Press Releases

PARTNERS celebrate 25 years of support and advocacy for Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth


See All Photos By uthealthhouston | April 9, 2019

PARTNERS, an organization dedicated to supporting Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, celebrated its silver anniversary at the River Oaks Country Club on Thursday, April 4, with a luncheon raising more than $160,000 to advance the school’s nursing education and research programs.

More than 300 guests had the opportunity to meet a “Giraffe,” a revolutionary new tool designed to allow health care providers to check on patients in hospital rooms, assisted living apartments, long-term care facilities, or their homes.

They also shared laughs and tears as Carolyn Jones, an award-winning photographer and ethnographer, took them on her journey to produce the critically acclaimed book The American Nurse and documentary film The American Nurse: Healing America. Later, guests lined up in the salon to purchase copies of her book, with Jones generously donating the proceeds to Cizik School of Nursing.

Sippi Khurana, MD, who co-chaired the luncheon with Kelli Cohen Fein, MD, MA, introduced Kenneth Lewis and Carla Diaz-Lewis as this year’s luncheon honorees. The couple actively work in the community to raise funds and generate awareness for important causes and charities. Both have been longtime supporters of UTHealth and essential to the advancement of Cizik School of Nursing.

Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, Cizik School of Nursing dean ad interim, outlined advances made possible, in large part, because of PARTNERS’ support and advocacy. One of those is the “Giraffe,” which students are being taught to use.

“Your generosity, determination, and passion for nursing education and research is awe-inspiring. Nursing, by its nature, is one of the most challenging and fulfilling professions a student can choose to pursue,” Santa Maria said. “A nurse’s day is usually long, filled with patients who are going through a tough time in their life, an anxious family looking for answers, and many small victories. When added up, these small victories can be the most satisfying and fulfilling part of being a nurse, and we know we couldn’t get through the tough times without the support of our family and friends.”

Guests and participants included Founding PARTNERS Chair Peggy Barnett, Cathy Borlenghi, Diana Hawkins, Barry and Barbara Lewis, Master of Ceremonies Ernie Manouse, Kathy McGovern, Maria Pappas, Sara Oussar, Nancy Willerson, and Jan, Jane and Paula Cizik.

This year marks PARTNERS’ 25th anniversary of service, scholarship, and support for nursing education and research at Cizik School of Nursing. The organization, which stands for Providing Advancement Resources To Nursing Education, Research, and Students, has awarded over 150 full-tuition scholarships and funded four endowed professorships. The PARTNERS Scholarship Endowment Fund is now valued at over $2 million.

For more information about PARTNERS, visit https://nursing.uth.edu/development/partners/.




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