Heather M. Young, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.

Dignity Health Dean’s Chair for Nursing Leadership
Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing
Dean and Professor, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

Photo of Heather Young

A nurse leader, educator, scientist and nationally recognized expert in gerontological nursing and rural health care, Heather M. Young is the Dignity Health Dean’s Chair for Nursing Leadership and founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. She also serves as the associate vice chancellor for nursing at UC Davis. As founding dean, Young led the establishment of the School of Nursing, the development of five new graduate programs in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership, the design and construction of the 70,000-square-foot Betty Irene Moore Hall and the formation of a nursing science research program focused on healthy systems and healthy people.

Young researches healthy aging with a particular focus on the interface between individuals, family and formal health care systems. Her research played an instrumental role in shaping long-term care policies in Washington state and beyond and she conducted several longitudinal studies of family caregiving in the context of cognitive and functional decline. Her systems research includes medication management and safety in rural assisted-living settings and hospitals, as well as the use of technology, such as telehealth, and community-based strategies to promote healthy aging. Young is co-director of the Latino Aging Research Resource Center, one of seven National-Institutes of-Aging-funded Research Centers for Minority Aging Research. She is the principal investigator for a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study seeking to improve health for individuals with diabetes through technology-enabled nurse coaching.

She is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national Strategic Advisory Committee for implementation of the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.” She served on the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Working Group on Systems Engineering for Healthcare.

Young is a UC Davis alumna, graduating in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics followed by an Associate Degree in Nursing from Sacramento City College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Southern Oregon State College. She then went on to the University of Washington, where she earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a specialty in gerontology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science.

In addition to her extensive academic and research background, Young practiced in critical care and as a geriatric nurse practitioner in community-based, long-term care. Previously, she directed the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Oregon Health and Science University and, prior to that, she held a joint appointment on faculty at the University Of Washington School of Nursing and as the chief operations officer for a retirement community company.

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