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Endowments awarded to two faculty members

Dr. Chao Hsing Yeh and Dr. Leissa Roberts
Dr. Chao Hsing Yeh and Dr. Leissa Roberts
Chao Hsing Yeh, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN and Leissa Roberts, DNP, CNM, FACNM
Chao Hsing Yeh, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN and Leissa Roberts, DNP, CNM, FACNM

Two professors who recently joined the faculty at Cizik School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston) have been granted prestigious endowments.

Chao Hsing Yeh, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN, has been named The Jane and Robert Cizik Distinguished Chair, and Leissa Roberts, DNP, CNM, FACNM, associate dean of practice and community engagement, has been awarded the Judy Fred Professorship in Nursing. The appointments are retroactive to November 1, 2021, when both faculty members joined Cizik School of Nursing.

Yeh’s award represents the second distinguished chair position endowed by Jane and Robert Cizik as part of their foundational $25 million gift that resulted in the renaming of UTHealth Houston’s nursing school in 2017. In addition to helping Cizik School of Nursing recruit and retain outstanding nursing faculty, the family’s gift supports scholarships, innovative research, and a distinguished lecture series.

Roberts became the school’s second Judy Fred Professor, succeeding Professor Emerita Joan C. Engebretson, Dr.PH, RN, FAAN, who retired in 2020. The endowment was established by the late Herbert L. Fred, M.D., a long-serving and highly regarded clinical professor of internal medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. The professorship honors his wife, Judy Fred, RN, who after 30 years as a nurse continues to support education and research at Cizik School of Nursing as a member of the PARTNERS organization.

Before joining Cizik School of Nursing’s Department of Research, Yeh earned tenure at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She focuses on advancing the science of nonpharmacological pain treatments, particularly auricular point acupressure. Her work has been funded through the American Cancer Society, Oncology Nursing Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and the National Institutes of Health, through which she currently serves as principal investigator on two R01 grants and an R56 award totaling more than $6 million. Yeh holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Science in Nursing from Syracuse University in New York, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from China Medical College in Taichung, Taiwan. She also completed a Masters of Auricular Medicine program at the Auricular Medicine International Research and Training Center in Orlando, Fla.

Roberts is developing a new strategic plan for the school’s nurse-led clinics with a focus on identifying opportunities to expand and establish new services within the community. She came to Cizik School of Nursing from the University of Utah College of Nursing in Salt Lake City, where she served in a similar capacity. Her scholarship revolves around the Coping with Labor Algorithm, an assessment tool for labor pain that she and colleagues designed. Roberts earned her Master of Science in Nurse-Midwifery and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Utah and her BSN from the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, from which she received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. She is a fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) has also completed the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Wharton Executive Leadership Program.


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Chao Hsing Yeh, PhD, RN, FAAN

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