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


Mary Ann NihartPresent Position
Chief Nurse, Mental Health and Critical Care Services, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Associate Clinical Professor, University of California San Francisco | Chair, Board of Directors, Pro-ACT, Inc.


1977    BSN, University of Iowa
1981    MA, Nursing, University of Iowa
1987    MA, Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology (Alliant University)

APNA Contributions
Since the 1980s, I have presented at national conferences and contributed to JAPNA.  I served on committees and task forces, including developing one of the first slidedecks and the substance abuse module for a model curriculum for prescribing psychiatric nurses. 

As President of the California Chapter, I worked alongside chapter leadership to strengthen connections, provide educational and networking opportunities, and expand membership.  Participating in planning and presenting at chapter conferences has been wonderful, but more important has been mentoring new members.

Currently, I serve on the Institute for Mental Health Advocacy Steering Committee and the Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute Program Committee.  In 2012, I was honored and humbled to be named APNA Psychiatric Nurse of the Year.

Other Experience
Over more than 35 years, I have experienced varied roles and settings within PMH nursing.  My national collaborations include: authoring the first ANA Guidelines for Psychopharmacology in Psychiatric Nursing, six years on the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health Executive Board, presenting on women’s issues in mental health for Congress, curriculum developer/founding faculty for the National Initiative for Reduction of Seclusion and Restraint, funded by SAMHSA,  and regional trainings implementing Disaster Mental Health Plan.  I spent six years as a City councilmember, chaired the City Association of Governments and am completing my second term as Mayor.  I am ready to focus again on my profession.

APNA Members Should Vote for Me Because: Commitment, collaboration, and community represent essential values in meeting the challenges facing healthcare.  My passion is PMH nursing; it’s in my soul.  I have a commitment to the evolving role of PMH nurses and those who chose this complex specialty.  APNA provides a framework, voice, and outlet for my commitment.  Yet, nothing occurs in isolation.  Collaboration with stakeholders, members, other specialties, and leaders is essential to building relationships in our PMH community.  APNA provides a strong voice and a significant seat at the table, negotiating policy, developing innovative delivery systems, and creating excellence in professional practice.  I would be honored to contribute my strengths in making strategic connections, finding common ground, and moving goals forward as we expand.

How I Can Help Fulfill APNA’s Purpose As A Scientific and Education Organization:  Engaging and developing nurses for the future requires innovation.  Science fuels innovation and education disseminates knowledge that in turn fosters practice questions and scientific investigation.  All are entwined and enrich our understanding.  The past two decades, research in psychiatry has focused on the biological underpinnings of emotion and behavior.  Yet, new biological treatments have stalled.  Technological advances in functional imaging demonstrate the value of relationship, interaction and connection.  Through mentoring, cross specialty collaboration, technological integration, and education, APNA could facilitate a network that leads in evidence-based psychosocial interventions to improve outcomes in recovery.

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