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PARTNERS Spring Luncheon marks 25 years of advocacy for Cizik School of Nursing

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 healthcare providers to check in on patients in hospital rooms, assisted living apartments, long-term care facilities, or their home.

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

Sippi Khurana, MD, who co-chaired the luncheon with Kelli Cohen Fein, MD, 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.

Cizik School of Nursing dean ad interim Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, RN, outlined advancements – including the “Giraffe” that is now being used to teach students, as well as the ongoing expansion and improvement of the Simulation and Clinical Performance Lab on the 4th floor of the nursing building – as examples of progress made possible, in large part, because of continuing support and advocacy by PARTNERS.

“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, Jane and Paula Cizik, Diana Hawkins, Barry and Barbara Lewis, Master of Ceremonies Ernie Manouse, Kathy McGovern, Maria Pappas, 2018-19 PARTNERS Vice-Chair Sara Oussar and PARTNERS past-chair Nancy Willerson,

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 nursing scholarships and funded four endowed professorships. The PARTNERS Scholarship Endowment Fund is now valued at over $2 million.

For more information about PARTNERS, visit its website.

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