A gift from a family with a long history in its community will boost nursing and healthcare in the region.
Healthkeeperz, a Pembroke, N.C. comprehensive home health-care company, pledged $250,000 to the Nursing Department of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
At a January 25 luncheon honoring the Brooks family, Healthkeeperz’ owners, UNCP officials announced that the gift would establish the Brenda B. Brooks Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Nursing.
UNCP honors Healthkeeperz – Dean Thomas Leach, Nursing Chair Barbara Synowiez, Ed Brooks, Tim Brooks, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, Landa Brooks Strickland, Howard Brooks and Provost Charles Harrington.
The endowment honors the late wife of company founder and Chairman Howard Brooks. It is part of a family legacy of involvement with UNCP and with the health of a community.
“This is a significant gift for a small company,” Brooks said after the luncheon. “I look at this as a partnership, the genesis of a developing relationship.”
With nearly 600 employees and headquarters in Pembroke, N.C., Healthkeeperz includes pharmacy, medical equipment and a full-range of home healthcare services. The enterprise requires trained managers and staff as well as nurses, Brooks said.
“At the clinical end, we need trained personnel in home health-care,” he said. “We want all of our RNs to become BSNs.”
Beyond the patient care side of the business, Healthkeeperz looks to UNCP for accountants, business managers and human resources specialists, Brooks said.
“UNCP helps our business to be successful, and this gift will uplift the care for patients in the region,” he said.
It was Healthkeeperz second contribution to UNCP’s newest nursing program. The company also contributed to a home health clinical laboratory at UNCP’s new nursing facility at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton, N.C.
The University launched its first nursing program in 1992, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for Registered Nurses (RNs). In 2005, the Nursing Department admitted the first of 200 students to its 4-year BSN program.
“UNCP is working to solve a nursing shortage,” Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said. “The University’s mission is to provide the best possible training for nurses and their patients, and Healthkeeperz is a great partner.”
“This is a great partnership, and the bottom line is that it’s good for our students,” said Chancellor Meadors. “We are about training quality professionals to help strengthen our community’s health care and improve the overall quality of life in the region.”
“We appreciate what Healthkeeperz and the Brooks family have done for the University,” he said. “This endowment will make a difference in the Nursing Department.”
Nursing Department Chair Barbara Synowiez said the gift will contribute greatly to faculty and program development.
“This gift will benefit our students and nursing in southeastern North Carolina,” Dr. Synowiez said. “It could not have come from a better family.”
The Brooks family and the University have deep ties, said Healthkeeperz President Tim Brooks.
“My brother and I used to ride our bicycles on campus when we were kids,” Tim Brooks said. “This is giving back to a University that has been so important in our lives in so many ways.”
“Our late mother also wanted to give back to this community,” he said. “This is an important legacy for her.”
A 1963 UNCP graduate, Howard Brooks needed help to get a college education said Ed Brooks, Tim’s brother.
“My father grew up on a farm and got help to go to college from our uncle,” Ed Brooks said. “Helping others through college is a family tradition.”
Caring for the health of the community is also a Brooks tradition. “Uncle” Martin Brooks was Pembroke’s first doctor. Howard Brooks was Pembroke’s first pharmacist.
“Our father’s vision is to improve this community,” Ed Brooks said.
The Brooks family tradition is alive and well.
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