Nurturer of Nursing
Jun 08, 2021 Jeremy Deutchman
From kindergarten to beyond college, Geri Brawerman regards investments in learning as vital to a healthy global future. “I see the world needing education everywhere,” she says. “I firmly believe education is the answer especially in medicine and healthcare.”
In 2006, she and her late husband made a landmark gift bolstering both education and healthcare when they established the Geri and Richard Brawerman Nursing Institute at Cedars-Sinai. But her generosity to the medical center dates back much further than that. She has spent decades fostering the development of skilled, compassionate nurses at Cedars‑Sinai. Now in her 90s, Brawerman’s visionary commitment to nursing continues yielding tangible results.
“I see the world needing education everywhere. I firmly believe education is the answer especially in medicine and healthcare.”
“Nursing has become more complex, just like everything else in healthcare,” says Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive David Marshall, JD, DNP, RN. “With Mrs. Brawerman’s support, we’re able to advance the field and help nurses keep up with the latest advances.”
That support comes in the form of tuition reimbursement, clinical experiences and mentorship programs for those who aspire to careers in nursing and for current nurses pursuing graduate-level education.
“Mrs. Brawerman’s funding affords our nurses tremendous opportunities and, as a result, more than 90% of them have bachelor’s degrees—and a high percentage have master’s degrees as well,” Marshall says. “The more we’re able to invest in our nurses, the better equipped they are to provide the best possible care to our patients.”
Thanks to Brawerman’s generosity, Cedars-Sinai has also helped 250 newly licensed nurses transition into the profession through its cutting-edge residency program. The goal, Brawerman says, is positioning Cedars-Sinai to meet the rapidly rising demand. “Nurses work so hard, but there simply aren’t enough of them,” she notes. “We need more.”
Another key component of the Brawerman legacy is support of research and performance improvement. “Grants enabled by Mrs. Brawerman play a crucial role in pioneering scientific research here at Cedars-Sinai,” Marshall says.
For example, he says, “Linda Kim, PhD, MSN, RN, one of our researchers, got a grant to study healthcare workers to understand how burnout affects their DNA, which could offer invaluable insights as we for future pandemics like the one we’re currently living through.”
“Nurses work so hard, but there simply aren’t enough of them. We need more.”
In addition, Brawerman’s giving affords Marshall and his colleagues the space to plan ahead—and even to dream. “The more we’ve done, the more we want to accomplish,” he says. “We’re currently looking to launch a residency program for advanced practice nurses. We’re also interested in starting up a peer-reviewed journal where our nurses can publish their work.”
Other goals are aimed at expanding professional options and inclusivity. “We’d like to develop a pre-license, predoctoral career development program so nurses can get on whatever pathway—administrative, clinical or educational—is right for them,” Marshall says. “And we’re seeking to recruit more nurses with diverse backgrounds to reflect the makeup of our patient population more accurately.”
“It’s an ambitious agenda,” he admits. “But Mrs. Brawerman has given us an unbelievable head start.”