Welcome New Faculty

Debra Arnow, DNP’11, MSN’96, NE-BC
Associate Professor

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Debra Arnow

Arnow has more than 25 years in nursing leadership and clinical nursing expertise. As Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, she oversaw that facility’s American Nurse Credentialing Center Magnet recognition. Her executive expertise includes clinical outcomes, operations, financial performance, nursing practice, patient best care practices, and recruitment, training and retention programs. Arnow has developed nursing education programs for hospitals and taught in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. She teaches in the Nursing and Health Care Leadership program.

Lindsey Baksh, DNP’19, MSN’07, WHNP-BC, AGPCNP-BC

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Lindsey Baksh

Baksh brings more than 10 years of experience as an advanced practice nurse skilled in providing evidence-based medicine. She is known as a leader and early adopter of innovative care delivery models including group primary care. Her clinical experience includes providing culturally sensitive, patient-centered care as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Baksh’s current practice focuses on caring for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders; her scholarly interests focus on obstetric outcomes at an obstetric addiction clinic and exploring barriers to care for at-risk women. She teaches in the Women’s Health program.

Kate Clouse, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor

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Kate Clouse

Clouse is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on improving continuity of care among patients with chronic conditions that require lifetime treatment and interaction with the health care system. She has designed, managed and implemented HIV/AIDS research studies since 2004. Her recent work addressed poor engagement in HIV care among postpartum women in South Africa and development of interventions to improve HIV care. Clouse has received NIH K01 funding, as well as funding from the National Cancer Institute and other federal agencies. She is also faculty at the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health and associated with VUMC’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

Lacey Cross, MSN’15, FNP-BC, CPN

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Lacey Cross

Cross has expertise as a pediatric staff nurse, nursing clinical instructor and family nurse practitioner. Her recent clinical practice was as an FNP with Vanderbilt Health at Metro Nashville Public Schools Employee and Family Health Care Centers, where she provided care to public school employees and their families. She has taught at Belmont University, VUSN and Tennessee Technical University. She is also an experienced preceptor who has mentored and orientated newly hired nurses, new graduate nurses and student nurses. Cross teaches in the PreSpecialty program.

Amanda Curtis, MSN, FNP-C

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Amanda C. Curtis

Curtis returns to Vanderbilt School of Nursing as an instructor in the PreSpecialty program after several years as an advanced practice provider for Tennova Healthcare’s Envision Healthcare/EmCare in Lebanon, Tennessee (now Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital). She combines nearly two decades’ experience in emergency and acute care for pediatric and adult patients with a dedication to student education. In her previous role at VUSN, Curtis was part of the school’s simulation team where she helped teach nursing skills as well as set up and ran skills and simulation activities for students.

Stephanie DeVane-Johnson, PhD, MSN’97, CNM
Associate Professor

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Stephanie DeVane-Johnson

DeVane-Johnson joins Vanderbilt from Duke University, where she taught in the accelerated BSN and the MSN programs. She also taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Frontier School of Midwifery. She is a certified nurse-midwife interested in women’s health, maternal/child health and decreasing health disparities in the African American community. Her current research explores how African Americans make infant feeding decisions, with a goal of gaining better understanding of how to improve the breastfeeding rate for African Americans. DeVane-Johnson teaches in the Nurse-Midwifery program.

Penny Dodson, DNP’18, PMP

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Penny Dodson

Dodson is an experienced nurse informaticist with background as a clinical systems trainer, analyst, manager and senior project manager. She has worked for provider offices, academic medical centers, health care systems and health care technology vendors. Most recently, she directed nursing informatics projects at Arkansas Children’s Hospital before joining the nursing faculty at University of Arkansas. In addition to being board certified in nursing informatics, she holds Project Management Professional certification. Dodson teaches in the Nursing Informatics specialty.

Sarah Davis Gast, DNP’15, PMC’13, FNP-BC, AGACNP-BC
Assistant Professor

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Sara Gast

Gast has a clinical background in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiothoracic critical care and general surgery critical care. In addition to providing patient care in VUMC’s Surgical ICU, she participated in resident and nurse practitioner student education and the development and revamping of the SICU’s nurse practitioner practice protocols, mock code simulations and quality improvement projects. She has taught part time in the AGACNP program and co-coordinated Vanderbilt’s DNP critical care fellowship. Her areas of interest are nurse practitioner satisfaction and job retention, critical care point of care ultrasonography and high fidelity simulation. Gast teaches in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program.

Alvin Jeffery, PhD’17, RN-BC, CCRN-K, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor

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Alvin Jeffery

Jeffery has a background in pediatric critical care nursing, education and data science. He recently completed a Medical Informatics Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the area of biomedical informatics. His research focuses on the design, development and evaluation of probability-based clinical decision support tools. He also leverages machine learning and data science techniques to develop chronic disease risk-prediction models and explores how to implement decision support tools within workflows in the workplace. Formerly, Jeffery was on faculty in the Nursing Informatics academic specialty at VUSN.

Hannah Wachtmeister Kestner, DNP’16, MSN’14, CPNP-PC

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Hannah Kestner

Kestner combines a lifelong interest in education with advanced practice nursing. She has worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at several pediatric care locations in the Middle Tennessee area. Kestner has also precepted MSN students and been a part-time adjunct faculty member at Nashville State Community College in its nursing program. Her interests include assisting PreSpecialty students, teaching pediatric material, advising doctoral students, and assisting with evidence-based practice learning, statistics, ethics, health policy and nutrition. She teaches in the PreSpecialty program.

Mulubrhan Mogos, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor

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Mogos Mulubrhan

Mogos focuses on the short- and long-term impacts of pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders on future maternal cardiovascular disease risk, birth outcomes and health care costs with the goal of determining interventions and improving outcomes. He also studies health disparities in obstetric procedures and has received R01-funding in adverse maternal-fetal health outcomes, pre-term birth and related cardiovascular issues. Mogos also has a background in cancer disparity research and expertise in data science, epidemiology and meta-analysis. He comes to Vanderbilt from the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Chorong Park, PhD
Assistant Professor


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Chorong Park

ark comes to VUSN following completion of a postdoctoral fellowship with the schools of medicine and nursing at New York University. Her program of research addresses cardiovascular disease risk reduction and lifestyle modifications in racial and ethnic minorities. Her current focus is identifying relationships among culturally relevant psychosocial factors, lifestyle behaviors and cardiovascular disease risk markers in immigrant populations. Her background includes work with the NYU Heart Attack Research Program and experience with multidisciplinary, multi-site clinical studies and process actigraphy-based sleep data. Park recently received an American Heart Association Collaborative Training Grant to conduct a pilot study with Asian American women regarding actigraphy-based lifestyle behaviors and cardiovascular disease risk.

Shannon Portis, MSN

Portis has experience as a health coach, registered nurse, charge nurse and

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Shannon Portis

health education specialist. Her clinical background includes acute care, care for women and newborns, and most recently, high-risk obstetrics at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital. She has a deep interest in teaching and scholarship, first obtaining a bachelor’s degree in health education before specializing in nursing education for her master’s program. Portis is a new faculty member in the PreSpecialty program.

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Fall 2019 Features Issue