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Experts Interviewed on NursingColleges.com
Cheryl Peterson is the Vice President of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association (ANA). She earned her BSN from the University of Cincinnati and her MSN from Georgetown University. In her role at the ANA, Peterson provides senior leadership to the departments responsible for guiding policy development and advises the ANA CEO, President, and membership on the full range of policy and practice issues facing the nursing profession.
As part of her policy portfolio, Peterson is responsible for managing ANA’s participation within the International Council of Nurses and supporting the development and implementation of quality indicators affecting patients, nurses, and the entire healthcare team. Since coming to ANA in 1990, she has developed expertise in several areas, including political education and campaign involvement; lobbying issues related to labor, employment, trade, and immigration; and policy development on the supply of and demand for nursing services.
Dr. Elena Geiger-Simpson is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She earned her DNP from the University of Minnesota. As part of her role, she mentors, advises, and precepts DNP students. She also holds a certificate in integrative therapies and healing practices.
Dr. Geiger-Simpson has presented on a wide variety of topics related to psychiatry and mental health at nursing symposiums and conferences. In 2021, she received the DAISY Exceptional Mentor Award. She is a member of the Integrative Health and Healing (IHH) Knowledge Representation Research Team at UMN.
Dr. Jessica Peck is a clinical professor at the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) and a nationally recognized anti-human trafficking advocate. She currently serves as a lead medical consultant for Unbound Houston; in the past, she served as the founding chair of the Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT) and started the ACT Advocates grassroots advocacy program, training tens of thousands of nursing professionals at the local, state, national, and international level to respond to human trafficking in their communities. Dr. Peck worked with the US Office of Health and Human Services and the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center to author the first federally issued Core Competencies for health response to trafficking.
Dr. Jessica Peck has served in elected leadership in various professional organizations, including American Association of Nurse Practitioners (Region 6 Director); National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (President); and Texas Nurse Practitioners. In 2019, she was honored as Texas Nurse Practitioner of the Year and inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
John Heymach is co-founder and chief clinical officer of Next Move Healthcare, which specializes in providing staffing solutions for nurses, allied health professionals, and other essential personnel, ensuring that healthcare facilities can continue providing exceptional patient care. He has 15 years of experience on the healthcare industry’s clinical and staffing side, having worked in the ER, telemetry, neuro-trauma, ICU, and more.
Heymach serves as the primary liaison between Next Move’s clinicians and employers, including hospitals, to establish relationships and mitigate any issues. He is a National Nurse Daisy Award winner, a 2019 Neuro Star ICU Award Winner, and a 2012 MNU Nursing Leadership Award winner.
Dr. Katie Boston-Leary is the director of nursing programs and co-lead for Project Firstline at the American Nurses Association (ANA). She has been an RN for 27 years, specializing and certified in perioperative nursing, nursing administration, and executive leadership. She is also adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and adjunct faculty at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Boston-Leary has been invited to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC with the American Organization of Nurse Leaders to discuss the havoc of regulatory burden on hospitals. In 2019, she was identified by Health Leaders Journal as One of Five Chief Nursing Officers Changing Healthcare.
Dr. Laura G. Leahy is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatric and addictions advanced practice nurse and master clinician in psychopharmacology. She is an honors graduate of Duke University (BS), the University of Pennsylvania (BSN/MSN), and Drexel University (DNP). She founded her private practice, APNSolutions, LLC, in Sewell, NJ in January 2011.
As a clinician-educator with expertise in psychopharmacology and substance use disorders, Dr. Leahy has served as psychiatric NP program director and taught psychopharmacology at the university level.
Dr. Leahy is the current co-chair of the Addictions Council of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) and represents nursing as a lead mentor for SAMHSA’s Providers Clinical Support System. She was inducted as a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANO) in 2017 and in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) in 2020.
Matthew Allen is a Director at Large on the Board of Directors for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), which represents over 42,000 members in New York State. He also works as a clinical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City. Allen received his BSN from the Columbia University School of Nursing in 2015.
Dr. Maureen Fagan is a double-certified women’s health and family nurse practitioner. She has compiled a lifetime of work as a nurse, nurse practitioner, and specialist in reproductive health, emphasizing adolescent high-risk pregnant girls and women. She spent most of her practice in OB-GYN, using her expertise to provide patient-centered care.
After graduating with a nursing diploma from Albany Memorial School of Nursing and obtaining women’s health and family nurse practitioner certifications, she went on to achieve a master’s in health administration and a doctorate in nursing practice from Simmons College. Most recently, she was employed as the chief nursing executive for the University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics Health System.
Dr. Michael E. Zychowicz is a clinical professor of nursing at Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON). He is also co-director for the Duke-Durham VA postgraduate primary care NP residency, and leads the veterans’ health specialty and the orthopedic NP specialty program that was developed with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Dr. Zychowicz served as an army reserve officer in the Army Nurse Corps between 1991 and 2005. Dr. Zychowicz is the editor of the books Orthopedic Nursing Secrets and Introduction to Orthopedic Nursing, and has published several journal articles and book chapters on various orthopedic topics. He received the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Award for Excellence in 2007 and was also selected for the Outstanding Orthopedic Nurse Award by the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses (NAON).
Rachel Norton has been an RN since 2007 and has always worked in critical care, spending the first 12 years of her career based in Albany, working for a level I trauma center in their surgical neuroscience trauma ICU.
Norton also worked as a flight nurse for LifeNet of New York on various bases across the state, took on multiple travel assignments since 2010, and ultimately landed in Denver, where she remains per diem in the ICU at The Medical Center of Aurora. As a user researcher at National Hiring Marketplace Vivian Health, she advocates for healthcare workers and works to help bridge the gap between employee and employer expectations.
Dr. Ryan Shaw is the director of Duke University School of Nursing’s Health Innovation Lab, where he oversees the development and testing of new healthcare products. His lab provides an entrepreneurial environment where standards for care delivery processes are modeled and evaluated. Dr. Shaw is a renowned teacher and mentor, inspiring students to become future health scientists and clinicians.
Several agencies have funded his research, including the US National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Science Foundation. His work involves monitoring and augmenting patient care through wearables, sensors, and electronic health records. He holds a PhD in nursing science from Duke University.
Dr. Stacia Hays is associate dean for the online graduate program and clinical associate professor for the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. She is also a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner with an active pediatric practice and a current primary care editor for the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. She earned her MSN from the University of Texas at Austin and her DNP from the University of Florida.
Dr. Hays is the recipient of state, national, and international leadership and advocacy awards, including America’s Top 10 NP Award, a Florida Advocacy Icon Award, Nurse Practitioner of the Year, an Advocacy Scholar Award, and Emerging Nurse Leader. Dr. Hays is a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the current treasurer of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).
Dr. Surani Hayre-Kwan is the director of professional practice and nursing excellence at Sutter Health in Sacramento, California. She is responsible for advancing professional practice throughout system affiliates. She provides leadership in professional development, clinical education, and training for nursing and advanced practice clinicians. She was previously the executive director of operations for the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation.
Dr. Kwan has been a California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) member for nearly 20 years and served as the association’s president for two terms. She is also a certified family nurse practitioner and a Fellow of the American Association for Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Dr. Tim Bruckner is a Professor of Public Health at the University of California Irvine and an expert in perinatal epidemiology.
He was trained in epidemiology at UC Berkeley and wrote his dissertation on the racial disparity associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), where he found that Black infants have a much higher risk of SIDS compared to non-Hispanic White infants. His research continues to specialize in perinatal health and has expanded to include mental/behavioral health, which often has significant disparities along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Much of his work looks at exposures and antecedents to approximate a natural experiment that can improve our basic understanding of human biology and behavior. Overall, his research aims to inform public health practice and health policy, leading to improved outcomes for vulnerable populations.
Meet the Team
Jocelyn BloreChief Content Strategist, Editor, Writer
Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor and strategist for four nursing websites since 2015.
Seth RestainoCo-Founder, Sechel Ventures
In 2013, Seth co-founded Sechel Ventures, where he wears many hats, including production and engineering. Prior to that, he built and sold a web design company (the precursor to Sechel), and held Director positions at a large media company and a marketing software company. Seth lives and works in California wine country.
Barry FranklinCo-Founder, Sechel Ventures
Before co-founding Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, Barry Franklin was a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. Barry is married with two beautiful daughters. He and his wife met while attending Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of innovation. He is also an investor in several companies.
Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected].
Jennifer LatchfordGuest Contributor
Jennifer Latchford is a publicist with experience spanning multiple industries including health, real estate, technology, and entertainment. When not at work, she can be found writing, reading, or spending time outside. Jennifer is based in the New York metro area.
Johannes Stitz is a freelance writer and researcher based in the Southwest. He’s written about various topics in medical technology careers. Before turning to freelance writing, he spent nearly a decade in the arts as a booker and event manager.
Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about nursing careers and education. She has worked in public health, at health-focused nonprofits, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctor’s offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning, which drives her to stay up to date on the latest trends in healthcare. When not writing or researching, she can be found pursuing her passions of nutrition and an active outdoors lifestyle.
Kristen Lewis is a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. A former educator, Kristen now uses her experience and passion for healthcare to inform readers.
Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California currently living in Berlin. He believes a strong society demands a stronger support network for healthcare and nursing professionals. Since early 2018, he’s written extensively and interviewed experts about emerging topics in the nursing field. Drawing upon his source with healthcare leaders, professors, nurse practitioners, advocacy groups, and others, his writing and research focus on learning from those who know the subject best.
Nina Chamlou is a freelance writer from Portland, OR. She writes about healthcare, psychology, economic trends, business, technology, digitization, supply chains, education, aviation, and travel. You can find her floating around the Pacific Northwest in diners and coffee shops, or traveling abroad, studying the locale from behind her MacBook. Visit her personal website at NinaChamlou.com.
Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).
Sabrina TillmanGuest Contributor
Sabrina Tillman has more than 20 years of experience writing, editing, and leading content teams in health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. She’s led digital content strategy and creation for companies such as MyFitnesPal, MapMyFitness, Under Armour, Primal Kitchen, Beachbody, Active.com, Competitor.com, Rodale (Running Times), and Hearst magazines.
Sharlys LeszczukGuest Contributor
Sharlys Leszczuk is the founder and owner of Shar-Liss, a creative, deep-thinking, insights-driven communications consultancy. She built her career counseling high-technology companies of all sizes – from not-for-profits and pre-seed startups to Fortune 100s – on messaging, communications, and go-to-market strategies. Her specialties include ghostwriting, content development, corporate communications, creative strategy, events, and social media, with a focus on project management, operations, and executive relations.
Born and raised in North Jersey, Sharlys received bachelor’s degrees in public relations and global studies from Hofstra University on Long Island. After graduating, she spent nearly a decade working for New York City PR agencies. Then, with the remote work flexibility afforded by the pandemic, she took an interest in roadtripping, which ultimately led her to relocate to Oregon. She is an active member of her small coastal community, Pacific City, where she spends her free time exploring the outdoors and activities such as hiking, biking, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
Sophia Khawly, MSNWriter
Sophia Khawly is a traveling nurse practitioner from Miami, Florida. She has been a nurse for 14 years and has worked in nine different states. She likes to travel in her spare time and has visited over 40 countries. Being a traveling nurse practitioner allows her to combine her love of learning, travel, and serving others. Learn more about Sophia at www.travelingNP.com.