National Association of Neonatal Nurses logo.

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

Joan Rikli

President

Joan Rikli, MBA MSN RN CPNP-PC 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. 

Lori Brittingham

Immediate Past President

Lori Brittingham, MSN RN CNS ACCNS-N

Lori Brittingham has spent the majority of her 27+ year nursing career practicing in various roles in the NICU. Currently she is a neonatal clinical nurse specialist at Reading Health System in West Reading, PA, and holds a faculty position in the Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist program at The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Science. Brittingham has served on the NANN Board of Directors for the past five years, having served two terms as Staff Nurse Director-at-Large and as NANN's Past President. Prior to joining the NANN Board in 2011, Brittingham served as newsletter editor and President of NANN’s Delaware Valley Chapter.

Susan Meier 003

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. 

Gail Bagwell

Director-at-Large

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, Dr. Bagwell has been a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Perinatal Outreach at Nationwide Children's Hospital for the past 15 years. She completed her DNP in May 2015 from Chatham University.

Taryn Edwards

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.

Tommie Farrell

Staff Nurse Director-at-Large

Thomasine 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.

Lisa Smotrich cropped

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.

Media Esser cropped

Director-at-Large

Media Esser, NNP-BC APNP CWN

Media Esser has been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for the past ten years. She has vast experience in clinical practice, education, mentoring, and leadership. Media participated in the planning of a local research conference (Building Bridges to Research Based Nursing Practice) as the representative for her hospital for the Southeastern Wisconsin Nursing Research Consortium in 2016. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, School of Nursing in 2016 and served as the past president for the Wisconsin chapter of NANN.

Rebecca South

Staff Nurse Director-at-Large

Rebecca South, BSN RNC-NIC

Rebecca South received her BSN from Baylor University, Waco, Texas. Rebecca has been a NICU nurse for 23+ years and is currently working as a Clinical Nurse III at Texas Health Resource Plano. Rebecca has served as the Project Manager for NANN’s Baby Steps to Home: Discharge Pathway since 2013. She received the Robyn Main Excellence for Clinical Practice award in 2016. Rebecca serves as founding President of NANN’s Collin County Area Chapter for 2017. She will assumed the role as Staff Nurse Director-at-Large of NANN in October 2017.

Welch-Carre  cropped

Council Chair

Elizabeth Welch-Carre, EdD MS APRN NNP-BC

Elizabeth Welch-Carre received her first bachelor's at Smith College in economics. She returned to school and graduated with a BSN from the University of Virginia. From there she served in the U.S. Navy in California as a med/surg nurse and later as a labor and 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 has 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 is working on her Doctorate of Education in Leadership at Creighton University and expects to complete her degree in 2017.

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.

Welch-Carre  cropped

Council Chair

Elizabeth Welch-Carre, EdD MS APRN NNP-BC

Elizabeth Welch-Carre received her first bachelor's at Smith College in economics. She returned to school and graduated with a BSN from the University of Virginia. From there she served in the U.S. Navy in California as a med/surg nurse and later as a labor and 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 has 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 is working on her Doctorate of Education in Leadership at Creighton University and expects to complete her degree in 2017.

Bobby Bellflower Cropped

Bobby Bellflower, 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.

Sandy Bellini

Sandra Bellini, DNP APRN NNP-BC

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.

Kristin Howard

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.

Julie Sundermeier cropped

Julie Sundermeier, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Julie Sundermeier is an experienced NNP with over 33 years as a nurse and over 17 years as a nurse practitioner. 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 has been in a leadership role for most of her career as a nurse practitioner and has enjoyed the challenge of extending her experiences outside the NICU walls. Julie is an adjunct faculty member at Creighton University and served on NANN’s HPAC committee.

Barbara Snapp

Barbara Snapp, DNP 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.

Moni Snell

Moni Snell, MSN RN NNP-BC

Moni Snell has been practicing as a NICU nurse for the last 35 years. Within the same unit, she has been a neonatal staff nurse, a neonatal nursing educator, a transport nurse, and currently a practicing NNP. She is also an NRP Instructor Trainer and STABLE instructor for her Provincial Perinatal Education Outreach Program. Snell has been a NANN member for nearly 20 years and served on the Board of Directors and Program Planning Committee from 2006 to 2013. In 2015 she founded RESKANN, an affiliate of NANN based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Mary Whalen

Mary Whalen, DNP APRN NNP-BC

Mary is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut school of Nursing. She is also a full time 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.