“The goal for our donation,” Sandy says, “is to help expose students to a wide range of ways that nursing is practiced around the globe.” Sandy, who founded and serves as executive director of a non-profit cancer support organization, traces the launch of a program called Wigs Without Borders to, among other things, her own study abroad experience as an undergrad student at Penn Nursing. “Studying abroad opened my eyes to cultural and economic differences—and sparked my interest in creating innovative ways to make a tangible difference in lower resource countries.”
The Sambergs have long supported Penn Nursing students to have nursing experiences outside their comfort zones. They established the Samberg Family Global Endowed Fellowship at Penn Nursing, which sent its first class of students on international summer trips in 2016. The Fellowship has enabled over 15 students to travel to a range of locations for clinical experience, including Guatemala, Thailand, and India. Their new gift to the Global Impact Fund will allow even more Penn Nursing students to benefit from these unique clinical experiences.
Sandy notes, “I hope that having these experiences raises an awareness for Penn Nursing students that there are often multiple ways to address certain health-related situations. For example, the United States is one of only a handful of countries that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave. If nurses practicing in other countries witness the physical and mental health benefits of paid maternity leave, perhaps they may conduct a research study about the topic in the U.S. or engage in advocacy work to help change our laws.”
“This is how progress in health and healthcare works,” she adds, “because nurses have these experiences and are on the frontline of patient care.”
The Sambergs’ commitment to study abroad experiences is directly responsible for their support of the Nursing Story Slam, an event that is the brainchild of Penn Nursing’s Director of Innovation, Marion Leary. The inaugural event, held in February 2019, was co-hosted by Penn Medicine and First Person Arts. Faculty, staff, and students at Penn had the opportunity to share six-minute stories, offering insight into the impact of nurses on the lives of patients, families, and communities.
Sandy, who serves on Penn Nursing’s Board of Overseers, heard the winning stories at a recent board meeting and decided to support the next Nursing Story Slam event, expected to occur in early 2020. The hope is that, with the Sambergs’ support, the event will continue to build momentum and that there will be a sustainable source of funding.
“I loved that some of the experiences took place abroad, including a military nurse working on the frontlines in Afghanistan. And who knows—maybe one day a Penn Nurse will perform a Story Slam about an experience that took place while studying abroad. We feel honored to play even a small role in helping share these powerful stories and raise awareness about the incredible impact that nurses make around the globe on a daily basis.”