HSC’s new College of Nursing hosts ‘The Future of Nursing in Texas’

Barbera Aranda Naranjo
Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo

In the flood of resignations, retirements and shortages that have redefined workplaces across industries these past three years, nothing has been as dramatic or as consequential as the shifts taking place in nursing. The scramble for nurses is tied to everything from how we run our hospitals to the way we value the work of caring for others and our understanding of public health and medicine.

Texas has the second-fewest nurses per capita in the U.S., and regional nursing schools have been unable to address the demand, turning away approximately 30,000 qualified applicants over the past two years because of a lack of room in nursing programs.

At its February meeting, the UNT System Board of Regents voted to approve the creation of a College of Nursing at HSC — placing the university at the center of a nationwide discussion on the future of the profession.

At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, HSC’s College of Nursing will host “The Future of Nursing in Texas” as it kicks off its celebration of National Nurses Week. The event is open to the public and will be hosted on campus in the Medical Education & Training Building (1000 Montgomery St.) with a livestream option. It will feature regionally and nationally regarded experts in nursing, health care and education as part of the HSC’s 2023 Health Care Workforce & Education series.  Space is limited.

“These kinds of conversations are critical as we launch our College of Nursing and prepare to shape the future workforce,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, HSC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The health care delivery system is changing every day, and our educational system has a responsibility to innovate and transform to address the nurse workforce shortage.”

Texas has the second-fewest nurses per capita in the U.S., and regional nursing schools have been unable to address the demand, turning away approximately 30,000 qualified applicants during the past two years because of a lack of room in nursing programs.

Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo will be the event’s keynote speaker presenting thought-provoking ideas about nursing’s future. She is a nurse, administrator and educator with more than 35 years of academic and government experience. She most recently served as the first Mexican-American vice president of academic affairs and provost at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio before retiring in 2022.

During her academic career, Dr. Aranda-Naranjo served 15 years in senior academic posts at the University of Texas Medical School, Georgetown University and UIW. She was honored with two endowed chairs in nursing by UIW and Georgetown University. She has taught courses in nursing, social justice, community health, bioethics and the care of underserved populations at UIW, Georgetown University and Marymount University.

Dr. Aranda-Naranjo’s distinguished career in public health included working as a staff nurse at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio and serving as senior public health advisor in the Office of Global Health Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She led Texas, national and global efforts in planning, establishing, directing and evaluating HIV/AIDS disease prevention, care and treatment efforts.

Two panel discussions will take place featuring the following panelists:

“The State of Nursing in Texas”

  • Ulondia Lee is the chief nursing officer of Medical City Fort Worth. She previously served as chief nursing officer at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and, before that, Metropolitan Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. While there, she was recognized as a Visionary Leader by the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio. She was named to the DFW Great 100 Nurses list when she held the position of assistant nurse director at Medical City North Hills.
  • Tetsuya Umebayashi serves as vice provost for the School of Health Sciences at Dallas College. He served as dean of Nursing at Tarrant County College before he was appointed vice provost. Umebayashi has worked in collaboration with local and state organizations and groups. He is a board member of the Cuidado Casero Foundation and the North Texas Area Community Health Center. Umebayashi is a strong advocate of diversifying the nursing workforce, and he has extensive experience developing policies and programs to attract, retain and promote inclusiveness and diversity.
  • Renee Yarbrough-Yale serves as the inpatient diabetes coordinator for JPS Health Network. She has been a practicing registered nurse for 37 years, working almost 30 years at the county hospital in Fort Worth. Most of her career has been in the ICU until four and a half years ago when she assumed the inpatient diabetes coordinator position. She is recognized as a clinical nurse specialist by the state of Texas and is a certified diabetes care and education specialist. She serves as the immediate past president of the Texas Nurses Association, District 3.

“Solutions to Advance Health and Nursing in North Texas”

  • Cindy Weston serves as associate dean for clinical and outreach affairs and associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Nursing. She has been a co-recipient of more than $20 million in funding to implement nurse-led interprofessional care delivery models, innovative simulation and integrated behavioral healthcare models and to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations. She recently was selected as a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
  • Kate Taylor is a certified family nurse practitioner with 25 years of experience in health care. She previously served as an Army Nurse Corps officer and hospitalist. She now is a practitioner in the Center for Older Adults at HSC Health with a focus on outpatient primary care and home-based primary care. She also serves as a clinical executive for SaferCare Texas, a patient safety organization.
  • Tonychris O. Nnaka is an HSC alumnus and a National Institutes of Health T32-trained researcher, with research expertise in cardiovascular disease health disparities and digital therapeutics. He recently served as policy advisor to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on issues related to COVID-19 emergency responses. He received his Master of Public Health from HSC and earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a digital therapeutics research fellow in the Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine Biomedical Data Science Department.

“This event could not be more timely, as HSC, North Texas and the entire state grapple with how to create solutions for a healthier community,” said Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, HSC’s president, whose background is in nursing. “We have an obligation to our students and community to mine every possible resource for ways to prepare our future nurses to deal with an ever-changing health care landscape. Gathering these professional luminaires under one roof is a great way to start.”


There are both in-person and virtual registration options. The event will feature appetizers and live music for in-person guests. The deadline to register is Monday. Visit this link to secure a spot at the free event.

Recent News

  • Our People
|May 23, 2024

SBS grad is ready for success at the next level

When Jordan Easterling decided she wanted to go to medical school, she knew she needed excellent health and science training to help her get there. She found the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Biomedical ...
Ashley Gentry Headshot
  • Our People
|May 22, 2024

Faculty highlight: Ashley Gentry

Ashley Gentry is an associate professor in The University of Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Dallas Baptist University and graduated from the HSC Physician Assistant Program in 2012 with a Master of P...
Sbs 2024 Grad Temioluwa Bolaji Oyenekan
  • Our People
|May 20, 2024

SBS grad wants to be a ‘beacon of hope’ for others

When Temiloluwa Bolaji-Oyenekan set her sights on medical school, finishing her undergraduate degree during the height of the COVID- 19 pandemic was not a part of the plan. Fortunately, resilience is a part of her character. The timing left her feeling unprepared to apply to medical schools, so she...
Sbs 2024 Grad Whitney Miller
  • Our People
|May 20, 2024

On her way to medical school, SBS graduate makes time to give back

When Whitney Miller crosses the stage at The University of North Texas at Health Science Center’s graduation ceremony, she’ll be celebrating some major accomplishments: earning a Master of Science in Clinical Research Management from the School of Biomedical Sciences and her recent acceptance in...