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Setting the gold standard for nursing image

Setting the gold standard for nursing

50 years of nursing excellence

This infographic contains statistics that are all repeated in the text below.

Cizik Nursing by the Numbers - 2022

Demonstrating excellence

Cizik School of Nursing's key metrics include increases in our already impressive U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Nursing student uniforms through the decades.

50th anniversary gala

A legacy of excellence

Students, employees, and supporters gathered  to celebrate Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston.

Early faculty members included (L-R) Dorothy Otto, Sylvia Leutz, Ana Valdez, Kathy Kurg, Barbara Sims, Angela Leal, Patti O’Kane, and Cheryl Levine.


Laying the foundation for nursing excellence

What would become Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston welcomed its first students in 1972.

Elizabeth (Betty) C. Jones PhD, MSN, RN

Elizabeth (Betty) C. Jones

PhD, MSN, RN - Associate Dean, 1972-1975

“Betty was an activist for nursing and stood up for the school,” said Marvin Hecker, an original staff member.

Pictured (L-R): Susan Irene Ebbs Fitcher, Sheryl Gay Scoville Martinez, and Marvin Hecker

Three Originals

Two students, first male employee remember the ’70s

“It was exciting to be starting nursing school, and the medical center was like a city within itself,” said Susan Ebbs Fitcher, a member of the first class.

Dorothy Otto EdD, RN, ANEF

Dorothy Otto

EdD, RN, ANEF - Acting Dean, 1975-1977

A much-loved leader, Dr. Dorothy Otto taught nurses at UTHealth Houston for 43 years.

Arlowayne Swort PhD, RN

Arlowayne Swort

PhD, RN - Dean, 1977-1983

During her time as dean, the UTHealth Houston nursing school became a Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society member.

First induction ceremony of Sigma Theta Tau's Zeta Pi Chapter at UTHealth Houston.


Growth of Nursing Specialties

Programs established during the 1980s continue to drive innovation in education, research, and practice.

Graphic image of older adults with walkers, wheel chairs, and scooters.

Committed to caring for older adults

Gerontological nursing

“We really grew geriatrics within the school and also within the medical community,” said Dr. Vaunette Fay.

The McCrea sisters in the 1980s.

The McCrea Sisters

Then and now

The trio all graduated from Cizik School of Nursing in the 1980s, and today they work within walking distance of one another in the TMC.

Dr. Patricia L. Starck


PhD, RN, FAAN - DEAN, 1984-2015

Our Dean Emerita led Cizik School of Nursing for 30 of its 50 years with innovation and determination.

Dr. Patricia L. Starck, Dr. Vaunette Fay, Dr. Janet C. Meininger, and Dr. Marianne T. Marcus.

Legacies of Excellence

Oral histories

Four long-serving faculty members share stories of their careers in nursing education and research. 

Nursing students examine a patient in the 1990s.


Great Ideas Welcome

In the 1990s, a passionate group of faculty and staff fearlessly explored new ideas while growing the school in reputation and enrollment.

Staff of the UT Health Services clinic in the 1990s.


Nurse-led clinic sets the bar

“UT Health Services became the model for academic nursing centers around the country," said Professor Thomas Mackey, PhD, FNP, FAAN.

PARTNERS banner with nursing stamp


A Legacy of giving

“PARTNERS is one of the big success stories of Cizik School of Nursing, and we are envied by most nursing schools in the nation,” said Dean Emerita Patricia L. Starck.

A 1980s image of the exterior of UT Pan American University.

Nursing education on the border

"Distance learning" for the Rio Grande Valley

Faculty flew south every week to help a sister school establish its own master’s program.

Ribbon cutting for new nursing school building in 2011.


Excelling in the digital age

Highwater marks in the new millennium included a new doctoral program, a new building, and extremely bad weather.

Image of LEED Gold(R) plaque overlays the Cizik School of Nursing building.

A new home

For nursing education and discovery

The Cizik School of Nursing building was designed with the future – of nursing and the planet – in mind.

Lab coats for Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston


A New Generation of Leadership

Cizik School of Nursing moved into the “twenty-teens” propelled by momentum in educational programs and research funding.

Jane and Robert Cizik pose with students in 2017.

A New Name

In Nursing Excellence

A transformational gift from the Cizik family endows scholarships, faculty chairs, innovative research, and a distinguished lecture series.

Former dean Lorraine Frazier

Lorraine Frazier

PhD, RN, FAAN - Dean, 2015-2018

“UTHealth Houston was a very important part of my journey. You always had the opportunity to do what you wanted to do," said former dean Lorraine Frazier.

A group of BSN students.


Forward into the future

Socially distanced simulations and COVID-19 vaccination clinics give way to expanded graduate opportunities and robust research.

Dean Diane Santa Maria

Diane Santa Maria

DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN - Dean, 2020 – Present

New dean continues her research with youth experiencing homelessness while leading the school through - and out of - the pandemic.

Six babies born to Cizik School of Nursing faculty, staff, and students.

Nurses of tomorrow

It's a baby boom!

“Family truly comes first at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston,” said Dean Diane Santa Maria.

Four PhD graduates at the 2021 commencement ceremony.

BSN To PhD Program

An earlier start in nursing science

Nurses can begin careers of meaningful research earlier through Cizik School of Nursing’s new BSN to PhD program.

Alumna Debbie Adams on her ranch with longhorn cattle

Leadership Academy

Alumna aims to empower nurses

“I am so in awe of everything I have gotten to do, and it’s all because of the education and training I had," said Deborah "Debbie" Adams, BSN ’84.

MSN students at 2022 commencement

Alumni Opportunities

Explore ways to engage

Let us know what you have been up to, and learn how you can help tomorrow's nurses.

Graphic image of graduation cap

Distinguished Alumni

50 years, 50 honorees

Cizik School of Nursing recognizes the excellent work of our graduates.

Nursing students portraying a family living with poverty discuss how to make ends meet.

Simulating struggles

A perspective on poverty

Students learn what life is like for families trying to make ends meet.

BSN graduates celebrate at 2022 commencement.

Graduation Grand Slam

2022 Commencement

The 2021-2022 graduates of Cizik School of Nursing celebrated commencement at Minute Maid Park.

Dr. Elda Ramirez, Dr. Diane Santa Maria, Dr. Barbara Hekel, Dr. Padmavathy Ramaswamy, Dr. Rebecca Tsusaki.

Educational grant highlights

Currently funded studies

Innovative programs prepare students to take on health care challenges.

Dr. Emily Barr, Dr. Megan Whisenant, and Dr. Veronica Brady.

HIV Research

Centers for AIDS Research fund studies

Faculty explore diverse aspects of HIV care.

Dr. Daphne Hernandez, Dr. Jennifer E. S. Beauchamp, Dr. Doncy J. Eapen, Dr. Deniz Dishman

Research Highlights - 2022

Advancing nursing science

Topics include nutrition, stroke recovery, pediatric dental anesthesia, and mothers experiencing homelessness.

Continuing Grants

Continuing Grants

A busy year

Nurse scientists grow research portfolios.

Dr. Diane Santa Maria, Dr. Susan D. Ruppert, and Dr. Sandra K. Hanneman.

Faculty Highlights - 2022

Honors and Awards

Congratulations to faculty members for exceptional work and leadership.

Stock photo of raised hand, courtesy Getty Images.

Welcome our new faculty

Hello, UTHealth Houston

New faculty bring a wide variety of educational and research interests to Cizik School of Nursing.

Cizik School of Nursing building

Employment Opportunities

Nurture the next generation of nurses

Explore enriching opportunities for career growth at Cizik School of Nursing.