Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellows

An innovative post-doctoral program designed to prepare nursing executives for leadership roles, the inaugural class of the Executive Leadership Post-Doctoral Program includes 11 fellows from the United States, Canada, Ireland and United Arab Emirates. The course, which runs through May 2021, will be held virtually. This program is supported by the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation.

Meet the Inaugural Miller Foundation Executive Leadership Post-Doc Fellows

Michelle Acorn’s diverse 30-year career has evolved from diploma to doctoral education. She is dually certified as both a Primary Health Care and Adult Nurse Practitioner (NP), and holds emergency and gerontology specialty certifications. Michelle has pioneered innovative and diverse clinical roles to maximize the scope of contributions for teams, patients and families. Her early career focused in emergency and hospitalist care. Later, she evolved as a geriatric champion to improve access and quality of care through SAFE (Specialized Assessment for the Frail Elderly) and interprofessional GAIN (Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Networks). Michelle pioneered, researched and published on the most responsible provider (MRP) impacts of a NP–led model of inpatient hospital care.

Dr. Acorn transitioned to executive leadership practice modernizing the Provincial Chief Nursing Officer role in 2018, with a mandate to provide strategic expertise as the technical and clinical advisor. Her contributions embed dynamic leadership, navigational and governance acumen to support health policy at micro (patient, families, teams), meso (care sectors) and macro (national) health system levels. Michelle co-chairs the Provincial Joint Provincial Nursing Committee and the National Principal Nurses Advisory Task Force. She is actively involved in Nursing Now Canada International Year of the Nurse and Midwife campaign. Her team received the Ministry of Labour GEM award for workplace violence prevention. Michelle acted as the Canadian Chief Nurse Delegate participating in the international triad forum (World Health Organization, International Council of Nurses, and International Council of Midwives).  She presented to the Pan-American and World Health Organization on Canadian nurse’s experience with COVID- 19, spoke at the Women Deliver on Nursing Power at the Nursing Now Canada launch in British Columbia, and highlighted the Canadian Nurse Practitioner roles at the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Conference. 

Michelle is a Past–President of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario, a multiple Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Nurse Practitioner Interest Group of the Year Award winner, a Fleming College Alumni of Distinction, and Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Premier’s Award leader nominee. She was also honored with the Alzheimer’s Society Community Partner Award. Michelle is a member of the Canadian Nurses Association Academy of Nurses.

She previously held the University of Toronto Co-ordinator of the Primary Health Care, Global Health Nurse Practitioner Program role. She remains Associate Graduate Faculty and an Adjunct Lecturer. Her knowledge translation is evidenced by numerous publications in textbooks, peer-reviewed articles, and best practice evidence informed toolkits, research and quality improvement. Michelle has been recognized for her leadership, volunteerism, mentorship, preceptorship, and teaching. 

Michelle is an inaugural 2020 – 2021 international Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Post-doctoral System Chief Nurse Executive Fellow in the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, part of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University. She is also a 2020 – 20121 CHFI EXTRA Executive Team Cohort 16 Fellow. 

Abeer Al Blooshi graduated in 2002 from the Higher College of Technology with a BSN in Nursing and began her career working with Zayed Military hospital for two years before moving to Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit as a Staff Nurse for 6 years. As the SEHA Ambulatory Clinics were being developed, Abeer was chosen to support as Assistant Nursing Director. Her roles involved improving outpatient nurses’ skills and developing specialized outpatient clinics. After 5 years, Abeer then moved to the Dialysis Units in SEHA and worked there for three years, which proved to be a challenging experience as she began to realize the urgent need for transplants in the UAE. Motivated to play an integral part in establishing the transplant landscape in the country, Abeer began her journey with Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2017 and now serves as Senior Clinical Director in the Nursing Institute playing a fundamental role in the hospital’s transplant and surgical services programs. Abeer is the first Emirati Nurse in the United Arab Emirates who graduated with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. 

Having worked as part of the transplant program at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abeer was excited to join the only multi-organ transplant center in the UAE – Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Working at the Dialysis Unit at SEHA helped Abeer realize why organ donations and transplants are so valuable. 

Abeer’s key role in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Transplant Program is to ensure that both donors and recipients receive the best possible care and treatment. Alongside the regular necessary paperwork, Abeer is mostly patient-facing and plans her working week to ensure maximum face time with patients: reassuring them, answering their or their family members’ questions, and generally making sure that everyone is well-informed and comfortable. In addition to her patient-facing responsibilities, Abeer’s Director role allows her to work closely with CCAD’s Chief Nursing Officer to guarantee patient safety, patient satisfaction and most importantly ensure desired clinical outcomes and patient wellness are achieved.In just three years, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has brought forward its Cleveland Clinic, US experience and changed the healthcare landscape in the UAE by implementing a flourishing transplant program. Patients can now receive transplants closer to home as opposed to traveling abroad for treatment. 

After launching the program in2018 , the hospital has performed 80 organ transplants, 31of which are from deceased donors, including the UAE’s first heart, liver and lung transplants. In addition to deceased organ donation, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has a robust living-related organ donation program. The hospital has performed 49  living-related organ transplants, including the UAE’s first living-related liver transplant in August 2018.

Anna Cerra is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Patient Care Services for the Magnet designated Greenwich Hospital, Yale New Haven Health. She has led her team in establishing an environment of excellence, and contributing to the superior clinical outcomes in patient care.  

Her career began in New York, and was successively followed by management positions in Critical Care and Ambulatory Surgery. She subsequently joined Greenwich Hospital in 1999, an affiliate of Yale New Haven Health, and served as the Director of  Surgical Services and as Executive Director of Women’s and Children’s Services. Anna has been instrumental in the growth of these service lines and their standardization within Yale New Haven Health. In addition, Anna is involved with System Nursing Integration to ensure nursing is at the forefront and is centered on evidence based practice.  Optimizing patient and family experience, quality and satisfaction via one “Care Signature” across the YNHHS, will ensure a level of care that is best in class. 

Anna has been successful in enhancing the patient experience through the implementation of various new initiatives and in her role as a leader in Greenwich Hospital’s attainment of outstanding patient satisfaction scores. She has successfully initiated the Daisy Program, to honor nurses and continues to work on the Magnet journey with her team, for re-designation the Fall of 2020. Dr. Cerra sits on the Boards of the Connecticut Hospital Association for Patient Care Quality and Chairs the Patient and Family Advisory Council; and the YNHHS’s CITADeL (Clinical Informatics and Technology Leadership) Committee.

In addition to a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Health Care Administration, and a Master’s in Nursing, Dr. Cerra earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Case Western Reserve University. Anna was recently selected and is currently a Samuel H. and Maria Miller Fellow in the Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy Post-Doctoral Program, at Case Western Reserve University.

Theresa Champagne is currently the CNO for LRGHealthcare (LRGH), a 2-hospital community health system in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. She came to the health system 2 years ago with over 40 years of nursing experience including 16 years’ experience in nursing administration. While her nursing and nursing administration background has been mainly in surgical services prior to joining LRGH, she has had administrative experience in multi-site health systems, acquisitions and has lead integration teams in nursing and surgical services. In her current role she has focused on improving patient outcomes and developing her nursing leadership team. To date her accomplishments at LRGH include developing and implementing a system-wide safety huddle, implemented a successful patient Falls Reduction program and developed and implemented a Block Committee in Surgical Services resulting in improved OR utilization. Additionally, she collaborated with a multidisciplinary team and reduce the use of RN travel staff by over 75%.  

Prior to coming to LRGH, Dr. Champagne spent 2 years as an Associate Chief Nursing Officer (ACNO) in Surgical Services at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, New York which was part of the Health Quest System.  She was also the Director of Surgical Services for Western Connecticut Health Network for 5 years prior to her time in New York.

Theresa did her undergraduate work at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, earned her Master’s in Nursing from Western Connecticut State University, and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Oakland University in Michigan. She is a certified Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and holds her CNOR certification as well. She is a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL), the Association of peri-Operative Nurses (AORN), and the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA).

Natalia Cineas, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, serves as Senior Vice President and System Chief Nursing Executive for NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the nation, serving more than one million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations. She serves as clinical lead for the organization, directing more than 9,600 nurses and more than 970 social workers as well as planning, overseeing and evaluating all aspects of clinical operations, services and nurse education to ensure the delivery of quality, safe, standardized, and cost-effective nursing care to patients and the community. She has been instrumental in COVID-19 crisis management, including directing recruitment and deployment of more than 5,000 additional nurses and nursing specialists; and also serves as co-chair of NYC Health + Hospitals’ Health & Equity Access Council; identifying and defining system-wide strategic diversity and inclusion priorities.

Dr. Cineas previously served as Senior Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at New York City’s Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital and also served as Patient Care Director of Neurosurgery and the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit at Columbia University Medical Center New York Presbyterian Hospital; she began her nursing career as a staff nurse in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. 

She holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from George Washington University, a Master of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stony Brook University. This year, Dr. Cineas was named a Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, Frances Payne Bolton School Of Nursing Inaugural Class, Cleveland. 

Dr. Cineas is adjunct faculty at Columbia University School of Nursing, where she teaches nursing leadership courses in the doctoral and masters level degree programs. She also served as adjunct faculty at The College of New Rochelle where she taught Healthcare Politics, Nursing Research and Leadership; and served as an instructor of the “Purposeful Hourly Rounding Curriculum” at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and an instructor of the “Relationship Centered Care Model at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Her professional memberships include serving as a member of the American Heart Association New York City Board; a member of the Helene Fuld College of Nursing Board; a member of the policy committee for the New York Organization of Nurse Executive Leaders, and as a member of the New York University Alumni Board. She also is a committee member of the New York State Action Coalition – Nurses On Boards Coalition (NYSAC-NOBC;) a member of the American Nurses Association; a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives; a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses; a charter and current member of the Greater NYC-BNA chapter of the National Black Nurses Association; a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Upsilon & Phi Epsilon Chapter Member, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Volunteer activities include serving as Vice Chair (Internal Affairs) of the Health Ministry at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Harlem, NY, where Dr. Cineas facilitated preventative screenings for Harlem residents with the goal of reducing health disparities in the community. She also served as Chair of the North Manhattan Section of the Delta Emergency Response Team, increasing awareness about emergency preparedness activities; providing effective and immediate communication strategies to facilitate and aid in preparedness and response; providing steps for early response and efficient recovery; organizing emergency response programs for seniors and youth; and creating emergency response tickets for community members.

A dynamic and passionate public speaker, Dr. Cineas is regularly called upon as a keynote and panelist at numerous national and international healthcare conferences, spotlighting improvements and best practices in the nursing profession and making an impact on health care locally, nationally and internationally. Her international work includes studying the pathophysiology of AIDS in Uganda, Africa, as well as professional presentations in Dubai, UAE; Rome, Italy; and London, UK. and Manila City, Philippines.

So far in 2020, Dr. Cineas served as a speaker at the first MVJ International Nursing Advancement and Scientific Conference Series, in Manila City, Philippines; was the keynote speaker at the 32nd National Black Nurses Day Celebration at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, sponsored by Caribbean American Nurses Association, Inc.; Kappa Eta Chapter, Inc. of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.; Theta Chi Chapter, Inc. of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.; and the New York Black Nurses Association, Inc.; was a speaker for the "Nursing Perspectives on Healthcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic," sponsored by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Arnhold Institute for Global Health; was the keynote speaker and conference moderator at the Nursing Virtual 2020, Nursing World Conference, “Lessons Learned During The COVID-19 Crisis: How Nursing Recruitment, Deployment & Education Efforts Addressed A Global Pandemic;” and shared her perspective as a speaker for the “Leading The Way To Address Systemic Racism In The Hospital," webinar, sponsored by the Nursing Administration Alumni Advisory Council, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

She also has been featured, quoted and published in leading professional publications, including Health Affairs; Becker’s Hospital Review; NBNA NEWS, The Official Publication Of The National Black Nurses Association; New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing Newsletter; Magazine; and the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing.

Dr. Cineas has been named one of 2020’s “50 Most Influential Clinical Executives,” by Modern Healthcare magazine; one of 2020’s “50+ hospital and health system CNOs to know,” by Becker’s Hospital Review; and one of 2019’s “Notable Women in Health Care,” by Crain’s New York. She received the International Humanitarian Outreach Nurse Leader Award; Stony Brook University’s Alumni Leadership Award; a New York State Assembly Citation Service to the Community; and a Nassau County Legislature Citation Service to the Community. 

She was selected as the Nursing Leadership Honoree by the Haitian American Nurses Association of Greater New York; received the Leadership Award from the Society of Haitian School Administrators and Supervisors; received the Estelle Osborne Award from New York University College of Nursing; and the Trailblazer Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. She also named to the list of “Top 40 Under Forty” by The Journal Network; received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Diversity and Inclusion Council Chair, for three years in a row; received the Claire Murray Best Practice Award from the New York Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders for demonstrating her passion in improving patient satisfaction and leading organizations to reduce hospital-acquired infections through evidence-based practice; and was named a “Top 40 Under Forty” recipient by the Stony Brook University Alumni Association.

Maryalice Cullen is the Assistant Vice President of Women’s and Children’s Services at Albany Medical Center and the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital located in New York’s Capital Region.  Dr. Cullen leads and collaborates with multidisciplinary teams in strategic and quality initiatives within the Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services and promotes professional nursing practice across the broader organization. 

Dr. Cullen received a BSN from Molloy College, Rockville Centre NY, an MSN in Healthcare Management and Executive DNP from Fairfield University.  She holds specialty certifications in Neonatal Intensive Care, Neonatal Intensive Developmental Care Assessment Program (NIDCAP) and Nurse Executive Advanced-BC.

Dr. Cullen is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), AONL and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and partners with several community organizations serving women, children and families at both the local and national level.  

Throughout her professional career Dr. Cullen has been recognized as an expert and proponent of patient and family centered care. In addition to the recent launch of an inaugural Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) Dr. Cullen co-led an IFI Award winning facilities design of a state of the art nineteen thousand square foot level III NICU, recognized for incorporating principles of Planetree  family-centered care and best practices for the care of developmental needs of premature infants. Partnering with the Vice President of the Development Fund she met with donors to raise four million dollars toward this capital project.  

Dr. Cullen’s clinical experience includes care of infants, children and women across the continuum filling staff and leadership roles in pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, neonatal intensive care and birthing centers in large academic medical centers and children’s hospitals.  

Examples of Dr. Cullen’s accomplishments include partnering with the CNO in leading a redesign of Shared Governance, that included an inter-professional research council, an outcome of her DNP focus of advancing evidence-based practice and dissemination. Her DNP Scholarly Project submission won first place at the organizations Belsky Research Day, the first nurse to win a Belsky Award.  Dr. Cullen brought support services to NICU families in collaboration with The Tiny Miracles Foundation, a preemie support organization where she served on their advisory board and was the first recipient of “The Miracle Workers Award”.  She has participated in two healthcare systems integrations and affiliations at the leadership level responsible for the operational design for her areas of oversight.  Most recently Dr. Cullen served as a member of Incident Command throughout the organization’s response plan to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Dr. Cullen is passionate about improving the lives and patient experiences of women, children and families and is an advocate for inter-professional collaboration and practice.  

Dr. Cullen has been recently named an Inaugural Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow in the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, within the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. 

Benjamin Farber currently serves as the Associate Chief Nursing Officer for the west Region at University Hospitals as well as the Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospitals, Elyria Medical Center.  In the ACNO role, he is responsible for aligning nursing practice in the four hospitals making up University Hospitals West Region. In the hospital CNO role he leads more than 700 clinicians in acute and ambulatory settings, and is responsible for increasing quality of care, patient experience, and caregiver experience.  Dr. Farber previously served in the Chief Nursing Officer role at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District in Eugene, Oregon, and as the Senior Director of Patient Care Services at Mercy Southwest in Bakersfield, California.  Prior to those roles, Ben served in various director level positions and as Nurse Manager in Med/Surg, Tele, and guarded care units.  In 2018 he was named a “Tomorrow’s Leader” by the Catholic Healthcare Association of the United States, and to the “20 under 40” by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.

Ben holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Systems Leadership from Rush University; a Master of Science, Nursing, Bachelor of Science, Nursing, and Bachelor of Science, Physical Education and Kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science from California State University, Bakersfield.  In 2020, Farber was named a Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow in the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, part of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University.

Ben is an active member of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, serving on the 2021 Annual Conference Committee, and as an abstract reviewer for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 annual conferences.  Board service includes four years on the board of HIV Alliance in Eugene, Oregon, including two years as board president, and current service on the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Nurse Alumni Association board.

Kari Gali, DNP, APRN, received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (2014) and Master of Science in Nursing (1997) from Case Western Reserve University and her Bachelor of Science from Ursuline College (1984). Completing a 2 year national quality improvement program in 2015, as a VA Quality Scholar, Dr. Gali participated in a multi-site quality improvement program to minimize non-urgent ED visits.  She also facilitated the development a resident quality improvement coaching toolkit which continues to be used in interprofessional resident training.  In 2017, Kari received her certification as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). Her current position is the Quality Information Officer in Distance Health at the Cleveland Clinic where she directs quality, designs population health programs integrating digital tools, practices telemedicine and supports telehealth training and education. She has also facilitated telehealth quality at Cleveland Clinic Canada. Kari has written telemedicine guidelines and policies, established quality metrics and standardized workflows, developed telemedicine competency training for clinicians and is grant funded for the Cleveland Clinic’s interdisciplinary training program for medical student, nurse practitioner students and physician assistants.  Supporting the CARES Act grant at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Kari has expanded her competency training expertise to undergraduate nursing, supporting training students and faculty.  She has published 10 articles, written 3 book chapters and presented internationally on both quality and telemedicine. During the Information Technology department transition at the Cleveland Clinic, Kari served as an Agile™ coach supporting more adaptive, responsive delivery of technologies. Recently, Dr. Gali had the distinct honor of becoming a Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Fellow in the Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Gali is a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Illinois-Chicago in their Patient Safety Leadership program, where she serves as the Curriculum Committee Chair and teaches Communication and Collaboration in Patient Safety and Quality. She is a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) ambassador and a reviewer for both PCORI and Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). At the American Academy of Pediatrics, she serves as a QI consultant facilitating QI integration into multiple telehealth projects including integrating quality improvement coaching into the ECHO model. Her expertise is in telehealth, quality improvement, patient-provider communication and interprofessional team communication.

Catrina Heffernan received her Doctorate in Nursing (2016) from University College Cork (Ireland), Master of Science in Education (2003) from Sheffield Hallam University (UK), Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice Studies (2011) Cardiff University (UK), Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Education (1999) Sheffield Hallam (UK) and a Bachelor of Science from West Sussex (UK) in 1994.

She has held positions across Ireland, UK and USA. She co-ordinated the International and Erasmus nursing program which involved initiating and collaborating with nursing schools across Europe and the USA. The sharing of experience and knowledge across countries provided her with exclusive vision of the discipline of nursing from a global perspective. 

She just led a number of Nursing and Midwifery schools in the Republic of Ireland in the development of a suite of advanced practice programs accessible to nurses and midwives throughout the island of Ireland. 

She is working on a number of KA2 Strategic Partnerships projects, with organizations from different European countries working together, to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the area of education and healthcare. The projects are funded by the EU Commission and include Vocal Medical, Safe Medic and Story Aid

Her contribution to the profession of nursing is seen from her membership of regional, national and international boards. She is currently a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) Registration Committee, the Institute of Technologies National Consortium Steering Committee, the All Ireland Careful Nursing Steering Group, the South-South West Hospital Critical Care Group, the National Acute care group, Sigma Theta Tau International/Mu Delta Chapter Nursing (Connecticut) and the American Organization of Nursing Leadership (AONL). 

Her contribution to the education of nursing has witnessed her taking on the role of External Panel Reviewer and External Panel Desk Reviewer for the validation of nursing programmes across third level colleges in Ireland. She is currently external examiner at third level colleges in Ireland. She coordinated modules and programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level and has extensive experience supervising students at Master level. She is currently mentoring a doctoral candidate.

She is passionate about developing and empowering the next generation of nurses to advance healthcare. She is future-orientated and believes in empowering nurses to advance practice. She is an advocate of providing accessible and affordable quality nurse education to all nurses.

Her research work involves engagement in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She believes passionately in the importance of conducting rigorous research that engages pragmatically with people and influences the service they receive. Ultimately she strives to ensure that the outcomes of research are acted on to ensure the development of nursing and education. Her doctoral study investigated caring and anxiety in the acute setting. She has many publications ranging from book chapters to international nursing journals.

Barbara Leafe is currently the Executive Director and Transformational Leader with Yale New Haven Health at Greenwich Hospital. Barbara successfully inspires a culture of evidence-based practice and innovation. Barbara leads through engaging nurse leaders to establish shared goals to create positive change to improve communication and efficiencies resulting in increased quality outcomes, patient/family satisfaction and nurse satisfaction. 

Barbara began her clinical nursing career at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire with a concentration in cardiovascular and medical surgical nursing. While at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Barbara led a team to establish the first Primary Nursing Model of Care on the clinical unit. A passion for women’s health led to a career opportunity, where she remained for the majority of her clinical practice and leadership roles. Prior to joining Yale New Haven Health, Barbara led a team to re-establish an obstetric program at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire. Recognizing a need for a mother-and-baby focused maternity unit, Barbara and the team built a successful Birthing Center program working with the architect and nurses to design the program based on focus groups with women in the community. The result is a successful program, which remains a credit to the establishment of the goals and shared vision of the community and nurses. 

Recognized as a Transformational Leader soon after joining Yale New Haven Health, Barbara accepted the position and began to implement an electronic medical record for the health system. Barbara collaborated with colleagues at each of the delivery networks to successfully implement the electronic medical record throughout the health system and standardize nursing practice based on evidence. The successful implementation led to several leadership opportunities in nursing including her current role. Most recently, Barbara has expanded her clinical scope to include all aspects of nursing leadership as Executive Director and Transformational Leader for nursing reporting to the Chief Nursing Officer.

Barbara’s academic journey began with a diploma in nursing from New England Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, Boston Massachusetts. Barbara continued her pursuit of higher learning in professional nursing at the University of New Hampshire where she received her BSN.  Seeking more career opportunities, Barbara relocated to Connecticut and continued her nursing education at Fairfield University, where she received an MSN and most recently an DNP. Barbara is a member of professional nursing organizations including, Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society, American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) and American Nurses Association (ANA).

Eric Staples is an Independent Nursing Practice Consultant and inaugural Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Fellow. He graduated from a 2-year RN diploma program in 1981 from Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario, and a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Nursing) in 1986 from Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Eric's early clinical career experience was predominantly in medical/surgical oncology and he received a diploma in Oncology Nursing from Ryerson University in 1989. He completed the Master of Science (Community Health Nursing) program with a minor in Health Care Administration at D'Youville College, Buffalo, New York in 1991.  

Eric joined Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario as the Supportive Care Practitioner, a CNS/management role at Women's College Hospital, Toronto in 1989. At this time of fiscal restraint, a shortage of medical residents, and no advanced practice programs, he was supported by nursing and medicine to develop and pioneer an expanded nursing role and completed a residency at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. 

In 1995, with funding from the University of Toronto, Eric attended the inaugural class of the post-graduate Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certificate program. He went on to join St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto as the first acute care nurse practitioner for Acute Pain Services and worked as a pain management consultant in developing PCA and epidural analgesia programs in many of the Toronto area hospitals.

During this time, Eric coordinated and taught in two University of Toronto undergraduate medical education courses, Health and Illness in the Community, and Achieving Health in the Community, at both Toronto hospitals.

In 1998, Eric was recruited to Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia to lead the development and implementation of the Advanced Nursing Practice stream, and acute care nurse practitioner role, and was involved in drafting regulation and legislation for NP practice in Nova Scotia. 

In 2000, he joined McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, as Assistant Professor and provincial Coordinator in the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program consortium program. He became the first ACNP representative in the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) and was later active in bringing primary care nurse practitioners and acute care nurse practitioners together in NPAO. 

Eric was one of Canada’s first nurse practitioners to enter a Doctor of Nursing program at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio and graduated with a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2005. His thesis was the Physiological and Behavioral Manifestations and Self-Report of Pain in PACU Patients. 

Eric has taught in all levels of undergraduate nursing and in the graduate programs at McMaster University, including his involvement in the admission and education committees and teaching health assessment skills in the Physician Assistant (PA) Program. In 2007, he became the nurse practitioner program’s provincial Co-Course Professor for the two Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnosis courses, the Course Planner and tutor for the Theoretical Basis of Nursing Practice graduate core course, and as an advisor for nurse practitioner, graduate and doctoral students. Eric completed a Certificate in Nursing Education from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2011. 

In 2011, Eric became the Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing Taskforce on Nurse Practitioner Education which developed a framework describing guiding principles and the essential components of nurse practitioner education which was published in 2012. Eric continues to serve on the organization’s Canadian Nurse Educator Interest Group where he is chair for the Preceptorship Working Group, and served as an Advisory Committee member for a federally funded project titled Development and Mobilization of Appropriate Prescriber Practice Competencies for Controlled Drugs and Substances into Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse Education

As an Independent Nursing Practice Consultant, he has participated in the development and evaluation of undergraduate and graduate programs, has been PI/Co-PI of a number of research studies, has published/co-published, and has presented widely at professional conferences. 

Eric was the lead editor/co-author of the inaugural textbook, Canadian Perspectives on Advanced Practice Nursing, which was published in 2016 and with provincial funding, in French in 2017. The book has been very popular and a 2nd edition is scheduled to be published in Spring 2021.