(Sept. 6, 2018) – The Good Samaritan Foundation presented its Gold Medal, one of its highest honors, in the 2018 “Excellence in Nursing” Awards to Cizik School of Nursing Associate Professor Mary Ellen Trail Ross, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., R.N., during a September 5th luncheon at the Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria.

This month marks 30 years of teaching by Ross at Cizik School of Nursing, where she is a member of the Department of Undergraduate Studies. Selected as the Gold Medalist in the “Nursing Education: Faculty” category, Ross has taught 17 different courses, with a concentration on gerontology and community health nursing.  

Certified as a Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist, she attributes her interest in gerontology to a close relationship with her maternal grandmother, who lived to age 94.

Nursing students have nominated her for the annual John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award five times, most recently in 2017. “Our students come to us having made up their minds to be nurses, and they are very committed,” Ross said. “They want to learn and to know all they can to provide care for patients.”

Ross was awarded the first PARTNERS Research Scholar Endowment (2011-14), and the Houston Chronicle “Salute to Nurses” program selected her in 2016 among the top 150 nurses in the region.

Ross’s nominator for the Good Samaritan Foundation’s award wrote: “She is passionate and inspiring about equipping nursing students with the knowledge and skills they need to provide holistic care and improve quality of life. Because of her guidance, I continue to teach.”

video profile of Ross and interviews with students and colleagues – produced by Sandy Dial, A Mind’s Eye Film – can be viewed on YouTube.

“I’m very honored and grateful to receive the Good Samaritan Foundation ‘Gold Medal’ Award for doing something I’m very passionate about – that is, educating future nurses, particularly in the area of care of older adults and community health,” Ross said. “When I was enrolled as a graduate student here, I was fortunate to receive a Good Samaritan Foundation scholarship, so I’ve come full circle!”

Two additional Cizik School of Nursing faculty members were Bronze Medalists in the Nursing Education: Faculty category –

  • Carole Mackavey, D.N.P., R.N., assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Studies and co-coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner track.
  • Assistant Professor Nitha Mathew Joseph, Ph.D., R.N., Department of Undergraduate Studies, who in 2018 was named by the Houston Chronicle among its top 150 nurses.

The Good Samaritan Foundation’s annual Excellence in Nursing Awards pay tribute to registered nurses and nursing educators who are nominated by their peers and chosen by a distinguished selection committee.  The foundation names Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists (see the complete 2018 list HERE) in each of six award categories. These are nurses who demonstrate a passion for the nursing profession and exemplify excellence in teaching, mentoring, leadership and service. By recognizing exemplary teachers and practitioners, Good Samaritan aims to help retain quality nurses in this vital profession.

Last year, Cizik School of Nursing Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Chukwudi “Chudi” Ekwemalor, Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N., was a “Silver Medalist” among the 2017 Excellence in Nursing Award winners.

Along with the three honorees and their guests, others who represented Cizik School of Nursing at this year’s luncheon included: Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Cathy Rozmus, Ph.D., R.N.; Michelle Peck, M.P.H., M.S.N., R.N.; Suzie Conway Endowed Professor in Nursing Vaunette P. Fay, Ph.D., R.N.; and Associate Dean for Professional Development and Faculty Affairs Debra Fowler, Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N.

UTHealth Development Board member and longtime nursing supporter Kenneth J. Lewis offered seats at his sponsored table at the 14th annual awards luncheon to: Interim Dean Diane M. Santa Maria, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., R.N.; BSN Academic Success Coach Linda M. Brown, Ph.D. with five BSN students in the extracurricular Ambassador ProgramLeah Meador, Molly Akers, Ashley Vajdak, Jennifer Lee and Nicole Baltazar.

24-sec. acceptance speech by Ross, who calls nursing “the best profession there is” can be found on YouTube.