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Press Release
July 20, 2004
Contact: John Nash
(843) 792-0687

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Duke Endowment gift strengthens outreach programs at MUSC

Charleston, SC (July 20, 2004) - The Duke Endowment has made five gifts totaling $701,106 to the Medical University of South Carolina, enabling the institution to expand its online nursing education program and continue four outreach initiatives that were launched in 2002 with the Endowment's support.

The Medical University launched its online nursing education program last year in response to the shortage of nurses in South Carolina, which now is ranked 47th in the country in the number of nurses per 100,000 residents.

The online program allows the university's College of Nursing to boost enrollment, enabling nurses with an associate degree to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Two-thirds of the nurses in South Carolina have an associate degree, while the national mandate is for two-thirds of the nursing work force to be baccalaureate prepared, said Nursing Dean Dr. Gail Stuart.

"The advantage of an online program, said Stuart, is that it allows the college to reach students who otherwise might be unable to attend classes when they are offered on campus, due to geographic location or familial responsibilities. Furthermore, an Internet program does not require students to leave their current positions or take them out of the nursing work force. In fact, it increases the expertise of nurses in the state while allowing them to work and attend classes.

In addition to the online nursing program, The Duke Endowment's gift will support four existing clinical and educational outreach programs, each of which was launched with seed funding from the endowment. One promotes maternity and newborn care in rural communities; another creates hypertension specialists in communities throughout the state; a third aims to improve dental health among children with special needs; and the fourth provides caregivers in remote locations with access to continuing-education programs.

Over the past three years, The Duke Endowment has provided more than $2.2 million in financial support for all five programs, making it one of the more generous private benefactors of public health in South Carolina today.

"Over the past few years, the Medical University and The Duke Endowment have built a strong and successful partnership, based upon our shared commitment to improve health care in this state's rural and otherwise underserved populations," said university President Ray Greenberg. "We are truly grateful for their support, and look forward to a future of continued partnership."

Established in 1924 by N.C. industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is one of the nation's largest private foundations. Its mission is to serve the people of North Carolina and South Carolina by supporting selected program of higher education, health care, children's welfare, and spiritual life.

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