Class Notes – Spring 2015


Esther Mason, (BSN’40), recently celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends. Mason moved to Australia in 1945 and has lived there continuously except for a few years in the Middle East.  She has three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.  She and her husband, a former pilot with the Royal Australian Airforce, were married 53 years before his death in 1998.

Martha C. McBurney, BSN’47A, is an active 92-year-old living in Alexandria, Louisiana. She enjoys hearing from VUSN friends and says the progress at VUSN since she graduated is an “inspiration.”



Ellen Durham Davis, BSN ‘63, MS, CDE, FAADE, received the Educator of the Year award for 2014, from the North Carolina Nurses Association. In 2015, she published the article, “Communicating with Patients with Diabetes: A Paradigm Shift,” in Practical Diabetology. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.



Deede Schmidt Wyatt, BSN’71, retired from Northwest Mississippi Community College in May 2012 after teaching 19 years. She then worked for a year as a part-time teacher at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis. She currently volunteers at the Tunica Humane Society, the Mallory Neely Historic House in Memphis and the Church Health Center in Memphis as an evening clinic nurse. Her husband, Robert Jethro Wyatt, BA’69, is a pediatric nephrologist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The couple resides in Memphis, and recently welcomed their first grandchild.

Julia “Julie” Lyon Crocker, BSN’75, retired from Talbot Hospice, in Easton, Maryland, after 10 years as executive director of the Talbot Hospice Foundation. Crocker led the organization through the changing landscape of state and federal regulations, a recession that challenged the charitable needs of hospice and ever-growing demands for hospice services from county residents.

Angela “Angie” Berry Donahue, BSN’76, lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and was elected the 96th president of the Texas Medical Association Alliance. Donahue is also a nurse in a family practice office. Her husband, David, is a pediatric neurosurgeon. The couple has three sons, Ben, BA’05, Kevin and Wyatt, two daughters-in-law, and a grandson.

Sharon Levinson Steckler, BSN ‘77, moved from her supervisory attorney position with the National Labor Relations Board in Fort Worth, Texas, to an appointment as an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

Teresa “Terri” Conant Taylor, BSN’77, recently moved her practice to Edgecomb, Maine. She is a family nurse practitioner working with two other clinicians, one physician and a physician’s assistant. She and her husband spend free time visiting their two adult sons in Washington, D.C., and Boston, tending their gardens and traveling.

Jennifer Williams, MSN’78, retired from nursing after 43 years, 38 of which were with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department. She lives in Mount Carmel, Tennessee.

Randolph “Randy” F. R. Rasch, MSN’79, PhD, RN, FNP, FAANP, is professor of Community Health Nursing in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) and lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He recently finished four years as chair of the Department of Community Health Nursing Practice and is now on a leave of absence, serving as visiting professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at North Carolina Central University. He recently completed service as co-chair of the search committee for Provost & Executive Vice-Chancellor, UNCG, and will serve as chair of an External Review Team for the nursing programs at Florida International University. He is president of the Durham Choral Society for the third straight year.



Melissa Terry Fish, BSN’82, CNM, was named Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year by Saint Francis Hospital System in Columbus, Georgia.  As the senior nurse-midwife for OBGYN Associates, she works with a team of three other midwives to provide full-scope nurse-midwifery care.  Fish, right, is pictured with Nicole Taylor, CNM, a recent CNEP graduate, for whom she served as clinical preceptor.

Nancy Myers Ellsworth, BSN ‘84, has worked at the same reproductive endocrinology clinic in Atlanta for 13 years. She says her work is rewarding, and she enjoys the growing number of family planning options for her patients. She has been married for 11 years.

Katharine Marie Gibb, MSN’85, EdD, RN, attended the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and completed the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Wharton Executive Leadership Fellows Program in August 2014. She resides in Boiling Springs, South Carolina.

Anna “Anna-Gene” Chalfant O’Neal, BSN’88, MSN’92, MBA’92, president and CEO of Alive Hospice in Nashville, was recently selected for the 2015 class of the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows.

Melinda Kay Sprinkle Collins, MSN’89, RN, PhD, is associate dean of the School of Sciences and Allied Health at Milligan College. She also serves as the area chair of Nursing—a position she has held for 15 years. She was named a “Health Care Hero” by the Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee and Virginia in July 2014. She is married, has two sons and resides in Kingsport, Tennessee.



Jill C. Cash, MSN’91, APN, has published the third edition of the textbook, “Guidelines of Family Practice.” She will have another textbook published in 2015, “Adult-Gerontology Practice Guidelines.” She lives in Marion, Illinois.

Kathie Krause, MSN (‘92), RN, NNP-BC, NEA-BC, was appointed chief nursing officer of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  Krause began her nursing career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 1984.  She has served as chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis for seven years, and prior to that, held progressive nursing positions at Huntsville Hospital and Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children in Alabama.

Bridget M. Wilson, MSN’94, was elected secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing. She was also named 2014 Emergency Medical Record Hospital and Specialty Provider Champion of the Year by her employer, UC Davis Health System. She lives in Elk Grove, California.

Marie Glaser, MSN’95, RN, has been appointed the Associate Nursing Officer for the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, after serving as interim in that role for several months. Glaser is known for engaging staff and faculty to advance practice, develop new clinical programs and expand services.

Sharon Heinrich, MSN’96, serves as a family nurse practitioner with Gaston Hospice in Gaston, North Carolina, and is certified as a hospice and palliative care nurse. She previously worked in employee health and wellness for a large health system and serves as a primary care provider in family practice.

Michelle Darling, MSN’97, family nurse practitioner, has joined Pardee Family Medicine Associates in Asheville, North Carolina.

John R. Shanley Jr., MSN’97, RN, GNP, lives in Memphis, Tennessee, but works in Basrah, Iraq. Two years ago he was working in Afghanistan. His daughter, who was born while he was a VUSN student, is a high school senior. His two sons are in high school and middle school and interested in math and engineering.

Todd Frank Ambrosia, DNP, MSN’98, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Miami in Florida, was elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice for his significant contributions to the health professions. He was formally inducted on April 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Karen Gillette, MSN ‘98, RN, GNP, is associate director for Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive at the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Center. She has been in the VA nursing system for 18 years in either nurse practitioner or management roles at five VAs around the country. She has five children and two grandchildren.

Kiersten Brown Espaillat, MSN ‘03, BS ‘99, DNP, PMHNP-BC, earned a DNP at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis in May 2013. She welcomed a son, Kellen, in April 2014. He joins his sister, 17, and brother, 10.  She works as the stroke program coordinator at VUMC.



Ken Nelson III, MSN’11, DNP’13, RN, NE-BC, CPHQ, recently became the administrative director of Medical/Surgical Services at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.  St. Mary’s is a designated Magnet facility and was the first health care organization in the country to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2003. He resides in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Elisabeth Marie Beale, BS’02, MSN ‘12, married Evan Radish on Oct. 18, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee. She works as a pediatric nurse practitioner for Capstone Pediatrics in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Mary A. Green, MSN ‘12, and her husband, Aaron, welcomed Adaline “Ada” Faith Green on June 5, 2014, at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she is a certified nurse-midwife and a family nurse practitioner.

Lucy B. Todd, MSN’04, ACNP-BC, CNN, is the section editor for the Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) chapters in the upcoming 6th edition of the “Core Curriculum for Nephrology Nurses,” published by the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). The PD chapters cover the history of PD, PD access, therapy and complications. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Lora Anna “Anna Davis” Lok, MSN’06, worked at two Federally Qualified Health Centers as a primary care provider—first in Harlem, New York, from 2007 to 2011, and then in New Jersey from 2011 to 2012. During that time she became a certified HIV specialist. In late 2012, her family relocated to Ontario, Canada, where she gave birth to her second child in January 2013. Lok now works at Innovations Family Medicine, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Priscilla Marie Simms, MSN’06, is assistant professor at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee, where she teaches nursing. She is pursuing her DNP at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, with a focus on forensic nursing and sexual assault. She also serves as a sexual assault nurse examiner at the Partnership Rape Crisis Center in Chattanooga, and teaches dance at Ginger Brown’s Academy of Performing Arts in Ringgold, Georgia.

Mary Ashley Brown, MSN ‘08, APN, RN, has worked at the Mental Health Cooperative in Nashville, Clarksville, Antioch and Dickson, Tennessee, since she graduated from VUSN. She is married with two children – Quinn, 4, and Amelia “Millie,” 2. Brown is a recipient of National Health Service Corp Nurse Loan Reimbursement Program through her work in the Clarksville office.

Haley Hoy, PhD’08 ACNP, was selected as a LEAD program participant for 2015. LEAD is a yearlong National League of Nursing program designed for the nurse educator who has experienced a rapid transition to a leadership position or aspires to lead.

Jennifer Marie Fitzsimmons, MSN’10, BE’07, and husband, Aaron, welcomed their first child, Aaron Thor Fitzsimmons Jr., on April 15, 2014. She is an assistant in Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at VUMC, practicing in the Medical Intensive Care Unit.

Coralie Anne Le Coguic, MSN’11, PMHNP, RN, has been treating women with eating disorders at Renfrew Center in Brentwood, Tennessee, since graduation. She provides medication management, individual therapy and multiple styles of group therapy. She purchased her first home and is engaged to Tim Davis.

Julianne Zehnder Ewen, DNP ‘11, APRN, was appointed to the Catholic Health Initiative (CHI) – National APLC committee which works on advancing the practice of all Advanced Practice Clinicians (APRNs and PAs) to the full extent of licensure across all CHI facilities. She has also been asked to do the same within the KentuckyOne Health Medical Group.

Elizabeth “Ellie” Kenemer, MSN’12, moved back to Nashville and is delighted with her new position at the Nashville Center for Hope and Healing.

Lindy Lee Mason Lynn, MSN ‘12, married Jack Lynn, on September 13, 2014, in Livingston, Tennessee. The couple lives in Cookeville, Tennessee.

John Abner Savage Jr., DNP’12, CRNA, APN, is vice president of Operations for Community Care, Inc., a surveyor for the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care and a consultant for the Office of Investigations, Tennessee Board of Nursing. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee.

Carol Ann Moseley, MSN’12, RN, assists and educates older adults and their families about good health and self-care; “right care, right place, right time.” She lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Kathy Lynn Naifeh, MSN’12, RN, recently transferred from the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration, where she worked in nursing informatics, to the Las Vegas Veterans Administration, where she is a registered nurse care coordinator for Home Telehealth. She enjoys living closer to family in St George, Utah, and got engaged on her birthday in 2014.

Wendy Michelle Enneking, MSN’13, DNP’14, APRN, works as a nurse practitioner at the Midway Center for Integrative Medicine in Midway, Kentucky. She is also a new faculty member in the College of Nursing at Midway College.

Sarah Wilcox Flory, MSN ‘14, welcomed son, Graham, on Sept. 25, 2014, and passed her FNP-BC boards on Nov. 25, 2014. She lives in Nashville.


In Memoriam

Mary Carolyn Fisher Cotugno, BSN’45, died Aug. 12, 2014, in Milwaukie, Oregon.

Lois Ballintine Pesce, BSN’49, died Dec. 27, 2014, in Port Hueneme, California.

Rose Hulse, BSN’50, died Jan. 8, 2015, in Nacona, Texas.

Agnes Michele Fralix Warren, BSN’53, died Nov. 29, 2014, in Dallas, Texas.

Thelma Bess Haralson Baggett, N’53, died Dec. 1, 2014, in Forrest, Mississippi.

Lorene O. Kleu, BSN’56, died Nov. 14, 2014, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Ann L. Wigle, BSN’58, died Nov. 4, 2013, in Potomac, Maryland.

Quenelle D. Burnes, former VUSN professor (1960-1967), died Jan. 19, 2015, in Madison, Tennessee.

Mary Frances Jett, BSN’70, PhD’77, died Aug. 6, 2014, in Los Altos, California.

Ricky G. Rich, BSN’84, died Dec. 26, 2013, in Rockvale, Tennessee.

Cheryl L. Kirkbride, BSN’85, died Sept. 22, 2013, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Judith Ann Rule, MSN’95, died Sept. 26, 2014, in Nashville.