Heather M. Young, the founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis, today announced her plans to step down from her leadership position to assume the roles of dean emerita and professor at the school.
Young plans to leave office in July and return after a sabbatical to contribute to the School of Nursing in a new way — championing research that aligns with her interests in family caregiving and healthy aging for older adults. UC Davis Provost Ralph J. Hexter will name an interim dean to serve upon Young’s departure and anticipates launching a national search in consultation with the new vice chancellor for human health sciences.
“My heart is full of gratitude for the belief that the leaders at UC Davis and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation placed in me 10 years ago. I came here for the opportunity of a lifetime — to launch the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It has been the most exciting and exhilarating experience of my life. I feel so grateful to our entire team and our many colleagues and supporters who share my vision for what health care should be,” Young said. “What we have built, together, is larger than and transcends any one person. I am confident that my successor will take this foundation and continue to elevate our programs to the next level and actualize our full impact.”
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 the school itself and its five graduate-degree programs, cultivated a faculty numbering more than 28, launched a research program with more than $12 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 100 of all master’s-degree nursing programs in the country the first year it was eligible for consideration. She has 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 the academic health system.
“Heather is precisely the kind of dynamic and visionary leader we needed to build our transformative nursing science program and to support our longstanding commitment to diversity and community,” Hexter said. “She 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.”
A nurse leader, educator, scientist and nationally recognized expert in gerontological nursing and rural health care, Young is also the Dignity Health Dean’s Chair for Nursing Leadership, an honor that will pass to the dean who succeeds her.
“Heather’s energetic attitude and risk-taking spirit quickly launched collaborations between the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing that improved the way we all practice health care and how we view the value each professional brings to the team,” said Lars Berglund, interim dean for the UC Davis School of Medicine. “She played a critically important role in shaping an innovative curriculum, recruiting top faculty, securing support for the school and establishing community partnerships that strengthen our academic health system. She has been instrumental in setting the stage for a School of Nursing educating nursing leaders that will shape the future health care delivery.”
A UC Davis alumna, 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. For the past two years, Young has worked with AARP to develop solutions geared toward supporting family caregivers performing complex tasks at home. That collaboration yielded 23 tutorial videos, in two languages, delivering concrete instruction on wound care, medication management and mobility. This is the type of work she turns her full-time focus to in this 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 satisfy my research passions and complement the faculty strengths of the school through the Family Caregiving Institute at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing,” Young said. “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 live in their own homes, yet stay connected to people they care about and the providers who care for them.”
Young said the school is at a point of maturation, and she is excited to collaborate with the next dean and also looks forward to the next phase in the life of the school. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation leaders recognize Young’s passion to continue and thank her for turning Betty Irene Moore’s vision into a reality.
“Dean Heather 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,” said 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.”
Since its founding in 2009, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing has graduated 271 alumni, established 41 endowed scholarships and nurtured more than 200 community and clinical partnerships. Currently there are 302 students in the school’s five programs: Doctor of Philosophy; Master of Health Services ― Physician Assistant Studies; Master of Science ― Family Nurse Practitioner; Master of Science ― Leadership; and Master of Science in Nursing. For more information on the school and its programs, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.