Inaugural TRU Heroes Cystic Fibrosis Nursing Program Launched Through BEF/Johnson & Johnson Collaboration

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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The Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) and Johnson & Johnson recently announced the launch of the Johnson & Johnson TRU Heroes Cystic Fibrosis Nursing Program, a first-of-its-kind educational empowerment program for the nursing community focused on cystic fibrosis (CF).

The Johnson & Johnson TRU Heroes program was designed to encourage the community to recruit, accredit, and educate its nurses about the challenging path that CF patients face, since there was no previous certification for nurses who wanted to specialize in the treatment of these patients. Additionally, the program will officially recognize nurses who are already paving the way for improved CF treatment and understanding — including national and local scholarships, CF seminars, educational grants and nursing achievement awards — in public events.

Now the TRU Heroes CF Nursing Program, sponsored by a $1 million Johnson & Johnson’s grant, will reward and inspire nurses that Teach, Respect and Understand (TRU) CF patients in great need of high-quality care. Initiatives will include seminars led by CF patients; scholarships for nurses undergoing CF education and for patients wishing to pursue careers in nursing; and an “Outstanding Service Award” to recognize nurses making an impact on the lives of those who have been touched by CF throughout the nation.

“Johnson & Johnson has worked side by side with nurses since the founding of our company 130 years ago and has long understood the extraordinary role that the nursing community plays in this evolving healthcare environment,” added Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Gorsky, in a press release. “Nurses make a significant difference in the best outcome for patients and families, and we’re proud to partner with BEF to help give nurses the special training needed to serve the unique needs of patients with cystic fibrosis.”

Since the beginning of his professional sports career, Boomer Esiason has actively promoted and participated in many charitable causes. However, after his son Gunnar was diagnosed with CF in 1993, he began focusing his advocacy efforts primarily on CF. Esiason and his wife started the BEF that same year with the intention of forming a new, dynamic partnership of leaders in the medical and business communities, joined by a committed core of volunteers to raise awareness about CF, provide educational resources, and improve the quality of life for patients. BEF also provides financial support to research aimed at finding a cure for CF.

CF is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and the digestive system of nearly 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. alone, and about 70,000 worldwide. Through social media-based awareness campaigns and other programs and scholarships, BEF expects to reach at least 3,000 nurses, between 200 and 250 of which will end up working with the program in the first year. Eventually, the TRU Heroes Program plans to collaborate with other accreditation programs in partnership with medical schools, scaling up the reach of the program to as many as 10,000 nurses. In a year or two, the program organizers expect to have around 1,000 to 1,500 nurses accredited.

“Nurses that care for CF patients during protracted hospital stays serve as more than medical professionals — they play the role of confidant, friend and caretaker. Nurses and CF patients alike would benefit from advanced preparation about CF from their employers and academic institutions,” stated BEF’s Founder, Boomer Esiason. “Together, BEF and Johnson & Johnson are teaming up to empower our tremendous nursing community with the educational tools and resources they need.”