mutual goals of the foundation and the University are met.

The gift is the result of talks involving Commissioner of Higher Education Jack Warner, URI President Robert L. Carothers, the Rhode Island Foundation, which manages the Routhier Foundation, Paul Witham, URI’s associate vice president for development, and Joseph.

In thanking the Routhier Foundation, Carothers said the generous gift is a tribute to the University’s role in nursing leadership and development issues. “Thanks to the hard work of Dean Joseph, faculty members and our outstanding nursing alumni, state and federal leaders look to URI for guidance on the critical nursing issues of the day,” Carothers said. “The Routhier Foundation has enabled us to hire Dr. Dunphy, a national expert on nursing workforce issues. We are pleased to welcome her to the campus.”

“This is a major investment by the Routhier Foundation that focuses on systemic challenges in health care,” Witham said. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Routhier and Rhode Island foundations for their commitment to the nursing chair and for recognizing our role in nursing development.”

“Workforce issues are very important for Rhode Island and its nurses,” Joseph said. “This position will help us to establish new programs to educate more students, collaborate with leaders in the workplace to prepare our nursing students so they can thrive in the clinical practice environment. We have been in a leadership role on these issues and we are prepared to do more.”

A statewide study chaired by Joseph reported that Rhode Island has a current shortage of 2,000 nurses, and by 2020, the state could be short 8,000 to 11,000 nurses. Last year, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed held a roundtable discussion at URI with Joseph, URI nursing faculty and health care and nursing leaders from around the state.

The Routhier Chair honors the late Edward and Virginia Routhier. Edward ran the Cormack-Routhier Insurance Agency in Cranston, and Virginia, a graduate of the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing, spent 25 years as a registered nurse at the hospital.

Because Virginia believed in building the nursing community in Rhode Island, one component of the gift helps ensure that nurses educated in the Ocean State remain here and work in the state’s hospitals and health care agencies.

In Lynne Dunphy, Joseph and the College found a nursing leader who brings expertise in many areas to the College of Nursing and the nursing community in Rhode Island.

“Dr. Dunphy joins the College as an accomplished researcher and teacher,” Joseph said. “Her broad interest in nursing workforce issues and her enthusiasm for finding solutions to the workforce crisis made her an ideal candidate for this position.”

“I really wanted to come here because anyone I’ve met who went to URI was very pleased with their education,” said Dunphy who has moved to Narragansett with her husband James, after having worked at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Nursing for 11 years, most recently as assistant dean. “People in the profession told me to go to URI because it has a nursing program with a great reputation.

“This is a great opportunity and a great honor,” said Dunphy who comes to URI with 20 years of teaching experience and extensive experience in oncology, trauma, and mental health nursing. “This brings me back to my roots, a focus on clinical practice, which puts you in contact with the larger health care community. Health care really needs to hear the voice of nursing.”

Dunphy said Dean Joseph conceptualized the chair in a way that focuses attention on nursing practice.

“The practice component puts you in contact with the larger health care enterprise,” Dunphy said. “There are links, but they need to be strengthened and expanded.”

As part of her work, she will be examining salaries for nurses and nursing faculty, working conditions for nurses, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate students at URI. She will also play a key role in recruiting and retaining faculty and students.

A licensed family nurse practitioner, an advanced registered nurse practitioner and a certified clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric nursing, Dunphy earned her registered nurse diploma from Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn in 1971 and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in 1980. She earned her master’s degree in 1985 at Hunter College in adult mental health nursing and her doctorate in 1992 at the University of Miami.

Dunphy worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for 13 years, rising to the position of head nurse in which she managed staff development.

From 1984 through 1986, she was at the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Service System, which is part of the University of Maryland Hospital Center, where she served as clinical nurse supervisor and managed a staff of more than 60.

She was a faculty member of Miami Dade Community College from 1987 through 1992 and was assistant professor of nursing at Florida International University from 1992 through 1995.

Dunphy has edited and co-authored a number of books for adult and family nurse practitioners, specifically a management guidelines book, certification review book and a major, 1,300-page textbook, Primary Care: The Art and Science of Advanced Practice Nursing.

The Routhier Foundation gift is part of URI’s Making a Difference Campaign, which seeks $100 million to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student-centered campus experience, provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives. The campaign will be launched in fall 2007. For more information on the campaign, link to http://www.advance.uri.edu/giving/default.htm.