Helen Baszucki Center for Nursing Excellence launched with $6.5 million gift to Montage Health Foundation
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MONTEREY, Calif. — Montage Health today announced the formation of the Helen Baszucki Center for Nursing Excellence, funded with a $6.5 million contribution from Paul Baszucki, in honor of his late wife.
The center’s mission is to advance nursing excellence through initiatives including advanced educational opportunities, expansion of nursing training and leadership programs, scholarships for bachelor’s and advanced degrees in nursing, and a proposal to significantly increase the number of students in the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC).
“This gift is a tribute to the critical work that nurses do in caring for our community,” says Steven Packer, MD, president/CEO of Montage Health. “Nurses are the primary face of care for so many of our patients, and the Helen Baszucki Center for Nursing Excellence is an investment in current and future generations of these indispensable healthcare professionals.”
The center is named for Helen Baszucki, a dedicated nurse and clinical instructor, who carried the lessons learned in nursing school into other aspects of her life, including raising four children.
“Helen was very diligent in her nursing training, starting with how to make a bed — with hospital corners,” says Paul Baszucki. “This was the action from which sprang all sense of order and doing things right.”
The Baszuckis were married 59 years, until Helen’s death in September 2020 at age 84. In mid-2020, the couple made a gift of $500,000 to Montage Health Foundation to launch the COVID-19 Relief Fund, for support related to the pandemic. After Helen passed away, Paul wanted to do something to honor her and he chose to focus on nursing. “It reflects Helen, her life, her interests, and it’s something she would have loved,” he says.
Plans for the center began forming in meetings among Baszucki, Deborah Sober, chief nursing officer of Montage Health, and Kevin Causey, vice president/chief development officer of Montage Health, and officials of Monterey Peninsula College.
“We envision a center,” Sober says, “that creates a culture of lifelong learning, innovation, and professional development, and that continuously integrates best-practices into the care of our patients.”
The center will invest in the growth of nurses and the nursing profession through initiatives including:
- Supporting education by offering high-quality courses to enhance nursing practice, and scholarships for those pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing
- Increasing training programs for specialized roles in Community Hospital’s surgical, maternal health, intensive care, and emergency departments
- Increasing enrollment in the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing. About 80 percent of the school’s graduates have become nurses in Monterey County
- Introducing research and innovation opportunities to advance the science of nursing and improving quality of patient care.
- Investing in leadership development for nurses and care providers
In providing input for the center, it was important to Paul Baszucki that the impacts be local and tangible.
“We are focused on specific and local philanthropy,” he says. “We need trained nurses now, and we need for the community to understand the value of this profession.”
Causey says the formation of the center brings to mind another transformational contribution to the foundation.
“The Baszuckis’ generosity echoes a gift made more than four decades ago on behalf of Maurine Church Coburn, which led to establishment of the nursing school at MPC,” Causey says. “We anticipate that this gift, like that one, will have deep and lasting impacts on the health of the community.”
About Montage Health
Montage Health is the nonprofit parent company of a family of organizations dedicated to improving lives by delivering exceptional care and inspiring the pursuit of optimal health. Through its subsidiaries and its partnerships with doctors and other clinicians, healthcare and community organizations, and, most importantly community members, Montage Health is dedicated to care that is coordinated across all care settings to meet each person’s goals and needs. Montage Health’s family of companies includes Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Montage Medical Group, MoGo Urgent Care, Aspire Health, Montage Health Foundation, and Montage Wellness Center.