“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

That quote, attributed to French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in the early 20th century, has served as motivation for countless leaders for more than 100 years. It reminds us that success only comes with a vision, a roadmap and action.

In aviation, pilots must check weather conditions, examine their plane’s equipment, then determine data needed for a successful flight.

In the early days of nautical travel, sailors charted their course through empirical observations such as mapping winds, minding currents and following the stars. Many voyagers took never-before traveled routes, forging unique paths to achieve their destination.

That pioneering spirit is nothing new to us at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Our founders envisioned a different kind of nursing school. Now, more than a decade later, we’ve moved into the top 25 graduate nursing programs in the nation, launched the careers of more than 750 alumni, and impacted health care and policy for generations to come.

Now, we look to the next 10 years and beyond. We build on that solid foundation and chart our course to achieve our mission of optimal health and health equity for all. While a coronavirus pandemic threw the world off course for a bit, it now ushers in a new awareness of health care’s strengths and areas that need improvement. I’m pleased to highlight our leadership in this publication.

At the School of Nursing, we witness students, alumni, faculty and staff step up in crisis. From volunteering at community vaccine clinics to starring in public service announcements for vaccine outreach, they put service above self.

We advance diversity, equity and inclusion, both locally and nationally, through anti-racism training and cultural humility instruction that empowers nurses to address discrimination and implicit bias teaching that honors differences, rather than fuels racism.

As the pandemic highlighted disparities among Latinx, Black and Indigenous People of Color, it also shone light on the most vulnerable members of our society. The School of Nursing contributes perspectives, talent and leadership to the UC Davis Health Healthy Aging Initiative, a vision to provide age-friendly care to those 65 and older. Faculty also drive innovative research to bring telehealth services to underserved rural residents.

Planning for a better future sometimes requires you make the difficult choice of letting go aspects of your past. This year, the final cohort graduated from our flagship master’s-degree leadership program. For a decade, it embodied Betty Irene Moore’s vision for the school and how nurses drive change. Now, the School of Nursing lives out our goal of creating leaders who are nimble enough to lead in health care settings that are continually evolving.

Guided by our newly created strategic and growth plan, we prepare to offer a new degree program in summer 2022 — a hybrid post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP-FNP) degree.

In what has become a signature of Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing programs, it blends our core values of leadership, health equity and interprofessional education to impact health care practice in California and beyond.

Our contributions to practice also grow to meet increasing demand for greater access to care. New clinician educators serve 80% of their time seeing patients and precepting students and 20% in student instruction. These educators complement our clinical faculty and foster better understanding of the role and value of advanced practice providers in the larger health system of UC Davis Health.

Of course, none of this innovation, progress and contribution is done alone. We must work, together with you — our alumni, community partners, parents, stakeholders and colleagues — and collaborate for real change.

  • We must share a common aspiration of health care that includes all walks of life and educates diverse providers who bring unique experiences to their profession.
  • We must work collectively on strategies that end health disparities and improve health for all communities.
  • We must partner on the difficult, yet possible, path ahead and spark new ways to advance health equity.

There’s an African proverb that says, “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” At the School of Nursing, we are prepared. We are charting our course, will stay the course and be prepared to course correct if unexpected circumstances arise. We know that to make lasting change, we must know where we are headed. I look forward to this journey in partnership with you.