Message from the Dean

Dear colleagues, students, alumni and friends:

It is with a heavy heart that I along with our college, medical center, colleagues and friends throughout the United States mourn the passing of an incredible woman, internationally renowned leader and psychiatric nurse, former dean, and friend Grayce Sills. I had the privilege and blessing of getting to know Grayce well over the past 4 ½ years. She was one of the kindest, passionate and wisest people I have ever known. Grayce told me several times over the past few years that she was so happy getting to see some of the dreams that she had for our college for a very long time finally coming true. I believe that she would advise us to keep paying forward our talents and gifts without skipping a beat, and to continue to pursue our dreams with patience and persistence.  I have no doubt that we will all remember Grayce with the fondest of memories. Let us be thankful for the times we had with her and celebrate the life of this extraordinary woman and her landmark contributions to our profession.


It has been a long-time dream of mine to establish a national institute for evidence-based practice (EBP), an entity that could be the nation’s hub for the best and latest evidence to improve healthcare quality, safety and population health outcomes. After a more than 10-year journey of sharing this dream and outlining the amazing outcomes that could be accomplished by such an institute, the dream has finally come to fruition with the largest gift in our college’s history from the Helene Fuld Health Trust. This very generous grant of $6.5 million will establish and permanently endow the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare. It also will endow the Helene Fuld Health Trust Professor of Evidence-based Practice and provide operating funds to fuel our work in EBP further and faster across the United States.

So often, people give up on their dreams right before they would have come to fruition because they get impatient or start to believe they will never happen. I often tell our awesome students, faculty, staff and alums the story about an Asian bamboo tree in order to give them hope that, if they keep their dreams alive in front of them every day and persist through the “character-builders,” they can be realized. The bamboo tree is planted as a hard seed in the ground and has to be watered every day for 5 years, not missing one day of watering. Then, after five years of daily watering, the seed finally breaks ground and grows 90 feet in 90 days. Then I ask, did the tree grow 90 feet in 90 days, or in five years and 90 days? Of course the answer is five years and 90 days. It takes five years of daily watering before any growth is seen.

The watering of our national institute took twice as long to see it come to reality. What would have happened if we had given up in years eight, nine or 10? However, we kept the dream alive, and persisted even though patience was not easy throughout the journey. I want to thank and recognize Laurel Van Dromme, who stayed the course and watered the dream with me for over 10 years and Katy Trombitis, who was part of our terrific team in the last phase of the journey. I also want to give my most heartfelt thanks to Marianne Caskrans at the Helene Fuld Health Trust, who believed in the dream enough to substantially invest in it.

In Buckeye Nation, we teach everyone to dream big and accomplish the impossible to transform healthcare and transform lives. We also walk the talk. The Ohio State University College of Nursing is indeed a place where dreams become reality. Go Bucks!

Warm and well regards,

Bern's signature
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN
Associate Vice President for Health Promotion
University Chief Wellness Officer
Dean, College of Nursing


Click here to view Dr. Bernadette Melnyk welcoming students to the Ohio State College of Nursing and the need to dream big, use evidence-based care, and take care of yourselves as students and nurses