Hearst Endowed Scholarship

The goal of the Hearst Foundations’ Endowed Scholarship is to support clinical scholarship and prepare advanced practice nursing students in the care of older persons. As our population ages it becomes vital that nurses, the largest segment of the nation’s health care system, be trained and competent in the care of older adults.

Since 2002, over $543,000 has been awarded to 80 graduate students who are preparing to become the next generation of advanced practice nurses in the field of geriatrics. The Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence is honored to steward this significant endowment.


The Hearst Endowed Scholarship provides funding for students focused on gerontological advanced practice nursing and who are enrolled in the final year of study in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program at the OHSU School of Nursing.

Eligible advanced practice nursing students must have an interest in and commitment to the care of older persons, in any setting, be it acute care, primary care, long-term care or community-based care.

About the Hearst Foundations

“The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives” with an emphasis on those providing specialized care for the complex needs of older adult populations.

The Hearst Foundations - visit their website

Hearst Endowed Scholarships Awarded for AY 2021-22

Our Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence is pleased to announce the recipients of the Hearst Foundations’ Endowed Scholarship for AY 2021-22. These five D.N.P. students are, without exception, excellent clinicians and leaders dedicated to improving older adult patient health outcomes through person-centered care and quality improvement.

They exemplify the passion and compassion, dedication to excellence, and critical thought required of our next generation of nurse leaders.

Please join us in congratulating them!

Jordan Galbraith, B.S.N., R.N., Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist (S.R.N.A.); Nurse Anesthesia program (NAP)

Jordan’s rich background brings unique experience to his practice. As a former EMT and firefighter, and then as an RN working in a cardiac intensive care unit, he has cared for some of the most critically ill people.  He showed a particular interest in our aging veteran population during a VA Portland Health Care rotation. According to Lisa Osborne-Smith, Ph.D., C.R.N.A., and program director for the NAP, “He seeks to practice in a smaller, critical access hospital where the nurse anesthetist has additional autonomy in their practice”.

His dedication to caring for marginalized patients has the potential to make a significant impact in a rural community.

Speich_Christian_Hearst scholar

Christian Speich, B.S.N., R.N., S.R.N.A.; Nurse Anesthesia program

Christian’s goal is to work in a rural critical access facility providing culturally competent care for individuals from all backgrounds.  She wrote, “I know that many rural areas rely on nurse anesthetists to ensure emergency surgical care” and “how critical a strong foundation in geriatric anesthesia care is to ensure every member of the community can be adequately cared for”.

Dr. Osborne-Smith noted, “She has excellent patient care skills and exceeds expectations regarding her ease of interacting with older patients and their families”.

Christian’s dedication to the care of older people speaks highly of her potential as a leader who will always seek to improve their quality of care.

This is our first cohort of D.N.P. Nurse Anesthesia students and our Hartford Center is pleased to support Jordan’s and Christian’s scholarship.

Hillman_Gretchen Hearst scholar 2021

Gretchen Hillman, B.S.N., B.A., R.N., Family Nurse Practitioner program (FNP)

Gretchen has a noteworthy background as a teacher and has traveled extensively. During her travels, she “learned that elders are the safe keepers of cultural wisdom and the bridge to deep-rooted sense of identity for future generations”.

According to Jackie F. Webb, D.N.P., F.N.P.-B.C., R.N. and FNP program director; “She brings a gentleness into her practice that allows her patients to feel very secure … and she easily gains their trust. She is committed to working with older adults and vulnerable populations and helping marginalized patients find their voice”.

Her commitment to providing compassionate care to our elders, with a focus on optimal health, is reflected in her clinical practice at the VA in southern Oregon where she plans to develop her D.N.P. project.

Mendoza Ruvalcaba Hearst scholar

Cristian Mendoza Ruvalcaba, B.S.N., B.A., R.N.; Family Nurse Practitioner program

In his letter of support for Cristian, Charles Boardman, D.N.P., F.N.P.-B.C., who is a clinical assistant professor in the FNP program, wrote, “From his current work as an RN on a gero-psych unit … to his long-term career goal of providing home-based primary care for Spanish-speaking patients, his commitment to working with older people is clear”. Descriptors used for Cristian from faculty include: exceptional, astute, thoughtful, focused, and compassionate; all characteristics one looks for in an exemplary clinician.

Cristian’s personal mission to care for Spanish speaking older people, and provide leadership for health care teams who treat marginalized people, demonstrates his dedication to solving the complex social and healthcare needs of these populations.

Both Gretchen and Cristian are enrolled in our FNP program’s expansion into regional/rural Oregon.

Kerr_Kathryn Hearst scholar

Kathryn Kerr, B.S.N., C.E.N., S.A.N.E., Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program

From her early work as a certified nurse assistant in high school and college, to her later work as a post-baccalaureate nurse in the emergency department “Katie” progressed ever closer to a career working with older adults as an advanced practice nurse.

During the COVID pandemic, Katie worked in the emergency department. She wrote, “when our world face[d] such extreme health and medical uncertainty” she took pride in her medical team and in the nursing profession. Katie has a strong sense of advocacy for geriatric patients and a pronounced compassion for people living with dementia.

She is planning her D.N.P. project on increasing sepsis bundle adherence in the emergency department with the intention to help decrease patient mortality from severe sepsis and septic shock.