Mathy D. Mezey, EdD, RN

Taking an Expansive View of Nursing

Dr. Mezey is a professor emerita, senior research scientist, and associate director (as well as founding director) of the Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing at the New York University (NYU) College of Nursing. During her distinguished career, she held a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, where she directed the Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Teaching Nursing Home Program. She accepted a position as Independence Foundation Professor at NYU in 1991 and accepted the directorship of the Hartford Institute there in 1996.

In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of nursing, an endowed chair—the Mathy Mezey Chair in Geriatric Nursing—was created at NYU in 2004.

(Left) Mathy D. Mezey, EdD, RN, at the 2010 Annual Nursing Conference New Orleans, LA.
(Right, top) Classroom with first term students, Case Western Reserve University.
(Right, bottom) At Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, nurse leaders test programs to help patients manage their own medications.

Dr. Mezey played an important role in opening the door to the Hartford Foundation’s nursing initiative, working with the Foundation to develop the Institute. “They told me I would be more of a partner, and not just a grantee,” she says. “It is with this in mind, that we wrote the grants for the Institute.” She describes working with Hartford program officers as an iterative process. “We really pushed to be as expansive and encompassing as we could be.”

Since then, she has been instrumental in growing the reach of the Institute to academic institutions, to hospitals through its Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders
(NICHE) program, and to specialty nurses through Resourcefully Enhancing Aging in Specialty Nursing (REASN), in which she takes particular pride.

“We wanted to make sure we had a vehicle to reach the 500,000 nurses around the country who belonged to specialty associations,” she says, “So we got grant money from Hartford and the Avon Foundation to take a big double booth around the country to specialty nursing association meetings with information about the care of older adults.”

She soon recognized the need for a better way to reach all of the specialty nurses, and expanded her efforts to start a Specialty Nursing Association Initiative (Infusing Geriatric Competencies into Specialty Nursing). “In addition to funding from the Hartford Foundation, we received a grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, and we did REASN in partnership with the American Nurses Association. So we always looked to secure really robust partners for all of our major initiatives,” she says. Although Dr. Mezey no longer directs the Institute, she still takes a role in its activities, and says it has become the gold standard for authoritative, evidence-based materials for nurses’ care of older adults. Websites related to the Hartford Institute provide evidence-based geriatric resources for nursing students, faculty, practicing nurses, and researchers.

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