Donors and attendees raise over $750,000 to support nursing programs at Advocate Aurora Health Gala

Rob Thomas was this year’s surprise music act.

Close to 700 people attended the Advocate Aurora Health Gala on Saturday, September 7, at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. Guests were entertained by surprise music act, Rob Thomas, and raised more than $750,000 to enhance education and professional development for Advocate Aurora Health nurses across the system. It was the first system-wide fundraising event for the Advocate Aurora Health Foundations.

“It was wonderful to all come together to support such an important cause,” said Randy Varju, President and Chief Development Officer for Advocate Aurora Health Foundations. “We are so very grateful for the donors and attendees whose generosity will help ensure our nurses have every opportunity to grow and develop so they can best serve our patients.”

Advocate Aurora Health Board Director, Joanne Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN, served as the event chair. Disch is also a Registered Nurse and helped select seven Nurse Ambassadors from across the system who were recognized at the event. The ambassadors represented the talent, compassion and diversity of the nurses who work at Advocate Aurora Health. They are:

Marisa Covington, RN, Post-Acute and Advocate At Home services, South Suburban Branch, in Illinois

Tiffany Cunningham, MSN, RN, CCCTM, Advanced Practice Nurse Case Manager at Aurora Sinai in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Jon Iserloth, BSN, RN-BC, Clinical nurse with the cardiac step-down unit at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee and serves as the site Nursing Shared Governance Council Chair.

Nearly 700 guests celebrated nurses at the 2019 Advocate Aurora Health Gala.

Cristina Jimenez, BSN, RN, Critical Care Nurse in ICU at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Illinois

Joy Mason, RN, BSN, General Medicine Nurse and High Reliability Unit Team Leader, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois

Kate Schmidt, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, Clinical nurse and works in the surgical center at Aurora Medical Center Washington County and serves as president of the System Nursing Shared Governance Council

Ola Yusuf, BSN, RN, Surgical Orthopedic Nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois

We’re also incredibly grateful for our Signature Sponsor, Mortensen, and other sponsors who made the night so special. To see our full list of sponsors, go to our website, To see photos from the event, click here.