School of Nursing

May 4, 2020

Outstanding Husky Nurses

It’s always gratifying when School of Nursing faculty, alumni, or students are honored for their exception achievements. Today, I have two reasons to be gratified—alumnae Patty Hayes, and Bothell campus faculty member Mabel Ezeonwu.

My excitement, pride, and respect were boundless when I was informed that UW School of Nursing alum Patty Hayes was been named recipient of the prestigious UW Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award. The award is presented annually by the UW and the UW Alumni Association and is the highest honor the University bestows on a UW graduate. Past recipients include world-famous writers and scientists as well as leaders in industry, commerce and philanthropy.

Patty personifies our school’s commitment to excellence and public service. As Director of Public Health—Seattle & King County (PHSKC) she is leading the county’s aggressive battle against the coronavirus pandemic. She has consistently been at the forefront of innovative, practical efforts to enhance the health of people throughout the region, state, and nation.

One of those efforts is Best Starts for Kids (BSK), an initiative that has gained nationwide attention. Because of the framework within which she views healthcare, Hayes was among the first to connect the dots and understand the need for a comprehensive approach to fostering a culture of health starting at birth and into adulthood. BSK is, quite simply, the most comprehensive and most effective approach to child development in the nation. It was the first initiative of its type in the country, and it remains the gold standard against which other efforts are measured. It is also one among several PHSKC initiatives in which the SoN has been a partner and participant.

Patty has fulfilled in exemplary fashion the School of Nursing’s goal of educating graduates to be not only nurses, but also nurse-leaders who take bold, creative steps to improve health care for everyone.

Bothell faculty member Mabel Ezeonwu has been honored with this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Education is the foundation of all we do, and it is very special to have a faculty member recognized for her excellence as a teacher of the next generation of nursing students.

Dr. Ezeonwu combines excellence in teaching and research, with an educational focus in both. Her scholarship concentrates on maternal child health in a global context. She is particularly interested in collaborative partnerships that can provide better education and communication about healthcare-related issues, particularly in under-resourced areas of the world.

It is wonderfully appropriate that in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife that both Patty Hayes and Mabel Ezeonwu’s contributions and accomplishments have been recognized and honored by the University. Both are a credit to our school of nursing, the University, and our profession.