Dean Emerita Heather M. Young
Dean Emerita Heather M. Young

Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean’s farewell
From launch to legacy: Founding dean transitions

After launching and leading the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis for 10 years, founding Dean Heather M. Young stepped down as dean in July to contribute to the school in new ways.

“The belief that the leaders at UC Davis and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation placed in me one decade ago sparked the most exciting and exhilarating experience of my life,” Young says. “What we built, together, is larger than and transcends any one individual. I am delighted with the impact our faculty and graduates are already having as they advance health and improve health care delivery. There is much yet to do and I will eagerly support the next dean who builds on our momentum and leads the School of Nursing to the next level.”

Young joined UC Davis in 2008, after the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced its $100 million commitment to launch a nursing school on the UC Davis Sacramento campus. Over the past decade, Young led the establishment of five graduate-degree programs, cultivated a faculty numbering more than 28, launched a research program with more than $21 million in funding, oversaw the design and construction of the 70,000- square-foot Betty Irene Moore Hall and celebrated a ranking among the top 25 percent of all master’s-degree nursing programs in the country the first year it was eligible for consideration.

“Dean Young guided the school from inception to the grand opening of its state-of-the-art home, Betty Irene Moore Hall. Her achievements in such a short time are truly impressive,” says Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “Through her vision, ability and dedication, Heather built the faculty and staff, nurtured the design of curriculum and research, and attracted able students to innovative educational programs. Her legacy will have positive reverberations long into the future.”

A UC Davis alumna, Young also served as UC Davis associate vice chancellor for nursing since 2008. She is one of the first school of nursing deans in the nation to serve in a leadership role within an academic health system.

“Dean Young built strategic partnerships within UC Davis and throughout the community to grow this school into a nationally recognized leader in health sciences education. We wish her well in this new phase of her career and thank her for leaving the school and its programs on such solid footing moving forward,” adds Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost.

Young’s extensive research focuses on environments that promote healthy aging, with a particular focus on the interface between family and formal health care systems for older adults. Young was a co-founder with AARP, the Family Caregiving Alliance and the United Hospital Fund of the Home Alone Alliance, dedicated to developing solutions geared toward supporting family caregivers performing complex tasks at home. She will focus on this, along with championing the Healthy Aging in a Digital World Big Idea for UC Davis, in the next phase of her career with the school.

“I began my nursing career serving older adults and the needs of the aging population continue to grow. I believe I can best contribute and complement the faculty strengths of the school through the Family Caregiving Institute at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing,” Young says. “In addition, I want to increase my focus on our collaboration with colleagues from medicine and engineering, design and psychology. We are just beginning to pool our talents and explore the many ways technology can contribute to improving the lives of older adults who want to age well in their own homes, connected to people they care about and the providers who care for them.”