• Renown Health
  • Renown Health Foundation
  • Education
  • Nursing

Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $3.1 Million to Renown Health

May 26, 2022

Erin VanKirk, MSN, RN, Renown Health Director of Nursing Education; Mitch Krebs, Program Director at Helmsley Charitable Trust; Dr. Graf, Renown Health CEO; Greg Walaitis Renown Health Chief Development Officer.

Pictured left to right: Erin VanKirk, MSN, RN, Renown Health Director of Nursing Education; Mitch Krebs, Program Director at Helmsley Charitable Trust; Dr. Graf, Renown Health CEO; Greg Walaitis Renown Health Chief Development Officer.

Renown Health will use the grant to build the Helmsley Simulation and Innovation Center to improve the health system’s training abilities

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted $3.1 million to Renown Health for construction of a new simulation and innovation center that will greatly expand the health system’s ability to train healthcare providers throughout northern Nevada.

The new center will be named the Helmsley Simulation and Innovation Center. Expected to open in April 2023, the center will feature three simulated patient rooms, classroom space, computer labs and a conference center, allowing trainers to run current and future healthcare professionals through real-life acute, outpatient, telemedicine and specialty care scenarios. The new center will let Renown Health train substantially more nurses, physicians, community clinical partners, medical students and rural providers while improving medical and nursing expertise to support staff throughout northern Nevada.

“The Helmsley Charitable Trust is excited to fund this new simulation center, which will provide healthcare professionals across rural Nevada with state-of-the-art training in a variety of situations they’ll encounter,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “The project fits with our goal to level the playing field by giving rural residents access to top-notch healthcare, regardless of their ZIP code.”

“Simulation education has become standard practice for many of our healthcare personnel,” said Erin Van Kirk MSN, RN, Director of Nursing Education. “This lab will provide expanded opportunities in a controlled setting where physicians, nurses, and students can gain valuable experience in providing the best care possible.”

Renown Health has outgrown its current simulation lab, which opened in 2016 in Renown Regional Medical Center. The new, larger, state-of-the-art simulation and innovation center will increase Renown Health’s training capacity from 1,500 to 2,500 each year. The new facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art simulation mannequins and other equipment that includes a telemetry monitor, IV and epidural equipment, a code cart, a defibrillator, a balloon pump, ventilators and a cooling machine. The center will also support Renown Health’s recently established partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, expanding training modules focused on rural health and virtual care through telemedicine.

“The facility will help Renown Health respond to our region’s growing population by allowing us to support the training and competency necessary for our care providers to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve,” said Melodie Osborn, RN, MBA, Chief Nursing Executive at Renown Health. “This generous grant for the new simulation and innovation center from the Helmsley Charitable Trust is truly an investment in the bright future we envision for Renown, our care teams and the community.”


About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $500 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, and Nevada. For more information, visit helmsleytrust.org.