Building Resiliency

The Josh Gottheil Memorial Endowment for the Promotion of Resiliency was established in 2018 at the Siteman Cancer Center/Barnes-Jewish Hospital of Washington University in St. Louis Mo. Josh was a patient in the bone marrow transplant unit and it was the nurses that cared for him there that inspired Josh’s Fund to be dedicated to support for oncology nurses. Under the direction of the Vice President for Oncology Services, this endowment sponsors symposia and other programs to teach nurses and other health care professionals and families proven methods for maintaining good mental and emotional health so they may continue caring for patients with empathy and understanding.

Resiliency training topics include:


  • Compassion fatigue and lowering the effects of stress and burnout
  • Providing ongoing support to staff members, recognizing signs of struggling, and using tools to manage everyday challenges
  • Using storytelling to strengthen resiliency, energize one’s brain and create a sense of belonging and connectedness
  • Writing letters of gratitude, learning to give oneself credit for handling adversity, and identifying ways to reduce negativity

On May 20, 2019, Siteman Cancer Center hosted the first Josh Gottheil Memorial Symposium with a diverse program that included keynote speaker Eileen McDargh, CEO of The Resiliency Group, and was attended by well over one-hundred nurses and their fellow-health care providers. Honored attendees included two of the BMT nurses that had cared for Josh at Barnes Hospital in 1988-89 whose loving care and professionalism inspired Josh’s Fund to dedicate its support to their colleagues across the world. At the reception that preceded the program, two of the attendees spoke of having been students of the late Professor Fred Gottheil, founder and leading light of Josh’s Fund. The circle of life expands…

The second Josh Gottheil Memorial Resiliency Symposium was held virtually on September 29, 2020. National best-selling author and speaker John O’Leary was introduced by Siteman Vice President of Oncology Services Christine Longnecker who among her professional experience has worked with patients in bone marrow and stem cell transplant units. O’Leary gave an inspiring talk about his own journey and what helped him to build resiliency and dedicate himself to passing his lessons to others. Plans for 2021 have begun with the hope that future programs can bring nurses together in face-to-face settings as was done the the inaugural year.

Following the first Josh Gottheil Memorial Resiliency Symposium, Christi Longnecker, Siteman’s vice president of oncology services wrote:

“…I cannot stress enough how very meaningful this gift and the establishment of this resiliency program has been to our caregivers at Siteman. We continue to hear from the symposium attendees just how touched they were that you and the board were motivated to make a gift to support their mental and emotional well-being… Josh’s spirit and your generosity will continue to inspire the compassion and care given to each of our child, adolescent and adult patients every single day.”