Alumni impact
UC Davis Health - Medical Center

Alumni Perspectives

For this issue, we asked alumni to share how they “lead and innovate” in their professions based on what they learned at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Kevin Baird, M.S. ‘17, B.S.N., R.N., C.N.R.N., S.C.R.N., C.C.R.N.-K.

Kevin Baird, M.S. ‘17, B.S.N., R.N., C.N.R.N., S.C.R.N., C.C.R.N.-K. Since graduating from the fourth cohort in the Master of Science – Leadership program, I have led the stroke program at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif. The knowledge gained while at UC Davis allowed me to implement lean six sigma quality initiatives for performance improvement that have helped improve outcomes for patients presenting with stroke. In addition, I led the initiative to obtain advanced hospital certification for thrombectomy capable stroke certification. We are now the only thrombectomy capable stroke center north of Sacramento serving nine counties. In 2019, I was nominated to lead the national stroke collaborative for CommonSpirit Health.   

      Cody Potter, M.S.N. ‘17, R.N.

      The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing helped reinforce my understanding of how white supremacist misogyny negatively plays into both an individual’s health and each community’s health and outcomes. This context helps clear up some of the root cause problems our neighbors face and is insightful when helping advocate for policy changes and individuals to improve their health. 

      Susan Perez, Ph.D. ‘14, M.P.H.

      The exposure to and openness of the curriculum to a range of disciplines has enabled me to work across teams and innovate by borrowing ideas from other disciplines. 

      Maribel Vera, M.S. ‘19, R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C.

      Maribel Vera, M.S. ‘19, R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C. Since graduating from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing with my Master of Science in Nursing and Health-Care Leadership in 2019, I have participated in and led several evidence-based projects and initiatives in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UC Davis Medical Center. I was prepared with skills such as conducting nursing research and project implementation that have helped me in roles such as being the chair of the NICU’s Unit-Based Practice Council, as a member of the Rising Nurse Leaders program, and as an evidence-based practice and research fellow. I have also transitioned into a new role as the neonatal outreach nurse educator at UC Davis. From my education and training at the School of Nursing, I have been prepared to be a leader and educator to establish relationships with the community hospital staff, provide individualized education and skills training, and enhance their confidence in the stabilization of neonates to keep infants and mothers together in their community.    

      Melissa Johnson-Camacho, M.S. ‘19, R.N. 

      Melissa Johnson-Camacho, M.S. ‘19, R.N. I understand the lingo that management uses and I can use that for my union advocacy that helps me speak up for my patients and colleagues. Understanding systemic racism, oppressive systems and systems change theories helps me see and point out these issues to management. 

      Gina Finical, M.S. ‘21, R.N., C.C.R.N. 

      The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing gave me the education to be able to apply research into practice. My education on research, implementation science, diversity, equity and inclusion, and being able to ask a PICOT (clinical research) question has given me the ability to effectively create change. I am grateful for the education I received so that I can have a bigger impact in the nursing profession. 

      Cindy Wilson, M.S. ‘14, R.N., P.H.N. 

      As a graduate of the leadership program, I learned about the importance of leadership through policymaking at various levels, the importance of community connections and the inter-dependence of all sectors on the health and safety of a community. In the years since graduation, I have experienced a deeper appreciation for these concepts while working as a public health nurse and now, in my leadership through service on boards. I serve on the Nevada County Adult and Family Services Commission. That led to an appointment to the Board of Directors of Child Advocates of Nevada County. I was also recently appointed to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Grass Valley School District. I believe the opportunity to serve on these boards is a way to innovate and lead, using my nursing and leadership background and skills to improve the health and safety of the community I live in and love. 

      Marilyn Curtis, M.S. ‘16, R.N.

      Marilyn Curtis, M.S. ‘16, R.N.The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing taught me the many angles of change: how to initiate it, how to embrace it, how to recognize those that will jump on board to support it and how to help along those that would resist it. Faculty taught me how to assess for challenges ahead and how to accept that you cannot win over everyone all at once and how acceptance comes in stages. The school presented many scenarios and situations that occur in real-life situations within a health care institution, so that we (students) were prepared to face the challenges of promoting change and could be successful in our endeavors.  

      Tricia Wagner, M.S.N. ‘21, R.N., F.N.P.-C. 

      Tricia Wagner, M.S.N. ‘21, R.N., F.N.P.-C. I most recently worked for the Department of Defense as a flight medicine provider. The School of Nursing gave me opportunities to practice leadership in a safe, structured environment that promotes open, constructive dialogue. I am currently on sabbatical doing research for an international HIV project and will be starting my D.N.P. this fall. 

      Hannah Davis, M.S.N. ‘20, R.N., P.H.N.  

      The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing helped me lead in my current position by practicing guiding difficult conversations that may arise with patients, coworkers and providers. I am comfortable prioritizing in complex situations and using closed loop communication to ensure everyone is on the same page.  

      Lupe Padilla, M.S.N. ‘20, R.N. 

      The Betty Irene Moore School of nursing prepared me to innovate in my position by sharing evidence of gaps in health care and voicing possible solutions for those concerns to stakeholders. The school prepared me to lead by helping me eliminate imposter syndrome in others. I recognize other’s strengths and empower and mentor them to improve their own self confidence in achieving their own goals in nursing. 

      Daniel Aquino, M.S. ‘13, R.N., N.P.D.-B.C., C.S.S.G.B. 

      Betty Irene Moore taught me to look at a 10,000-foot view rather than what’s in front of me. This change in perspective has helped me manage future, long-term objectives rather than short-term goals.