Meet the Candidates

The ACHNE Nominations Committee is please to announce the 2019 slate of candidates for the following leadership positions:

Download the Candidate Mission Statements by clicking here.

*Reminder: You are only allowed to vote for Members-at-Large (MALs) for the region in which you live. If you do not live in the Northern or the Midwestern region, please skip this step.
Northern Region:  Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Midwest Region:  Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Candidates for Vice President (select one)

Irene Felsman, DNP, MPH, RN

Why are you interested in this office?

I am committed to the mission, vision and core values of ACHNE, and believe strongly in promoting high quality education for future nurses in the field of community/public health. Collaboration among colleagues that teach in this area is a powerful way to enhance content and creative methods of teaching. To this end, I would like to work towards more involvement of community/public health educators in my region. I have gained so much from working with the Education Committee members- so much talent, so generously shared (and with a dose of good humor!)

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I have worked in the field of community/public health both in the US and in developing countries for over 35 years. My experience includes program development, leadership/management and evaluation, teaching, and community/population-based research (women, children, refugees, immigrants and displaced persons). I am currently a co-investigator for a 5-year NIH RO-1 study looking at the influence of stress and resilience on the health of young adult Hispanic Immigrants, and work closely with a local refugee organization to collaboratively develop and sustain their health promotion programs. I am an innovative, forward thinker who enjoys leading, networking and problem solving with others. I have served as Chair on three separate occasions for two different international school boards; I enjoy the challenge of developing creative, strategic, and effective leadership with the goal of maximizing potential of an organization.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

A major priority of ACHNE should be increasing the engagement of its members in advocating for the increasingly important role of community/public health nurses and educators in the current health care arena. More and more evidence regarding the social determinants of health, and the corresponding influence of inequity in our society on health status has created a level of awareness both among health professionals and the general public as never before. Now is our time to step forward and speak out about what we in community and public health circles have always known in order to positively influence public health policy. To this end, I will promote the development of an advocacy agenda within ACHNE, including educational materials to encourage members to participate in shaping positive changes in public health policy. 

I am passionate about the mutual benefits that innovative academic-practice partnerships offer and find this one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my job in higher education. I think there is much knowledge among our members in this area and will work to devise a way to tap this knowledge and expertise.

And finally, if elected, it will be a priority of mine to address the lack of diversity in the current ACHNE membership, including underrepresented minority, gender and age groups in order to better inform our practice as community health nurse educators and enrich the experience of membership in this organization for all.

Lisa Turner, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC

Lisa Turner_2014_largeWhy are you interested in this office?

ACHNE is the professional nursing organization that I value the most. I would like an opportunity to give back to this organization that has given me so much.   I have been an active member for the past 10 years and became more involved in committee work over the past few years.  The office of Vice President is appealing to me because it would be an opportunity to be heavily involved in the planning of the Annual Institute, an event that I have attended many times over the years and always leave feeling inspired and invigorated.  Also, as the current interim Vice President, I have gained a new understanding of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the making of the Annual Institute and am reminded on a daily basis of the dedication of our members in volunteering their time to create an Institute that is innovative, collaborative, and addresses important public health issues.  I have enjoyed working closely with the Planning Committee and Executive Committee and would like to continue with this work.  

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I served as member of the 2016-2017 Nominating Committee, and then stepped into the role of Chairperson for the 2017-2018 Nominating Committee.  I was appointed by the Board to serve as interim Vice President for the 2018-2019 year.  I have experience in planning continuing education programs for nursing organizations in my local region. I also co-planned a Divisional two-day retreat for my employing institution.  I have served as an abstract reviewer for ACHNE, as well as moderator at Annual Institutes that I’ve had the opportunity to attend.  I pride myself on being a highly organized person and a team player, both skills that I think are integral to the duties of the Vice President.   At the 2018 institute, I was honored to receive the first Past Presidents Award, which recognizes the recipient’s leadership qualities, and would like to continue to develop my leadership skills with this nursing organization that has been integral to my career development over the year.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

I see the major priorities for ACHNE are (1) to continue to provide leadership and guidance on community and public health nursing education, research, and practice; (2) to communicate and respond to public health issues, particularly around policy; and, (3) to strategize on how to best incorporate and promote community/public health nursing within an ever-changing health care system.  Through focused, deliberate planning, the Annual Institute (AI) can provide an avenue for members to be involved with each of the priority areas.  Developing opportunities for members to collaborate and learn at the AI, and potentially through web-based seminars, would also aid in addressing these priorities. One of the major issues I see ACHNE facing is increasing membership and involvement of current members.   As Vice President, I think it would be important to make sure that the Annual Institute provides programming that is timely and informative for members to learn and collaborate with one another.  I also see an opportunity to cultivate professional mentorship in the AI program for members at different levels of their career, especially student membership.  Personally, I first learned about ACHNE as a master’s student and attended my first AI at the encouragement of my professors.  From that point onward I felt a special connection with ACHNE and believe that is something we could develop more with our student members.   

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Candidates for Secretary (select one)

Lynn Blanchett, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC

Why are you interested in this office?

I am interested in the position of Secretary of ACHNE to serve the organization which has provided me with so much. ACHNE has been a part of my entry into the world of higher education. I began my membership as a graduate student, presenting my first poster at a national conference and gaining knowledge, scholarship opportunities and a sense of community since then. I believe that the secretary serves a vital role in communication and in documentation of the work done by the organization.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I currently work as an Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and will bring that leadership experience to this role.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

ACHNE priorities are ensuring that academic programs receive the guidance and support they need to provide students with current practice knowledge, ACHNE must prioritize the provision of board certification to nurses and participate in the generation and use of evidence for practice.

Diane McNaughton, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC

Why are you interested in this office?

I am running for Secretary of ACHNE because I am interested in working with colleagues to advance priorities of the organization. I served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer from 2006-2010 and understand the depth of commitment needed to be an active and contributing member of ACHNE’s leadership. I have been a member for almost 20 years and over this time period I have learned much about creative, innovative strategies for teaching and research from my ACHNE colleagues. The position of Secretary would provide me the opportunity to serve the organization as we work to maintain and build ACHNE's strength as the leader in Public Health Nursing education, research and practice.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I have many years of experience as an Advanced Public Health Nurse and was first certified over a decade ago. I have developed C/PHN curriculum and taught and mentored students at the BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD levels. My research experience has been in home visiting, health promotion and cultural adaptation of health promotion interventions for Hispanic families.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Issues facing ACHNE are maintaining and building our membership while mentoring a new generation of C/PHN students and faculty members. An upcoming challenge for ACHNE is to strengthen our social media presence and communication with members.  As a leader in Public Health/Community Health Nursing education, research and practice, ACHNE continues to be in a position to represent our specialty as a part of the professional nursing community. This includes contributing to standards for C/PHN nursing education and practice.  A pressing issue is the status of the Advanced Public Health Nursing Certification and finding a path for re-instating the portfolio or exam.

Julie Postma, PhD, RN

Why are you interested in this office?

I am interested in serving as secretary for the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators (ACHNE) because ACHNE plays an important role in strengthening community health as priorities evolve in this dynamic political landscape. Through my expertise and organizational skills, I will work alongside ACHNE board members to contribute our collective strengths to represent and advocate for marginalized communities, population health, and community health nurse educators. As an ACHNE member, I am proud to have received an ACHNE research award last year, and to have contributed and used the Educational Innovations website in years past. Now is the time for me to give back to ACHNE as a nursing leader. As an associate professor and assistant dean for research at the Washington State University College of Nursing, I promote a community-grounded perspective of public health and practice-related research with a broad environmental health component focused on air quality and asthma.  I effectively work alongside public health professionals, clinicians, researchers, and parents who are new to this country and may not speak English. I am an active and effective listener, empathetic to the beliefs and knowledge of others, and I point out commonalities as well as diversity of opinion while directing action toward integration and progress. These attributes speak to my collective leadership style and skill set. 

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I have broad leadership experience in multiple contexts. At the WSU College of Nursing I have served as chair of our Faculty Affairs committee since 2017 (member since 2015). I have also chaired our Diversity and Global Connections Committee, since 2017. I served as chair of our Tenure Track Faculty Search Committee (2015-2016) and our Research committee (2013-2014).  From 2014-2017 I was chair of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board for a clinical trial, titled “Guidelines to Practice, Reducing Asthma Health Disparities through Guideline Implementation” funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PI: J. Stout, Seattle King County Public Health Department). I was also chair of the Research committee for the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition between 2014 to 2017. I have received two awards for my leadership experience, including the Washington State Public Health Association’s Public Health Leadership Award (10/17/2017) and the Sigma Theta Tau Delta Chi Chapter Leadership Award (4/2016).

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Broadening membership and meeting the needs of diverse members is always an organizational priority. As a board member I will contribute ways in which I have created participatory learning environments among diverse stakeholders and worked toward mutual goals. Generating robust scholarship that studies approaches to teach and practice community health in nursing education/curriculum/clinical is also a challenge when funding for such pursuits is limited. Hosting a grant writing workshop as a pre-conf workshop or via an online seminar with HRSA representatives is one way to support faculty new to that mechanism. Finally, integrating our community and population health expertise into DNP curriculum is something I am passionate about and working hard to accomplish at my College. Sharing resources to do so can be accomplished in a number of ways, least of which is via the Educational Innovations website.  

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Candidates for General Member at Large (select one)

Becky Davis, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC

Why are you interested in this office?

I am interested in the role of Midwest Member-at-Large as a way to connect with and learn from members in the region. The role would broaden my understanding of ACHNE and provide an opportunity to represent the region and give back to the organization. 

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

In addition to twelve years as a nurse educator, I have prior practice experience in community, population health and public health settings. I am a life-long learner and teach community/public health content across programs and levels. I’ve been a member of ACHNE for seven years, served as a member-at-large and on the research committee. My related interests are health disparities research, academic-practice partnerships, interprofessional education, refugee and global health.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

ACHNE plays a vital role in supporting the teaching and scholarship of community health nursing faculty. Conversation and collaboration among members of our organization is essential to interpret and anticipate trends in nursing education and the Public Health Nursing knowledge/skills students will need for future practice. Consistently engaging with members is key to that collaboration. As a member-at-large for the region, I would be able to help facilitate that engagement.

Wanda Taylor, PhD, RN, CHPN

Why are you interested in this office?

I would love to serve ACHNE in the role of General Member-at-Large.  I fully support and believe in ACHNE’s mission statement that exceptional community/public health nursing education, research and service can improve population health.  Most of my clinical years were in home health and hospice solidifying my passion for community-based nursing.  During my doctoral studies, I explored social determinants of health and gained a deeper understanding of the importance of evidence-based interventions to improve population health.  These experiences all contribute to my desire to serve ACHNE.  My commitment for excellence in community/public health nursing education, research and service is strong.  I am excited about the opportunity to serve as your General Member-at-Large and will work hard to meet our priorities and serve the ACHNE mission.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

Some of the roles that contributed to my leadership experience and helped prepare me for the opportunity to serve as General Member-at-Large include committee and professional organization service. In 2014 I received the Clemson University Service Alliance Faculty Fellow Award for an innovative, community-based, educational intervention through service learning for first-semester nursing students.  I served as the Awards Chair for Sigma Theta Tau International Beta Omicron Chapter (AU 2012-2013), Nursing Faculty Assembly Chair (CSU 2016-2017), and as a member of Faculty Senate (CSU 2017-2018). These opportunities all contributed to my leadership philosophy which embraces creative solutions and empowering others.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Membership and member engagement, I believe, are major priorities for ACHNE.  Actively engaged members working collaboratively and creatively are needed to advance our mission.  One way we can grow in numbers and further our mission to improve population health is through networking and relationship-building opportunities.  Reflecting on the IOM Future of Nursing recommendations for nursing education and practice, this is an exciting time for community/public health nursing.  Pre-licensure nursing programs are beginning to embrace a stronger community/public health focus, and our research and expertise can inform this process. 

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Candidates for Northern Member at Large (select one)

Jill Folsom, DNP, MS, RN, CNE

Why are you interested in this office?

My experience with JDRF, both as a member looking for guidance and now as the leader for the region has offered me insight into the varying needs and experiences each area in this region faces. While geographically we are small, our community health challenges cover both large urban settings as well as the rural areas.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

My experience with JDRF, both as a member looking for guidance and now as the leader for the region has offered me insight into the varying needs and experiences each area in this region faces. While geographically we are small, our community health challenges cover both large urban settings as well as the rural areas.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Having lead groups on Capitol Hill, I would look forward to helping our members and our profession as a whole join forces to assure that programs started under the affordable health care act stay funded. These primary intervention programs will be the key to our success in building a healthier communities. As the newly elected senators and representatives take their seats in DC, we need to be prepared to share with them the fiscal reasons why primary prevention is the answer. This, coupled with adding our voice to HP2030 roll outs and the Core Competencies discussions are key to furthering our profession and strengthening our communities.

Kathleen McElroy, PhD, RN

Why are you interested in this office?

I look forward to serving as the point of contact for ACHNE members in the Northern region. I will work to advance ACHNE's mission and vision, focusing on their core values like collaboration and inclusiveness. I will also work to grow membership within the Northern region through networking and encourage active participation by current members. As a current member of the Research committee, I have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of being actively involved in a national organization.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

As chair of the Small Grant Award for Research subcommittee, I oversaw the review of all research proposals for the 2018 cycle. This involved organizing proposals, soliciting reviewers, facilitating consensus in award decisions and communicating with applicants. Additionally, my leadership work with the Healthy Babies Collaborative in Baltimore has led to the development and dissemination of healthcare provider education aimed at increasing the linkage to community-based services for at-risk pregnant women. Finally, I am currently a fellow in the 2018-2019 Leadership Development Program through the Nurse Leadership Institute, a statewide initiative designed to increase nursing leadership capacity in Maryland. 

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

One of the biggest issues facing ACHNE is the lack of recognition within and outside of nursing regarding the importance of the work done by community and public health nurses. Our contributions as educators, leaders, practitioners and researchers are critical to advancing population health, but we sometimes do not do enough to promote ourselves and our efforts. This role will allow me to encourage members to disseminate their work at local, regional and national conferences, or via publication. Additionally, guiding members into active participation can help them make connections that will strengthen their voice and expand their scope of influence. By making our work more visible, we can start to shine a light on our valuable contributions.

Lisbeth Searing, PhD, RN

Why are you interested in this office?

Nearly 10 years ago, I discovered ACHNE through a google search for educational opportunities as a new nursing educator. ACHNE gives me ideas, opportunities, and a support community. I feel called to increase my service commitment to ACHNE--to give back to the organization and to ensure it remains vibrant for current and future educators.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

As a member of the communications committee, I have worked to improve the newsletter, use of discussion boards, and explored other methods of improving communication among the members of ACHNE. Serving as the Northern Region Member-at-Large is a natural extension of this activity, with the added responsibility of direct communication with members—and potential members—in the region.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

The most important issue facing ACHNE is visibility—to community/public health nursing educators as well as both nursing and public health colleagues. If elected to the Northern Region Member-at Large position, I would continue current efforts noted in the 2018 Membership Committee report: personalized emails to a) potential members about the benefits of ACHNE and b) current members to facilitate communication and increase retention. I would work with the Membership Committee to identify best practice in reaching out to potential student members, and implement those strategies in the region.

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Candidates for Midwest Member at Large (select one)

Mary Ahlers, MEd, BSN, CP-C, NRP, EMSI

Why are you interested in this office?

With an extensive career in Nursing, Paramedicine, Communications, Education Technology and Leadership, I embrace the opportunity to engage with an organization where I can deliver value through my technical expertise and operational understanding.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I offer expertise and a true understanding, passion, and enthusiasm for the promotion of leadership excellence. My research, collaborative and analytical skills combined with high commitment and drive, offers unique solutions to reach needs-based outcomes for the community health.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

The United States and the world stand at a critical point in history to support healthcare. Leadership must play an expanded role to resolve barriers and broaden implementation plans for bettering community health.

Heide Cygan, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC

Why are you interested in this office?

I am interested in serving as the Midwest Member-at-Large because fostering a sense of connection between members and the organization is essential to sustainability of the organization. I hope to increase organizational engagement for new members and those who have not been actively involved in the past by encouraging them to attend and/or present at the Annual Institute, run for a leadership position or become active on ad hoc task forces. I also seek to increase membership of diverse faculty, focusing on early career faculty. I am committed to continuing my service to ACHNE and would use this opportunity to serve as a means to gain a deeper understanding of the organizational assets and challenges.


What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

As a member and co-chair of the ACHNE Nominating Committee, I have a solid understanding of ACHNE’s mission, by-laws and organizational priorities. I have shown my commitment to the organization through active committee participation and leadership. Through my service on the nominating committee I have organized and conducted member outreach. I also developed a system for documentation of member outreach that allows smooth transition of processes and information between exiting and new committee members/leadership.  I also have experience serving on the Board of Directors for a local non-profit organization and chairing various committees.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

One priority for ACHNE is to increase organization and member voice in the policy arena. By doing so, we will elevate the profession and increase our collective impact. As Midwest MAL, I will use my policy background (from practice and education) to be the liaison between ACHNE and its Midwest members. I will encourage a united voice on policy issues that impact our organization, profession, students and populations served. With organizational guidance, I will facilitate political advocacy for members in my region.

Kim White, PhD, MS, PHCNS-BC

Kim WhiteWhy are you interested in this office?

ACHNE has a wealth of information and resources to share with Community Health Educators. I have taught care of populations for 20 years and was the course coordinator for four years. I have been a Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist for 14 years. I love community health. I feel that as professional nurses we owe it to our professional organizations to be as active as our lives allow. I believe that by becoming the Midwest Member-At-Large I will be able to increase membership and enthusiasm for the organization.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I have taught community/public health for 20 years. I have experience in developing the coursework and designing creative ways to meet the needs of community health students in times of limited clinical sites. I have been the director of a community-based nurse-managed clinic in East St. Louis, a severely impoverished community with a plethora of health issues, for five years.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Membership - I believe that can be of help in getting the word out about ACHNE. Every school of nursing that has a community/public health course should have instructors that are members in this organization. Membership involvement - I can increase membership involvement by making members aware of the resources and opportunities available through ACHNE. 

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Candidates for Nominating Committee (select two)

Teresa Darnall, DM, MSN, RN, CNE

Kim WhiteWhy are you interested in this office?

I would like to become more involved in ACHNE and believe that this entry role would be beneficial to learn more about the organization.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I serve, and have served, on numerous boards and committees in a variety of roles. I believe my background will be able to identify skills and talents of other ACHNE members to fulfill roles moving ACHNE towards desired goals. I am working on community-based research and my clinical practice in rural Appalachia brings perspectives of vulnerable population health needs.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

The lack of focus of population health and preventative care in the health system and NCLEX does not drive nurse educators towards seeing the validity and importance of CHN.

Dorothy Jackson, PhD, RN, FNP

Why are you interested in this office?

I would like to make a meaningful contribution and learn more about the organization.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

I lead the writing and getting approval for the BSN program and CCNE accreditation and creation of the College of Nursing at UT Permian Basin.


What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Getting new BSN graduates to choose public health nursing as their first choice of practice.

Mary Ellen LaSala, PhD, RN

Why are you interested in this office?

I am interested in this office because I would like to become more involved with ACHNE and keep up to date with the associations vision.  I teach Population Health at Stony Brook University and I am the Chair of the Undergraduate Department and want To ensure that a quality education is given to all students.

What expertise and leadership experience do you bring to this position?

Chair of the Undergraduate Department Stony Brook School of Nursing.

What do you see as the major priorities or issues facing ACHNE and how would you contribute to addressing them?

Research and maintaining the current trends in community nursing.

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