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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

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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Immediate Past President

Joan Rikli, MBA MSN RN CPNP NE-BC

Joan Rikli received a BSN from UCLA in 1977, an MSN in parent-child nursing/PNP from University of Michigan in 1996, and an MBA from Grand Valley State University in 2018. 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 is currently serving as the Director of the NICU and Pediatric Services at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, and previously was Director of Women's Services and Pediatric Critical Care Services. Additionally, she sits on the West Michigan Board of Directors for the March of Dimes.

 

 

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Secretary/Treasurer

Luann Jones, DNP APRN NNP-BC NE-BC

Luann Jones was drawn to a neonatal nursing career after her son was born at 29 weeks gestation and spent 3 months in the NICU at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH). She started working as a Student Nurse Assistant in that same NICU in 1993. She completed her BSN at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1994 and became a bedside NICU RN at ACH in 1995. She graduated from the MSN-NNP program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in 1998 & practiced as an NNP until 2012. She completed her DNP degree at UTHSC in 2009. Since 2012, Luann has served as the Neonatal Services Director at ACH which is the only Level 4 NICU in the state. Luann was a founding member & president of the Arkansas Association of Neonatal Nurses (ARANN) from 2018-2020.

 

 

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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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Staff Nurse Director-at-Large

Erica Van Inwagen, BSN RN CCRN

Erica has been a NICU nurse since working as a new graduate in the Newborn Critical Care Center (NCCC) in 2006. She completed her BSN through Purdue University Global in 2018 and is very passionate about mentoring as she is the chair of the Mentoring Program in the NCCC. She has led many successful quality improvement projects in her unit. She is honored to be a graduate of the Emerging Leader Program through NANN and Synova. This program led her to get more involved with NANN, including joining the Board in 2020.

 

 

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Director-at-Large

Rachael Edjou, NNP-BC APNP CPNP-PC

Rachael Edjou has been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin since 2010 and Advocate Aurora since 2012. She is dually certified as a NNP and as a primary care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is currently working on her PhD at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Rachael was part of the inaugural class of NANN's emerging leader program in 2017, was chair of the NANN Professional Development Committee, and is immediate past president of the local Wisconsin chapter of NANN. Her areas of interest include leadership/professional development, NNP retention, neonatal resuscitation, and edge of viability.

 

 

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Director-at-Large

Media Esser, PhD NNP-BC APNP CCRN CWN

Media Esser has been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a NNP since 2010 and a nurse scientist since 2019. She also holds an NNP Program Chair, assistant professor 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

Linda Merritt, PhD 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

Julie Williams, DNP CRNP NNP-BC

Julie Williams is a nurse practitioner at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She received her MS at Stony Brook University in 2013 and subsequently her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Maryland in 2019. Julie is an alumna of the Emerging Leaders Fellowship. She is passionate about developing nurses to become future leaders.

 

 

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NANNP Council Chair

Bobby Bellflower, DNSc NNP-BC FAANP

Bobby Bellflower is the Director of the DNP Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), College of Nursing. She is also a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) for University clinical Health- Regional One Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Bobby started with a Masters in Nursing and obtained her Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) degree 20 years ago. She was the Director of the NNP program at UTHSC until 2013 and left to manage a large group of APRNs at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. She was recruited back to UTHSC to lead the large DNP program. Bobby has received the Daisy Award for inspirational leadership of faculty and was selected as a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She is a member of multiple organizations including Sigma Theta Tau, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) – Program Planning Committee, AANP, Society for Medical Simulation, etc. She has multiple presentations (both peer-reviewed and invited), publications, and grants for improving care in the Mississippi Delta Region for mothers and babies. Her educational interests focus on teaching APRNs evidence-based practice and continuous quality improvement (QI). 

 

 

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Executive Director

Dionne Wilson

 

 

 

NANN's Past Presidents

  • 2016-2018: Lori Brittingham
  • 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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Chair

Bobby Bellflower, DNSc NNP-BC FAANP

Bobby Bellflower is the Director of the DNP Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), College of Nursing. She is also a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) for University clinical Health- Regional One Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Bobby started with a Masters in Nursing and obtained her Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) degree 20 years ago. She was the Director of the NNP program at UTHSC until 2013 and left to manage a large group of APRNs at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. She was recruited back to UTHSC to lead the large DNP program. Bobby has received the Daisy Award for inspirational leadership of faculty and was selected as a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She is a member of multiple organizations including Sigma Theta Tau, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) – Program Planning Committee, AANP, Society for Medical Simulation, etc. She has multiple presentations (both peer-reviewed and invited), publications, and grants for improving care in the Mississippi Delta Region for mothers and babies. Her educational interests focus on teaching APRNs evidence-based practice and continuous quality improvement (QI).

 

 

 

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NANNP Council Immediate Past 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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Council Member

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

Jacqueline Guzman, MSN RN NNP-BC FNP-BC

Jacqueline L. Guzman began her nursing career as a CNA after high school, in New Jersey, and went on to earn her ASN/Nursing Diploma in 2001 from the Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center School of Nursing. She started work as a new graduate in the well newborn nursery and SCN and completed her RN to BSN at Kean University in 2003. She started working in the NICU at St. Peter's Hospital before transferring to RWJUH NICU where she did transport. She completed her MSN at Stony Brook University as an NNP in 2007 and has been working as an NNP for various groups from TX to CA, currently as a travel NP. Jacqueline currently staffs level II, III, and IV NICUs in WI, TX, and AZ. She has a leadership background and enjoys teaching. She recently graduated with her FNP in 2020 from Davenport University. Her passions are empowering future leaders and education. Jacqueline is truly honored to have the opportunity to be part of the NANNP council and advocate for NICU nurses, NNPs, and babies across the country.

 

 

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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 NANN Emerging Leader Program in 2017. She is currently serving as co-chair of the annual NANN Educational Conference. Kristin is truly honored to have had the opportunity to be part of the NANNP council since 2017 and advocate for NICU nurses, NNPs, and neonates across the country.

 

 

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Council Member

Julie Sundermeier, DNP APRN-NP 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 and legislation. She served on NANN's HPAC committee for several years and was a member of the Nebraska NP and the Nebraska Nurses Association legislative committees. 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

Dedra Teel, MSN APRN-CNP NNP-BC C-ELBW

Dedra Teel has been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio since 2018. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with her MSN in 2018 and BSN in 2015. She served on the Annual Conference Committee for two terms and continues to be a manuscript reviewer for Advances in Neonatal Care. She completed the Emerging Leader Fellowship in 2020. Her area of interest is extremely low birth weight infants and obtained her certification in 2020. She currently serves as the President of her local chapter, Northern Ohio Association of Neonatal Nurses (NOANN). As a NANNP council member, she plans to strongly advocate for the advancement of the neonatal nursing and advanced practice nursing profession.

 

 

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Council Member

Mary Whalen, DNP APRN 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.

 

 

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NANN President

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.