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Leadership at NANN

NANN is governed by a ten-member board of directors consisting of three officers, six directors, and the chair of the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP), a division of NANN. Leadership at NANN is based on a defined set of competencies that speak to the qualities, capabilities and expertise valued by the organization and critical to success in carrying out NANN's purpose.

NANN's Board of Directors

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President

Joan Rikli, MBA MSN RN CPNP NE-BC

Joan Rikli received her BSN from UCLA in 1977 and her MSN in parent-child nursing/PNP from University of Michigan in 1996. After her first year of obligatory med-surg nursing, Rikli became a neonatal staff nurse at the University of Michigan and from there ventured into leadership roles at a variety of hospitals. Rikli has served as the Director of Women's and Infant Services and NICU for the past 4 years. She also sits on the West Michigan Board of Directors for the March of Dimes and recently chaired her local March for Babies.  

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President-Elect

Gail Bagwell, DNP APRN CNS

Gail Bagwell has been a neonatal nurse for the majority of her nursing career. After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College with her BSN she began her neonatal nursing career in a Level III NICU regional referral center, but took a break after 4 years to explore other areas of pediatric nursing. After a stint in a pediatric ED she realized quickly that she was a neonatal nurse at heart and returned to neonatal nursing. She completed her master's at the University of Cincinnati. While she has held a variety of titles, Bagwell has been a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Perinatal Outreach at Nationwide Children's Hospital for the past 17 years. She completed her DNP in May 2015 from Chatham University.  Her areas of interest are neonatal abstinence syndrome, breastfeeding, neonatal pain, neonatal resuscitation and stabilization as well as ways to decrease infant mortality in the U.S.

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Secretary/Treasurer

Susan Meier, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Susan Meier has been practicing in various NICU nursing roles for 27 years. Currently she is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with Mednax, practicing in the Denver metro area. She also holds a ranked faculty position at Regis University: Loretto Heights School of Nursing. She is the author of various book chapters and articles. Previous NANN volunteer activities include: author of modules for the RNC review course, taskforce chair of the Mentoring Toolkit for Novice Nurse Practitioners, as well as co-founder and past president of NANN’s Front Range Chapter. Meier has served on the NANNP Council for five years, two of which she was the governing Council Chair. 

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Staff Nurse Director-at-Large

Reena Blackwell, MSN RNC-NIC NE-BC

Reena Blackwell has been a NICU RN since 2004, graduating from Arizona State University with her BSN. She obtained her MSN from Chamberlain University in 2018 and is currently working on her Masters of Engineering in Healthcare Operational Excellence from Washington University in St. Louis. Reena joined NANN in 2013 and credits most of her personal and professional development through opportunities within NANN. She has been a part of the Program Planning / Annual Conference Committee since 2016 and was honored to be part of the inaugural class of NANN's Emerging Leader Program in 2017. Reena looks forward to being a part of the NANN Board and helping shape the future of neonatal nursing.

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Director-at-Large

Linda Merritt, MSN RNC-NIC CNE

Linda Merritt received her BSN from The College of New Jersey (formally Trenton State College) in 1988 and has been practicing in various NICU roles for 30 years. Currently she is an assistant professor at Texas Woman's University with a research focus on NICU fathers. She is the author of numerous articles. Previous NANN volunteer activities include: Co-Chair of the Neonatal Professional Development Pathway Work Group, Section Editor for Focus on the Physical for Advances in Neonatal Care, Nomination Committee member, Neonatal Scope and Standards Task Force, and Educator Provider Committee.

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Director-at-Large

Lisa Smotrich, BSN RN-BC CCRN

Lisa Smotrich is a RN Education Specialist at the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. She has passion to make unit-based and organizational change to improve the care of neonates in the NICU. Lisa serves on the NANN Program Planning Committee. She was the founding member and President of the Florida West Coast Chapter of NANN.

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Director-at-Large

Media Esser, PhD NNP-BC APNP CWN

Media Esser has been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin since 2010 and a nurse scientist since 2019. She also holds an NNP Program Chair position at Alverno College. She is the author of various book chapters and articles, most related to neonatal skin and infant diaper dermatitis. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, School of Nursing in 2019 and served as the past president for the Wisconsin chapter of NANN.

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Director-at-Large

Rachael Edjou, NNP-BC APNP CPNP-PC

 

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Staff Nurse Director-at-Large

Tommie Farrell, BSN RNC-NIC

Tommie Farrell has been a nurse for the past 41 years and a neonatal nurse for most of that time. Currently she works at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the NICU as a staff nurse but also as resource RN, breast feeding resource RN, ECMO staff nurse, preceptor, and as part of the special delivery unit team. Bereavement/palliative care and ethics are two of Farrell’s main interests. Farrell is part of the Delaware Valley Association of Neonatal Nurses and served as chapter President and presently serves as Advocacy Chair. In addition, Farrell serves on NANN’s Health Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC) which supports her strong interest in healthcare advocacy. 

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NANNP Council Chair

Elizabeth Welch-Carre, EdD MS APRN NNP-BC

Elizabeth Welch-Carre received her first bachelor's at Smith College in economics and her second bachelor’s from the University of Virginia in nursing.  From 1993 to 1997 she served in the United States Navy as a med/surg and labor & delivery nurse.  It was while she worked in labor and delivery that she decided she should become a Nurse Practitioner. In 1997, Welch-Carre left the service and moved to Colorado where she became a neonatal nurse. In 2005 she graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing as a neonatal nurse practitioner. She has worked the entirety of her NNP career at Children's Hospital Colorado where she served as the co-chair of the Advanced Practice Shared Governance Council, the Nurse Credentialing Review Board and the coordinator of the NNP group from 2008 to 2016. She specializes in infant exposure to alcohol or other substances in utero. Welch-Carre completed her Doctorate of Education in Leadership at Creighton University in 2017. She has also served on the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) nominations and elections committee. Currently she is serving on the Colorado Nurses Association’s nominations committee and she is a mentor to an ANA member. And lastly, she is affiliate faculty and a student at Regis University.  Her plan is to add psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner to her credentials.

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Executive Director

Dionne Wilson

NANN's Past Presidents

  • 2015-2016: Regina Grazel
  • 2014-2015: Cheryl Carlson
  • 2014–2015: Pam Spivey
  • 2012–2014: Cheryl Carlson
  • 2010–2012: Susan Reinarz
  • 2008–2010: Lori Armstrong
  • 2007–2008: Peggy Gordin
  • 2005–2006: Robin Bissinger
  • 2003–2004: Catherine Witt
  • 2001–2002: Margaret Conway-Orgel
  • 1999–2000: Frances Strodtbeck
  • 1997–1998: Lynn Lynam
  • 1995–1996: Carole Kenner
  • 1993–1994: Patricia J. Johnson
  • 1991–1992: Linda Bellig
  • 1989–1990: Tracy Karp
  • 1987–1988: Charles Rait
  • 1984–1986: The organizational work of the association was led by an interim board of directors consisting of Linda Bellig, Patricia J. Johnson, Tracy Karp, Donna Lee Loper, Linda McCollum, and Charles Rait.

National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NANNP) Council

NANNP is governed by an elected Council composed of eight NNPs from across the United States. One of the eight council members is appointed chair and also serves on the national board of directors of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN). Council members exhibit NANN's core set of competencies and leadership qualities required to effectively lead the membership division into the future.

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NANNP Council Chair

Elizabeth Welch-Carre, EdD MS APRN NNP-BC

Elizabeth Welch-Carre received her first bachelor's at Smith College in economics and her second bachelor’s from the University of Virginia in nursing.  From 1993 to 1997 she served in the United States Navy as a med/surg and labor & delivery nurse.  It was while she worked in labor and delivery that she decided she should become a Nurse Practitioner. In 1997, Welch-Carre left the service and moved to Colorado where she became a neonatal nurse. In 2005 she graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing as a neonatal nurse practitioner. She has worked the entirety of her NNP career at Children's Hospital Colorado where she served as the co-chair of the Advanced Practice Shared Governance Council, the Nurse Credentialing Review Board and the coordinator of the NNP group from 2008 to 2016. She specializes in infant exposure to alcohol or other substances in utero. Welch-Carre completed her Doctorate of Education in Leadership at Creighton University in 2017. She has also served on the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) nominations and elections committee. Currently she is serving on the Colorado Nurses Association’s nominations committee and she is a mentor to an ANA member. And lastly, she is affiliate faculty and a student at Regis University.  Her plan is to add psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner to her credentials.

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Chair-Elect

Bobby Bellflower, DNSC NNP-BC

Bobby Bellflower is a Nurse Practitioner at the University Clinical Health-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Regional One Health. She started with a MSN and received her Doctor of Nursing Science Degree 17 years ago. During that time, Bobby served as the Director of the NNP Program at University of Tennessee Health Science Center until 2013. She managed a NNP service and is currently the DNP Program Director at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

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Council Member

Sandra Bellini, DNP APRN NNP-BC, CNE

Sandra Bellini is presently an Associate Clinical Professor with both NCC certification as an NNP and NLN certification as a Nurse Educator with 28 years of neonatal nursing experience at both the staff and advanced practice levels. Her current position is Director for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. Dr. Bellini received a Diploma in Nursing from the Framingham Union Hospital School of Nursing in 1987 and a BS in Nursing from Worcester State College in 1994. She received a MS in Neonatal Critical Care Nursing (NNP) from Northeastern University in 1996 and a post-MS Certificate from the University of Massachusetts in Nursing Education in 2003. She earned her DNP degree in 2007 from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Bellini has published and presented at the local, regional, national, and international levels and she has served on several NANN/ NANNP Committees over many years.

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Director-at-Large

Taryn Edwards, MSN CRNP NNP-BC

Taryn Edwards joined NANN before graduating from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Nursing in 2004. She started as a nurse at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) right after nursing school and found deep satisfaction in the care of critically ill neonates. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing with a Master of Science degree and began practicing as a neonatal nurse practitioner for the general, thoracic, and fetal surgery team within the NICU at CHOP. Edwards has participated in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing's Maternal Child Health Leadership Academy as a leadership fellow in 2008 and as a mentor in 2012. She has also served as newsletter editor and President of NANN's Delaware Valley Chapter.

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Council Member

Kristin Howard, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Kristin Howard began her nursing career as a CNA in high school, in Wyoming, and went on to earn her BSN in 2005 from the University of St. Louis - Missouri, becoming a fourth generation nurse. She started work as a new graduate in the NICU at St. Louis Children's Hospital before moving to Denver and joining the NICU team at Children's Hospital Colorado. She completed her MSN at Regis University as a NNP in 2007 and has been working for the NNP group at Children's Hospital Colorado ever since. In 2013, she returned to school to complete her DNP from the University of Minnesota. Kristin currently staffs level II, III, and IV NICUs across the Colorado front range. She also works part time as affiliate clinical faculty for the Regis University NNP program. She was honored to be selected as a member of the inaugural class of the 2017 NANN Emerging Leader Program and is currently working on the NANN Senior Staffing Solutions project. Kristin is truly honored to have the opportunity to be part of the NANN council and advocate for NICU nurses and babies across the country.

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Council Member

Julie Sundermeier, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Julie Sundermeier is a supervisor for the NNP team at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. She graduated from Creighton University with her BSN in 1984, her MS in 1998, and her DNP in 2012. She is an advocate for advancing the practice of NPs, and more specifically, enhancing the profession for NNPs through education, legislation, and peer support. She served on NANN's HPAC committee for several years and is a member of the Nebraska NP Legislative committee. She enjoys the challenge of extending her experiences outside the NICU walls and has been involved in several Medical Mission trips to Haiti and Kenya.

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Council Member

Barbara Snapp, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Barbara Snapp is a NNP at Children's National Health System in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She received an Associate's Degree in Nursing from Westchester Community College in New York before receiving her BSN from Loyola University, her MSN and NNP from Louisiana State University Medical Center, and her DNP from Old Dominion University. Dr. Snapp has previously served NANN as a committee member, editor of Central Lines, and as a reviewer for Advances in Neonatal Care.

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NANN President

Joan Rikli, MBA MSN RN CPNP NE-NC

Joan Rikli received her BSN from UCLA in 1977 and her MSN in parent-child nursing/PNP from University of Michigan in 1996. After her first year of obligatory med-surg nursing, Rikli became a neonatal staff nurse at the University of Michigan and from there ventured into leadership roles at a variety of hospitals. Rikli has served as the Director of Women's and Infant Services and NICU for the past 4 years. She also sits on the West Michigan Board of Directors for the March of Dimes and recently chaired her local March for Babies.

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Council Member

Mary Whalen, APRN DNP NNP-BC

Mary Whalen is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut school of Nursing, with a clinical practice as an NNP at UMass Memorial where she works in a level III NICU. Mary received her doctor of nursing practice from Case Western Reserve University. While on the council, Mary hopes that NANNP can continue to be an active political force in moving the NNP role forward nationally so that all NNP's realize that ability to practice to their full scope of practice.