Bringing Science Home Nicole Johnson and Debra Jacobs

A Look at the Legacy of Bringing Science Home

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation
Seven years ago, when The Patterson Foundation was just beginning, nine legacy initiatives were created to honor the source of the wealth that created the Foundation. Nine initiatives were selected because, at the time, there were nine planets in the solar system -- each with unique orbits, size, and atmosphere—but all part of a system. The goal was to learn from the legacy initiatives to determine how the Foundation could be most effective in its long-term work.

One of the nine legacy initiatives is Bringing Science Home (BSH). Dorothy Patterson's husband Jim had diabetes for many years. To honor his legacy, The Patterson Foundation embarked on a $5.6 million collaborative partnership with USF Health. The University of South Florida was selected as the partner for Bringing Science Home (BSH) because of their work in diabetes and their proximity to The Patterson Foundation. Nicole Johnson, DrPH, who has Type 1 Diabetes and is nationally revered as an ardent advocate, was chosen as the BSH director.

Bringing Science Home’s mission focused on the psycho-social realities of having Type 1 Diabetes both for the person with the condition, as well as their parents and partners. The BSH projects and programs help people living with chronic conditions to live happier and healthier lives by connecting them, and their support networks, with relevant solutions and applications of the latest advancements in health. The initiative also worked to embed findings with healthcare professionals and educators to help improve patient outcomes. By providing resources and expertise to BSH, The Patterson Foundation sought to strengthen the efforts of people, organizations, and communities as they used innovative, research-backed tools to improve the lives of people living with diabetes and their families.

As BSH comes to a close, The Patterson Foundation is proud to look back at the success of the initiative -- particularly the life-changing connections made by thousands of people living with Type 1 Diabetes and the rigorous research conducted through BSH. With Nicole’s leadership, BSH reached beyond research to create experiences, networks, and tools that helped people live happier and healthier lives. From The Patterson Foundation's perspective, Nicole was masterful at building and strengthening relationships beyond the academic setting. In the spirit of joyful stewardship, Nicole approached the work of BSH with ever-present optimism, a can-do attitude, and a conscientious handling of resources. When ideas and opportunities for modification emerged, The Patterson Foundation worked with Nicole to allow for the excellent work to continue. For example, the original 5-year agreement was modified to a 7-year term with no increase in investment by The Patterson Foundation.

Bringing Science Home at USF Health may be coming to an end, but the networks and tools created will continue to spread far and wide. To maximize impact, the BSH team worked with USF to transition assets to other entities that will carry on this important work. The structure of the programs will continue to serve the diabetes community through both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation.

Through BSH, The Patterson Foundation realized that while a single entity can do outstanding work, being part of a larger eco-system, where people, businesses, nonprofits, government, and media are engaged in lasting change, is the ultimate goal. The Patterson Foundation learned that it works most effectively within a network that evolves and grows by learning from hands-on engagement and experiences. Rather than using a grant-like system with predetermined outcomes, The Patterson Foundation appreciates the continuous learning and flexibility that expands beyond a single organization.

To learn more about the work of Bringing Science Home, check out Nicole Johnson’s blog and the initiative page.

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