What a difference two years makes! In 2020, we at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis celebrated a decade since our first classes embarked on their graduate studies with us. A year later, we were one year into a global pandemic with no end in sight.

Yet, 2022 brought new hope, a new outlook and a new plan to guide our next decade and beyond. As the world transitions from pandemic to endemic, we focus on our future growth and how to increase the value our programs, graduates and research bring to local communities and beyond.

Our new strategic plan is the result of leveraging the lessons learned during COVID-19 and charting our future course to achieve our vision: optimal health and health equity for all. We engaged more than 200 people, including UC Davis leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni and postdoctoral scholars. I am indebted to everyone who contributed their time and perspectives.

Thankfully, we do not plan in a vacuum. As an integral part of UC Davis Health, an academic health system, we worked in tandem with our School of Medicine and clinical delivery colleagues to integrate our system and innovate in new models for nursing care and nursing’s contribution. Our post-pandemic reality creates incredible new opportunities to further integrating our faculty clinicians into the delivery of care and sparks new collaborations for our nursing science researchers.

“A vision and strategy aren’t enough. The long-term key to success is execution. Each day. Every day.” That advice from American business executive Richard M. Kovacevich, reminds us that achieving our long-term goals relies on short-term progress. For this reason, we have decided to share with you some stories that illustrate our strengths, impact and successes this year.

Our ever-changing landscape opens new ways to innovate in how and where we educate tomorrow’s health care leaders, today. From exposing students to community-based care through front line COVID-19 response to covering housing expenses so that students can experience the challenges and rewards of rural health care, we strive to deliver exceptional education to all our students.

As we partner with UC Davis Health colleagues to create the healthiest and highest-functioning older adult population in Northern California, our contribution to the Healthy Aging Initiative grows. Family Caregiving Institute researchers’ study on caregivers in California shed light on the challenges illuminated during COVID-19 and detailed how data collection can better tailor caregiver services moving forward.

We also innovate in education delivery. Our new Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, launched this summer, prepares primary care providers who can advocate for approaches, increase health equity and translate research into practice. The hybrid program allows students to stay in their home communities, with what we hope, will be a way to address the provider shortage in California. COVID-19 exacerbated the shortages in mental health care providers. Our partnership with fellow UC schools of nursing seeks to address the increasing needs by training 300 nurse practitioners across state to become psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners by 2025.

I firmly believe in the sentiment of Majora Carter, author of Reclaiming Your Community, “If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.”

The inequities in our health care system negatively impact everyone. Systemic injustice leads to systematic differences in how certain populations are viewed, cared for and treated. We, at the School of Nursing, want to be a part of the solution. That starts with creating an inclusive learning environment where all can thrive. It extends to identifying and preparing a diverse nursing workforce that mirrors the communities we serve. Our Summer Health Institute for Nursing Exploration and Success (SHINES) program aims to paint the possibilities of a future in nursing and create a pathway to the profession for high school students in underserved communities.

Our commitment to health equity, engagement with our communities and partnership with you help us fulfill the school’s strategic goals. With this new blueprint, we believe that through our education, research and clinical service, we can advance a more diverse, equitable, healthier and inclusive world.