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Entertainer, former nurse Naomi Judd to keynote PARTNERS 2012 Spring Luncheon

HOUSTON - (Feb. 7, 2012) – Acclaimed entertainer, hepatitis C survivor and former registered nurse Naomi Judd will be the keynote speaker for the PARTNERS 2012 Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 26, at the River Oaks Country Club, 1600 River Oaks Blvd. Net proceeds from the event benefit programs to support nursing education, research and student services for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing.

First known to the world as half of country music’s mother/daughter duo, The Judds, Naomi Judd experienced unprecedented success. The Judds sold 20 million records, scored 15 No. 1 hits and received over 60 industry awards. At the peak of the duo’s musical career, Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis C, which she acquired from an infected needle when she worked as a registered nurse in Tennessee.

After retiring in 1991 to fight the potentially fatal chronic liver disease, Naomi went on to become a New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker. In fall 2010, Naomi rejoined daughter Wynonna for The Judds: The Last Encore tour. Last April, The Judds starred on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in their first reality series, “The Judds,” which captured that final tour and their storied relationship. This month, the series is re-airing on Great American Country network (GAC).

“In a variety of mediums, Naomi Judd uses her fame and her experiences as a registered nurse to help people around the world,” said UTHealth School of Nursing Dean Patricia Starck, D.S.N. “We all very much look forward to hearing her inspiring story at this enjoyable annual event in support of nursing education.”

During the luncheon, PARTNERS will recognize board members who are nurses or former nurses. Honorary chairs will be three women in the family of legendary heart surgeon Denton Cooley, M.D.: his wife, Louise Cooley; daughter Susan M. Cooley, Ph.D., R.N., vice president for clinical services for RediClinic; and Susan’s daughter Mary Plumb Senkel, R.N., who currently is a student in the school’s Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program. All three are nurses and lifetime members of PARTNERS.

PARTNERS stands for “Promoting Advancement Resources to Nursing Education, Research and Students.” The organization was formed in 1994 to lend support and encouragement for students and faculty of the UTHealth School of Nursing through scholarships, endowments, faculty research grants and services to students.  Among other contributions, PARTNERS supplies the school’s traditional pins each year for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing pinning ceremony at commencement.  To date, the organization holds a $1.47 million endowment to support its projects.

Individual ticket prices for the PARTNERS Spring Luncheon start at $125. Underwriters are encouraged to respond by Feb. 24 to reserve tables and sponsorships. For information, call 713-500-2003 or email

The luncheon is PARTNERS’ largest fund-raising activity. Judi McGee is the 2012 PARTNERS chair.

- Written by David Bates, Director of Communications at UTHealth School of Nursing

Jade Waddy
Media Contact: 713-500-3030