NEWS | October 8, 2020

Happy 10th Anniversary to the School of Nursing!

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing marks one decade


Ten years ago:

Members of the inaugural Doctor of Philosophy program thank their founder at commencement in 2014. Members of the inaugural Doctor of Philosophy program thank their founder at commencement in 2014.

  • The iPad was introduced.
  • The first electric car went on sale to consumers.
  • President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

And one decade ago today, on Oct. 8, 2010, 33 students embarked upon their graduate-school journey as the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis hosted its Dedication and Inaugural Welcoming Ceremony.

“You have an opportunity to make a difference in this world,” said Heather M. Young, founding dean of the school during the ceremony. “We are already implementing actions necessary to prepare nurses to lead the transformation of our nation’s health care system. This is an unprecedented time to unleash the power and passion of nursing.”

The school began in phases and envisioning additional programs. Launching the graduate program first allowed for the development and growth of a strong research program, which further enhances and distinguishes a prelicensure and clinical programs. In the decade since, the school’s founders, faculty, staff, advisers, friends, partners and supporters discovered their role in advancing health and igniting leadership. Since 2010, the School of Nursing has gone beyond traditional nursing education to expand its programs to include physician assistants.

The School of Nursing grew out of the shared vision of UC Davis and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Now, more than 650 alumni make an indelible impact on the clinics, classrooms and communities in which they serve. They embody and enact the vision of our founders from bedside care to individuals and families to bold changes in health care systems across California.

“Though a young school, our renewed vision propels us forward in this new decade and beyond, building upon the solid foundation of our founders and growing toward a future of optimal health and health care equity for all,” said Dean Stephen Cavanagh, who began leading the school in July 2019. “We now focus on increased collaborations with colleagues in the School of Medicine colleagues, across the health system and on the Davis campus, as well as data-driven research to improve the well-being of individuals and communities.”

Not only have the numbers of students and alumni grown, but what started as a seven-member-faculty team in 2010 is today a cadre of nearly 50 educators from more than a dozen disciplines. Currently, these faculty and scholars at the school conduct research on COVID-19-related issues, including how electronic health record data can better predict who’s at risk, how tweets on Twitter indicate who is likely to get a vaccine and the  impacts of social isolation on older adults and their caregivers during the pandemic.

Family caregiving (and the School of Nursing’s Family Caregiving Institute) also play a critical role in the new UC Davis Health Aging Initiative, a new commitment to age-friendly care and services for older adults and their caregivers across all care settings. The goal is to increase access to health care, improve quality of life and decrease the complexities of these individuals in navigating the health care system.

With the new Betty Irene Moore Fellowships for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, Betty Irene Moore’s vision for how nurses lead also increases to have national impact. The inaugural cohort of 11 fellows embarked upon their three-year fellowship in July and have the power to transform how nurses innovate in clinic and community settings.

Founded with a $100 million commitment from the Moore Foundation, the School of Nursing and its spirit of philanthropy continue. There are 53 endowed funds and scholarships, including one that surprised those gathered at that inaugural ceremony. On that October evening in 2010, the inaugural doctoral and master’s-degree leadership classes announced the establishment of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Student and Alumni Fund. Each of the 33 students pledged support and all together raised $43,000. Today, that fund is valued at more than $180,000 from 158 contributors to support at least one student every year.

“We were eager to demonstrate their appreciation of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s financial support,” said Terri Wolf, a UC Davis Health nurse and member of the first master’s-degree class. “We wanted to follow that lead and start giving back to the next generation of nurse leaders right away.”

What began as a goal to prepare nurse leaders is today a united effort to prepare future nurses, physician assistants, family nurse practitioners, educators, scientists and researchers. These health care leaders are attracted to the School of Nursing’s mission, which integrates the science of humanity with other health disciplines and connects with diverse communities to achieve optimal health and health care equity for all. 

The School of Nursing celebrates its Decade of Discovery over the course of this year with a variety of virtual events, including several lunch-and-learn presentations. The first will occur on Nov. 12 at noon, when Terri Harvath, senior director of Strategic Initiatives and director of the Family Caregiving Institute, discusses the School of Nursing’s family caregiving research, services and holiday tips in the time of COVID-19. On Feb. 8, Piri Ackerman-Barger, associate dean for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, presents her work on experiences of underrepresented students in health professions school and anti-racism training.