Billy Rosa Headshot

At age 23, William “Billy” Rosa was a recent NYU Tisch theatre grad who had already performed under some of New York’s brightest lights at Radio City Music Hall. When Billy fractured his hip early on in his theatrical career, he didn’t know his injury would set the stage for his next career act.

“In retrospect, that injury was the beginning of the rest of my life,” said Billy. Next, he attended massage therapy school and was moved by the impact he had on his patients. The silver lining of what seemed like a devastating blow to his young career was a new stage that would change thousands of lives.

With an appreciation for the power of patient care, Billy returned to his NYU roots, graduating magna cum laude from the College of Nursing in 2009. After graduating valedictorian from Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing’s master’s program, Billy was ready for his next adventure, which would take him across the globe to Rwanda.

“I really wanted to explore the world and see what nursing was doing globally. I quit my job at NYU Medical Center and I moved to Rwanda as faculty for NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.”

Billy went on to work with the Human Resources for Health Program, an initiative set-up by the Government of Rwanda to improve the quality of healthcare in the country while reducing the reliance on foreign aid. Billy served at the Rwanda Military Hospital as an intensive care unit clinical educator and helped set-up the first master’s program for nursing in Rwanda.

“It was just the most brilliant thing to see nurses in a completely different context with no resources… I think one of my biggest takeaways from Rwanda was really understanding what a privilege I have had to be educated.”

Billy is now a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Nursing Ph.D. program. Of the 3.6 million nurses in the United States, only four percent have a doctorate in nursing. Billy plans on staying at the forefront of the healthcare, leading clinical practice and policy.

As a published scholar who has won multiple awards and various recognitions, when asked what his proudest accomplishment is, Billy replies, “The thing that makes me most proud is that when... I'm able to come home... and say, ‘I helped. I made it better. I gave this person the ability to... walk through this experience with integrity.’"

Rosa will be honored for his achievements, accepting the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award during the 2018 NYUAA Alumni Awards luncheon on Friday, April 20, 2018. Want to see him take the stage? Register now.