The University of Pennsylvania announces the Leonard A. Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program, which will recruit and prepare a diverse cadre of expert nurse practitioners to provide primary care to individuals and families in underserved communities across the U.S.

The $125 million donation by Penn alumnus Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estee Lauder Companies, to create this first-of-its-kind, tuition-free program is the largest gift ever to an American nursing school.

The gift comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the nation’s acute shortage of primary care providers and persisting inequities in access to quality healthcare.

“This is the most timely and consequential gift not only for our university but for our country. It is unprecedented in its potential to address America’s most critical need of providing primary health care to all who currently lack it by investing in nurses,” says former Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Growing the number of nurse practitioners who are prepared and committed to working in underserved areas is the most practical and inspiring way to ensure a healthier country. I am grateful and honored that Leonard would make this gift to Penn Nursing, and thrilled to know that it will have an immediate impact that will last far into the future.”

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University of Pennsylvania’s new tuition-free program to recruit, train and deploy nurse practitioners to underserved communities across the U.S.

Nurse practitioners are leaders on the front lines of care, a role never more important as Americans confront a primary healthcare shortage in their communities. With their advanced clinical training and graduate education, nurse practitioners have the knowledge and skill to supervise and manage critical aspects of care in decision-making, from patient diagnosis to ordering and interpreting tests, to prescribing medication. In addition, nurse practitioners deliver high-quality primary care to people of all ages, such as treating common illnesses, managing chronic conditions, and providing preventive care that helps patients stay healthy.

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Nurse practitioners can also able to take on key leadership roles, from managing and operating walk-in or community clinics to leading interdisciplinary teams within health systems. The new program will better the lives of patients and communities most in need while providing a pathway for the many nurses interested in advanced education who may not otherwise have the

“Now more than ever, the country needs greater and more equitable access to quality primary care—and highly-skilled nurse practitioners are the key to making that happen,” says Leonard A. Lauder. “The program will ensure that more Americans receive the essential healthcare services that everyone deserves, and I’m so pleased to be working with Penn Nursing on this initiative. I look forward to welcoming our first class of future nurse practitioners this fall. I know their expertise will be matched only by their commitment to serving our communities.”

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