The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Nursing Profession: Shared Values, Shared Legacy

By Brodie, Barbara | Nursing History Review, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Nursing Profession: Shared Values, Shared Legacy


Brodie, Barbara, Nursing History Review


The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Nursing Profession: Shared Values, Shared Legacy By Joan E. Lynaugh, Helen K. Grace, Gloria R. Smith, Roseni R. Sena, Maria Mercedes Duran de Villalobos, and Mary Malehloka Hlalele (Indianapolis, Ind.: Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, 2007) (428 pages, paper; $29.95)

W. K. Kellogg is a name recognized by millions as the worldwide maker of popular breakfast cereals, but for many health care professionals Kellogg is also recognized as a premier philanthropic foundation that funds innovative health care projects. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Nursing Profession offers readers a scholarly exposition of the history of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and insiders' views of some of the decisionmaking policies that funded innovative and diverse health care projects for more than seventy-five years.

Nurse historian Joan Lynaugh opens the book with a succinct overview of the history of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Kellogg created the foundation in 1930 from cereal profits. His interest in the health of children motivated him to use the foundation to help communities find ways to empower their local leaders to create new ways to improve the health, education, and welfare of children. A firm believer in the power of education to change human behavior, Kellogg maintained that education was the means by which one generation could best improve the next generations' opportunities for better lives. This premise, put to the test in the 1931 Michigan Community Health Project, revealed the effectiveness of interdisciplinary collaboration in creating new public health services at the county and town levels and in persuading local health officials to permanently assume these services into their departments' mission. Elements of interdisciplinary collaboration between professional and lay personnel would become a stipulation in the foundation's guidelines for future health projects.

In tracing the history of the foundation through its archival records, Lynaugh offers readers not only the diversity of projects undertaken by the foundation, but she adeptly grounds these projects in the history of the nursing profession and the changing nature of the country's social and economic times. The Depression years and the country's involvement in World War II are depicted through the nation's changing needs for nurses and new health initiatives to meet the expanding needs of the country.

In addition to documenting the diverse projects and the organizations and communities involved in creating new ways to provide health services, Lynaugh captures the personalities of the Kellogg Foundation's leaders, its presidents, and directors. …

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