Addressing social injustice is a key aspect of Duquesne University's heritage and character. The Jacques Laval Endowed Chair in Justice for Vulnerable Populations underscores our commitment to provide a nursing education for the mind, heart and spirit.
Duquesne's commitment to helping those most in need is advanced through the efforts of Sister Rosemary Donley. The faculty of the School of Nursing has identified health care disparities among the elderly, poor, disadvantaged and other marginalized groups as its research priority.
Reflecting on the mission of the Laval chair, Sister Donley says that its intent is to ground nursing actions in social justice and to assist others to work in the community and at the policy level to lessen the impact of injustice. She believes that nurses have phenomenal opportunities to express the works of justice by: increasing the level of understanding of the social justice tradition and its particular application to vulnerable populations; acting to decrease vulnerability; and working collectively to identify and change the structures which perpetuate injustice.
Sister Donley is a leader in nursing education, research and public service whose career has been devoted to providing better care for the underprivileged and the chronically ill.
A native Pittsburgher and member of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, she has taught health policy at The Catholic University of America for more than three decades, and has served as that institution's executive vice president, chief operating officer and dean of nursing. In addition, she was instrumental in developing and teaching community health nursing graduate courses, which focused on the care of vulnerable populations, including inner city residents, immigrants and refugees.
As holder of the Laval Chair, Sister Donley teaches and conducts research related to health care access and quality for underserved persons and communities. Her responsibilities include developing community partnerships, and organizing academic colloquia such as the annual McGinley-Rice Symposium.
The Laval Chair is endowed through a bequest from the estate of the late Thomas F. Bogovich, a 1953 Duquesne business graduate and retired Penn Hills funeral director. It is named for a 17th-century Spiritan priest and physician who dedicated himself to caring for freed slaves on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
Born in France in 1803, the Rev. Jacques Laval, C.S.Sp., was a physician for many years before joining the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, the order that founded Duquesne University. As a Spiritan priest he volunteered for a missionary venture to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, where he dedicated himself to helping the island's newly freed African slaves.