At the School of Nursing, we feel that our success is a direct reflection of the achievements of our graduates, whether they advance the nursing profession in the hospital, laboratory, classroom, or government office.  

To acknowledge the accomplishments of our graduates, as well as their contributions to the nursing profession and the success of the School of Nursing, we offer annual alumni awards. We want to call attention to these role-model worthy nurses and nurse educators!

Meet our 2017 Alumni Award Honorees:

2017 Distinguished Alumni

Patricia D. Horoho (MSN ’92)

In December 2015, Lieutenant General (Retired) Patricia D. Horoho completed her four-year tour of duty as the first female and nurse to command the U.S. Army’s Medical Command and serve as the Surgeon General of a Military Department throughout the 239 year history of the Department of Defense.

As a soldier, Horoho served at every level of leadership within Army Medicine to include: Surgeon General and Army Medical Command Commanding General, Special Assistant to the Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Afghanistan, Deputy Surgeon General, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Western Regional Medical Command; Commander, Madigan Army and Commander Walter Reed Health Care System.

Horoho is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982 and was recognized by the university as a distinguished graduate in 2015.  She received her Master of Science degree as a Clinical Trauma Nurse Specialist from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992. Pitt recognized her as a legacy laureate and as a Distinguished Alumna and Fellow, and awarded her the Doctor of Public Service in Nursing.

She also holds a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and three honorary doctorates. Horoho served as Distinguished Professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences Graduate School of Nursing. In 2012, Horoho was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing.

She has been selected as one of North Carolina’s top 100, honored by Time Life Publications for her actions at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, among nurses selected by the American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum to receive national recognition as a “Nurse Hero.” She was the 2009 USO Woman of the Year, Tiffany Circle Distinguished Woman Warrior, and first military service member and nurse to receive the New York Institute of Technology’s Riland Public Service Award. Additionally, Horoho  received the Helen Manzen Award from the New York University College of Nursing for exemplary leadership on behalf of the health of the nation and was  honored by the American Red Cross with the Women Who Care Humanitarian Award.

Military awards and citations include: The Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, France’s National Order of Legion of Honor, Chevalier (Knight), Japan's Defense Cooperation Award Second Class and the President’s Lifetime Achievement award.

In April 2016 Horoho began her career with Accenture Federal Services as Client Account Lead and Managing Director for Military Health where she focuses her talents on Military Medicine and serves as a member of Accenture’s Global Health Board. 

2017 Outstanding Young Alumni

Merel Duursma (BSN ’14)

A Pittsburgh native, Merel knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the medical field. When she was 7 years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and became a patient at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Each time Merel left the chemotherapy clinic, she would gaze up at the School of Nursing every time.  So when she received her acceptance letter from the University, it was a most meaningful choice.

Her experiences as a patient at Children's inspired Merel's career choice, and her dream to someday work at Children's Hospital. While an undergraduate, Merel worked in the school nurse's office at the Fanny Edel Falk School, treating children from K-8, assisting in policy development, and restructuring operations. Participating on a research team at the School of Nursing allowed her to study relationships between cancer patients and their caregivers. Working at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC gave Merel invaluable experience working children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities. Among her proudest accomplishments at the University of Pittsburgh are the opportunities she was given through the philanthropic endeavors of her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, including their work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the families it benefits.

After graduation, her lifelong dream came true when she accepted a nursing position in the nationally ranked abdominal transplant department at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The time she spent at Pitt has continued to benefit her in her goal to be the best nurse she can be. 

She continues to indulge her passion for volunteering through running on Team Children's in the Pittsburgh Marathon, and through volunteering at the Diamonds and Denim, an annual fundraising event for the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation. She volunteers as a camp nurse at two summer camps for children  with diabetes and a history of abdominal transplant.

2017 Honorary Alumni 

Ying Wu, PhD

Ying Wu is the dean and professor at the School of Nursing and Clinical Nursing College of Capital Medical University in Beijing, China. Upon becoming dean in 2007, she has lead a proactive team in transforming nursing education locally and nationally including collaborations with the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. 

Her accomplishments include a nationally ranked BSN program and the creation of a master’s program and PhD program initiated in 2005 and 2009, respectively. Wu also established the first class Post-Doctoral Program in the nursing discipline in China.

She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a fellow in the European Society of Cardiology. Wu has leadership roles among 20 international and national organizations. She serves as the vice president of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) in leading the IMIA-Working Group/Special Interest Group, and the vice president of the China Medical Informatics Association (CMIA), as well as the Chair of Professional Committee of Nursing Informatics (CMIA-NI) in China. She has been the President for Asia Pacific Association for Medical Informatics for the 2012-2014 term. She is also serving on the Board of Chinese Nursing Association as a vice secretary general and the founder and funding president of the Association of Disaster and Emergency Nursing Rescue, Chinese Association of Medical Rescue. Wu serves as vice chief editor or an editorial board member for eight nursing journals.

Wu studied in the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at the Columbia University School of Nursing and transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, where she acquired her master’s degree in 1998. She was certificated as an acute care nurse practitioner specializing in cardiovascular care. After Wu returned to China, she served as the Associate Dean of School of Nursing, Peking University, and completed her PhD at Wuhan University School of Medicine in 2006, specializing in cardiovascular care.

Wu has taken on roles in establishing national standards and guidelines for nursing education programs to ensure and improve quality; formulate the “Draft Master Plan” of cardiovascular prevention challenges encountered by nurses globally; and revise the ICN disaster nurse competencies. She has been PI of 27 grants including Natural Science Foundation of China and other external funding sources; Wu has more than 130 publications and the field, and also has been invited keynote speakers at over 20 different international conferences. She has made great contributions in cardiovascular care and medical informatics in the field of nursing both domestically and globally.