The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis bears the name of a passionate woman dedicated to improving the quality of health care. For more than a decade, Mrs. Moore has been an advocate for patients and families, a champion of nursing and a pioneer for improving health care. She is the co-founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which committed $100 million in 2007 to launch the School of Nursing at UC Davis.

Through Betty Irene Moore’s vision, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation led a movement to improve patient care through nurses. This was based on her personal experiences when in the hospital and in caring for others who had been hospitalized. Mrs. Moore saw how nurses play a critical role in the delivery of safe, quality health care. She set out to improve health care and outcomes by investing in the very people who deliver 95% of the care people receive. This vision is further amplified by the school’s approach to health sciences education, where nurses and other professionals are prepared to lead the changes necessary in health care.

Over the course of the founding grant, school leaders conducted an evaluation and submitted annual reports to the foundation. Professor and Dean Emerita Heather M. Young served as founding dean and led the design of the annual evaluation process utilized over the course of the grant. She says the review process was essential to the school’s launch as it provided real-time feedback from partners and allowed the school to evolve nimbly and quickly. Young notes the partners included a wide range of people, such as students, faculty, staff, university community members, general community members, advisors and funders.

“It is very exciting to see the culmination of many years of work, summarized with an eye to the impact we have,” she explains. “It is vital to maintain the momentum and the courage to always ask how we can do things differently and better. This is essential to who we are as a school. It is too easy to regress to the mean and try to become just like other places rather than aspire to leadership and innovation in nursing.”

The grant culminated in an end-of-grant report filed in March 2022. For this final report, leaders also led an in-depth review of the school’s progress. The study includes an overview of the school’s growth and evidence of its growing contributions to the field and as well as reflections from respected colleagues in key areas of influence. Additionally, the school collaborated with an arms-length evaluation team from the UC Davis School of Medicine Office of Research Evaluation unit to develop an external review process for the report. The review model assessed the school’s growth and level of influence in four priority areas:

  • school launch outcomes and growth achievements 
  • leadership, optimal health and health care equity for all 
  • systems change and creating change agents in health care
  • aging and family caregiving.

Faculty and staff groups, who were invited to participate in group interviews, outlined an evidence case for each area. Four external review committees comprised of national leaders and other partners then reviewed and rated the school’s progress in each area, which offers an invaluable picture of the school’s efforts in context of national efforts.

For current Dean Stephen J. Cavanagh, the final report provides the school’s team opportunities to assess achievements over the school’s first decade and solidify the plans for the young school’s future.

“In considering the history of school’s first decade, it is important to acknowledge the faculty and staff’s vision, creativity, entrepreneurship, relationship building and self-belief that contributed to our school’s success,” Cavanagh says. “These are practices we will continue to value as we move forward with putting our strategic plan into action.”

A PDF version of the final Report to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is available to review on the school’s website