Worthy of Recognition

A Camp Like No Other For more than 20 years, Doris Noel Ugarriza, Ph.D., A.R.N.P., M.S.N. ’81, has been instilling confidence in others—first in her patients and now with her colleagues at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. Ugarriza was recently promoted from associate professor to a professor in the tenured track.

“Promotion to professor means that my University peers, by virtue of their vote, have confidence that I have dutifully fulfilled the requirements of that distinction,” says Ugarriza. “Needless to say, it is quite gratifying to hold the support and respect of one’s peers, especially in an atmosphere where promotions are based on the rigorous standings of research, teaching, and service that the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the entire University of Miami community have.” Among her responsibilities are implementing research at an international level, furthering the cause of the discipline of nursing, teaching undergraduate and graduate students of nursing, mentoring new faculty, and providing service to the school, the University, the greater Miami-Dade community, and the worldwide health community.

In 1989, Ugarriza received her Ph.D. in nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, though she has been employed at the University of Miami since 1987. Before becoming a faculty member, she worked in almost every area of nursing, including the automobile industry, where she cared for persons who were injured on the job making cars.

“I [also] worked in general hospitals as a head nurse, recovery room, emergency room and later, when I became a nurse practitioner, I was in collaborative practice with a physician,” Ugarriza says.

Out of these diverse experiences was born a profound concern for mental health. Her primary research interests lie in this area, with an emphasis on issues relating to women, such as depression and postpartum depression. One of her current projects is an exploration of the incidence of postpartum depression in adolescent mothers. She plans to expand her research on postpartum depressed mothers in the realm of health policy.

Numerous publications, grants, and awards, including a 2003-2004 Fulbright scholarship in Cyprus for a teaching grant project, further illustrate her staunch dedication to mental health awareness, education, and support.

“When I worked in mental health, I noticed the stigma that women who suffered from postpartum depression were exposed to,” Ugarriza recalls. “At that time, I decided to do research and try to combat some of the discomfort and stigma associated with the condition.”

From hospital room to classroom, Ugarriza has accomplished all of this and more.