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Heidi Gilroy Heidi Gilroy to be honored by TWU Feb. 19 with the Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship


Four Scholarship Awards to be presented at 13th Annual TWU Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon Honoring Ralph Hawkins for his commitment to business, philanthropy, and education


Heidi Gilroy, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, is a student pursuing her Ph.D. in nursing science from Texas Woman’s University with plans to conduct research on the effects of economics on health.  She is currently working as a staff member with TWU on a seven-year study of women who have sought help for intimate partner violence for the first time.  Her focus is on the intersection of poverty and intimate partner violence and how economic factors affect both women and children. Gilroy will receive one of four prestigious scholarships given by Texas Woman’s University at the 13th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, presented by Bank of Texas, Texas Woman’s University, and the Texas Woman’s University Foundation, Feb. 19, at noon, at The Belo Mansion and Pavilion.  Gilroy’s scholarship is sponsored by Luther King Capital Management.

Heidi Gilroy received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from TWU in 2002 and a master’s in nursing from Benedictine University and Lisle, Illinois, in 2010.  She is a Ph.D. candidate in nursing science at Texas Woman’s University with a 4.0 GPA with plans to graduate in 2015. 

At TWU, Gilroy is testing a theoretical model of economic solvency in abused women, which will serve as an evaluative tool for future economic interventions for intimate partner violence.  Her dissertation will involve the testing of the model and should be complete in August 2015. 

“Currently, intimate partner interventions focus on removing the abused woman from the abusive situation which can include getting protection orders to keep the abusers away and placing the woman in a shelter,” said Gilroy. “However, we know from research that a woman who experiences this type of abuse remains at risk if she remains in poverty.  There are few interventions that focus on the economics of abuse, and no theoretical model currently exists that would aid in measuring the effects of economic factors on risk for violence.”

Gilroy is working on creating and verifying a theoretical model that can measure this.

“I have planned future research to use the model to evaluate predictors and outcomes of economic solvency in women.  This will give us a good place to begin thinking about economic interventions for women experiencing abuse.”

Gilroy always knew she wanted a career where she could help people. She began her nursing career in the pediatric intensive care unit of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where she served as student, staff, charge and supplemental nurse.   During this time she began to feel she could do more good for others out in the community and began work as a community health nurse in the Fourth Ward of Houston.  In 2010, she was recruited by TWU to work on the seven-year Mother Child Study because of her public health background and the fact she is bilingual. Her boss at TWU encouraged her to apply for the Ph.D. program.

“As a result of talking to the women in the study and participating in the scholarly work of the Ph.D. program, I developed an interest in economic solvency in abused women,” Gilroy added.  “I believe my career path in public health, while not as lucrative as other areas of specialization, is groundbreaking and important.  My goal is to do research that will guide policy and practice related to supporting economic solvency for the greater health of all.”

Gilroy has been involved in professional and community activities at various levels. On the front lines of care she has served as a camp nurse at Camp Rainbow, a summer day camp for kids with diabetes.  Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 3, Gilroy, as a volunteer at Camp Rainbow, uses her experiences to encourage parents and newly diagnosed children.  She has also worked on the assessment team for the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and with community grants for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Houston affiliate.  Additionally, she has also served as a reviewer for several scholarly journals and as a team member on research capacity-building visits to both Indonesia and South Africa.

She is a member of American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, Golden Key International, Nursing Network for Violence Against Women, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the Southern Nursing Research Society.   She has received numerous awards including Texas Nurses Association, District 9 Outstanding Nurse, 2013, and she has been awarded numerous scholarships. Additionally, Susan G. Komen for the Cure named her Outstanding Project Director, 2007, and Texas Woman’s University named her Outstanding Senior, 2002.

A native of Kingwood, Texas, Gilroy resides in Houston.  She has two basset hounds who are certified therapy dogs and visit patients twice a month and is close to her parents, sister and family.

“I feel honored to receive this scholarship, and am grateful to the faculty of TWU who have served as mentors both at the graduate and undergraduate levels,” said Gilroy.  “They have been generous, sharing their knowledge with patience and dedication.  They have also been open-minded, giving me the liberty to think my own thoughts and follow hunches.  I would not be where I am without them.”

The four graduate students from each of the four TWU colleges who will be honored at the luncheon as recipients of scholarship funds include: Lenin Grajo, Ed.M., OTR, College of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy), sponsored by Edgemere Dallas – Dallas/SQLC Charitable Foundation; Heidi Gilroy, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, College of Nursing, sponsored by Luther King Capital Management; Lena Jackson-Lynch, Ed.M., MHR, College of Professional Education (COPE), sponsored by Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, and Tawny LeBouef Tullia, MA (English),College of Arts and Sciences, sponsored by Sis Carr.

TWU’s 13th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Luncheon, Feb. 19 at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion, will honor Ralph Hawkins as the 2015 recipient of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award.  Tickets are $175 for silver patron; $250 for gold patron.  For more information, call 940-898-3872, visit, or email

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Texas Woman’s University is a public university that occupies a notable position in higher education as the nation’s largest university primarily for women with an enrollment of 15,075. Its campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston are joined by an e-learning campus offering innovative online degree programs in business, education and general studies. TWU serves the citizens of Texas in many important ways, including:  graduating more new healthcare professionals than any other university in Texas; easing the teacher shortage by placing highly qualified professionals in the classroom; offering a liberal arts-based curriculum that prepares students for success in a global society; and conducting research that impacts the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, osteoporosis, stroke and diabetes.  For more information, visit, or call (940) TWU-2000.



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