Rayce Rudeen Foundation creates endowment for student research

Closeup of Rayce Rudeen
Rayce Rudeen, of Spokane, was 26 when he died of an accidental drug overdose in 2016. His family established the foundation in his honor later that year.

The Rayce Rudeen Foundation is giving its largest-ever gift to the Washington State University College of Nursing to support student research.

The foundation donated $100,000 to the college for the creation of the Rayce Rudeen Fund Supporting Student Addiction Research Endowment. It will be used by undergraduate and graduate nursing students at WSU for costs associated with research related to addiction or mental health.

Rayce Rudeen, of Spokane, was 26 when he died of an accidental drug overdose in 2016. His family established the foundation in his honor later that year.

The gift came about after nursing students interned at the foundation last spring, helping to catalog addiction services in the community and identifying gaps. Another group will work there as interns this fall. They are helping create a community asset map to provide resources in the areas of prevention, treatment, recovery and support.

Said Marsha Malsam, executive director of the Rayce Rudeen Foundation, “It was impressive how professional these students were, but also compassionate. You could tell that WSU has a big emphasis on treating people as human beings.”

She added that Washington State University Health Sciences is known for its addiction research. “It just seemed a very natural fit,” Malsam said.

Said Mary Koithan, Dean and Professor at the WSU College of Nursing, “Almost every patient we see — whether in acute care or community-based primary care — experiences some form of psychological distress. Prevention and treatment of chronic, debilitating stress is key to positive wellbeing and every nurse needs to develop competencies in behavioral health. The work championed by the Rayce Rudeen Foundation is critical to improving the health of people in Eastern Washington and we thank them for supporting clinical research and nursing education.”

Students who receive funding will be asked to give the foundation board a presentation on their findings, which will help board members keep up with addiction research, Malsam said.

The funds can be used for research-associated costs such as surveys, transcripts, and presentation fees. First preference for funding will be undergraduate research by Honors College students at the College of Nursing.

As an endowment, the funding will be permanent.

“We wanted a legacy for Rayce,” said Malsam, his aunt. “The first reaction when he died was, what can we do so another family doesn’t have to experience this?”

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