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.  More Info



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.



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 mental health nurse for over 35 years, as a staff nurse, an APRN, consultant, faculty member and an administrator responsible for full continuums of mental health and substance abuse services.  For past 15 years, I have been fascinated by the work of integrating mental health and substance abuse services into physical healthcare settings.  This includes emergency, inpatient, outpatient, homecare and community settings.

APNA Members Should Vote for Me Because: Our Time is Now! (and Psychiatric Nurses Rock!)  We are in a perfect position to impact the future of Healthcare. I see the talent in our organization and want to move your/our visions of the future into action and advocacy for all psychiatric nurses. We need psychiatric nurses in academic settings to inform and build a more integrated workforce and support our research activities as we demonstrate our value in emerging integrated models of care. We have the challenge and unique opportunity now!  We need psychiatric nurses anywhere healthcare occurs!  We need PMH RNs, APRNs, DNPs and PhDs (All of us) to collaborate with each other to create the best health and mental health for all patients.  I have 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.  Together with our colleagues in all disciplines, we will lead healthcare delivery into the future.

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.