Jake Bevilacqua, Hillman Scholar ’09, from the University of Pennsylvania

Nursing leadership sometimes means seeking change in local hospitals and clinics or perhaps looking more broadly to national or international stages where service and new ideas are needed. Jake Bevilacqua, who received his BSN in 2009 and is now working on his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, has used his Hillman Scholarship to make a difference in both ways.

While at Penn, Bevilacqua did his senior clinical in the burn unit at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he continues to work today. As he said in a feature article published in the School of Nursing's magazine, the experience, along with the rest of his education at Penn, "allowed me to meet really inspirational people who helped me discover the impact I can have on the rest of the world."

That impact began close to home in Philadelphia, where he co-founded the Penn Emergency Response Team to respond to campus emergencies until city ambulances could arrive. Several years later, this team is still in place, enhancing the emergency services provided in and around the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. 

Further afield, Bevilacqua is not only caring for burn patients at one of New York City’s busiest hospitals. In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he and 10 other Hillman Scholars alumni travelled to Port-Au-Prince, arriving less than 10 days after the disaster. Working with other aid groups and local providers, they were among a group of volunteers who helped to stabilize victims and transport seriously injured people to clinics and hospitals in the nation’s ravaged capital.

It is this kind of passion for patients in need that animates so many Hillman Scholars and that produces the kind of nurse leaders our health-care system needs today.