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2022 APNA Elections

Welcoming the Newly Elected Members of the APNA Board of Directors and 2023 Nominating Committee

The following leaders were voted into office during the 2022 APNA elections by the membership. Their terms begin during the APNA 36th Annual Conference at the Annual Meeting & Town Hall on October 22, 2022.

Thank you to all of the members who put their names forward during this year’s Call for Nominations, the 2022 APNA Nominating Committee who oversaw this year’s elections, and to all who voted!


Lora Peppard, PhD, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Present Position
Director of ADAPT (A Division for Advancing Prevention & Treatment) and Deputy Director for Treatment & Prevention, Washington/Baltimore High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (part-time), Marymount University

PhD, George Mason University, 2017
DNP, Columbia University, 2008
MS, Boston College, 2004
BA, Wesleyan College, 1998

APNA Contributions

  • APNA Virginia Chapter
    • President, 2019-2021
    • Board Member, 2017-2019
  • Mental Health Roundtable coordinated by United States House Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III, Tonko, Matsui, and Trone – APNA Representative 2019
  • National Quality Forum’s Serious Mental Illness Action Team – APNA Representative 2018-2019

Other Experience

  • Director of a national substance use prevention training and technical assistance division for the HIDTA Program out of the Office of National Drug Control Policy 2019 – present
  • Evaluation expert for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Technical Consultation Group on “The Role of Law Enforcement Officers in Drug Prevention within Educational Settings” 2021
  • Guest Editor for special issue on substance use prevention for Journal of Applied Research on Children 2020-2021
  • Project Director for multiple federal behavioral health and substance use prevention grants 2015 – present
  • Developer/Coordinator of PMHNP concentration and co-developer of DNP program at George Mason University 2009-2019
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner in emergency room, inpatient, and outpatient settings 2005 – present

APNA members should vote for me to serve as President-Elect because I look forward to bringing APNA’s mission and goals to life in creative and important ways, always informed by the needs of our membership and the populations we serve. I have chosen an unconventional path as a psychiatric nurse initially focusing heavily on practice, then using my strengths in other ways, resulting in a well-rounded perspective on mental health, substance use, public health, psychiatric nursing’s potential role in the big picture, and existing opportunities for our field. I bring a demonstrated drive and energy to the role of President-Elect in pursuit of maximizing our impact as psychiatric nurses in the work we do.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by: I have spent the last 18 years advancing the science and education of psychiatric-mental health nursing in practice, academic, administrative, and volunteer roles. I have served in local, state, national, and international positions, paying close attention to critical conversations happening around mental health and substance use prevention, an area warranting significant education, training, and study.

In my current role leading a national training and technical assistance division for substance use prevention in communities, I support translating, adapting, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based strategies and generating new evidence to address emerging drug threats.  Our overarching mission is to increase the likelihood that communities will successfully “integrate” the best available evidence into their approach. Similarly, as President-Elect, I will support identification of educational or research gaps, strategies to address these gaps, quality monitoring and evaluation of all activities, and successful integration of new material into our discipline and beyond.

Enhancing strategic alliances with diverse stakeholders is essential and something I have done with federal, state, and local partners to streamline substance use prevention efforts across the country. I intend to do the same as President-Elect, honoring our core values and ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in our efforts.


Jane Abanes, PhD, DNP, MSN/Ed, PMHCNS/NP-BC

Present Position
Assistant Professor; Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University
PMHNP/Medical Acupuncturist; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science, Vanderbilt University, 2020
Doctor of Nursing Practice, Vanderbilt University, 2013
Post-Masters PMHNP/CNS, University of California, San Francisco, 2011
Master of Science in Nursing, Specialization in Healthcare Education, University of Phoenix. 2008
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Southern California, 2003

APNA Contributions

  • APNA, Annual Conference Podium Presenter, 2013
  • APNA, California Chapter, Member-at-Large, 2016-2018
  • APNA, California Chapter, President-Elect, 2021-Present

Other Experience

  • Crisis Management and Restraint Coordinator/Consultant; U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan, 2006-2009
  • Domestic Violence Counselor and Language Advocate, Asian Women’s Shelter, San Francisco, CA, 2009-2011
  • Education Committee Representative, Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses, 2011-2013
  • Special Psychiatric Rapid Intervention Team Leader; Naval Health Clinic, Hawaii, 2011-2013
  • Psychiatric Hospitalist; U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan, 2018-2021
  • Chapter Team Lead, Behavioral Health Interventions in Deployment Settings Clinical Practice Guidelines, Defense Health Agency, 2021
  •  Director, Clinical Education, PMHNP Phase II, Uniformed Services University, 2021-Present
  • Manuscript Peer Reviewer, Clinical Nursing Research Journal, 2021-Present
  • Co-Lead/Abstract Peer Reviewer, TriService Nursing Research Program, Behavioral Health Research Interest Group, 2021-Present
  • Working Group Member, Headache Clinical Practice Guidelines, VA/DoD, 2022

APNA members should vote for me to serve as Member-at-Large because I am passionate about improving mental health care for our patients and advocating for our dedicated PMH nurses. In addition to caring for service members and veterans with mental health problems, I have volunteered to advocate for women and children who were victims of domestic violence. My passion extends beyond my clinical work. I strive to be a transformational leader in fulfilling leadership positions in the California chapter and other governmental organizations. I improve clinical practice by participating in various scholarly works such as disseminate new knowledge through research, participate in clinical practice guidelines workgroups, mentor future clinicians, and engage in policymaking. If elected, I am committed to work with other APNA leaders in advocating for PMH nurses while improving the lives of patients and those who are underserved.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by using my diverse clinical, leadership, and educational background to the board to ensure that APNA continues to effectively address its purpose and bylaws. As an active duty service member who has treated service members for several years, I bring a unique perspective in caring for our veterans. As a medical acupuncturist, I bring a holistic approach in the field of mental health. As a nurse scientist, I can contribute my critical thinking skills and knowledge in solving challenging problems that face our leaders as they improve the provision of care for those with mental health problems. As an experienced leader and educator in a military setting, who is exposed to the challenges of operational environments, I can provide another perspective in addressing a vulnerable community (i.e., veteran population) whom many of our PMH clinicians serve.


Deborah SalaniDeborah Salani, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, NE-BC

Present Position
Associate Professor of Clinical/Director of the Post Graduate PMHNP Program
University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, Coral Gables, Florida

University of Miami, Post-Masters Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program 2015
University of Miami: Doctor of Nursing Practice: (DNP) 2012
University of Miami: Master of Science of Nursing (MSN) 1989
Developmental Pediatrics, Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Program
University of Miami: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 1986
Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania: Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology 1980

APNA Contributions

  • APNA member since 2014
  • APNA Annual Conference Presenter 2016, 2017,2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, &2022
  • Florida Chapter Member, President-Elect 2017, President 2018, Past President 2019
  • Florida Chapter Conference Planning Committee 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Personality Disorders Cluster B Task Force 2019 – present
  • APNA Competency-Based Training for Suicide Prevention Facilitator 2018 – present

Other Experience

  • Manuscript Reviewer: Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services and Pediatric Nursing
  • I am passionate about promoting psychiatric mental health nursing and improving the care we provide to individuals with mental health disorders across the lifespan. I am both a pediatric and psychiatric nurse practitioner.
  • My area of scholarship encompasses disseminating knowledge and improving clinical competency for advance practice nurses who provide care to the vulnerable individuals including children and those with mental disorders. I have accomplished this through the development of educational interventions such as immersive simulation encounters around the identification and management of care for human trafficking survivors, mental disorders, and educating providers through publications and presentations.
  • My work has been disseminated through 3 book chapters and 32 journal publications (14 first-authored) and 7 international, 28 national, and 14 regional presentations.

APNA members should vote for me to serve as Member-at-Large because I have extensive clinical leadership experience as a Director of an Emergency Department and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/ECMO and Dialysis Unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, and Director of the PMHNP program at the University of Miami.  Working in highly stressful/challenging areas has taught me the value of teamwork. I have always valued the input of team members and have found this leadership style where members can express their thoughts and ideas produces the most success.

I truly love being a nurse and providing care to the most vulnerable. I will continue to do my best to advance our profession and the APNA.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by I have always tried to improve the clinical competency for advanced practice nurses who provide care to vulnerable individuals including children and those with mental disorders. If elected, I will represent the APNA in a professional manner by working to improve the care provided to those with mental illness, by disseminating knowledge and improving clinical competency through presentations and publications. I will also continue to mentor prospective leaders to be active members in the APNA.

2023 Nominating Committee

Tony AmbergAlan ‟Tony” Amberg, MSN, MS, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Present Position
Owner, Alan Tony Amberg PLLC
MSN PMHNP, Rush University 2013
MS Nursing, DePaul University 2010
MS Instructional Technology, Gallaudet University 1987
BA Theatre, University of Maryland 1984

APNA Contributions

  • APNA Illinois Chapter
    • President (also President-Elect and Immediate Past President) 2015-2019
    • Headed up conference, helped to build it up to 310 participants, 20 posters, 60 student scholarships
    • Started chapter annual board retreat
    • Chapter meeting events at the APNA Annual Conference
    • Headed fundraising efforts that raised over $100,000 for the chapter.
  • 2009 Janssen Scholar

Other Experience

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Liaison (2015-2021): spoke at many conferences and events. Provided nursing grand rounds at Northwestern Memorial and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. Hands-on training and consultation for APRNs/PAs, RNs and Techs across a wide variety of subject matter. Subject matter expert on introduction of revised Delirium screening across the hospital. Wrote same-day surgery suicide assessment protocol. During lockdown, provided over 300 stress reduction groups to staff hospital-wide (>2800 staff contacts). Media appearances on behalf of Northwestern on NBC, NPR and Bloomberg, local TV and print. Precepted 27 NP students, a 5-year training partnership with Spiritual Care to train Chaplain residents in psychiatry.
  • Rush Oak Park Hospital Sole Consult Psychiatric Provider (2014-2015): 135-bed community hospital of Rush University Medical Center.
  • 7 Hills Healthcare Center Part-time Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (2016-2020): Outpatient Community Mental Health
  • Co-section advisor/ contributor (2019-2021)
  • NP Psych Navigator Advisory council/ contributor (2021-2022)
    Illinois Society of Advanced Practice Nurses: Conference speaker since 2015, Program Committee (2022)

APNA members should vote for me to serve on the Nominating Committee because a great board begins with great members. Health care is going through rapid evolution and Psychiatric Nursing is essential to meeting the psychiatric workforce needs of the country; physicians cannot do it all. We need out-of-the-box thinking, and ways to grow and support the chapters so that they don’t simply rely on a few incredible nurses who carry the water year after year. We also have too many states with weak or non-existent chapters. We also need representatives from the new and surging area of nurse entrepreneurship. The Nominating Committee is key to not only vetting interested members but reaching out to find members with key skills and experience in these areas.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by acknowledging and reaching out to all the nurses (both RN and LPN) in the psychiatric commercial chains and nursing homes who need us for education and advocacy and are not represented well. There is also a need for organized clinical education for APRNs beyond the master’s level. We have a preceptor shortage problem and no national voice to partner with universities to consistently help preceptors become good teachers of the science. I will be a voice in the Nominating committee for looking beyond the usual sources to see how we can recruit candidates that can diversify our viewpoints and help to meet these needs as well.

2023 Nominating Committee

Vonda Keels-Lowe

Vonda Keels-Lowe, MSN, CPN, PMHNP-BC, APRN

Present Position
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio
Adolescent Inpatient Unit (ages 12/13 to 17)
Outpatient Care with our Family Support Program, serving patients impacted by Trauma.
The Ohio State University: Faculty for the PMHNP Specialty Program.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Faculty Member, Preceptor, and Faculty Advisory Board member for the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program.

Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing 1992 – Capital University
Master of Science Degree in Nursing with a Child & Adolescent Health Concentration and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Eligibility June 2008 – Wright State University
Post-Masters Certification for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program May 2014 – The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

APNA Contributions

  • APNA Ohio Chapter
    • President October 2020 – 2022
    • President-Elect 2020
    • Secretary 2018
    • Chapter Conference chairperson 2019 & 2020
  • Child and Adolescent Council Advisory Panel
  • Research Council
  • Neuromodulation Task Force Advisory Panel

Other Experience

  • Family Healthcare, Inc.
    • Director of Nursing (1996-2000)
    • Child & Family Health Services Director and Immunization Coordinator (1994-1996)
  • Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) Ohio Chapter – Immediate Past President (2011-2016); Vice-President (2009-2011); Board Member (2007-2009); Secretary (2005-07)
  • SPN National Chapter Development Committee Member (2007; 2008)
  • SPN National Chapter Education and Programming Committee (2011-2012)
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Chapter Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (Member of the Divine Nine): Service is promoted and provided on both local and national levels.
  • Franklin County and Delaware County Committee Member to combat Human Trafficking.
  • Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner 2007; Certification 2008.
  • Designed Sensory Rooms for the Behavioral Health Pavilion and the Child/Adolescent Unit at Harding Hospital.
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Racial Justice Committee 2021 to Present
  • Other pertinent experiences include:
    • Grant writing
    • Articles for publication/peer reviewer Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing.
    • Public speaking
    • Podium and Poster presenter at national/local conferences
    • Professional / Staff Development

APNA members should vote for me to serve on the Nominating Committee because my experience as a faculty member and instructor for graduate students as well as fellow candidates, has been very helpful and insightful in making decisions related to finding the best fit in a candidate for programs/positions. Leadership appointments have given me opportunities to connect and collaborate with others and to appreciate the contributions of others in selecting the appropriate candidate for various programs.

I hope the members of APNA will believe and trust that my experience and commitment to the growth of our organization is very important to me and that begins with selecting the best and most qualified candidates for each open position and bringing those candidates forward to our membership.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by continuing to support innovative research that meets APNA’s purpose. As we continue to evolve and grow, it will be important to discuss how we can best meet the needs of our membership and embrace change. If elected, I will continue to be an advocate for our profession and for APNA. It is important to promote the organization and provide education about who we are and our purpose at every level, from community to national.

2023 Nominating Committee


Present Position
Associate Professor, PMHNP Program Coordinator: University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
PMHNP clinical practice. Heroes Mile, VA

Doctorate in Nursing Practice, Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin, 2011-2012
Master of Science of Nursing, University of Michigan, Flint, Michigan, 2007-2010
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Adult Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, University of Michigan, Flint, 2006-2007
Associate Degree in Nursing, Registered Nurse, Mid-Michigan Community College, Harrison, Michigan, 2003-2005, LPN, 2001-2003
Registered Medical Assistant, X-Ray Tech, Echo Tech, Front Office, 1983-2003 – Ross Medical Education Center, Livonia, Michigan

APNA Contributions

  • APNA Florida Chapter
    • President 2022
    • President-Elect 2021
  • Education Council
    • Advisory Panel
    • Undergraduate Branch
  • Practice Council Advisory Panel
  • Scholarly Review Committee
  • APNA JAPNA Peer Journal Reviewer
  • APNA Annual Abstract Conference Judge and Scholarly review committee task force work
  • APNA, Podium Presenter at APNA Florida Conference. Reducing Disparity and Mitigating Depression for
  • Hispanic Older Adults Implementing the Hispanic Version of the PHQ-9 Screening Tool. (2019)

Other Experience

  • Author
  • PMHNP Preceptor and Nurse mentor
  • Nurse case manager/quality assurance leadership
  • Researcher and doctoral chairperson
  • SAMHSA Grant: Substance Use Education, integrated into advanced practice education curriculum (2018)

APNA members should vote for me to serve on the Nominating Committee because I would bring my 30 years of healthcare experience, 17 years as a nurse educator, and psychiatric nursing science leadership skills to the APNA organization at the National level. I am an advocate for nurses, and a leader for psychiatric clinical practice, inclusive of social justice which is crucial in the duty of representing the APNA members on the Nominating Committee. Voting for me would allow me to fulfill the APNA organization’s duty while upholding fidelity and beneficence within the NC members’ role in partnering and overseeing electoral and organizational processes.

I can help fulfill APNA’s purpose as a scientific and education organization by continuing to dedicate myself to APNA’s mission, and purpose for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes in the endeavor to promote and elevate psychiatric mental health nurses inclusive of student nurses. I have the passion and enthusiasm to provide services to the APNA organization that advances quality evidence-based mental health care for diverse individuals and populations locally, and nationally. When nurses benefit, their systems and patients benefit.