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UT Tyler Faculty Member Named 2007 Texas Nurse Practitioner of the Year

September 17, 2007


Deborah Bell of Gilmer, clinical instructor at The University of Texas at Tyler, has been named Texas Nurse Practitioner of the Year, Dr. Linda Klotz, UT Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences dean, announced.

A UT Tyler graduate, Bell received the award at the annual Texas Nurse Practitioners Conference. Dr. Debbie Mahoney, UT Tyler associate professor of clinical nursing, nominated Bell for the award which recognizes excellence in leadership and significant contributions to the improvement of care for individuals, families and communities.

“Deborah Bell has a heart for the underserved both at home and abroad,” said Mahoney. “She is a team builder who is always cheerful and encouraging to those of us who work with her. She is gifted in collaborating with other health care disciplines, universities, governments, faith-based organizations and other relief agencies to accomplish goals. She is a humble person who takes joy in relieving the suffering of others and is truly an inspiration as to the power of what one visionary person can accomplish.” 

Bell co-founded the health care organization Refuge International in 2002. Refuge International works to improve lives abroad by implementing programs in health care, nutrition and education. Its efforts include sending medical teams into the Central American nation of Guatemala four to six times per year.

In 2005, Bell won the nationwide Remarkable Woman Award in the “Improving the Field of Health/Science” category for her work with Refuge International. She accepted the award, along with a $5,000 grant for her organization, on ABC’s network program The View.

“She epitomizes the holistic approach to health care in Guatemala,” Mahoney added. “She led efforts to build a permanent clinic in Sarstun, Guatemala which is scheduled to open in December 2007.”

“I am both honored and humbled to receive the honor, especially from such a group of compassionate people,” said Bell. “The honor however, belongs to all of the volunteers who have worked hard to help improve the lives of others through Refuge international’s programs, and to my husband and children who have supported the work that we do.”

Bell holds a master’s degree in nursing from the UT School of Nursing in San Antonio and graduated from UT Tyler’s family nurse practitioner program in 2000.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

Hannah Buchanan
The University of Texas at Tyler
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Tyler, Tx 75799

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