Class Notes — Winter 2017


Evelyn Igarashi Blaylock, BSN ‘55, and husband, James, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in December 2015. The couple met on a blind date while attending Vanderbilt.

Mary Reagan Butler, BSN ‘57, is president of the South County Democratic Club of San Luis Obispo, California.



Mary Hicks Day, Peabody Nursing BS ‘65, MSN ‘75, retired after a career that included being director of the Nurse Midwifery program at University of California Los Angeles, faculty member at University of California San Diego, and certified nurse-midwife with Kaiser.

Pat Whitmer Hickman, BSN ‘69, is acting operations manager of ITNMemphis, a nonprofit that provides rides to seniors and people with visual impairments.



Margie Nicks Gale, BSN ‘73, MSN ‘76, co-presented “Green Dot: A Bystander Initiative to Prevent Lateral Violence” at the 2015 National Magnet Conference.

Janet Martin Darfus, BSN ‘74, received the 2014 Fleming A. Thomas Faculty Information Literacy Award at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

Mary Fran Gorman Hazinski, BSN ‘74, gave the keynote address at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Aprilfest in Nashville.

Jeanne Whittenburg Latimer, BSN ‘75, was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for a six-year term.

John and Ruth Smalley Stepulis, both MSN ‘77, are volunteer scholarship ambassadors for the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Bob Spencer, MSN ‘78, was named director of Freed-Hardeman University at Dickson’s nursing program.



Annie Santucci, MSN ‘80, is on faculty at the Free University of Brussels School of Public Health.

Joanie Laughlin Jeannette, BSN ‘83, MSN ‘04, is administrative director for Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute

Debbie Dunn Gregory, BSN ‘84, authored two chapters in a book, “Planning and Design for Healthcare Environments: A Nurse’s Perspective.”

Karen Hughart, MSN ‘88, was appointed senior director of Nursing Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Barbara Boone McGinnis, MSN ‘89, was named partner at Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs in Hendersonville, Tennessee.



Mimi Gerber, MSN ‘91, is a nurse practitioner at East Nashville Family Medicine clinic.

Sheryl Banak, MSN ‘91, has been on faculty at Baptist Health College Little Rock for 11 years, teaching in the LPN/paramedic-to-RN program.

Kappu Deshpande, MSN ‘92, earned promotion to EMS assistant chief at the Nashville Fire Department.

Nicole Herndon, MSN ‘92, DNP ‘13, is the corporate director of Women’s and Children’s Services for Community Health Systems in Nashville.

Sandy Hopkins Seidel, MSN ‘92, associate in Ambulatory Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, presented “Reflective Practice” during VUMC’s grand rounds.

Greg Ross, MSN ‘94, joined Merit Health Medical Group in Brandon, Mississippi.

Tricia Hall Ten Haaf, MSN ‘94, is director of the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Ellen Tosh Benneyworth, MSN ‘95, is a nurse practitioner at Alive Hospice in Nashville.

Linda Beuscher, MSN ‘96, has been named a Distinguished Fellow in the National Academies of Practice and Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the Nursing Academy. She also received the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association’s Award for Excellence in Research.

Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler, MSN ‘97, was featured as a National League for Nursing/Jonas Scholar in Villanova Nursing magazine.

Julie Dykes Sumner, MSN ‘97, read her work at Williamson County (Tennessee) Public Library’s Poets Who Heal event in April 2016.

Royce Ryker, MSN ‘97, joined the Corvallis Clinic Gastroenterology Department in Oregon in January 2016.

Lynnette Berggren Clancy, MSN ‘98, is a nurse practitioner at Prevea Health in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Jennifer Ezell Wilbeck, MSN ‘99, Post-master’s ‘06, was selected as a Fellow in the American Association for Nurse Practitioners.



Patrick Palmieri, MSN ‘00, founded an organization called the Instituto Nacional de la Enfermería del Peru (National Institute for Nursing) in Peru.

Dawn Vanderhoef, MSN ‘00, was selected as a Fellow in the American Association for Nurse Practitioners.

Liz Peck, MSN ‘01, and her husband, Rob, were featured in a story in the Capital Gazette about their health care work in Africa.

Terrah Foster Akard, MSN ‘01, PhD ‘08, received tenure as an associate professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. See story on Terrah on page 16 of this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse.

Aimee Chism Holland, MSN ‘02, received a rising nurse educator award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Michelle Ross Wilson, MSN ‘02, is a nurse practitioner at the Baptist Health Clinic at Paducah Tilghman High School in Kentucky.

Abigail Clouse Moss, MSN ‘03, was voted Favorite NP in the Readers’ Choice Awards in Prentiss County, Mississippi.

Amy Denise Woodring Cochran, MSN ‘05, is a nurse-midwife with Covington Women’s Health Specialists in Georgia.

Alana Murphy Ludwick, MSN ‘05, DNP ‘12, was named director of nursing at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington.

Jamie Line Hollowell, MSN ‘06, is a critical care nurse practitioner at Duke University Hospital.

Melinda Leigh Phillips-Freeman, MSN ‘06, joined Optimum Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in Dickson, Tennessee.

Amber Worrell Vermeesch, MSN ‘06, was selected to represent nursing faculty at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing National Faculty Intensive Program.

Elizabeth Cooper, MSN ‘07, DNP ‘11, was appointed director of the BSN program, and then dean of the Aquinas College School of Nursing.

Chelsia Harris, MSN ‘08, appeared on the OzarksLive! TV program to discuss her new book, “Created & Called.”

Jennifer Parker Kurkowski, MSN ‘09, co-presented about sexual health in teens at the Texas Children’s Hospital Advanced Practice Provider Conference.

Stacy Ochsenrider, MSN ‘09, joined the West Michigan Cancer Center and Institute for Blood Disorders, working in radiation oncology.

Britney Whitaker, MSN ‘09, married Chris Carlton in April 2016 in Flowery Branch, Georgia.



Anna Elise Cottle, MSN ‘10, is a nurse practitioner at Mercy Clinic Gastroenterology in Oklahoma City.

Sharon Holley, DNP ‘10, was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Nurse-Midwives at its annual meeting in May 2016.

Sara Morris, MSN ‘10, and Jeremy Garner were married in Nashville in October 2014.

Stephanie Hunt Boyd, MSN ‘11, DNP ‘15, was voted the Northeast Ohio Organization for Nurse Executives Aspiring Nurse Leader Award.

Nneka Jon-Ubabuco, MSN ‘11, is a nurse practitioner at Privy Oasis, providing psychiatric mental health care for children, adolescents, adults and geriatric patients in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Meredith Anne Morgan, MSN ‘11, married Samuel Donovan Kaffenberger in Nashville in October 2015.

Elizabeth Morse, MSN ‘11, DNP ‘14, is a nurse practitioner at East Nashville Family Medicine Clinic.

Heather Whaley O’Dell, MSN ‘11, spoke at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Aprilfest in Nashville.

Tricia Stanley, DNP ‘11, was featured in VUSN Professor of Nursing Bonnie Pilon’s blog, Healthcare in the Shadows for her work as director of clinical operations for Wellness for Life Medical.

Meghan Rowland Boyls, MSN ‘12, is a nurse practitioner at East Nashville Family Medicine Clinic.

Amy Alspaugh, MSN ‘12, was interviewed about breast cancer on WNCN Durham’s My Carolina Today.

Colleen Clarke Ariola, DNP ‘12, celebrated her first year as vice president for Patient Care Services at the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park, New York.

Taaka Cash, MSN ‘12, DNP ‘13, opened Privy Oasis, LLC, psychiatric mental health care for children, adolescents, adults and geriatric people in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Melissa DeCapua, MSN ‘12, writes a blog, Modern Nurse, to “empower and inform nurses, create a dialogue among readers, and spread the word about the importance of the nursing voice.”

Maggie Kuch, MSN ‘12, married Matthew Bretschneider in September 2015. Bridesmaids included Amy Alspaugh, MSN ‘12.

Lisa Matasovsky Lunsford, DNP ‘12, published “Knowledge & Attitudes Regarding Pediatric Pain in Mongolian Nurses” in Pain Management Nursing.

Dana Nelson-Peterson, DNP ‘12, is associate chief nursing officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Panayiota Agamemnonos Smeathers, MSN ‘12, is an advanced practice registered nurse in Deaconess Clinic’s gastroenterology department in Evansville, Indiana.

Avni Cirpili, DNP ‘13, left Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital as chief nursing officer to become senior vice president and chief nursing officer at the Menninger Clinic in Houston.

Jessica Gardner, MSN ‘13, is an adjunct clinical faculty member at Louisiana State University of Alexandria.

Florencia Kantt, MSN ‘13, of Community Health Centers, won an award from Lane County, Oregon, for her post “Straightforward Office Visit with A Teenager Turns to Something Much More” on the KevinMD blog.

Brittany Powell, MSN ‘13, is a nurse practitioner at Health Central Women’s Care in Dallas.

Cindy Blalock, MSN ‘14, was featured in the April issue of Dr. Oz — The Good Life magazine for her inspiring weight loss story.

Melanie Keiffer, DNP ‘14, is associate professor at University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Lindsay Ramsey, MSN ‘14, spoke at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Aprilfest in Nashville.

Nikita Smith, MSN ‘14, joined Adventist Health Physicians Network in Hanford, California, as a family nurse practitioner.

Tanicia Washington, MSN ‘14, is a nurse practitioner with Carolinas HealthCare System.

Vania Brown, DNP ‘15, is on faculty at West Coast University, Dallas campus.

Jessica Criser, MSN ‘15, joined Community Health Centers of Lane County, Oregon.

Morgan De Kleine, MSN ‘15, is a certified nurse midwife at Goshen Birth Center in Indiana.

Misty Evans, DNP ‘15, had an abstract accepted for poster presentation at the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation conference in February 2016.

Janie Geyer, MSN ‘15, co-presented about sexual health in teens at the Texas Children’s Hospital Advanced Practice Provider Conference.

Connie Hill, MSN ‘15, was named vice president of patient services at St. Bernards in Jonesboro, Arkansas.


In Memoriam

Esther Briggs Mason, BSN ‘40, in January 2016, North Wagga Wagga, Australia. She was 101.

Charlotte Wilson Butler, BSN ‘41, in March 2015, Liberal, Kansas.

Jean Colville Slayden, BSN ‘42, in January 2016, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sarah Gardner Tillman, BSN ‘45, in November 2015, Natchez, Mississippi.

Frances Pfau, BSN ‘49, in September 2015, Fairfield, Alabama.

Katherine Oetgen Woods, BSN ‘52, in April 2016, Midway, Georgia.

Mary Sue Miller Heldman, Peabody Nursing ‘55, N ‘57, in May 2016, Nashville.

Shirley Carmichael Feese, BSN ‘59, in November 2015, Maysville, Kentucky.

Toni Fasano Youngblood, BSN ‘62, in November 2015, Lakeland, Florida.

Ann Jones McCurdy, BSN ‘64, in August 2015, Orlando, Florida.

Linda Tittsworth Harrell, BSN ‘65, in December 2015, Ocala, Florida. She recently had led her classmates in Nashville to celebrate their Quinq (50th) Vanderbilt reunion.

Diana Dauksch Mick, BSN ‘67, in July 2015, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Faye Hilley Shaffer, BSN ‘73, in March 2016, Birmingham, Alabama.

Elena Economou Saclarides, BSN ‘77, in July 2015, Northfield, Illinois. Her husband, all five of their children, and her sister also graduated from Vanderbilt University.

Bernard McCarty, MSN ‘96, in November 2015, Smyrna, Tennessee.

Mona Galbreath Hoehler, MSN ‘03, in February 2016, Nashville.