Diana Ruiz, DNP, RN, director of population and community health at Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, is one of 10 nurses who will be recognized as recipients of the new Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award created by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The award was created to recognize nurses who have made extraordinary efforts to improve the health and lives of people in their communities, according to a news release.
Its amazing to see the difference that these 10 people are making in their communities and the healthcare system, Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJFs senior adviser for nursing and director of the Campaign for Action, said in the release. The lives of the people they care for are better because they fearlessly tackled or are tackling daunting healthcare challenges.
Ruiz has been at the forefront of reducing hospital readmissions, bedsores and Medicaid costs in Texas. As part of her doctoral studies, Ruiz implemented a program utilizing nursing students to prevent bedsores and reduced her hospitals rate from as high as the national average to zero. This dramatically reduced Medicaid costs, estimated to be $43,000 to treat one bedsore.
At MCHS, Ruiz leads a series of programs to improve patient care and community health. She also is on a regional committee for the March of Dimes and the Ector County School Health Advisory Council.
The Campaign for Action created the Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award to celebrate nurse leadership and the importance of efforts by nurses to improve health and healthcare. The award recipients have worked to help medically fragile children, neurologically impaired individuals and low-income women in rural areas. Their work is helping to improve the quality of medical care in Vermont, protect healthcare workers from exposure to carcinogens in North Carolina, prevent bedsores and reduce Medicaid costs in Texas and recruit and encourage minority nursing students in Wisconsin.
These outstanding leaders truly represent the future of nursing, Susan Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America, said in the release. We look forward to working with them as they lead change to advance health.