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APNA Annual Awards Recipients


The APNA Annual Awards recognize APNA members who demonstrate excellence in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice, education, research, leadership, community efforts, and more. Recipients are nominated by their peers and recognized at the APNA Annual Conference and in communications throughout the year.

Scroll down to see the 2023 APNA Annual Awards Recipients.

2023 APNA Annual Awards Recipients

Beth Phoenix
Bethany Phoenix, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN

Psychiatric Nurse of the Year
Nominated by Matthew Tierney
“Dr. Phoenix has meticulously described the pressing mental health needs of the nation and, as a visionary, has coupled them with the abilities of PMH nurses to address those needs…She is a leading voice in announcing that PMH nurses have always been ‘at the table’ and ready to serve”

Mary Ann Nihart
Award for Distinguished Service
Nominated by Heather McCormick
“For more than 30 years, Mary Ann has provided education locally, regionally, and nationally through presentations, keynotes, chairing national conferences, and developing curriculum…As APNA President, she traveled to many states encouraging leadership development for PMH nurses in their communities.”

Francis Ugoh
Maj. Francis Ugoh, RN
Award for Excellence in Practice – RN
Nominated by Lt. Col. Renel Ramos
“Maj. Ugoh is the first PMH Nurse that ever served as an International Health Specialist for the U.S. Surgeon General for Europe [and] had the opportunity to directly engage and provide psychiatric care not just to our service men and women in Europe and Africa, but to our partners and allies as well.”

Award for Excellence in Practice – APRN
Nominated by Kathy Gaffney
“Joy is an enthusiastic teacher and collaborator who works in her community. She introduced integrated PMH care into the local pediatric practices, as well as running a telehealth school-based mental health clinic.”

Leigh Combs
Leigh Lackey, BA, RN, BHCMII
Award for Excellence in Leadership – RN
Nominated by Holly Wilkinson
“Leigh’s leadership in psychiatric mental health practice, management, and education has allowed for the funding and staffing of a mobile mental health clinic to reach rural areas surrounding our catchment area in Muskogee and McIntosh counties in Oklahoma.”

Kathleen T. McCoy

Award for Excellence in Leadership – APRN
Nominated by Christine Brigette Costa
“Dr. McCoy’s advocacy includes publications, podium presentations, podcasts/social media, and poster presentations on mental health topics to educate students, the community, and colleagues about the PMH nursing profession and various issues important to PMH care.”


Award for Excellence in Education
Nominated by Laura Kimble
“Dr. Pfeiffer has developed multiple unique immersive experiences [for students], including substance use and peer recovery among rural populations…and an urban experience focused on continuity of care and medication assisted treatment.”



Past Recipients of APNA Annual Awards

Recipients of the APNA Psychiatric Nurse of the Year Award:

2022: Joyce Shea, DNSc, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2021: Evelyn Parrish, PhD, APRN-BC, FAANP
2020: Linda Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2019: Susie M. Adams, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2017: Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
2016: Barbara Jones Warren, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FNAP, FAAN
2015: Kathleen Delaney, PhD, PMH-NP, RN
2014: Katherine Baltazar, PMHNP
2013: Jocelyn Perez BSN, RN, MA
2012: Mary Ann Nihart, MA, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
2011: Barbara L. Drew PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2010: Kathleen Buckwalter , PhD, RN, FAAN
2009: Marlene Nadler-Moodie, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2008: Kevin Huckshorn, RN, MSN, RCADC
2007: Lynn DeLacy, PhD, RN, CNAA
2006: Kris A. McLoughlin, MSN, APRN, BC, CSAC
2005: Judith Haber, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
2004: Kevin Gournay
2003: Dorothy E. Hill RN, C
2001: Karen Babich, PhD, RN, FAAN
2000: Barbara E. Wolfe, PhD, RN, CS
1999: Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN
1998: Suzanne Lego, PhD, RN, CS, CGP, FAAN
1997: Grayce M. Sills RN, PhD, FAAN
1996: Virginia Trotter-Betts, MSN, JD
Other past recipients include Victoria Conn, MSN, RN and Claire Giffin-Francell, MS, RN.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Distinguished Service:

2022: Gail Stern, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC 
2021: Carol Essenmacher, DNP, NCTTP
2020: Barbara J. Limandri, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2019: Marlene Nadler-Moodie, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2018: Michael Rice, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
2017: Cheryl Puntil, MN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2016: Julie Carbray, PhD, FPMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, APN
2015: Jeanne Clement, EdD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2014: Ruth “Topsy” Staten, PhD, ARNP-CS
2013: Helen M. Birkbeck APRN
2011: Shirley A. Smoyak PhD, RN, FAAN
2009: Gail W. Stuart, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN
2008: Edna Hamera, PhD, ARNP
2007: Fernando A. Duran RN, MS, FAAN
2006: Grayce M. Sills RN, PhD, FAAN
2005: Patricia Brown, PhD, ARNP
2004: Jane A. Ryan RN, MN, CNAA
2003: Marybeth L. O’Neil RN, MS, NES
2002: Rosanne M. Radziewicz RN, PMHCNS-BC
2001: Rebecca A. Sherwood DNSc, PMHCNS-BC, RN

Recipients of the APNA Award for Innovation – Individual:

2020: Georgia L. Stevens, PhD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2019: Joseph Giovannoni, DNP, PMHCNS-BC, APRN-RX
2018: Connie Mele, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, CARN-AP
2017: Richard Ray, MS, RN, PMH-BC
2016: Elaine McGrane Olmstead, RN MS, PMHCNS
2015: Angela Thomas, MSN, BSN, PHN, RN
2014: Sharon Katz, RN, FPMH-NP, PMH-CNS, BC
2013: Marian W. Roman PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2012: Nidhi Chabora, APRN, RX, BC
2011: Michael Terry, DNP, FNP, PMHNP
2010: Dawn Vanderhoef , DNP, RN, PMHNP/CNS-BC
2009: Kathleen M. Regan, RN, MHA, CNA, BC
2008: June Esser, MSN, PMHCNS-BC
2006: Lesley Lynn Arle, RN, MN

Other past recipients include Verna Carson, PhD, RN, CS; Susan Napier, RN; Rose E. Constantino, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN; Marilyn Verhey, PhD, RN, CS; Captain Lisa Davison and Captain Mary Moore; and Margot S. Gorske, RN, MSN, Barbara Olesko, MSN, RN, CS, NP; and Sharon Valente, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Innovation – Chapter:

2020: Arizona
2019: Kentucky
2018: Florida
2016: Colorado
2012: Pennsylvania
2010: Minnesota
2009: California
2008: Pennsylvania
2007: South Dakota
2006: Oregon

Other past recipients include the Iowa, Pennsylvania, and California Chapters.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – PMH-APRN:

2022: Kristen Bomboy, DNP, APRN-CNP, PMHNP
2021: Donna Gaffney, BSN, MA, MS, DNSc, PMHCNS-BC
2020: Michelle Giddings, DNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC
2019: Francine Pingitore, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2018: Jess Calohan, DNP, PMHNP-BC
2017: Julie Worley, PhD, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
2016: Mindy Cohen, RN, APN, CGP, DRCC, CARN
2015: Mary Conklen, MSN, APN, PMHCNS-BC
2014: Ellen Blair, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, NEA-BC, FAAN
2013: Joanne M. Matthew MS, RN, PCNS
2012: Pamela Marcus, RN, APRN, PMH-BC
2011: Patricia Cunningham, DNSc, APN PMHNP/CNS-BC, FNP-BC
2009: Ann M. Wilkinson, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2008: Kathleen Wheeler, APRN, PhD; Susan O’Toole, PhD, RN, CS
2006: Ann Bispo, MS, RN, CNS
2005: Mary J. Reed, PhD, APN, CS, BC
Other past recipients include Mary Harpe; Vivien Dee, DSNc, RN, FAAN; Mary Moller, MSN, ARNP, CS; Naomi R. Carey, MSN, RN; Kimberly Littrell, MS, RN, CS; Marcia L. Clark, RN, C; Nancy P. Hanrahan, MS, RN, CS; Carolyn V. Billings, MSN, RN, CS; Beverly S. Richards, DNS, RN; and Carol K. Witherington, PhD, RN, CS , Diana C. Nelson, MSN, RN, CS, GNP; and Sandra Talley, PhD, APRN, BC.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – RN-PMH:

2022: Sarret Seng, RN, BSN, BA
2021: Asneth Thomas-Rowe, BSN, RN
2020: Heather McCormick, BSN, RN-BC, PHN
2019: Vanessa H. Barlow, MBA, BSN, RN
2017: Aimee-Lynn Sheltry, BSN, RN-BC
2016: Heike Barnett, BSN, RN
2015: Janette O’Connor, BS, BSN, MS, RN-BC
2014: Michael Polacek, MSn BSed RN
2013: Donna M. Riemer RN-PMHN
2012: Martin Bosch, RN
2011: Marcia Melby, RN-BC, PMH
2010: Sherry Davis, RN
2009: Regina F. Janney, RNC, MS
2006: Elizabeth Moore, BSN, RM-PMH
2005: Robert Billman, RN, BSN
Other past recipients include Linda M. Jacobs, RN, BSN, and Colleen L. Eccleston, BSN, RN.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Education:

2022: David Foley, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, MPA
2021: Michael Terry, DNP, FNP, PMHNP
2020: Rosalind De Lisser, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
2019: Diane Esposito, PhD, ARNP, PMHCNS-BC
2018: Teena McGuinness, PhD, PMHNP-BC, FAAN
2017: Sattaria “Tari” Dilks, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FAANP
2016: Joy A. Lauerer, DNP, PMHCNS-BC, RN
2015: Dawn Vanderhoef, PhD, DNP, RN, PMHNP/CNS-BC
2014: Carole Shea, PhD, RN, FAAN
2013: Merrie J. Kaas DNSc, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2012: Brenda Marshall, EdD, NP-BC
2011: M. Jane Suresky, DNP, PMHCNS-BC
2010: Michael Rice, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
2009: Bethany J. Phoenix, RN, PhD
2008: Susan Adams, PhD, APRN, BC; Genevieve Chandler, RN, PhD
2007: Kathryn Hoehn Anderson PhD, ARNP, LMFT
2006: Anne Bateman, EdD, APRN, BC
2005: Sharon Valente, PhD, APRN, FAAN
Other past recipients include Carole A. Shea, PhD, RN, CS; Margery Chisholm, EdD, RN, CS; Robert Anders, DrPH, RN, CS; Shirley Smoyak, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Mary Ann Boyd, DNS, PhD, RN, Anne Hopkins Fishel, PhD, RN, CS; and Elizabeth Poster, PhD, RN.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Research:

2022: Mercy Ngosa Mumba, PhD, RN, CMSRN, FAAN
2021: Ursula Kelly, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP
2020: Olimpia Paun, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2019: Janet Ann York, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2018: Brenda Marshall, EdD, PMHNP-BC, ANEF
2017: Jill Bormann, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
2016: Janice H. Goodman, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
2015: Jane Mahoney, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC
2014: Jeanne Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN
2013: Genevieve E. Chandler RN, PhD
2012: Karen Farchaus Stein, PhD, RN, FAAN
2010: Lora Beebe, PhD, PMHNP-BC
2009: Nancy G. Buccola, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2008: Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS; June Horowitz, PhD, RN, CNS-BC, FAAN
2007: Lora Beebe, PhD, APRN
2006: Linda Chafetz, RN, PhD
2005: Judith Haber, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN
Other past recipients include Carol A. Glod, EdD, RN; Geoffry McEnany, PhD, RN, CS; Michelle Laraia, PhD, RN; Sharon Tucker, DNSc, RN; Kathryn R. Puskar, DrPH, RN, CS, FAAN; Linda Napholz, PhD, RN; and Jaclene Annette Zauszniewski, PhD, RN, C, Kathleen C. Buckwalter, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Claire Burke Drauker, PhD, RN, CS.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Leadership – RN:

2022: Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN
2021: Stephanie Verdeflor, MSN, RN-BC
2020: Suzie Marriott, MS, BSN, RN-BC
2019: Brynne Delaney Calleran, MSN, BSN, BS, NE-BC, IN/RN-BC, PMH/RN-BC
2018: Jacqueline Lopez, BS,
2017: Marybeth McManus, MPA, BSN, RN-BC
2016: Kristen Kichefski, MSN, MBA, RN-BC
2015: Diane Allen, MN, RN-BC, NEA-BC
2014: Michele Moreau, BA, RN-BC
2013: Judy S. Linn BS, BSN, MS
2012: Anne Kelly, RN
2008: Margaret Edwards, RN, MSN, NEA, BC
2007: Sue Odegarden, BSN, RN
2006: Gretchen Sandvik, RN, BSN
Other past recipients include Susan M. Griffin RN, MSN , PMH-BC; Kathleen Waters, M.Ed., RN; Brenda Kamel, RN, C; and Marilyn Dennis, RN, C.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Excellence in Leadership – APRN:

2022: Major Renel Ramos, DNP, MSN, RN, NPP, PMHNP-BC 
2021: Barbara (Bambi) Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP
2020: JoEllen Schimmels, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN
2019: Matthew Tierney, MSN, PMHNP-BC, FANP-BC, FAAN
2018: Tess Judge-Ellis, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP
2017: Lora Peppard, PhD, DNP, PMHNP-BC
2016: Kathy Johnson, MSN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
2014: Christine Tebaldi, MS, PMHNP-BC
2013: Gail R. Stern MSN, PMHCNS-BC
2012: Margaret Halter, PhD, APRN
2011: Lisabeth Johnston, PhD, APRN, CS
2010: Mary Rosedale, PhD, PMHNP-BC, NEA-BC
2009: Nancy P. Hanrahan, RN, PhD
2008: Nancy Dillon, PhD, RN, CNS
2007: Carole Farley-Toombs, MS, RN, CNAA, BC
2006: Shari Y. Baron, MSN, CS, CGP
2005: Barbara Jones Warren, PhD, APRN, BC

Other past recipients include Nancy Valentine, PhD, RN, CNAA, FAAN; Patricia A. Chiverton, EdD, RN; Kenneth Larson, RN, BSN, MPA; Suzanne Luongo, RN, C, BSN; Ellen M. Flowers, MS, RN; Elizabeth Wackerman Carter, DrPH, MS, RN; Sue Scipione, MSN, RN, C; and Lynn C. Delacy, RN, MSN, CNAA, Luc R. Pelletier, MSN, RN, CS, CPHQ; and Regina L. Ashwill, MSN, RN.

Recipients of the APNA Award for Media:

2018: Karen Foli, PhD, RN, FAAN
2016: Jeannine S. Loucks, MSN, RN-BC PMH
2014: Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN
2009: Margaret B. Halter, PhD, APRN
2008: Kathleen Wheeler, APRN, PhD
2007: Diane Wieland, PhD, APRN, BC
2006: Betty Vreeland, MSN, APRN, NP-C, BC
2005: Ruth “Topsy” Staten, PhD, ARNP-CS