Heidi L. Benavides, MSN, RN, CMSRN
Heidi Benavides is a registered nurse who is passionate about plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine as a means to prevent, manage, and reverse chronic illness. Heidi spearheaded the Green Wellness Program: Plants-2-Plate utilizing shared medical appointments with an interdisciplinary methodology. This program is improving health outcomes to South Texas residents, and she serves as program director. Heidi is nationally recognized and published expert in plant-based nutrition. Heidi is currently a clinical associate professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. She has practiced as a registered nurse since 2006 with a focus on chronic illness management, working in both outpatient and inpatient care settings. She has expertise in solid-organ transplants, long-term care, skilled nursing, medical and surgical care, home health, hospice, and rehabilitation. She currently practices at the nursing school Wellness 360 clinic using a shared medical appointment model. Heidi primarily teaches in undergraduate nursing acute and chronic disease management. She has been funded for a number of community health screening projects. She has presented at several national and international conferences about whole food plant-based nutrition, utilizing nursing hand-off report at the bedside to encourage positive clinical outcomes, prioritizing patient care assignments, and utilizing priority setting frameworks. She is currently the school’s Nursing Student Association Faculty Advisor and Assessment Technologies Institute® School of Nursing champion. Heidi is a full-time doctoral student at Baylor Herrington School of Nursing with a focus on the family nurse practitioner role.
- 2008 - Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Educator - Nursing Education - Medical University of South Carolina
- 2006 - Associate Degree of Nursing - Nursing - Trident Technical College
- 1999 - Associate degree - Allied Health Science, Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell AFB, AL
Licensures and Certifications
- Nexplanon® (etonogestrel implant) 68 mg Radiopaque 2023
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative 02/2023-02/2026
- Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate
- Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse
- Registered Nurse - Texas Board of Nursing
Honors and Awards
- 2023 San Antonio Exptress News Salute to Nurses
- 2021 Nominated Best 25 Nurses of South-Central Texas: The San Antonio Nursing Consortium
- 2020 PURSUE Award, $1385
- 2016 - Clinical Assistant Professor - UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2014 - Clinical Assistant Professor - University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management, San Antonio, TX
Instruction & Training
- 2020 - present, NURS 3304: Pharmacotherapeutics, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2020 , NURS 3273: Health Assessment & Promotion, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2015 - Present, NURS 4311: Care of Adult I : Theoretical Foundations, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2015 - Present, NURS4230 Leadership & Management, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2014 - Present, NURS 4316: Care of Adult II: Clinical Application, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
- 2014 - present, NURS 4314: Care of Adult I: Clinical Application, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing
Research & Grants
- 11/1/2022-5/1/2023: Funder UT Health San Antonio Student Service Fee Committee, $16,682.00 Title: Preparing Nurse Leaders Through the NSNA Convention Role: Co-Investigator
- 11/2022, Funder: American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine, $250 Title: ACLM Taste of Lifestyle Medicine Food Grant Role: PI
- 2014, Funder: Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning. Dollars: $2,402.54. Title: Community Health Screening. Role: PI
- 2012, Funder: Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning. Dollars: $5,000. Title: Community Health Screenings. Role: PI
Currently Funded Research/Projects:
- 06/29/22: Funder: Morrison Trust, $53,920 Title: A Interprofessional-led model of care to prevent and treat chronic diseases using a whole food, plant-based nutrition program in a primary care setting Role: Contributor
- 06/01/22 – 05/31/23 Funder: 2022 UT Health School of Nursing / Nursing Advisory Council, $11,100.00 Title: Green Wellness Program: Plant-2-Plate Role: Co-Investigator
- 09/2023-Present, UTHSCSA Scholarship Committee, Member
- 09/2022-Present, UTHSCSA Institutional Parking and Traffic Safety Committee, Member
- 2021-Present, UTHSCSA Implemented Green Wellness Program: Plants-2-Plate at the Wellness 360 clinic billing $42,695.06 over 3 months; collected $12,421.24 over 3 three months using Shared Medical Appointments (SMA). Nineteen participants in 2 cohorts. A third cohort with 15 participants started in January 2022.
- 07/2020-Present, UTHSCSA Nursing Student Association Faculty Advisor
- 2015-Present, UTHSCSA, Assessment and Evaluation Committee, Member
- 2019-2021, UTHSCSA, Committee on Faculty and Student Matters (COFSM), Chair
Service to the Profession
- 2020 - Present, Volunteer UT Health San Antonio COVID-19 Vaccination site. Assisted in vaccination administration to UT Health San Antonio Faculty, staff, students and community members
- 2019 - Present, Volunteer Encompass Hospice Volunteer. 6-12 hours per month volunteering as a companion with a local hospice company growing their veteran to veteran program.
- 2019-Present, Volunteer Hospice Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer, UTHSCSA. Provide companionship for individuals at Encompass Home Health. The focus will be on veteran-to-veteran partnerships.
Professional Affiliations (memberships)
- 2023-Present Texas Nurse Practitioner Organization
- 2022-Present American College of Lifestyle Medicine
- 2020-Present American Holistic Nursing Association
- 2019-Present Academy of Medical Surgical Nursing Organization.
- 2011 - Present, Reviewer, Nurse Planner: Diabetes Care at School: Bridging the Gap
- 2011 - Present, Reviewer, Nurse Planner: Recognizing and Preventing DKA in the School Setting
- Christianson-Silva, P., Meireles, C. & Benavides, H. (November 11-15, 2023). A Nurse and Dietitian-Led Intensive Lifestyle Program to Reserve Chronic Disease, Sigma 47th Biennial Convention, San Antonio, TX Abstract will be published in Sigma journal and the poster with voice-over will be available during the virtual portion of the Convention.
- Christianson-Silva, P., Benavides, H., Meireles, C. (2023, June 27). Using Shared Medical Appointments in Your Practice. Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 19(8) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2023.104709 Accepted for Publication (in review)- Benavides, H, & Christianson-Silva, P. Incorporating plant-based nutrition into nursing curricula, Nursing Education Perspective.
- Benavides, H., Christianson-Silva, P., & Meireles, C. (2023). A plant-based diet program led by an interdisciplinary team in South Texas. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/15598276221128370
- 2023, A Nurse and Dietitian-Led Lifestyle Medicine Program to Reverse Chronic Disease. Sigma 47th Conference, San Antonio, TX (Co-Presenter)
- 2023, Transitioning to a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet to Improve Health, UT Health San Antonio Comprehensive Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, UT Health San Antonio, TX
- 2022 A Plant-Based Program Led by an Interprofessional Team in South Texas, Academy of Lifestyle Medicine Conference, Orlando, FL
- 2022, Lifelong Wellness for Nurses: Lessons from the Green Wellness Program, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX
- 2022, Combating Chronic Illness with Plant-Based Nutrition: A Case Exemplar, Delta Alpha at-Large Chapter, Sigma, Global Nursing Excellence, San Antonio, TX
- 2022, Green Wellness Program: Plants-2-Plate, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing Scholarship Committee, San Antonio, TX
- 2021, Rethinking Medicine with Nutrition as First Line Management, UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine Culinary Medicine Lecture, San Antonio, TX
- 2020, Whole Food Plant-Based Diet: Preventing & Reversing Obesity & Related Diseases, UT Health San Antonio Mays Cancer Center: Cancer Prevention and Screening Committee, San Antonio, TX
- 2019, Benefits of Texas Nurses Association Membership, Texas Nurses Association District 8, San Antonio, TX (Invited Speaker)
- 2018, Keep Your Future Nurses Communicating! Encouraging Positive Clinical Outcomes with Post-Conference Bedside Hand-Off, The Quality and Safety Education for Nurses International Forum: Oceans of Opportunity: Evidence-Based Practice to Improve Quality and Safety in Education and Practice, NURSING, QSEN, Bonita Springs, FL (Sole Presenter). Details: In September 2017, The Joint Commission released Sentinel Event Alert 58: Inadequate Hand-Off Communication. Nursing programs may have challenges assessing student competencies of clear, effective communication. Nursing students should have the opportunity to provide bedside hand-off to evaluate the QSEN competency Teamwork & Collaboration, and AACN Essential VI competency, Incorporating Effective Communication Techniques to Optimize Patient Outcomes. Students need preparation on the critical information needed for an effective hand-off transfer and acceptance of patient care responsibility. In a medical-surgical clinical course, do nursing students who practice bedside hand-off, meet the objectives of incorporating effective communication techniques? All students participated in bedside hand-off post-clinical conference. Ninety-six percent of the students met the QSEN competencies “follow communication practices that minimize risks associated with hand-off report” as well as the AACN Essential VI “incorporating effective communication techniques to optimize patient outcomes”. Students stated they appreciated the opportunity to practice the skills needed to improve patient care outcomes and their own communication techniques. In addition, students stated practicing among their peers felt safe if they make mistakes. Integration of the assignment into nursing education would require faculty development, stressing the significance of how the assignment assists students with optimizing patient care outcomes.
- 2018, Texas Nurses Association District 8 Membership, Transition to Practice, Texas Nurses Association District 8, San Antonio, TX (Panel)
- 2017, Post Clinical Conference Hand-Off Report: Incorporating Effective Communication Techniques and Utilizing Priority Frameworks with Patient Care Assignments, National Nurse Educator Summit, ATI, Orlando, FL (Sole Presenter)
Invited Podium Presentations (i. e. keynotes presentations)