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New Endowed Chair Will Focus on Community Service and Care

The new Jacques Laval Endowed Chair in Justice for Vulnerable Populations at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing will lead community action research initiatives that incorporate service and care to the community. The chair is endowed through a bequest from the estate of Thomas F. Bogovich, a 1953 Duquesne business graduate and retired Penn Hills funeral director who died in 2006.

According to Duquesne Nursing Dean Eileen Zungolo, the school’s faculty has identified health care disparities among the elderly, poor, disadvantaged and other marginalized groups as its top research priority. “Addressing social injustice is a key aspect of Duquesne’s Spiritan mission,” Zungolo explained. “By raising awareness and knowledge and igniting responsiveness in our students, we are living this mission of helping those most in need.”

In recent years, Duquesne’s Nursing school has revamped its undergraduate curriculum to focus more on underserved populations, both in the classroom and in the field. Clinical faculty and students provide care to elderly residents in five Nurse-Managed Wellness Centers throughout Pittsburgh, while the highly successful Operation Churchbeat trained volunteers in the Hill District to recognize and respond quickly to heart attacks, addressing disproportionately high heart disease mortality among African-Americans.

The holder of the Jacques Laval Chair will expand these efforts, teaching and conducting research in the areas of health care access and quality for vulnerable populations and developing even stronger community partnerships. The chair will also organize academic colloquia and establish an annual lecture series on social justice issues in health care.

The new chair is named for a 17th century priest of the Spiritan order, the founders of Duquesne University. Raised in Normandy and trained as a doctor, Laval gave up his practice to enter the seminary at age 32. Later, he joined the Spiritans, trading the comfortable life of a countryside parish priest to spend the rest of his life ministering to freed slaves on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

This is the ninth endowed chair to be established at Duquesne in the past five years. A national search for the inaugural chair holder has begun, with formal installation anticipated in Fall 2008.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.