The Bob Woodruff Foundation and Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence Join Forces to Address Veterans’ Invisible Wounds of War

NEW YORK – The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence today announced a partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, as part of the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program (JVHP) that provides $200,000 in scholarships to 20 doctoral nursing students focused on veterans’ “invisible wounds of war” – notably post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The doctoral nurses will be called The Bob Woodruff Foundation-Jonas Nursing Scholars, joining a cohort of more than 250 Jonas Nurse Scholars across the country through a program started by the Jonas Center in 2008.

“The rapid growth of the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program underscores the value and necessity of this model. The expansion of this highly successful program to meet the specialized needs of veterans was a natural evolution,” said Donald Jonas. “Partnering with the Bob Woodruff Foundation confirms again that we are on the right track to address a dire need. It is our hope that others will join our cause.”

Thus, two foundations with extraordinary expertise and passion for members of the U.S. Armed Forces are teaming to address the most profound effects of the U.S.’s engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan – among the most protracted wars in our nation’s history. The fate of veterans has markedly changed due to modern day medicine and technology, as 90 percent of soldiers survive their injuries and return home with unprecedented psychological and physical health issues.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation – founded by award-winning television reporter Bob Woodruff, who sustained serious injuries covering the Iraq war in 2006 – and the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence will co-fund grants of $10,000 per scholar during 2013. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to equip nurses to address the tremendous health challenges that prevent post-9/11 injured service members from thriving once they return to civilian life.

“We are pleased to partner with the Jonas Center, which shares our commitment to help injured service members rebuild their lives,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “This program is perfectly aligned with our founder’s mission to ensure America’s heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it.”

There is a critical shortage of medical professionals, especially nurses, trained in this specialized field, according to Darlene Curley, executive director of the Jonas Center. While the Veterans Health Administration (VA) has committed to filling the gap, a strained federal budget makes meeting this need difficult. The Jonas Center formally launched its Veterans Healthcare Program last fall, with a cohort of 54 doctoral-level nursing candidates. More than half of the nurses are active duty soldiers, reservists or employees of the VA or Department of Defense – across 21 states and 31 academic institutions. The scholars are pursuing research focused on veterans’ needs identified by the White House and the VA, including mental health, multiple trauma, TBI, aging and women’s health.

Perhaps at no other time in history have veterans’ needs been greater, with more than 20 percent of returning veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and/or depression, and the number of service members who took their lives last year surpassing the number killed in combat.

“Millions of veterans are accessing the healthcare system with medical, emotional, psychological and rehabilitation needs reaching unprecedented levels,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) William T. Bester, advisor to the program. “As nurses are often the first to spot signs of trouble, this academic training model will increase the ranks of those specially trained in veterans’ healthcare, ensuring – now and in the future – that our service members receive optimum care.”


About the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence

Founded in 2006, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence is dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans healthcare. These programs currently support more than 250 doctoral scholars nationwide.


About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation is the nonprofit dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government — diligently navigating the maze of more than 40,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans — finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, we have invested more than $13 million in 80 organizations, reaching more than a million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award winning anchor, Bob Woodruff, and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure our nation’s heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it.

For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit or email

Olivia Goodman