In her distinguished 25-year career at the University of Miami, Professor Doris Ugarriza has made a powerful impact on nursing education and research around the world. Now, the senior associate dean for academic programs at the School of Nursing and Health Studies is giving back to her alma mater and academic home.
“I feel a deep sense of gratitude toward our university, both for my education and for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the nursing profession,” says Ugarriza, who supports UM through the Annual Fund and United Way campaigns, as well as through special scholarships and memorial donations. “I like to remember special people by leaving a legacy in their name.”
A native of Cleveland, Ugarriza moved to Miami in 1966 because of “the beautiful weather and rich diversity of people.” She worked as a head nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital, and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida International University in 1978, followed by a master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from the University of Miami in 1981 and a doctorate in nursing at Case Western Reserve University in 1989.
Her daughter Nicolle Ugarriza is also a proud graduate of UM, earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the School of Communication in 1995. She received her master’s degree in communication in 2001.
After joining the faculty in 1987, Doris Ugarriza focused her research on mental health and has conducted many studies on postpartum depression. For her work on “Nursing Intervention for Postpartum Depression,” the American Nurses Foundation named her its Hildegard Peplau Scholar in 1999.
In 2003 Ugarriza received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and spent almost a year in Cyprus teaching mental health nursing to both the Greek and Turkish sides of the Mediterranean island nation. “I met many nurse educators and health studies professionals, and have remained friends with them through the years, helping several with their doctoral studies.”
In addition to the Fulbright, Ugarriza has been honored with the GEM (Giving Excellence Meaning) award for volunteerism and service from Nurse.com (2013); the Florida Nurses Association District V Outstanding Research Award (2005); and the William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award (2004) by The Florida Education Fund on Behalf of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program.
“My most valued degree was the M.S.N. from the University of Miami,” Ugarriza says, reflecting on her career. “It opened the door for me to become a nurse educator and conduct a very meaningful program of research for more than 20 years. It is a pleasure to give something back to our University.”
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