Founding Dean for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, Heather M. Young, was recently named the 2014 recipient of the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award by the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
The honor, presented by GSA’S Health Sciences Section, is bestowed upon a member of the society in recognition of outstanding and sustained contribution to gerontological nursing research.
“This honor means a great deal to me because GSA is the first major research organization I joined as a doctoral student in 1986,” Young said. “GSA has offered me a foundational perspective on gerontology and research because it is so interdisciplinary. I am able to understand the field from so many perspectives beyond the clinical, including policy, urban planning, the arts and humanities, as well as basic sciences.”
Young has attended more than 20 of the annual meetings and is a regular presenter and convener.
“Through this organization I have established a strong network of collaborators and colleagues in gerontology — experts who have helped shape my research and provided advice and mentorship over the years. I also had the opportunity to meet and mentor many up and coming scholars and learn from them about their priorities and perspectives in this field,” she said. “In large part, due to GSA, the field of gerontology has grown and flourished. It is exciting to be part of this development over almost three decades.”
In addition to serving as the founding dean for the five-year-old nursing school at UC Davis, Young also serves as associate vice chancellor for nursing and a member of the executive leadership team for UC Davis Health System. She is a nationally recognized expert in gerontological nursing and rural health care. Her research and clinical interest is the promotion of healthy aging with a particular focus on the interface between family and formal health-care systems.
Her systems research focused on medication management and safety in rural, assisted-living settings and technological approaches to promoting medication safety in rural hospitals, as well as the use of telehealth and community-based strategies to promote health for rural older adults. Young leads an interprofessional team of UC Davis researchers on a recently approved $2.1 million Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute study looking to improve health for individuals with diabetes. Young is also a collaborator of the Initiative for Wireless Health and Wellness at UC Davis and the Center for Information Technology Research for the Interest of Society, initiatives bringing together nursing, medicine, engineering and computer science to address compelling health issues. She is co-director of the Latino Aging Research Resource Center, a National Aging-funded Research Center for Minority Aging Research.
She is active in the implementation of the recommendations of the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” serving on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Strategic Advisory Committee that guides the national campaign as well as the California Action Coalition executive committee, which leads activities at the state level. She recently served as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Working Group on Systems Engineering for Healthcare. Earlier in her career, Young practiced as a geriatric nurse practitioner in community-based long-term care and served as chief operations officer for a company designing and managing retirement communities.
The award presentation will take place a t GSA’s 67th annual Scientific Meeting, which is set for Nov. 5-9 in Washington, D.C. The conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process.
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. The school's first programs, doctoral and master's degrees, opened in fall 2010. Master's degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities, opened in summer 2013. 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, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.