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2024 APNA Annual Awards Recipients

Kathleen Schachman, PhD, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FIAAN, FAANP 

Psychiatric Nurse of the Year
Nominated by Carol Essenmacher, DNP, PMHNCS-BC
“Through evidence-based practices, she contributes to policy decisions, striving for a health care landscape that is more equitable and effective in serving rural communities experiencing addictions.”

Diane Allen, DNP, PMHRN-BC, FACHE(R)
Award for Distinguished Service
Nominated by Ellen Blair, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, NEA-BC, CPHQ, FAAN
“Her leadership inspires others to participate and do more than they had envisioned possible. The world and APNA are better because of Diane Allen.”

Capt. Thi Lua, BSN, PMHN-BC
Award for Excellence in Practice – RN
Nominated by Lt. Col. Renel Ramos, DNP, MSN, RN, NPP, PMHNP-BC
“She is passionate about implementing and monitoring suicide initiatives to reduce self-injury and save lives.”

Helen Rodriguez-Romanacce, DNP, APRN,
Award for Excellence in Practice – APRN
Nominated by Cathleen Kealey, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, APHN-BC
“Her unique contributions and drive for nursing retention continue to improve morale and increase availability of specialized psychiatric services.”

Gretchen Johnson, DNP, MSN, RN-BC
Award for Excellence in Leadership – RN
Nominated by Erin Macale, DNP, MSN-RN, CNL
“She finds ways to support and mentor her staff based on their individual needs. She is very dedicated to helping them find opportunities and develop the skills to reach those goals.”

Lt. Col. Regina Owen, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Award for Excellence in Leadership – APRN
Nominated by Jouhayna Bajjani Gebara, PhD, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC
“She focuses on the strengths of every person she works with and has a way of bringing out the best in people.”

Jennifer Graber, EdD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
Award for Excellence in Education
Nominated by Kristen Bomboy, DNP, APRN-CNP, PMHNP
“She has been successful in recruiting students to follow in her footsteps to become PMH professionals and an advanced practice nurses.”

Jamie Zelazny, PhD, MPH, RN
Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship
Nominated by Karen Jennings Mathis, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FAED
“She’s leading NIH grant funded studies that will improve clinical practice for PMHNs and APRNs by providing tools for earlier identification of proximal suicide risk and may reduce deaths by suicide in youth.”



Diane Vines, RN, PhD, RRT, PHN, PMHN
Award for Innovation – Individual
“She is focused on removing barriers to care while investigating The Foot Soak Program’s impact on nursing students including improving empathy and willingness to consider working with vulnerable people.”

Past Recipients of APNA Annual Awards

Recipients of the APNA Psychiatric Nurse of the Year Award:

2023: Bethany Phoenix, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN
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:

2023: Mary Ann Nihart, MA, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
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:

2023: Joy Lauerer, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
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:

2023: Maj. Francis Ugoh, RN
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:

2023: Kate Pfeiffer, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
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:

2023: Leigh Lackey, BA, RN, BHCMII
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