The University of California Board of Regents approved Heather Young as associate vice chancellor for the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing earlier this month.
Young currently is the Grace Phelps Distinguished Professor, director of Rural Health Research Development and director of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing. She is also a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
“Heather‘s past experiences in research and education will enable her to recruit diverse faculty and grow the next generation of nursing leaders,” said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor of human health sciences at UC Davis and dean of the School of Medicine. “Heather has a national prominence in nursing leadership and is very well respected by nursing thought-leaders.“
Young is also a UC Davis alumna, class of 1981, with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics. She said that being a Davis alumna will serve as an advantage.
“I have a good understanding of what Davis is like and recognize what a strong academic institution it is,” Young said. “I bring that appreciation, understanding and tremendous pride in the school that launched me into research and a rewarding career.“
After graduating from UCD, Young went on to Sacramento City College for her associate’s degree in nursing and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Southern Oregon State College. She also received a Master of Science in nursing degree with a specialty in gerontology and a doctorate in nursing science at the University of Washington.
“Heather‘s record demonstrates her ability to inspire the kind of collaboration essential for creating the novel, inter-professional learning environment we are seeking to establish at a new school of nursing,” said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef in a press release.
The School of Nursing proposed a curriculum in February that aims to go above and beyond traditional nursing career path with a focus on strong leadership qualities. Administration officials are optimistic that Young is the right choice to lead the fledgling nursing school in the direction they have envisioned.
“First and foremost, her depth and breadth of experiences are stellar,” said Pomeroy in an e-mail interview. “Also, she complements many of the strengths of UC Davis Health System, such as rural health expertise, health promotion, minority health and geriatric care. She also shares our strong values of community engagement and collaboration.“
Young commented on the lack of a good health care system in the United States, which she hopes to change.
“I hope that our school can be an example to other schools to make changes in the health care system,” she said. “Through different programs, education and research, I hope that we can contribute to a better health care system. Our quality of care is among the lowest…. I want to make a difference.“
Young hopes to inspire change among nurse leaders and work collaboratively with students, staff and the community to create a vision for the new school, she said.
“Nurses are ready to be leaders to create the kinds of changes that we need in the healthcare system so that we can be more responsive to the systems that we serve,” she said. “This was an unbelievable opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.“
The Betty Irene School of Nursing at UC Davis anticipates admitting students in fall of 2009 in its master’s and doctoral programs while the bachelor’s program is expected to be opened in 2010 or 2011. The school received a $100 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation last August to help fund the school.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.