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Board of Directors

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is dedicated to serving all 4 million registered nurses and harnessing their expertise, knowledge, and wisdom to protect, improve, and promote better public health and health care for all.

Consisting of four officers and five directors-at-large, the board is elected by the ANA Membership Assembly and accountable to the members of ANA. Its duties – fully defined in Article IV, Section 3 of the ANA bylaws – include oversight of corporate responsibility and fiduciary duties, strategic leadership, and the implementation of policies established by the ANA Membership Assembly.

Loressa Cole

DNP, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC

ANA Enterprise CEO

An accomplished health care leader who has more than 30 years of nursing and management experience, Dr. Loressa Cole became the ANCC Executive Director and Executive Vice President in 2016, and was appointed ANA Enterprise CEO in 2018.

An accomplished health care leader who has more than 30 years of nursing and management experience, Dr. Loressa Cole, DNP, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, became the ANCC Executive Director and Executive Vice President in 2016. Dr. Cole was appointed as the ANA Enterprise CEO in 2018.

Most recently, she served as the Chief Nursing Executive for Lewis Gale Regional Health System in Salem, Virginia, where she directed system-wide clinical operations, partnering with other C-suite leaders on strategic and tactical planning, and execution.

Previously, she served as Chief Nursing Officer at Lewis Gale Montgomery Hospital in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she led the hospital to achieve its initial Magnet® designation in 2009 and its redesignation in 2013. Dr. Cole began her career as a staff nurse in medical/surgical and critical care settings.

Active in many professional organizations, Dr. Cole served as President of the Virginia Nurses Association from 2012 until 2014. She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives, and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

She has presented at a wide range of conferences, including the 2011 and 2012 ANCC National Magnet Conference. She earned her DNP at Case Western Reserve University, her Master's in Business Administration (MBA) at Averett University, and her BSN at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is ANCC board-certified as a nurse executive, advanced, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Ernest J. Grant

PhD, RN, FAAN

President

A former nurse of the year award winner, Dr. Grant is the first man to be elected to the office of ANA president. Thanks to his world-class expertise in burns-related treatment and fire safety issues, Dr. Grant is a leading educator in this field and has lent this experience to various branches of the U.S. military as well as civilian fields.

Dr. Ernest J. Grant is the 36th president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the nation’s largest nurses organization representing the interests of the nation’s 4 million registered nurses.

A distinguished leader, Dr. Grant has more than 30 years of nursing experience and is an internationally recognized burn-care and fire-safety expert. He previously served as the burn outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals in Chapel Hill. In this role, Grant oversaw burn education for physicians, nurses, and other allied health care personnel and ran the center’s nationally acclaimed burn prevention program, which promotes safety and works to reduce burn-related injuries through public education and the legislative process. Grant also serves as adjunct faculty for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where he works with undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the classroom and clinical settings.

Grant is frequently sought out for his expertise as a clinician and educator. In addition to being a prolific speaker, he has conducted numerous burn-education courses with various branches of the U.S. military in preparation for troops’ deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented Grant with a Nurse of the Year Award for his work treating burn victims from the World Trade Center site. In 2013, Grant received the B.T. Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Fire and Life Safety Education Council for making a difference in preventing the devastating effects of fire and burn injuries and deaths within the state.

An active participant in professional organizations, Grant is a past chair of the National Fire Protection Association board of directors and served as second vice president of the American Burn Association board of trustees. He also holds membership in Sigma Theta Tau and Chi Eta Phi. Grant served as president of the North Carolina Nurses Association from 2009-11. In 2002, ANA honored Grant with the Honorary Nursing Practice Award for his contributions to the advancement of nursing practice through strength of character, commitment, and competence.

Grant holds a BSN degree from North Carolina Central University and MSN and PhD degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2014. He is the first man to be elected to the office of president of the American Nurses Association.

 

Susan Y. Swart

EdD, MS, RN, CAE

Vice President

Dr. Susan Swart,  EdD, MS, RN, CAE is currently the Chief Executive Officer/President of SYS Consulting Solutions, Inc. Dr. Swart also serves as the Executive Director of ANA-Illinois, Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing and the Illinois Nurses Foundation.

Dr. Susan Swart,  EdD, MS, RN, CAE is currently the Chief Executive Officer/President of SYS Consulting Solutions, Inc. Dr. Swart also serves as the Executive Director of ANA-Illinois, Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing and the Illinois Nurses Foundation.

It is her life’s mission to foster nurse empowerment. Dr. Swart expertise is in issues related to the scope of practice, ethics, nursing regulation, and public policy development. She is a sought-after speaker and is known for her coalition-building skills, innovative leadership approaches, organizational growth strategies, and partnerships to advance organizational missions.
Dr. Swart earned her BSN degree from the University of St. Francis and her MS in the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program from the University of Illinois. Recenty, she received her doctorate degree (EdD) from Olivet Nazarene University with an emphasis on ethical leadership. 

Stephanie Pierce

PhD, MN, RN, CNE

Secretary

Stephanie S. Pierce, PhD, MN, RN, CNE is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing and Program Director of the accelerated (CARE) BSN Program and the Nurse Educator MSN Program at Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) School of Nursing in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Stephanie S. Pierce, PhD, MN, RN, CNE is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing and Program Director of the accelerated (CARE) BSN Program and the Nurse Educator MSN Program at Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) School of Nursing in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She received her undergraduate BSN from William Carey College, her Master of Nursing specializing in nursing administration from LSUHSC and her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from Capella University specializing in leadership for higher education. She is certified as a Nursing Educator through the National League of Nursing. Dr. Pierce began teaching at LSUHSC School of Nursing in January 2000.      

Dr. Pierce is Project Director overseeing a HRSA grant that funds two nurse managed clinics providing primary care services to underserved elders in New Orleans. She is also the Program Coordinator for the LSUHSC Immunization Program. The clinics are run in partnership with the LSU Healthcare Network. Dr. Pierce is the Coordinator for the Cornerstone of Cultural Competency in the Disaster Cycle (C3DC) Program which includes face to face and online courses targeted to increase knowledge of cultural competency in health care leaders using best practices to improve responses in the four phases of the disaster cycle. She participated in designing the curriculum and developing the model for the C3DC Program which is also HRSA funded. Dr. Pierce is also the Program Coordinator for the LSUHSC Immunization Program, the nursing lead for Blood Borne Pathogens Program, the medical lead for the Point of Dispensing (POD) Program and serves on the Health Sciences Center’s Ethics committee. 

Presently Dr. Pierce serves the New Orleans District Nurses Association as Bylaws Chairperson, the Louisiana State Nurses Association as Education Council Chairperson and the American Nurses Association’s Political Advisory Committee-Board of Trustees and the Committee on Appointments.

Jennifer S. Mensik Kennedy

PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Treasurer

Jennifer S. Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is currently the division director of care management at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Oregon and an instructor for Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Jennifer S. Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is currently the division director of care management at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Oregon and an instructor for Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Mensik Kennedy is a sought-after presenter and prolific author. Her books include Lead, Drive, and Thrive in the System and The Nurse Managers Guide to Innovative Staffing. She co-authored A Nurse’s Step-By-Step Guide to Transitioning to the Professional Nurse Role and The Power of Ten (Second Edition) and contributed a chapter to the book The Career Handoff: A Healthcare Leader’s Guide to Knowledge & Wisdom Transfer across Generations.

 

Mensik Kennedy has held numerous high-profile leadership positions within the nursing profession. She served as president of the Arizona Nurses Association 2007-2010. Nationally, Mensik Kennedy has served as both second vice president and director-at-large on the American Nurses Association board of directors. Additionally, she held the role of governor of nursing practice for the Western Institute of Nursing in 2010-2014.

 

Mensik Kennedy earned a PhD from the University of Arizona College of Nursing with a focus on health systems and a minor in public administration from the Eller College of Management. Mensik Kennedy's MBA degree is from the University of Phoenix, while her BSN degree is from Washington State University. She also holds an ADN degree from Wenatchee Valley College-North. Mensik Kennedy was inducted as a fellow to the American Academy of Nursing in 2014.

Tonisha J. Melvin

DNP, CRRN, NP-C

Director-at-Large

Currently serving as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Tonisha J. Melvin began practicing as a registered nurse in 2009. Passionate about equipping the next generation of front-line nurse leaders with the training and mentorship they need, Tonisha is also an active volunteer on a host of issues in her home state of Georgia.

Tonisha Melvin, DNP, CRRN, NP-C, is a nurse practitioner at the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center (CNVAMC) in Augusta, Georgia. At CNVAMC, she serves as an environmental health registry specialist and specialty examiner for compensation and disability claims in addition to managing the disability benefits questionnaire claims clinic at the Veterans Affairs. Melvin participates on numerous CNVAMC committees for quality improvement and ethical and clinical compliance.

 

She is a contributing author of The Charge Nurse Leader Program Builder: A Competency-Based Approach for Developing Frontline Leaders, a comprehensive curriculum and roadmap for developing nurse leaders and ensuring charge nurses are trained, mentored, and supported in their roles.

Melvin is an active volunteer. In addition to conducting annual community health screenings, she is a vocal advocate for nursing issues, such as safe staffing and nurses’ work environments. Recently, she began efforts to prevent adult and childhood obesity and promote nurse health and wellness. Melvin also co-founded the Melvin Family’s Meal Donation, which feeds families during the holiday season.

 

An active member in professional organizations, Melvin serves on the audit panel for the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, is the governance chair to Sigma Theta Tau International’s Georgia chapter, and is an active member of the Georgia Nurses Association. In addition to her director role, Melvin sits on a number of ANA board committees, including the committee on honorary awards, the committee on appointments, the employee relations committee, and formerly, the committee on planning and budget. In 2015, she served as vice president of the Concerned National Black Nurses Association.

Melvin earned her DNP degree from Georgia Baptist College School of Nursing of Mercer University and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi multidisciplinary collegiate honor society in 2017. She is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner (NP-C) by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Varsha Singh

DNP, APN, RN

Director-at-Large

Varsha Singh, DNP, RN, APN is an Adult Health Nurse practitioner licensed with prescriptive privileges in New Jersey. She works as the Nurse Practitioner/Manager for the Neuroscience & Stroke Program at St. Joseph's Health, New Jersey. She is also an adjunct faculty at Trinitas School of Nursing and is current President of the Forum of Advanced Practice Nurses FNAP/NJSNA. She serves on the Stroke Advisory Panel of the NJ Department of Health and is an advisory board member of SATHI (South Asian Total Health Initiatives).

Varsha Singh, DNP, RN, APN is an Adult Health Nurse practitioner licensed with prescriptive privileges in New Jersey. She works as the Nurse Practitioner/Manager for the Neuroscience & Stroke Program at St. Joseph's Health, New Jersey.  She is also an adjunct faculty at Trinitas School of Nursing. Dr. Singh has her RN degree from Trintias School of Nursing and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Seton Hall University.

Her expertise is in adult health, geriatrics, end-of-life care, stroke, and the self-management of chronic diseases. She practiced integrative and alternative medicine in India prior to her immigration to United States.

A member of the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) for past ten years, Dr. Singh has assumed many leadership positions within the state. She is current president of Forum of Nurses in Advanced Practice (FNAP/NJSNA), Past President of NJSNA Region-3, Past President of the New Jersey Stroke Coordinators Consortium, Past President of American Association of Indian Nurses NJ2, and is a member of State of New Jersey Stroke Advisory Panel.

Dr. Singh is actively engaged as a speaker in educating the South Asian community about strokes and is key advisory board member of South Asian Total Health Initiatives (SATHI) where she is also part of the research team. She is also active in population health and supports the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation, the South Asian Mental Health Initiative and Network (SAMHIN), and the India Health Camp of New Jersey. She continues to educate the community about health prevention and life style changes that can improve quality of life. She advocates to use of ‘Purple Prescription’ towards self-care and manage variety of stressors to promote personal wellbeing.

Presently, Dr. Singh serves on the American Nurses Association Committee on Honorary Awards and Committee on Appointments.

Jeff Watson

DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Director-at-Large

Jeff Watson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is the Department Chair and Associate Dean for Nursing Leadership Studies at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in Lubbock, Texas. As a faculty member, Jeff facilitates learning for graduate students in the nursing informatics and nursing administration specialty curriculums.

Jeff Watson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is the Department Chair and Associate Dean for Nursing Leadership Studies at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in Lubbock, Texas.  As a faculty member, Jeff facilitates learning for graduate students in the nursing informatics and nursing administration specialty curriculums.

Watson is a proponent of both the written and oral traditions of storytelling to engage the health care community in valuing our shared humanity. He is also a contributing author to the seventh edition of Leading and Managing in Nursing, a widely used undergraduate nursing text.   

Watson’s community volunteer efforts are through his local church and faith community.  He is a tireless advocate for social justice, specifically activities targeting the elimination of needless human suffering.  He has been active in the Texas Nurses Association since becoming a registered nurse, serving in progressive roles of responsibility, most recently as president of the association.

Watson earned a certificate in Vocation Nursing from South Plains College, a diploma in Professional Nursing from the Covenant School of Nursing, a BSN degree from Lubbock Christian University, and his MSN degree in Nursing Administration and DNP in Executive Leadership, both from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing.  He also earned a diploma in Practical Theology from Christ for the Nations Institute.  He holds board certification as a Nurse Executive, Advanced through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  He is a member into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, as well as Sigma Theta Tau International – Iota Mu Chapter.

Jennifer Gil

BSN, RN

Director-at-Large, Staff Nurse

Jennifer Gil, BSN, RN currently practices at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as a clinical nurse in the Emergency Trauma Department located in Philadelphia, PA where she also serves on their Shared Governance Steering Planning Committee.

Jennifer Gil, BSN, RN currently practices at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as a clinical nurse in the Emergency Trauma Department located in Philadelphia, PA where she also serves on their Shared Governance Steering Planning Committee.

Jennifer’s long-standing commitment to leadership began as an undergraduate student at Villanova University where she earned her BSN from the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing in 2013 and was recognized as a Connelly-Delouvrier International Scholar, travelling to Peru and South Africa to provide nursing care to underserved populations. During this time, Jennifer also served on the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania Board of Directors from 2011 to 2013. After completing the Hausman Fellowship Program for Minority Student Nurses at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in 2012, Jennifer moved to Boston after graduation and worked as a critical care and medical-surgical charge nurse at MGH.
While in Boston, Jennifer was elected to serve on the American Nurses Association of Massachusetts Board of Directors as a recent graduate and continued to serve on the board for three consecutive terms. Jennifer also served on the health policy committee and remained committed to the professional development of direct care nurses and their involvement influencing healthcare, safe staffing, and health policy.
In 2019, Jennifer was elected to serve on the American Nurses Association Board of Directors representing the voice of staff nurses. In 2020, she was appointed to serve on ANA’s Political Action Committee where she hopes to continue her work in advocacy and healthcare reform.
Jennifer is currently residing in New Jersey and is enrolled in the Nursing and Healthcare Administration MSN program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her professional interests include understanding health economics, organizational dynamics, healthy policy, and addressing health disparities. She is expected to graduate in May 2021 and hopes to pursue her PhD in Nursing thereafter.

Marcus Henderson

MSN, BSN, RN

Director-at-Large, Recent Graduate

Marcus Henderson, MSN, BSN, RN currently practices as a psychiatric and mental health nurse on the child and adolescent unit at Fairmount Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, PA. In his role as charge nurse, Marcus manages a 36-bed inpatient unit and works closely with the nursing staff and multidisciplinary team to ensure safe, comprehensive patient care.

Marcus Henderson, MSN, BSN, RN currently practices as a psychiatric and mental health nurse on the child and adolescent unit at Fairmount Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, PA. In his role as charge nurse, Marcus manages a 36-bed inpatient unit and works closely with the nursing staff and multidisciplinary team to ensure safe, comprehensive patient care.

Previously, Marcus served as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Up and Running Healthcare Solutions LLC, a Philadelphia-based organization that provided nurse-led case management by community health workers and other supportive services to homeless individuals in partnership with the Bethesda Project. This work was funded by the 2017 President’s Engagement Prize and Office of Nursing Research at the University of Pennsylvania. He has presented his work on homeless health and community health workers at local, state, and national conferences.

In addition, Marcus teaches at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing as a Clinical Instructor and Community Site Preceptor for undergraduate and graduate students in courses that serve as community engagement experiences to help students understand the complexities of community health, engagement, and the impact of social determinants of health.

Marcus began his leadership journey as an undergraduate student when he was elected to the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP) Board of Directors. He served on the SNAP Board from 2013-2017 and as President from 2015-2017. In 2016, Marcus was elected to the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Board of Directors as Ex-Officio Director and Chair of the Council of State Presidents.

Marcus continues to serve on many local, state, and national boards and committees for nursing, healthcare, education, and non-profit organizations. In 2019, Marcus was appointed to the Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 at the National Academy of Medicine.

Marcus received his MSN in Health Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with a certificate in Healthcare Innovation from the Perelman School of Medicine. Marcus received his BSN from Penn Nursing in 2017 with a minor in History, Health, and the Humanities from the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.

Marcus is a member of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and American Public Health Association.

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