The origin of the Meland Foundation can be attributed to an experience in the early life of Robert M. Nelson MD. When he was 12 years old, he received a Mantoux test, which demonstrated that he had childhood tuberculosis. The story of this experience, and the influence it had over him, can be found in his Compass Rose Essay.
In 1980, Dr. Nelson founded the 501(c)3 Meland Foundation, which concentrates on inspirational and information programs to enhance the ability of families to care for loved ones and to provide hope to patients and their caregivers. The initial program provides information on medicine and health to patients to enable them to make informed and wise decisions concerning their health. The second initiative is to distribute literature designed to build hope and courage including two books: “Hang on, Hester!” and “The Compass Rose.” The Foundation has additional programs are nursing scholarships and financial support for children facing cancer to attend summer camp.
Robert M. Nelson MD, one of the six children of Martin Meland and Fernanda Nelson, was born in Jersey city, NJ on October 20, 1920. He attended PS 34 and Henry Snyder High School. In 1943, he received his AB at Upsala College where he was awarded the John Erikson Society Scholarship in Science. Robert was elected to Who’s Who in Colleges and Universities of America. He earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College in 1946 and did post graduate work at both Thomas Jefferson University, and Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons.
After serving with the US Air Force at Andrew’s Air Force Base Hospital in Washington DC, Dr. Nelson established his medical practice in the Northern Valley of New Jersey in 1951. During his early years of practice, he developed a great interest in patient and parent education. He compiled a collection of videos, textbooks, and booklets for patients to use to enhance their understanding of health and other related issues.
Dr. Nelson has been awarded the Bergen Scout Award by the Bergen County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, The Clinician of the Year Award by the Health Sciences Library Association of NJ, and the Citizen of the Year Award by the Borough of Harrington Park, NJ.