Class of 2015
Every VUSN graduate has exciting things happening in her or his life, both professionally and personally. Class Notes – printed twice a year in the Vanderbilt Nurse Magazine and available online on this page – is an opportunity for you to not only learn what other alumni are doing but also share news about your life. We would love to hear what you've been up to! Please contact us with any updates, or call 615-322-4836.
Joseph Bailey, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville, Alabama (2021).
Ashley Bernard, MSN'15, DNP'17, is a nurse practitioner at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, serving on a team that provides cardiology-focused care for acutely decompensated heart failure and cardiogenic shock patients in the cardiac care unit (2019).
Maggie Logan Berghoff, MSN'15, founded Higher Health Solutions LLC, a virtual practice for functional medicine consulting (2015).
Stephanie Hunt Boyd, MSN'11, DNP'15, was named among the About Stark Twenty Under 40 list in June 2018, and received the Northeast Ohio Organization for Nurse Executives 2015 Aspiring Nurse Leader Award.
Megan Breyer, MSN'15, is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Nurture Pediatrics in Smyrna, Tennessee (2020).
Stacey Browning, MSN'13, DNP'15, is assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro in the Department of Nursing and the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences (2018).
Vania Brown-Small, DNP'15, is the associate director of behavioral services and psychiatric nursing at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York (2017).
Pamela Bruce, MSN'13, DNP'15, was a panelist for the VUSN Alumni Board's annual DNP Know Your Value in January 2020. She is director of quality and clinical transformation for Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network.
Alex Alford Brunhoeber, MSN'15, DNP'17, is an instructor at VUSN (2018).
Gretchen Burchett, MSN'15, is a family nurse practitioner at the Family Health Center in Ashland City, Tennessee (2016).
Desireé Clement, PMC'15, DNP'17, received the Heart of the Students Award for the masters of science in nursing programs at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in Atlanta, in January 2021, where she was named family nurse practitioner specialty coordinator a year prior. She served as moderator of "How the Media and Entertainment Industry Perpetuate Stereotypes of Nursing (and Why That Hurts Everyone)," in May 2021, part of the VUSN Dore to Door Alumni Forum. Desiree is a dual family nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife at Clarkston Community Health Center and Harriet Tubman Women's Clinic, co-director of the Georgia Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, and member of the VUSN Alumni Board.
Ali Sevilla de Cocco, MSN'15, was quoted in a July 2017 Shelbyville Times-Gazette story about a local model of group prenatal care presented to local women and babies and supported by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, March of Dimes, Tennessee Department of Health and UnitedHealth Group.
Jessica Criser, MSN'15, is on staff at Community Health Centers of Lane County, Oregon (2015).
Lacey Cross, MSN'15, is co-recipient of the VUSN Dean's Award for Recognition of Faculty Achievement in Academic Endeavors, presented in June 2021, and co-presenter of a poster, "Cracking the Code: Building an Escape Room Challenge Using Innovative Strategies through a Team-building Approach," at the National League for Nursing Summit in September. She is on the team whose project, "Educational Innovation to Assess PreSpecialty Students' Ability to Demonstrate Clinical Judgment, Effective Communication, and Teamwork during an Escape Room Simulation," was accepted for funding from the VUSN Faculty Scholarship Program in March 2020. Lacey became a PreSpecialty instructor at VUSN in 2019 after having been a family nurse practitioner with Vanderbilt Health at Metro Nashville Public Schools, a health center serving MNPS employees and their dependents.
Allison Davis, DNP'15, was named interim associate dean for the undergraduate nursing program at Union University in Hendersonville, Tennessee, in 2019. She is a former member of the VUSN Alumni Board.
Taylor DeBoer, MSN'15, DNP'17, is a nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at the Everett Clinic in Washington state (2021).
M. Elizabeth Deel, MS'12, MSN'15, was named the assistant clinical director at Austin State Hospital in Texas in May 2020. She manages the clinical departments of psychology, social work, nutrition, and education and rehabilitation.
Marja Hanks Dempsey, DNP'15, is a cardiology nurse practitioner at the Swedish Medical Group in Seattle (2017).
Kelly DeWyer, BA'10, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Northern Virginia Hematology & Oncology Associates (2020).
Kaitlin Divinnie, MSN'15, got married in October 2016. She is an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner in the Gastroenterology Clinic at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
Lydia Elliott, MSN'15, was a panelist for "Transition to APRN Practice," hosted by the VUSN Alumni Board Mentoring Committee in August 2021. She is a certified nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner at Women's Healthcare Associates in Athens, Georgia.
Misty Evans, DNP'15, was promoted to assistant professor at VUSN in June 2021, and co-authored "Comparison of Hickman versus Proline Central Venous Catheters in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant," published in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in March 2020. She was named to the Center for Teaching Junior Faculty Fellows program at Vanderbilt University in August 2019, and received the VUSN Sara K. Archer Excellence in Teaching Award from students in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care specialty in 2017 and 2018. Misty had an abstract accepted for poster presentation at the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation conference in February 2016 and started a local chapter for the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses.
Melissa Ferniz, MSN'15, is a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Children's Hospital in New Orleans (2016).
Emily Fischer, MSN'15, is an orthopedic nurse practitioner at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., where she specializes in hand and upper extremities and is cross trained in total joints and spine.
Erin Fish, MEd'12, MSN'15, is a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner in private practice in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee (2020).
Kaitlyn Fredrick, MSN'15, is a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Madrona Recovery in Tigard, Oregon (2020).
Sarah Davis Gast, PMC'13, DNP'15, is co-author of "Brugada Syndrome: Fatal Consequences of a Must-not-miss Diagnosis," published in Critical Care Nurse in October 2021. She received the VUSN Sara K. Archer Excellence in Teaching Award from students in the Adult-gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty in August 2020, and presented "Evaluation, Assessment and Differential Diagnosis of the Acute Abdomen," at the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association conference in October 2019. Sarah is co-director of VUSN's doctor of nursing practice Critical Care Fellowship and an assistant professor.
Jane Geyer, MSN'15, is editor of the book, NASPAG's Protocols for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology: A Ready-Reference Guide for Nurses , published by Springer in October 2020, and co-authored "Contraceptive and Reproductive Care in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus," published in the December 2019 issue of Women's Healthcare . She co-presented at the Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health conference in October 2018, and received second place for her poster presentation at the 2016 NPWH conference. That year, she co-presented about sexual health in teens at the Texas Children's Hospital Advanced Practice Provider Conference. Jane is an instructor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Gordon Gillespie, DNP'15, was a panelist for the VUSN Alumni Board's annual DNP Know Your Value in March 2021, and was published in the March 2019 issue of Nursing Clinics . He was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2016. Gordon is an associate professor and dean of research at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and a director on the Emergency Nurses Association's board.
Brenna Gillis, MSN'15, DNP'17, is the 2018 Vanderbilt University Founder's Medalist for the School of Nursing. She is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Genesis Psychiatric Services in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Justin Groce, MSN'15, founded a weight-loss coaching program that was a finalist for the Wilson County Post (Tennessee) Main Street Awards in June 2018. He manages an online personal training and nutrition coaching business, and his articles have been published in STACK Magazine, MidLevelU and the International Society of Sports Nutrition's Scoop. Justin is a nurse practitioner at Bradshaw Health in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Natalie Johnson Hall, MSN'15, received an Excellence in Patient Experience Award from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in October 2021. She was featured on the VUMC website in its Advanced Practice Provider Spotlight, and is a neurosurgery nurse practitioner in cerebrovascular and brain tumor services.
Lauren Hansen, MSN'12, DNP'15, opened Bloom Wellness and Aesthetics in November 2017, a boutique private practice in Nashville focusing on a comprehensive approach to women's wellness.
Rebecca Heimburger, MSN'15, spoke during the "Ask the Doctor: Woman to Woman" event in Saint Louis in January 2017. She is a women's health nurse practitioner at Saint Anthony's Medical Center.
Mary Pullias Henderson, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner in occupational health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2021).
Connie Hill, MSN'15, was named vice president of patient services at Saint Bernards in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in November 2015.
Elisha Hill, DNP'15, was a panelist for the VUSN Alumni Board's annual DNP Know Your Value in January 2020. She is the owner of the Better You Spa and an associate professor of nursing at Union University, both in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Adrian Hitt, MSN'15, is a care ambassador at Better Therapeutics, a company that develops prescription digital therapeutics for treating chronic disease (2018).
Sharon Hodges, MSN'15, joined Mercy Urology in Paducah, Kentucky, as an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner in December 2017.
Katelin Hollingsworth, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at East Arkansas Family Health Center in Memphis (2017).
Sarah Holmgren, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Stanford Health Care Associated Internal Medicine in Oakland, California (2017).
Brittany Hooks, MSN'15, is a certified nurse-midwife at Carolina Women's Specialists in Sumter, South Carolina (2017).
Carole Weddington Hunt, PMC'15, DNP'17, was a panelist for "Mental Health and Black America Today: Where Are We?" in February 2021, and a panelist for "Mental Health and Black America Today: Where Are We? (Part 2)" in July, both part of the VUSN Dore to Door Alumni Forum. She received the Saint Louis March of Dimes Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year Award in November 2016. Carole is a family psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Genoa Psychiatry, adjunct faculty at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, and owner of Dr. Nurse Carole.
Nancy Husson, PMC'15, DNP'18, is lead author of "Education to Improve Point of Care Documentation in Home Care Nurses: A Quality Improvement Project," published in CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing in July 2021.
Denise Isibel, DNP'15, is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Nursing (2017).
Polly Jackson, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner within a hospitalist group at Mercy Hospital Washington in Missouri (2017).
Marshay James, PMC'15, DNP'17, received the VUSN Sara K. Archer Excellence in Teaching Award from students in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care specialty in August 2021. She is an instructor at VUSN.
Veronica Johnson, PMC'15, is owner and provider at Moonflower Psychiatry in Asheville, North Carolina (2020).
Melissa Kalensky, DNP'15, was featured in Clinical Advisor in November 2021 for "Shelter-based Care NP Dr. Melissa Kalensky Shares COVID-19 Experiences." She presented "Referral to Emergency Medicine," at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners conference in June 2019, was a panelist for the VUSN Alumni Board's annual DNP Know Your Value, and co-authored "Gender Affirmation in Adult Primary Care," published in the November/December issue of The Journal for Nurse Practitioners . Melissa was featured in a May 2017 Chicago Tribune story about her leadership in encouraging the Illinois state legislature to accept full-practice authority. She wrote "More Than 'Minions': Nurses Deserve More Respect from Doctors," published in Stat that November. She is a family nurse practitioner at Rush Oak Park Hospital in Chicago as well as an assistant professor at Rush University College of Nursing. She is a former member of the VUSN Alumni Board.
Kaitlin Kinney, MSN'15, is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Rockwall, Texas, at Lake Ray Hubbard Pediatrics (2017).
Morgan Kleine, MSN'15, joined Goshen Birth Center in Indiana in August 2015 as a certified nurse midwife.
Danielle Boudreaux Knox, MSN'15, co-authored "Building a Safe and Healthy America: Eliminating Corporal Punishment via Positive Parenting," published in the March/April 2020 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Health , and "Child Abuse Response Simulation for Advanced Practice Nursing Students," published in the July/August issue of Clinical Nurse Specialist . She co-presented "Child Abuse and Neglect," in May 2018 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center during Aprilfest.
Christy Golden Mars, MSN'92, DNP'15, is an acute care nurse practitioner at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee (2017).
Rishi Mistry, MSN'15, received the Catherine Hanley Class of 1912 Rising Star Alumni Award presented by the VUSN Alumni Association during the school's annual awards ceremony in October 2021. He was named clinical site director of Community Health of Central Washington—Yakima Pediatrics in June 2019, and appointed to the Washington chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics board of trustees as its first nurse practitioner/advanced practice provider member.
Mary Muchendu, MSN'13, DNP'15, was photographed for the June 2018 issue of Vanderbilt Magazine for an article about the university's 'Dores of Distinction program.
Kimberly Mullins, DNP'15, is an assistant professor of clinical nursing and coordinator of the adult/gerontology nurse practitioner distance-learning program at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing (2017).
Brittany Nicosia, MSN'15, is a women's health nurse practitioner at Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson, North Carolina (2016).
Danica Ninkovic, PMC'15, is the first recipient of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Advanced Practice Emergency Medicine Fellowship in September 2017. She has worked at VUMC since 2010, first in surgical intensive care, and, since 2015, in the adult emergency department.
Yasmin Nuru, BA'09, MSN'15, is a family nurse practitioner at Sentara Family and Internal Medicine Physicians, in Williamsburg, Virginia (2018).
Laura Odom, DNP'15, is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Nursing (2017).
JoAnne Phillips, DNP'15, was published in the March 2019 issue of Nursing Clinics .
Leslie Miller Price, MSN'15, was selected as the first Planned Parenthood clinician to serve a three-year term on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America National Medical Committee, a rotating panel of reproductive health providers and researchers who determine medical protocols for affiliates nationwide. She is lead clinician of specialty services at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in San Diego, specializing in colposcopy, transgender care and family planning for a rural Spanish-speaking population (2021).
Rachael Prusha, MSN'15, got married in September 2017. She is an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Center for Medical Weight Loss.
Paul Raymond, MSN'15, was featured in June 2019 on Nashville Public Radio for his innovative work to curb drug abuse among patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Phyllis Raynor, PMC'15, was selected for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded American Nurses Association Minority Fellowship Program in 2016. That year, she earned her PhD as a first honor graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Shelza Rivas, BA'12, MSN'15, DNP'17, co-authored "Opioid Use Disorder Screening for Women across the Lifespan," published in Advances in Family Practice Nursing in May 2021, and co-presented, "Opioid Use Disorder Screening across the Women's Health Lifespan," at the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health conference in October. She is co-author of "Sexual Violence Screening for Women across the Lifespan," published in Advances in Family Practice Nursing in May 2020. Shelza mentored VUSN PreSpecialty students on a medical mission trip to Guatemala in March 2019. She is an instructor at VUSN.
Alethea Robbins, MSN'15, joined PeaceHealth's obstetrics and gynecology team in Bellingham, Washington, in October 2017, as a women's health nurse practitioner.
Javier Rodriguez, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky, specializing in inpatient and outpatient vascular surgery (2021).
Raymond Romano, MSN'15, received an Excellence in Patient Experience Award from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in October 2021.
Clayton Savage, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Saint Thomas Heart in Nashville (2020).
Karla Schroeder, DNP'15, is manager of advanced practice and advanced practice fellowship director at Stanford Health Care's Center for Advanced Practice in California (2018).
Jessica Rogers Searcy, MSN'13, DNP'15, welcomed a baby boy in March 2018 and received the VUSN Sara K. Archer Excellence in Teaching Award from students in the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner specialty that year and in 2017.
Gaither Smith, MSN'15, is a certified nurse-midwife with the Virginia Hospital Center Physician Group in Arlington.
Natalie Studdard, BA'13, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at the Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital Midtown Joint Replacement Institute in Nashville (2020).
Sarah Taylor, MSN'15, is a family nurse practitioner at the Hope Clinic in Nashville (2017).
Shelley Thibeau, MSN'07, PhD'15, is director of the Mothers' Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist, providing donor human milk to critically ill infants (2018).
Tamera Thoener, MSN'15, is the 2019 legislative chair-elect on the board of directors of Middle Tennessee Advanced Practice Nurses.
Jason Tillman, MSN'15, is a family and acute care nurse practitioner at Mercy Community Healthcare in Franklin, Tennessee (2017).
Ashley Haynes Tomlinson, MSN'15, is a family nurse practitioner at Medical Home Primary Care in Lewisburg, Tennessee (2017).
Jessica Van Meter, MSN'07, DNP'15, was promoted to assistant professor at VUSN in June 2021, and shared a Children's Emergency Care Alliance EMS Star of Life Award that month for saving the life of a baby as a Vanderbilt University Medical Center flight nurse. She is co-author of "Development and Implementation of a Trauma Team Education Program in Georgetown, Guyana," published in The Nurse Practitioner in July. Jessica was a panelist for the VUSN Alumni Board's annual DNP Know Your Value in January 2020 and was named coordinator of the global perspectives column for The Nurse Practitioner that June. She presented "Sustainable Emergency Nursing Education in a Global Health Setting," in September at the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health and was interviewed in October by VUMC Reporter about staff from Vanderbilt's Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital and emergency medicine department who provided education in obstetrics and neonatology for all emergency medical services providers in the nation of Guyana. Jessica was a panelist for DNP Know Your Value in January 2019, and co-presented "VUMC Advanced Practice: Making a Difference around the World," at a VUMC advanced practice workshop that October. In 2018, she received VUMC's Inspiring Global Nurse Award and the VUSN Alumni Award for National Leadership presented by the Alumni Association during the school's annual awards ceremony. Jessica and her mother, Jade Van Meter Forlidas, BSN'73, MSN'90, were profiled in the Medical Center's VUMC Voice in November 2017. Jessica co-directs a bachelor's in emergency nursing program for nurses at Georgetown Public Hospital Corp. in Guyana, in collaboration with the University of Guyana and VUMC.
Sarah Vann, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at NorthCrest Health in Springfield, Tennessee (2020).
Heather Venrick, MSN'15, DNP'17, is co-author of "Leveraging School Nurse Expertise to Meet Children's Health and Nutrition Needs in Afterschool Programs," published in NASN School Nurse in September 2019.
Jessica Walker, MSN'15, DNP'17, is lead author of "The Impact of an Educational Intervention on Nursing Staff Attitudes toward Patients Experiencing Homelessness and Mental Illness," published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association in May 2021. She was promoted to assistant professor at VUSN in June, and co-authored "Showcasing Nursing Leadership and Contributions to a University's COVID-19 Student Contact Tracing Process," published in the October/December Nursing Administration Quarterly . Jessica co-presented "Homeless Health Care in the Medical Setting," at Vanderbilt University Medical Center's advanced practice grand rounds in July 2020, and co-authored "Surreptitious Opioid Misuse in the General Hospital via Rectal Administration: A Case Report," published in Psychosomatics in July/August. She co-presented a poster, "Nursing Staff Attitudes toward Medically Hospitalized Patients who are Homeless and Have Mental Illness," at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association annual conference, and co-authored "Radiation Therapy Adherence among Patients Experiencing Homelessness," in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics , both in October. She was featured by Belmont University in November for receiving the Catherine Hanley Class of 1912 Rising Star Alumni Award presented by the VUSN Alumni Association during the school's annual awards ceremony in October. Jessica presented "Attitudes of Inpatient Nursing Staff toward Patients Who Are Homeless and Have Mental Illness," in May 2018 at VUMC during Aprilfest. She received third place for a poster she presented at VUMC's Research Day in November 2016, and was on a panel at VUMC, "The Call of the Street: How One Homeless Man Continuously Declines Chronic Healthcare," that December. Jessica is chair of the APNA practice council, member of the quality committee at the Park Center in Nashville, and board member for the Mental Health Cooperative in Nashville. She is featured on the VUMC website in its Advanced Practice Provider Spotlight.
Lucy Wall, MSN'15, is a nurse practitioner at Hermitage Family Practice in Tennessee (2018).
Jodie Ward, MSN'15, earned her doctor of nursing practice from Maryville University in Saint Louis in 2019, and was able to implement a practice change at her clinic in Clarksville, Tennessee, based on her DNP project, "Reducing Polypharmacy in the Elderly by Implementing the Beers Criteria during Meditation Reviews: A Retrospective Chart Review."
Emilie Wilson, MSN'15, is a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner at Tennessee Pediatrics in Franklin (2020).
Emily Woods, BA'13, MSN'15, is a family nurse practitioner at Joseph Woods, MD, Plastic Surgery, working with plastic and restorative surgery patients, most of whom are women ages 18-70, and at Grady Memorial Hospital, both in Atlanta (2019).
Kari Wujcik, MSN'15, is featured on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center's website in its Advanced Practice Provider Spotlight. She is a pediatric heart transplant nurse practitioner (2017).