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PARTNERS Spring Luncheon Raises More than $250,000
Bestselling author Dr. Mehmet Oz addresses crucial role of nurses in patient education
As front-line health care experts, nurses can help patients make critical lifestyle changes to improve the quality and length of their lives, surgeon and bestselling author Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., told an audience of 450 April 17 at the annual spring luncheon benefiting The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston.
Oz was the keynote speaker at the recent luncheon, “Nursing, A Journey for Life,” hosted by PARTNERS (Providing Advancement Resources to Nursing Educators, Researchers & Students), the volunteer community support group for the nursing school. The 13th annual luncheon raised more than $250,000.
Oz, director of the Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center, said he and co-author Michael Roizen, M.D., wrote their first book YOU: The Owner’s Manual, in part, for nurses. He said, “Nurses became the army that delivered the message” of the book.
“Nurses are attuned to deal with chronic diseases,” said Oz, who spoke on the theme of the “smart” patient and the shortage of nurses. “The severe nursing shortage that we are experiencing is perhaps the largest challenge we face in the health care system today. There are individuals who never think of nursing as a career but should.” Oz also outlined the messages of his second book with Roizen, YOU: THE SMART PATIENT: An Insider’s Book to Getting the Best Treatment. The book advises patients to take charge of their own health care by creating a personal health profile and searching to find one’s own “Dr. Right,” a task Oz says can be made easier by asking nurses for referrals.
Oz, who was introduced by James T. Willerson, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center at Houston, and Roizen recently released a new book, YOU: ON A DIET: The Owner’s Manual to Waist Management (Free Press, $25). Oz also is a senior medical advisor to the Discovery Channel.
At the luncheon, PARTNERS announced five new faculty research grants and 13 student scholarships they will fund. During the event, Associate Dean for Practice Thomas A. Mackey, Ph.D., was introduced as recipient of the first PARTNERS Endowed Professorship in Nursing, supported with $100,000 raised during 2006.
Since 1994, PARTNERS has raised its student scholarship endowment to more than $1 million. It has funded 64 full-tuition scholarships and 31 faculty research projects. Upon graduation, Bachelor of Science students receive traditional UT School of Nursing pins as a gift from PARTNERS at a special pinning ceremony.
The UT School of Nursing was recently ranked in the top 5 percent of U.S. graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report – another cause for celebration noted by Dean Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N., and according to Willerson, a point of pride for the entire health science center.
“Four years ago, we didn’t even have a building for the School of Nursing,” Willerson said. “We didn’t rank in the top 5 percent. These are remarkable milestones achieved over a very short period of time, and I think the School of Nursing will only achieve more accolades over time.” Former Houston television anchor, Jan Carson, served as emcee for the event. The spring luncheon and fall coffee are the main fundraising events for the volunteer group.
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