Mercy University Associate Professor Renu Abraham Varughese, Ph.D. was bestowed the Sathsevana Award 2023 by the Indo-American Press Club at its International Media Conference for her visionary leadership as chairperson of the Travancore Foundation. The award translates to "devotion to service" and includes a special category recognizing contributions to the elder care sector. A not-for-profit trust dedicated to providing diverse care to elders in India, the Travancore Foundation implements evidence-based best practices to address the needs of a global aging population that is growing at an unprecedented rate.
"I am so grateful to the Indo-American Press Club selection committee for choosing me for this prestigious award and I am so humbled by this recognition,” said Varughese. “It truly means a lot and gives me the courage to do more for the aging population around the world.”
Under Varughese’s leadership, the Travancore Foundation senior care facility attained the designation of the first accredited long-term care facility in India by Standard Wise International (SWI), an accrediting agency in Australia. Her commitment to improving eldercare in India led her to become the first woman to receive the Service Excellence Award from the Association of Senior Living India (ASLI).
Varughese is also the founder and director of the Travancore Foundation Education and Research Center on Aging (TF ERCA), which promotes research and education in aging and offers postgraduate diploma and certification courses in geriatric care management.
Beyond her work at the Travancore Foundation, Varughese teaches in the graduate nursing program at Mercy, specializing in biostatistics, epidemiology and research. She has been sharing her knowledge and experience with students at Mercy since 2006.
“I believe in the importance of bringing the world into the classroom,” said Varughese. As a double recipient of the U.S. Fulbright Award, she has had the privilege of experiencing global aging firsthand. Her encounters with experts and scholars in various countries have enriched her understanding of population aging and elder care worldwide. She incorporates these insights into her teaching, encouraging her students to become global citizens.
Additionally, Varughese and Karen Koziol, director of the Mercy University clinical simulation lab, traveled to India to develop a simulation and skills-learning lab for staff development at the Travancore Foundation. The lab is the first-of-its-kind for an assisted living facility in India. The Mercy School of Nursing is planning future collaborations with the Travancore Foundation to provide international experience in geriatric care for nursing practitioner students.
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