Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing: The Distinguished Alumni Award is open to any graduate of the UT Austin School of Nursing who has demonstrated significant sustained leadership in education, practice, or research to improve the health of their community, state and/or nation.
Recipient of 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing
Randolph Rasch, PhD, FNP, RN
Dr. Rasch was recently named dean of the College of Nursing at Michigan State University. He has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching in higher education. Prior to becoming dean at Michigan State, he was a visiting professor and interim chair in the Department of Nursing at North Carolina Central University-Durham and a professor and chair of the Department of Community Practice Nursing in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His work at UNCG focused on leading faculty in community and mental health nursing as well as nursing care for the elderly. Before that, Dean Rasch served as director of family nurse practitioner programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.
“I am passionate about addressing the looming nursing shortage by inspiring student success and encouraging nurses to pursue graduate education. Nurses must practice as clinical scholars so they can identify the new knowledge that will improve models of care and patient outcomes. We cannot afford to limit who develops knowledge in nursing,” he said.
Dean Rasch’s research efforts have focused on areas of primary care and community health, specifically analyzing the roles, functions, and appropriate skill mix for all levels of the profession. He has published and presented in the areas of primary care, HIV risk reduction, and diversity in health care education and clinical practice.
He worked as a family nurse practitioner for more than 10 years and was the first statewide director of nursing services for the Tennessee Department of Correction in Nashville. In 1975 he became the first African-American male to serve as a public health nurse in the Berrien County Health Department in Michigan.
Recipients of 2015 Rising Star Alumni Award
Elise Chabot, BSN, RN
Elise is a cardiac care nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, where she works in both acute and step down care. Prior to that, she completed a residency program as a perioperative nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She recently completed the requirements for certification as an infant massage instructor and teaches families about infant massage as well as how to support and love their babies through nurturing touch. Elise is a member of the education committee and H.E.A.R.T. committee at Texas Children’s and belongs to the Society of Pediatric Nurses.
Jessica Ruiz, MSN, RN
Jessica is chief quality officer at Stonegate Pharmacies in Austin, Texas. In 2013 she was nationally certified as a Nurse Executive, Advanced, by American Nurses Credentialing Center. Jessica has worked in a variety of health care organizations and achieved successive promotions due to her work ethic, integrity, knowledge and responsibility. She currently serves on the TEXAS TEAM, a state action coalition to promote the Future of Nursing Report, where she served as the Texas TEAM long-term care champion. Jessica was also appointed to a Texas Board of Nursing taskforce to study implications of the growth of nursing education programs in Texas.