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The Sisters of Charity Health System Awards Four Nursing Scholarships in Ohio and South Carolina

CLEVELAND, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, President and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, has announced the winners of the fourth annual Caritas Nursing Scholarships. The nursing students selected to receive the $2,500 scholarship represent each of the three communities served by the Sisters of Charity Health System -- Canton, Cleveland and South Carolina.

The students are also employees or the immediate family members of employees at one of the Health System's 20 sponsored ministries, including its five hospitals -- Mercy Medical Center in Canton, St. Vincent Charity Hospital and St. John West Shore Hospital in Cleveland, Providence Hospital and Providence Hospital Northeast in South Carolina.

According to Sr. Judith Ann, the Caritas Nursing Scholarship program was created to encourage and sustain students with nursing aspirations, especially in light of the growing shortage of nurses.

"The communities served by the Sisters of Charity Health System are certainly affected by the national nursing shortage. The Caritas Nursing Scholarships were established in 2004 to support individuals who understand the mission and philosophy of Catholic health care and who are interested in pursing a nursing career," said Sr. Judith Ann.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between 1996 and 2000 the rate of nurses entering the workforce was only 4.1 percent, down from more than 14 percent between 1992 and 1996. Furthermore, the average age of registered nurses has increased substantially as fewer young people choose nursing careers.

The four students selected to receive the scholarship met strict criteria in the areas of scholastic achievement, community service and commitment to the nursing profession. The applicant's financial need and personal compatibility with the mission of the Sisters of Charity Health System were also considered. Numerous applications were received and reviewed by internal committees in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio and Columbia, South Carolina.

The Caritas Nursing Scholarships are awarded in recognition of Sr. Mary Patricia Barrett, CSA, an instrumental leader in the formation of the Sisters of Charity Health System and its first president and CEO. Sr. Mary Patricia is still actively involved at the Sisters of Charity Health System in her role as Archivist and Special Assistant to the President and CEO.

The 2007 Caritas Nursing Scholarship winners are:

Diane Durbin - Canton, OH: A recipient of the 2006 Caritas Nursing Scholarship, Ms. Durbin was chosen again this year to receive the Canton scholarship. She is the daughter of Teresa Durbin, R.N., a childbirth educator at Mercy Medical Center. Ms. Durbin recently completed her first year in nursing school at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where she is enrolled in the Honors Program and maintains a high-level GPA. Ms. Durbin stays very active at the university as a student ambassador and admission office worker.

Dawn Funk: - Westlake, OH: A recipient of the 2006 Caritas Nursing Scholarship, Ms. Funk was also chosen again this year to receive the Cleveland scholarship. She is currently enrolled in the RN program at Lorain Community College. For the past three years she has served as a radiology assistant/transporter at St. John West Shore Hospital. Ms. Funk stays active in her community by raising funds for the American Lung Association and participating in the "Walk for MS." Ms. Funk resides with her husband and two children in North Ridgeville.

James Palcisko - Richfield, OH: Since 1997, Mr. Palcisko has been employed as a restorative nurse at Regina Health Center, one of the Sisters of Charity Health System's sponsored ministries. He earned an LPN degree from Marymount College and is currently working toward his RN degree at ATS Institute of Technology where he attends its accelerated evening full-time program. Mr. Palcisko resides in Brunswick with his wife and three sons. He has been active in supporting the fundraising efforts of the March of Dimes and St. Jude campaigns. Mr. Palcisko also volunteers at Regina Health Center's gift shop.

Janel Randolph - Columbia, SC: Ms. Randolph is enrolled in the nursing program at South Carolina State University. She is also employed part-time at Providence Hospital as a nursing tech. Ms. Randolph graduated from Richland High School in May of 2006 as salutatorian. One of her most significant accomplishments relating to health care was competing in South Carolina's Health Occupations Students of America's Medical Assisting Clinical competition. She placed first in South Carolina and sixth in the nation.

About Sisters of Charity Health System

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Sisters of Charity Health System was established in 1982 as the parent corporation for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio and South Carolina. In 1999, Sisters of Charity Health System formed two Ohio not-for-profit corporations with University Hospitals Health System to equally own and operate St. John West Shore Hospital, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Cuyahoga Physician Network, West Shore Primary Care and Professional Medical Equipment. Through this equal ownership, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine continue their legacy of high quality, compassionate care that began at the time of the founding of these organizations.

The Sisters of Charity Health System is the sole sponsor of Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals, a leading cardiovascular center in South Carolina, which includes Providence Hospital/Providence Heart Institute and Providence Hospital Northeast in Columbia, South Carolina. The organization also oversees three grantmaking foundations located in Cleveland and Canton, OH and Columbia, SC. Each foundation sponsors significant community initiatives and collaborations that address causes and consequences of poverty.

Other health and human services and education-related organizations within The Sisters of Charity Health System include Cleveland's Joseph's Home, a unique residential care center for homeless men; Canton's Early Childhood Resource Center for people working in childcare in all settings, and Healthy Learners, a South Carolina health care resource for children from low-income families. The Sisters of Charity Health System also provides residential eldercare services at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio and Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio. Light of Hearts Villa is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

SOURCE Sisters of Charity Health System
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