What a year it’s been since I arrived at Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing! Together, we’ve navigated new pandemic-induced realties, reaffirmed our commitment to anti-racism, and continue to identify and enact opportunities to ensure optimal health and health care equity for all.

I can attest to the reality that what lured me here continues to energize me. I have witnessed incredible resiliency and adaptability of alumni, students, faculty and staff to manage environments no one could anticipate.

The flexibility and accommodation of colleagues at the School of Medicine and UC Davis Medical Center enable our nursing, nurse practitioner and physician assistant students to stay on track to complete their programs. This summer and fall we welcomed more than 140 new students to our physician assistant, family nurse practitioner, master’s entry program in nursing and doctor of philosophy programs. Through carefully planned online and in-person instruction, we prioritize safety, ensure high-quality learning experiences, and continue to prepare the next generation of health professionals in the midst of the greatest health challenge of our time.

We’ve deepened our commitment to grow a school that reflects the diversity of our community as well as fostering an inclusive learning environment. We took a big step toward realizing these goals with the recent appointment of Piri Ackerman-Barger as our school’s associate dean for health equity, diversity and inclusion. Over her career, she has combined her expertise in nursing and education to advance inclusive learning environments, education equity and workforce diversity. With her leadership, we will continue to work toward our ultimate goal of ensuring that all people have equitable access to health care.

A new fellowship program launched this year presents an opportunity to increase awareness of Betty Irene Moore’s vision for health and to scale our alumni impact to a national level. I’m grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for the $37.5 million grant to launch the Betty Irene Moore Fellowships for Nurse Leaders and Innovators. Under the leadership of Dean Emerita Heather M. Young, it aims to nurture and advance early career nursing scholars who have the potential to accelerate nursing-science research, practice, education, policy and entrepreneurship. We are proud to be educating the next generation of nursing leaders prepared to address some of the most complicated challenges for nursing and health care. They, along with the great work you are doing in clinics, classrooms and communities, will amplify our mission and grow the School of Nursing’s reputation further.

I am inspired by alumni like you, whose leadership and compassion improves lives, communities, health care settings, research and education. I wish to express my gratitude for all who engage in myriad ways to support students in achieving their greatest potential. From your words of encouragement to our new graduates during their remote celebrations, to sharing your time and expertise as preceptors and giving generously to initiatives such as the Student Hardship Fund, you are essential in all that we do.

In 2021, we will embark on our school’s second decade. I invite you to grow your involvement with us as we prepare UC Davis’ next generation of nursing and physician assistant professionals. Learn more about events, volunteer opportunities and how to connect with fellow alumni by contacting Sarah Mentze, director for alumni engagement at smentze@ucdavis.edu.

Thank you for your partnership and all you do to optimize health and health care equity for all!