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2022 – 2023 Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship Nurse Fellows Announced!

The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is proud to announce the 2022 – 2023 Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship Nurse Fellows.  

This Fellowship is designed to train nurses to work with communities in tackling serious environmental health issues, with an emphasis on climate and health equity. This program brings together 24 nurse leaders from across the nation, who will join a growing nationwide network of nurse leaders who work in partnership with communities to enhance mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and related environmental health challenges, while ensuring the health benefits of these efforts are realized in the communities.

The 2022 – 2023 Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship Nurse Fellows are:

Sofia Aragon, JD, BSN, RN

Aragon lives with her husband in Burien. Aragon’s passion is to apply her experience and expertise to shape public policy. Strong public policy creates opportunity for all. As a registered nurse and attorney, she worked in Olympia for over a decade to advocate for affordable and accessible health care, protecting public health, workplace safety, and ensuring differing opinions are included when developing public policy.

She moved on to be the executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing, a private nonprofit organization focused on building a strong and diverse nursing workforce. In this role she works with business and education leaders to build a health workforce our communities need. While Burien is moving forward for plans for more growth, planning should include community needs such as strong schools and access to health and social services.

Aragon has served on numerous statewide advisory committees under Governors Locke, Gregoire, and Inslee. She currently serves on the board of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to help solve the homelessness crisis and ensure affordable housing for everyone.

Gloria E. Barrera, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN

Gloria currently works as a certified school nurse at a public high school outside of Chicago, and as an adjunct professor of nursing at several universities, most notably at DePaul University, UIC, and her alma mater Saint Xavier University.  She is committed to being a lifelong learner and continues her efforts in improving child health outcomes in our most vulnerable populations through her current practice, advocacy, and teaching.

Barrera is the first Latina President of Illinois Association of School Nurses, a strong affiliate of ANA-Illinois.  She’s been engaged with ANA-Illinois by serving on the Legislative Committee and most recently as an expert panel member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.  Gloria has been appointed to the IDPH Diversity in Health Care Professions Task Force as well as the Governor’s Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s School Safety Committee. She is a vital member and holds a chair elect position within the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Nursing Section.  She is an active representative of Hispanic nurses on the Nursing Coalition on Climate Change and Health, and an active member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). She’s been recognized for her leadership and community work by several organizations, both locally and nationally and most recently was named 40 Under Forty in Public Health by de Beaumont Foundation.

Joseph Bowman, BSN, RN

Joe grew up in rural Pennsylvania.  After HS, joined the Army becoming an Airborne Reconnaissance Squad Leader.  Left the Army becoming a Paramedic in 2000 working in EMS 12 years.  Completed my BSN in 2009.  Worked at Wake Med Health and Hospitals in several roles as a CICU RN then Cardiac Cath Lab RN excelling in Cardiac Cath/PCI, Peripheral and Neuro-vascular, and Structural Heart procedures.  2015 became Cath Lab Coordinator at UNC Johnston Health.  2019, became Chest Pain and Stroke Coordinator leading to initial accreditation of Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission August 2021, I have staffed as Covid ICU RN since April 2020.  In September 2020 was named UNC Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month – May 2021 was named UNC Johnston Health Ambassador of the Year.  I started in Public Health March of this year.  I am happily married and have a daughter in college.

 

Jaspreet Chatta, BSN, BA, RN

Jaspreet Chatta works as a float nurse at a community hospital outside of Pittsburgh, PA. She also holds a BA in Anthropology and Italian. She was a member of the 2015-2016 AmeriCorps Public Allies cohort in Pittsburgh. She likes to spend her free time outdoors with her dog, or on her bike. Her interests include food systems, community-based care, and mutual aid. She looks forward to learning and building skills to play a role in improving health equity in the region.

Prabina Dahal, MSN, RN

Prabina Dahal is a school nurse and a per diem nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Virginia Mason. She graduated with BSN in 2007 and with MN in 2020. During the covid pandemic, Prabina witnessed the disproportionate effects of the virus, and climate change very close to the children of the community she lived in. These incidents and a strong desire to be a part of the community changed her career path. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice in a pediatric primary nurse practitioner track. Prabina’s commitment to working with the youngest population in our communities moreover to applying social determinants to improve the quality of health led her to the DNP program at the University of Washington. At the university, she chose to be a student co-chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Prabina is fortunate to be able to partner with bigger organizations to fight the inequity rooted in our society.

Jessica Dahlman, ASA, RN

Jessica Dahlman is currently employed as a Surgical Services Float RN at Logan Health in Kalispell, MT. She is proud of her twelve years of service as an RN in numerous & diverse nurse settings, dedicated involvement with our union chapter SEIU 1199NW and winning campaign for Kalispell City Council. Jessica is a proud mother of one of our next generations to come and honored civil servant of the great City of Kalispell. She has been privileged to work alongside numerous influential nurses, community leaders and an ever-new stream of inspirational people that allow me to learn and grow during this life. Jessica lives in a remote and magical area of Northwest Montana and is appreciative of all this great land has to offer and protect.

Alex Dudek, BSN, RN

Alex is an EMT and critical care nurse in the Trauma Life Support Center ICU at UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. As a bedside nurse caring for COVID ICU patients during the pandemic, Alex has seen first-hand how environmental health impacts their patients’ risk and protective factors related COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Alex is passionate about educating current and future nurses on the connections between climate justice and clinical nursing, including in emergency and critical care settings. Alex is also a researcher and graduate student completing their Master of Public Health at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Their current areas of interest include climate justice, healthcare sustainability, epidemiology, emergency management, and health equity for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations.

Alex Fay, BSN, RN (Not Pictured)

Alex Fay, BSN, RN (Not Pictured)

Alex Fay is a registered nurse working and living in Seattle, WA. Alex graduated nursing school from Washington State University in 2020 and started their nursing career working in a specialty unit focused on pregnant people detoxing from drugs and alcohol. From there,Alex started at their current job, working as a nurse in an outpatient clinic for those with HIV and AIDS. The clinic they work at is low barrier and takes a harm reduction approach, which allows them to build meaningful and trusting relationship with the patients they work with.Alex is  a newer nurse, but is very excited to be part of this fellowship and work towards addressing environmental health issues that affect the patients they work with as well as the community at large.

LaDonna Gaines, DNP, MPH, RN, CSPI

LaDonna is the Manager of the Alabama Poison Information Center located at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, AL. She has been a nurse for 16 years. She has worked as a Hematology/Oncology Staff Nurse, Medical Case Manager, and a Specialist in Poison Information throughout her career. Professionally, she is a member of the Specialist in Poison Information Advisory Council where she serves as a Council Chair. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Alabama State Nurses Association, and the American Association of Clinical Toxicologists. She currently volunteers with the Junior League of Birmingham and sits on the Samford Black Alumni Association (SBAA) Board of Directors. She is also a member of SBAA Connects, where she mentors an undergraduate student.

Christy Haas-Howard, MPH, BSN, RN, NCSN, AE-C

Christy has been a school nurse with Denver Public Schools since 2005, and is nationally certified as a school nurse and asthma educator. After implementing asthma programs at the school level, her role has expanded to include asthma program development at the district, state, and national levels.  Christy has enjoyed working with school nurses from urban, rural, and frontier settings through her collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education to deliver asthma professional learning and technical assistance.  Through her asthma work she has become more attuned to the importance of addressing the social determinants of health. She has also observed the impact of a changing climate on asthma outcomes, especially in historically marginalized communities. Her current work includes supporting school-based asthma programs, partnering with the city of Denver on a school air quality program, and providing professional development about the pediatric health impacts of hazardous environmental exposures.

Lisa Jaurigue, PhD, RN, CNE

Lisa is a clinical assistant professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from Grand Canyon University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) from the University of San Diego. She has been a nurse for 32 years and a nurse educator for 21 years. Her background is in pediatrics, community health, and school health.

Lisa has completed various articles, textbook chapters, and online learning resource chapters regarding community health, public health, integrative health, health promotion, school nursing, evidence-based practice, and political activism. She is a fellow at the University of Arizona’s Integrative Nurse Faculty Fellowship and completed the fellowship in 2018. She holds certification as a nurse educator (CNE) and is a certified Koru Mindfulness teacher.

Debra Lett, PhD,MSN,MPA,RN

Dr. Debra Lett has worked in varied capacities in academic, regulatory, acute, community and behavioral practice settings. She has experience working in rural and public health designated health care shortage areas predicated community engagement in varied facets of health care access. Dr. Lett’s research interests are inclusive of associated levels of medical mistrust, health disparities, social inequities, agency, access, hope and quality of life in a depressed area in the southeastern region of the United States. She is currently serving as a nursing division lead in a community college, an HBCU – having recently implemented an inaugural Associate of Applied Science nursing program. Dr. Lett having worked for many years in nursing practice and education has provided many opportunities for growth. Providing supportive contexts for success for underserved students in nursing education for the accrual of social and human capital has been a career focus for Dr. Lett.

Emily Lezcano, BSN, RN

Emily is a current registered nurse in Nashville, Tennessee. I started my nursing career during the height of the COVID pandemic in the Emergency Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. I spent a year caring for the sickest patients in the middle-Tennessee region and saw first-hand the health inequities that existed in my community. I then transitioned to my current role as a walk-in clinic nurse where I provide public health and preventative services. Environmental and community health are great passions of mine. I completed my undergraduate degree at Illinois Wesleyan University where I worked with communities in Honduras, Spain, Hawaii, and the Philippines. I am extremely proud of my multicultural experiences which have increased my desire to help at-risk communities. Lastly, I currently volunteer at Nashville Wildlife Conservation Center where I assist in rehabilitating local wildlife.

LCDR Matthew Lindsley, MPH, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC

Matthew is a Commissioned Corps Officer in the United States Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health where he works with brain and spine tumor patients on clinical trials. He began his nursing career as a new grad in the Peruvian Andes as a Peace Corps volunteer working out of a village health post. LCDR Lindsley is pursuing a DrPH part time at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on food systems, in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. In 2012 he began producing food in Hanover, PA on Hobart Farm where he has found the intersection of agriculture and public health are intricately linked in multiple ways. Recognizing that local, sustainable food systems are more resilient and mitigate climate change, he seeks pragmatic solutions across sectors in his roles as a Nurse, Farmer and Officer.

Kaitlynn Liset, MS, RN, CNL

Kaitlynn is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire (NH), Department of Nursing and a clinical nurse based in acute care community hospital settings. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation Studies prior to her career in nursing, her interests in climate and health have afforded the opportunity to transform passion and profession into advocacy through education. Currently she is Chair of the NH Nurses Association Commission on Climate Change Action and Health, a member of the NH Healthcare Workers for Climate Action, and a member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Current projects are centered on educating and engaging the healthcare workforce, health and human services students, senior elected officials, and the public regarding climate change, health equity and climate solutions.

Mia McPherson, BSN, RN

Mia is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Nursing, with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. She currently works as a Public Health Nurse and an adult med-surg nurse, specializing in neurosciences and hospice. Mia is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Alumni (University of Michigan) and a previous Health Leaders Fellow with the Ecology Center (Ann Arbor). When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, hiking, visiting art museums, and reading. Mia’s passions include: urban gardening, health policy, racial/social/environmental justice, and raising awareness about the health implications of climate change.

La Vaida Owens-White, MSN, RN

La Vaida Owens-White is a Faith Community Nurse serving the 9th Ward Interfaith Clergy Coalition in the City of Wilmington, and the Delaware Region Health Ministries Network as Coordinator for congregational health ministries. Ms. Owens-White has over fifty years of nursing experience in acute, long-term care, rehabilitation, and community health.  Ms. Owens-White retired in 2010 and, currently, serves as a volunteer consultant assisting congregations, synagogues, mosques and temples in establishing wellness models of health, civic associations in developing health committees, and as a liaison between community-based agencies and organizations promoting health and educational practices. Prior to retiring, she served as a Faculty Educator for the International Parish Nurse Resource Center located in Memphis, Tennessee providing instruction for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing core curriculum for registered nurses and congregational health ministries.

Her current interest is in nursing research, exploring a collaborative partnership of community and faith-based organizations in addressing poverty and environmental climate justice. She serves on the Delaware Community Translational Research (CTR) Accel Community Advisory Council to provide help in overcoming existing barriers (lack of trust and inclusion) in reaching the community to become engaged in solving problems of interest to the community.  She is a member of the American Nurses Association, and the Delaware Nurses Association. Ms. Owens-White  is a life-long member of the NAACP and serves as committee chair for the State Conference of Branches health committee.

Jennifer Rasmussen, MPH, RN

Jennifer has been a registered nurse for nearly ten years working primarily in community health and home care. She recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she received a Master of Public Health in Global Health. During her final semester, Jennifer completed her practicum with the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC, where she worked with the Director of Forests and Health on the interconnection between forests, conservation, and human health. Before starting her master’s program, Jennifer completed the Climate Change and Health certificate program at Yale University. For the past few years, she has been involved with the Planetary Health Alliance as a member of their subgroup, Clinicians for Planetary Health. Jennifer is interested in holistic approaches that consider human well-being and environmental conservation to ensure the health, resilience, and sustainability of people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

Aletha F. Savage, BSN, RN

Aletha has been a nurse for more than ten years in an area with a multi-culturally diverse population. Most recently in the last five years working in the Neuro and Trauma Intensive Care Units at a Level II Trauma Center in The Woodlands, Texas.  Ms. Savage is currently serving as The North Region Board Member for The Texas Nurse Association in District 9.  Ms. Savage has been an active member of the district for more than six years and is passionate about her service as a nurse advocate, serving on various committees at the district and state level as well as coordinating fundraising events for the district. Ms. Savage was awarded The Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship from The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments in 2022.  Ms. Savage holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from The University of Texas at Tyler.

Nelson Tuazon, DNP, DBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, CPPS, CPHQ, CPXP, FNAP, FACHE, FAAN

Dr. Tuazon has a successful track record in nursing practice, academia, and executive leadership. His involvement in professional associations and boards has influenced nursing practice, nursing education, and public policy. He was the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (now the Journal of Nursing Practice Applications and Reviews of Research). He serves as a peer reviewer of the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice. As founder of the San Antonio Nursing Consortium and Board Member of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, he actively participates in public awareness campaigns, including the Stop-the-Bleed Program and humanitarian projects related to climate change in the Philippines. He serves as adjunct faculty at Excelsior University and UT Health San Antonio. His interests in the Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship focus on integrating environmental health and environmental justice into nursing practice, curriculum, public education, and health policy. Dr Tuazon is also Vice President & Associate Chief Nursing Officer at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.

Reenu Varghese, D.N.P. APRN, FNP-C

Dr. Varghese practices as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the UTMB Urgent Care services. She also teaches nurse practitioner students at the Houston Baptist University. She graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She began her career as a Nurse Practitioner in 2010 and has been working as a Primary care provider since then. Her work has been mostly geared in the underserved population but now works in a university based urgent care facility.

She was recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders by the ISAPN and was also awarded the Marie Lindsey Spirit of Advanced Practice Nurse award for her dedication to her patients and improving access to care in her community. This award was given in October 2016 and is given annually to one advanced practice nurse in the state of Illinois for making a difference in the community.

My hobbies are cooking, dancing, reading and playing with my dogs. I love dogs and attempt to rescue them from the busy streets of Houston. I am excited to be a part of the ANHE fellowship program!!

Ann Warneka BSN, RN, CTM, COHN-S, CCM

Ann has a variety of Occupational Health and Leadership experience. She graduated Franciscan University of Steubenville as class president. Developing a medical skill set including travel nursing, she progressed to management.   As an Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) manager, she was responsible for multiple clinics including Phoenix Fire, Federal and the corporate clinics of Honeywell, Goodrich Interiors and GSK Pharmaceuticals. During her tenures, Annie worked on multiple projects for environmental health and safety.

At GSK, Ann participated in environmental health projects with Safety during the plant closure. Currently, she is working at Spectrum Health as OHN at the FEMA Training Center in MD. In her spare time, Ann volunteers with the National Park Service.  Annie is a living historian and American Civil War reenactor.  She honors one of the first OHN’s, Charlotte E. McKay, who served with the Army of the Potomac.

Kayla Williams, AAS, RN

Kayla joined the nursing profession in 2019 and currently works at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. She is an ecoAmerica Climate for Health Ambassador and leads the school’s Climate Justice and Planetary Health Workgroup. With her guidance, the KU School of Nursing became an early member of the Nurses Climate Challenge School of Nursing Commitment to educate nurses about the health impacts of climate change. Kayla is a core team member with The Resilient Activist, a non-profit providing mental health support and community-building for environmental activists. Prior to becoming a nurse, she served for over a decade as a veterinary technician. Kayla is a beekeeper, tree steward, and community garden leader. Through these experiences, she knows that ecological solutions must be species-spanning and center around human stewardship of the earth. Kayla is continuing her education and efforts to advance climate solutions for health equity in her community.

Sherri Williams, RN, CCM

Registered Nurse. Her background in nursing has been vast which includes acute care-hospital nursing, home health, hospice care, and cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation. Sherri’s background includes leadership of health promotion within her faith-based community serving as a “Parish Nurse” whereby congregational and community health programs & fairs were conducted to provide education and promote proactive behaviors toward improved health.

Sherri’s past 15 years have been in the field of Case Management. Sherri is Board Certified via the Commission for Case Management Certification. Sherri has provided case management services to commercial insurance entities, Medicare, Medi-Cal, and the Medicaid populations. Sherri is currently self-employed as the founder and CEO of HEALTH MAINTENANCE ADVANTAGE, PLLC which is an RN-managed, physician-guided disease management company focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Sherri is a Christian, Wife, Mother, and proud Grandmother.

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