February 19, 2007
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
Phone: (973) 972-3000
Nursing Pioneer’s Legacy will Benefit Nursing Education
UMDNJ Establishes the Teresa Marsico Scholarship
Fund for Nurse Midwifery Students
NEWARK — A noted women’s health advocate and founder of the nurse midwifery program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has, after her death, left a lasting legacy through a $250,000 scholarship fund for midwifery students.
Teresa Marsico, a past president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, dedicated her life to caring for women and babies, especially those who were medically underserved and financially disadvantaged. The late resident of Manasquan, N.J., (Ocean County) bequeathed funds to the Foundation of UMDNJ. As a result, the Teresa Marsico Endowed Scholarship fund was established and the funds will be distributed annually to nurse midwifery students at UMDNJ.
After graduating from the Seton Hall College of Nursing, Ms. Marsico continued her education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University and she received her midwifery education at the Catholic Maternity Institute. In 1975, she founded New Jersey’s only nurse midwifery program at the UMDNJ-School of Health Related Professions, where she was named professor emeritus.
“When Teresa started our program there were only 10 nurse nurse midwifery programs in existence nationwide,” said Dr. David Gibson, dean of the UMDNJ-School of Health Related Professions and a close friend of Ms. Marsico. “Today, there are about 37 programs and they are affiliated with either a university or a nursing school. Teresa was a pioneer in nursing and she was loved and respected by so many.”
According to Dean Gibson, Ms. Marsico dedicated her life to educating students and caring for families. During her tenure at UMDNJ, Ms. Marsico’s expertise garnered more than $6 million in grants and contracts.
The nurse midwifery program is now a part of UMDNJ-School of Nursing. It has transitioned from a one-year certificate program to a Master of Science and Nursing (MSN) program that will educate students in both midwifery and women’s health. It is the only nurse midwifery program in New Jersey.
“We are fortunate that Ms. Marsico built a legacy that touches the lives of our students,” said Dr. Susan Salmond, interim dean of the UMDNJ-School of Nursing. “As we continue our mission of providing the highest quality education to nurses, the scholarship fund will support nurses who will specialize in caring for women during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after they give birth.”
Dr. Elaine Diegmann has served as director of UMDNJ’s nurse midwifery program since 1990 and she is one of the first graduates of the program. According to Dr. Diegmann, the first class of nurse midwives had eight graduates. Since then, 375 midwives have graduated from the program and they are providing care throughout the country.
“In the future there will be a growing need for nurse midwives and advanced practice nurses to care for women across the life span,” said Dr. Diegmann. She and Ms. Marsico enjoyed a 43-year friendship until Ms Marsico’s death on February 22, 2005.
For more information on the nurse midwifery program, send e-mail inquiries to SNrecruiter@umdnj.edu or call the admissions office at the UMDNJ-School of Nursing at 973-972-5336.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.