A nurse researcher who leads the nationwide nursing campaign to improve health care and a Japanese-American nurse who cared for thousands in a World War II internment camp were both honored at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing 2012 Welcoming Ceremony Thursday evening. The school conducted the annual event to recognize the newly admitted graduate nursing students.
"Leadership is fundamental to our profession because nurses are uniquely positioned to lead improvement from multiple settings, whether in hospitals or in our communities," said Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing and founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. "Nursing students at UC Davis are prepared to drive the change necessary to improve health wherever they work. Part of that preparation is honoring those professionals who have personified that leadership."
Susan Hassmiller, a nurse scientist and educator who leads the nationwide Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, was awarded the 2012 Excellence in Leadership Award. The annual award celebrates and recognizes nursing leaders who exemplify the values of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and serve as role models for the enactment of the school's vision to transform health care through nursing leadership, education and research.
In her role with the Future of Nursing campaign, Hassmiller leads the 50-state effort to increase access to high-quality, person-centered care in a health-care system where nurses contribute as essential partners in achieving success.
"Dr. Hassmiller's career and her dedication to the nursing profession and the communities we serve clearly exemplify this school's vision to transform health care through nursing leadership," Young said.
"What I love about this school is that it is so completely aligned with what the Future of Nursing campaign is all about," Hassmiller said. "The emphasis on leadership is so critical. You are in the perfect place."
Also, Tsuru "Barbara" Yamamoto Takahashi (1904-1985) and her family were recognized at the ceremony with the dedication of a memorialized scroll originally presented to Takahashi by school children when she retired in 1967 and rediscovered by a UC Davis Nursing faculty member when she purchased the Davis house in which Mrs. Takahashi lived her final years. Takahashi's family donated the scroll to the school and it is now displayed there.
"It was really quite by accident that I learned of Mrs. Takahashi," said Associate Dean for Academics Deborah Ward, who found the scroll. "But once I contacted her family and learned her inspiring story, I wanted to share it with our students and faculty. She is an inspiration for future health-care providers to serve as leaders, even in the most unexpected and trying times."
As the only trained public-health professional at the World War II internment camp at Topaz, Utah, Takahashi cared for a population of 9,000 internees and trained more than 50 nurses aides. After the war, she eventually returned to California, where she spent the remainder of her career as the state's first Japanese-American school nurse with the Berkeley Unified School District.
The ceremony closed with a formal welcome to the new students from school leaders Young, Ward and Paul FitzGerald, chair of the interprofessional Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group.
The fall 2013 classes of the innovative Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs include eight Doctor of Philosophy students and 25 Master of Science students.
The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group prepares nurse leaders, researchers and faculty in a unique interdisciplinary and interprofessional environment. As with other graduate groups at UC Davis, this program engages faculty from across the campus with expertise in nursing, medicine, health informatics, nutrition, biostatistics, public health and other fields. Currently, the graduate group includes 30 faculty from across campus.
The newly admitted classes reflect diverse expertise in multiple settings and with various populations. Both the doctoral and master's-degree classes include nurses and public health and informatics specialists. The students work for organizations throughout the area, including UC Davis Health System, as well as a variety of large, regional health systems and small, community-based organizations.
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school discovers knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, the 619-bed-acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center and the 1000-member physician group known as the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.