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UVI Gets Bennie & Martha Benjamin Foundation Gift to Support School of Nursing

FREDERIKSTED — The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) accepted four new gifts from the Bennie & Martha Benjamin Foundation (Benjamin Foundation) that it said “will bolster the university’s School of Nursing program and improve delivery of health services to students, faculty and staff in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

The gifts include two birthing simulators and mannequins (one for each campus), telehealth software licenses for the campuses’ clinicians and funds to purchase needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Student Health Centers on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

“The Bennie & Martha Benjamin Foundation has been a dedicated partner of UVI every year since 1992,” Mitchell Neaves, vice president for Institutional Advancement at UVI, said. “As always, and especially in times of need, the Benjamin Foundation has been very proactive in investing in the university. These new gifts from the Bennie & Martha Benjamin Foundation come at an opportune time as we continue to respond to Coronavirus cases across the Territory and train the next class of nursing students to enter the healthcare field. We could not be more grateful for their continued partnership and generosity.”

Maritza DeCosta, director of Health Services at UVI, called the gift “a blessing.” Since March, campus clinicians have had to provide telehealth services to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus in the community.

With the software licenses purchased by the Benjamin Foundation, clinicians on both campuses can use the full capabilities of the software to operate a comprehensive virtual clinic.

“Students rely on us for their health needs and have grown comfortable using the campus clinics,” DeCosta said. “The gift makes it possible for us to still maintain contact with students if they’re not feeling well and provide personalized care in a virtual setting. Additionally, when in-person care is essential, nurses must gear up in full PPE. The cost of the PPE is one we didn’t anticipate before the pandemic. Add that to the challenge of getting supplies in the Virgin Islands – the funding will certainly help us.”

The School of Nursing (SON) has long been a recipient of gifts from the Benjamin Foundation. Ten years ago, the Foundation donated two birth simulators designed to provide a complete childbirth simulation experience before, during and after delivery.

The new simulators will allow the SON to upgrade the technology used to provide a comprehensive teaching system and equitable experiences for all students on both campuses.

“These are invaluable resources for our faculty and students,” Beverley Lansiquot, dean of the School of Nursing, said. “This donation directly impacts all students enrolled in the program who might otherwise miss the opportunity to observe and learn the nursing principles and practice during labor and delivery. The School of Nursing is exceedingly grateful to the Martha & Bennie Benjamin Foundation for their continued support.”

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VI Free Press

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