GBMF’s Nursing Program Winds Down, but its Influence will linger

Betty Irene Moore cares. She may be the octogenarian wife of Intel’s cofounder Gordon Moore, but she has never let the comforts of her own life interfere with her desire to help others. She’s always been this way. As her husband’s company boomed throughout the 1960s and 70s, Moore filled her time by volunteering at the El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, and at the Palo Alto Senior Day Care Center. There, she saw firsthand how excellence in nursing can transform a patient’s experience, and was inspired to found the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative.

Founded in 2005, the initiative was designed to run for the course of a decade. As it prepares to sunset at the end of 2015, it’s been taking stock of its successes, and, thrillingly, working to expand the initiative to projects outside its home state. “As the nursing initiative was going, and was successful, we decided we wanted to do more,” says Stacey Bailey, Communications Officer for GBMF. “We’re going to continue the initiative within California, but also look at what we can do nationally.”

In its nine productive years, the initiative worked tirelessly within the Bay Area and throughout the state of California to reduce hospital readmissions, enhance patient-caretaker communication, and generally keep people healthy. It’s appealing to think that such a unique, compassion-based program will be expanding outward, seeking to apply its patient-centered approach at hospitals around the country. And it’s especially heartening knowing the strength of the commitment that rests behind it—Betty Moore herself. In addition to the insights she gleaned in her years as a healthcare volunteer, Moore has also been a patient, and has suffered hospital errors.

With the Nursing Initiative going strong, in 2012 Moore began integrating the concept of “preventable harm” into other health-related grantmaking programs at GBMF, including the Libretto ICU Consortium, which specifically addresses preventable harms that take place in the intensive care unit. As GBMF’s nursing initiative winds down and reconfigures after 2015, we at IP predict that a broad, deeply compassionate, nationally focused program will take its place—and the concept of preventable harm will most definitely be a part.