News Release

Nursing Students Record Oral Histories of Area Elders

Forty University of Detroit Mercy undergraduate nursing students are interviewing and recording the oral histories of 15 African-American elders residing at the Samaritan Manor, a long-term residential skilled nursing facility in Detroit.

The students will be trained to perform elder-specific life reviews by utilizing the StoryCorps method. When completed, the residents will be presented with an edited digital copy of their oral history and a scrapbook. Digital Copies will be submitted to the StoryCorps project for archival within the American Folk life section of the Library of Congress.

This project was the idea of UDM junior nursing student David Gakstatter. He is one of 11 UDM student leaders to be awarded a Ford Motor Company grant, which is administered by the UDM Institute for Leadership and Service, to make this project possible.

Gakstatter will work in conjunction with UDM Assistant Professor of Nursing Jean Gash in researching the effect that this elder interaction will have on the nursing students performing the oral history interviews. They hope to see a positive change in the way the elderly are viewed by the students, which will impact their future nursing care of this growing population.

Release date: March 10, 2013

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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest private Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy, the University has campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 17 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 13th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest universities in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges."