Giving Back

Alumna Tracey Moore-Baker and her husband, Mark Baker, pledge seven-figure estate

Tracey and MarkFrom patient care and bedside nursing to clinical research, then reproductive health, and finally on to pharmaceutical and medical device sales, Tracey Moore-Baker has an impressive resume. “You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve been able to accomplish because of my nursing education!” she says. Equipped with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Carl Sandburg College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UC College of Nursing, Moore-Baker says she wouldn’t be the person she is today without her nursing education. That’s why she and her husband have decided to pledge a seven-figure estate gift dedicated to both nursing colleges.

Moore-Baker grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, which she describes as a “small town in the middle of a cornfield.” She was the first in her family to earn a college degree, and in order to do so she had to take out a small loan. After receiving her associate degree in Nursing from Carl Sandburg College and passing her boards, she began working for a multi-specialty clinic. Her nursing career took a turn during a visit to see relatives in Cincinnati, when she saw an ad in the Sunday newspaper for a job at then-University Hospital (now called University of Cincinnati Medical Center). Within a day, she landed a job as an otolaryngology nurse there, and two weeks later, she packed up her life and moved 370 miles southeast to the Queen City.

“At the time, if you worked at University Hospital, you could go to the University of Cincinnati for free,” says Moore-Baker, who jumped on the opportunity to finish her nursing degree through the College of Nursing’s RN to BSN program, which she completed in 1990. Although she admits working while attending classes wasn’t easy, she says her bachelor’s degree opened up even more career opportunities. “I would not be where I am today had I not had that opportunity. I didn’t have the money to go back to school,” she says.

Tracey Moore-Baker Moore-Baker transitioned to conducting clinical research trials at UC’s General Clinical Research Center, which no longer exists. She then worked at the Center for Reproductive Health for a few years before moving into pharmaceutical sales specializing in women’s health. This led to a job in medical device sales, in which she continued to be an advocate for women’s health. “My passion was teaching practitioners how to use medical equipment for surgeries like hysterectomies,” she says. “I didn’t set out to be a women’s health nurse, but when I started at the Center for Reproductive Health, that’s when things kind of took off for me.”

Moore-Baker also worked in medical device reporting and most recently as a clinical consultant for a medical device company, which involved traveling across the country to train hospital staff on equipment use for safe patient handling. No matter the job, she says she always sought to be the best. “I became so diverse,” she says. “There are a lot of successful professional careers you can have with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.”

Ironically, after helping so many women have success in becoming pregnant at the Center for Reproductive Health, Moore-Baker had to face the deeply personal challenge of infertility herself.  Despite not being able to have children of her own, she committed to being “the best aunt you’ll ever want to have” to her niece and nephews. Eventually, Moore-Baker and her husband, Mark Baker, started having discussions about their wills and what to do with their estate. Mark suggested creating scholarships at the nursing schools that helped her achieve so much, and Tracey agreed that was the right thing to do.

The scholarships created with Moore-Baker’s estate gift will place an emphasis on nursing students who are first-generation students and/or enrolled in the college’s RN to BSN program so they are able to achieve success in health care, just like Moore-Baker.