Western Health Advantage establishes first endowed professorship at UC Davis nursing school
Inaugural recipient to advance a mission-driven agenda shared by health care company and graduate school
Sept. 28, 2021—The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis announced today it received a gift from Western Health Advantage (WHA) to create the first endowed professorship at the nursing school. The inaugural holder of the Western Health Advantage Endowed Professorship is Associate Dean for Research Janice F. Bell, who’s nationally recognized for her distinguished scholarship in health and caregiving research.
“This is an incredible investment that affirms our commitment to research excellence and our leadership in the future of health care,” said Dean Stephen Cavanagh. “We are grateful to Western Health Advantage for their visionary partnership and our shared goals of improving the health of communities and advancing health equity for everyone.”
WHA is a health plan in Northern California that currently serves more than 110,000 members in 10 counties. The organization’s mission is to expand access to health care, effect positive change in the community, and improve the health and well-being of all. Those goals align with the vision of the School of Nursing to achieve optimal health and health equity for all.
“When the new nursing school launched at UC Davis Health in 2010, I recognized the incredible opportunity to support an innovative school that produces nurse leaders and research that improves the health of communities,” said Garry Maisel, WHA CEO. “Nurses are critically important to how we ensure people live their best lives physically, mentally and emotionally. Our investment in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing can help grow nurse leaders. This endowed professorship will pay off in ways we can’t even yet imagine.”
The $1 million endowed professorship establishes a five-year term and supports a mid-career or senior faculty member in the School of Nursing whose specialty advances health through nursing education, research, practice and leadership. Endowed gifts are invested so that their earnings can be spent, and they provide valuable income, year after year, creating a lasting impact.
“When I joined the School of Nursing in 2012, it took the entire bandwidth of everyone to get the academic mission and programs in place,” Bell said. “It’s time to focus on strengthening our research program and amplifying our mission of community connection from a research perspective. I’m honored to be the first recipient of this generous gift that will enable us to make a bigger impact on the lives of those we serve.”
Bell’s research has a community nursing focus. She has dedicated more than three decades to public health programs and policy. Rather than use the endowment funds solely for her research, Bell intends to collaboratively facilitate others’ research, build intellectual cohesion and elevate the visibility of the School of Nursing nationwide.
Bell is also a co-founder of the Family Caregiving Institute at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, which is dedicated to advancing system supports for family caregivers. In her current research with the Alameda County Care Alliance, she developed deep partnerships with the faith-based community to co-create an innovative model for care navigation within congregations, reaching older adults with advanced illness. She also led the scientific review for a national panel defining an implementation framework for serious illness care.
Bell’s first action as the newly endowed professor is to host a virtual screening of the new film, Caregiver: A Love Story. The film highlights an essential, yet largely unseen workforce — the family caregivers of America. It challenges viewers to acknowledge the growing strain placed on them. It showcases the dedicated family and friends who the Family Caregiving Institute work to support.
The gift also supports UC Davis’ $2 billion fundraising campaign, Expect Greater: From UC Davis, For the World, the largest philanthropic endeavor in university history. Together, donors and UC Davis are advancing work to prepare future leaders, sustain healthier communities, and bring innovative solutions to today's most urgent challenges.