College of Nursing Award Recipients
Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award
Elizabeth Bachhuber Simons, Nurs ’59
Naples, Fla., and Minneapolis, Minn.
As the first nurse epidemiologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, Betsy was a trailblazer in the field of hospital epidemiology and for women in health care.
Starting in 1968, when she was a wife and mother of three, Betsy’s career placed her at the forefront of her discipline. Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts hired her in the newly created position of infection control nurse in the pathology department. In that role, Betsy attended the first-ever conference of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate and train nurses on preventing and controlling hospital-acquired infections.
Two years later, she took the job in hospital epidemiology at Yale New Haven Hospital, which sponsored her to earn her master’s degree in public health.
During her 32-year tenure at Yale New Haven, Betsy helped establish a new department of epidemiology and infection control, spearheaded numerous hospital policies on infection prevention and control, gave nursing education lecturers and mentored Yale School of Public Health master’s candidates, and co-authored a number of scientific papers and posters.
“I endorse George Burns’ definition of success: to love what you do for a living,” Betsy says. “Then you love going to work, which I did.”
Betsy was a founding member of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, which recognized her in 1984 with the Carole DeMille Lectureship Award. She served as president of APIC’s New England chapter and was an APIC national board member.
Betsy’s first husband passed away in 1996. She met Nick Simons, Eng ’60, at a Marquette Reunion weekend, and they married in 2008. Today, the couple attends daily Mass and spends time with their beloved children and grandchildren; Betsy also works on her golf game.
“I was very focused and dedicated during my working career, and I enjoyed many successes,” she says. “To have my alma mater recognize this … is the greatest honor of my life.”
Fun fact: Betsy is from a true Marquette family. Her two sisters and their husbands are alumni, her granddaughter is a current junior, numerous nieces and nephews have graduated from Marquette, and her grandson, a high school senior, is accepted into the Opus College of Engineering’s fall 2018 class.