This position is responsible for assisting the president and overseeing other duties as assigned by the president or the board. In the absence of the president, the president-elect performs the duties of the president, and when so acting, has all the powers of and is subject to all the restrictions upon the president. The president-elect year serves as an orientation for the upcoming year as president.  Full Description


Gail R. Stern, RN, MSN, PMHCNS-BC



Present Position

As of June 2015: Associate Hospital Director, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, Denver, Colorado.


1982  BS, Nursing, Connell SON, Boston College
1988  MSN, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, Yale School of Nursing, Yale University
2006  DNP, Clinical Leadership, Frances Payne Bolton SON, Case Western Reserve University

APNA Contributions

State Contributions include:

  • Secretary, Hawaii Chapter
  • Member at Large, Hawaii Chapter
  • Member at Large, California Chapter

National Level - past contributions include:

  • Co-Chair, Forensic Psychiatric Nurses Council: Conducted full-day pre-conferences at the APNA conferences in 2004 and 2006,
  • Recovery to Practice (RTP) SAMHSA project, Steering Committee, curriculum developer, pilot site/training presenter and instructor,
  • APNA chair - ANA PMH- Scope and Standards Work Group (2014 edition),
  • Guest Editor, JAPNA, Recovery special issue.

National Level - Current:

  • Member, Addiction Council Steering Committee,
  • Member, Research Council Steering Committee,
  • Member, Recovery Expert Panel

Other Current Related Contributions:

  • SAMHSA multidisciplinary RTP project,
  • Member, ANA workgroup to revise the general Nursing Scope and Standards,
  • Member, American Academy of Nursing, PMH-SA Expert Panel.

Other Experience

My experience as a Mental Health Clinical and Systems Consultant has allowed me to assist dozens of interdisciplinary teams and state health officials in “re-building” their systems of care to provide safe, therapeutic, person-centered, recovery-oriented organizations in response to U. S. Department of Justice civil rights litigations. I have held a variety of positions in the past, including Primary Nurse, Private Practitioner, Director of Education and Research, and Chief Nursing Officer.  The U.S. Federal Court appointed me as a “Special Monitor”, and in 2006 was honored as the APNA Psychiatric Nurse of the Year.

APNA Members Should Vote for Me Because: I am passionate about PMH Nursing. I am experienced in leading organizations to adapt and grow. I have had the experience of being a voice and advocate for PMH nursing and the people we serve in interprofessional arenas at the local, state and federal levels. Cultivating the strengths of others and recognizing that change does not come about because of one person; rather, team ownership and involvement in the change process are key aspects of successfully moving an organization forward.

How I Can Help Fulfill APNA’s Purpose As A Scientific and Education Organization:  Scientific knowledge development is a continuum of activities including performance improvement, evidence-based practice, research and dissemination of knowledge through education.  To both lead and partner in making healthcare policy and practice decisions, APNA must continue to strengthen these areas of the organization.  Mentoring PMH Nurses in all roles and providing a forum for exchange of ideas and collaboration are key factors in making this happen. I can help APNA fulfill these purposes through my experience with the development and dissemination of knowledge, experience in leadership, and relationships with others at the state and national levels.

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Gail R. Stern, RN, MSN, PMHCNS-BC

Present Position               

Administrator -Department of Psychiatry, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Adjunct Faculty, DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania
President of the Board, Counsel on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Allentown Pennsylvania


1985    MSN, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1982    BSN, Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania
1977    Diploma, Methodist Hospital School of Nursing

APNA Contributions

  • APNA member since 1987
  • Founding president of the PA chapter (1995).
  • Chapter Formation committee (1997)
  • Member at Large for APNA National Board (2008-2012)supported chapter presidents in developing strategies to improve chapter function and growth.
  • Regional Representative for Lehigh Valley for PA APNA state board (past 10 years).
  • Frequent Chair of PA APNA annual state conferences.
  • I regularly present at APNA national and state conferences. 
  • It was my honor to represent APNA (along with Carole Farley-Toombs) and attend the White house National Nursing Meeting on the Affordable Care Act.  APNA Leadership Award  2013.

Other Experience

I have been a psychiatric nurse for over 35 years as staff nurse, APRN, consultant, faculty member and innovative administrator responsible for full continuums of mental health and substance abuse services.  For past 15 years, dedicated to the work of integrating mental health and substance abuse services (psychiatric nurses) into all healthcare settings. Lehigh Valley Health Network is nationally known for our efforts. Currently evolving prevention as a member of the national “Zero Suicide Academy.”

APNA Members Should Vote for Me Because: Our Time is Now! We are in a perfect position to increase the value of psychiatric nursing in a new environment of Integration and Parity. I see the interest and the talent in our organization and want to help all of us meet the Triple Aim objectives through the unique roles in psychiatric nursing. Psych nurses can prove their value to payers and delivery systems through research.  Psych nurses improve effectiveness in emergency care, inpatient units, outpatient services, and community settings.  We need PMH RNs, APRNs, DNPs and PhDs (all of us) to collaborate with each other to evaluate best practices and educate the workforce that will evolve the role of psychiatric nursing. I have the energy, commitment, administrative skills, and a mission to serve the members of APNA. I would be honored to work with all of you to represent and support psychiatric nursing and people with mental illness.  Collaborating with our colleagues in all disciplines, we can build new systems of care!

How I Can Help Fulfill APNA’s Purpose As A Scientific and Education Organization:  APNA members are an incredible resource for the development and testing of models of care that create whole health.  We have built an organization that makes expertise in practice, research, administration and education available to our members and other disciplines as we work toward effective, accessible and affordable health care. I would continue to build and refine our efforts to be the indispensable resource for psychiatric nurses and the voice of psychiatric nursing in our rapidly evolving healthcare systems.