APNA Annual Conference Headliners

APNA President’s Address
Thursday, October 3  |  9:00am - 10:00am

Gail Stern

Graduating with a Masters in Psychiatric nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, Gail Stern has been a psychiatric mental health nurse for over 35 years.  She has functioned as a staff nurse, an APRN, faculty member, consultant, legal expert and an administrator responsible for multihospital full continuums of mental health and substance abuse services. She is currently the Administrator of the Department of Psychiatry for Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.

Stern has participated in research and innovation in recovery-based care, through SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) as well as other grants. She is a facilitator for “Recovery to Practice” for APNA. For the past 17 years, she has been dedicated to the work of integrating mental health and substance abuse services into all healthcare settings. Lehigh Valley Health Network is nationally known for these efforts. She is currently championing suicide prevention as a participant in the Zero Suicide Academy and is involved in responding to the opioid crisis along with her network and community. Gail has been active on the national board of APNA (American Psychiatric Nurses Association) and is currently the President of APNA.

Keynote Presentation
Friday, October 4 |  9:00am - 10:00am

Nanette Larson

Nanette V. Larson, BA, CRSS, serves as the Deputy Director and Ambassador for Wellness & Recovery Services for the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health. Larson provides leadership and consultation to further the development of recovery-oriented services and advances the division’s recovery initiatives, such as Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP®), Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) training and development.

Larson is a nationally recognized leader in the mental health recovery movement and has provided numerous presentations to diverse audiences on recovery, spirituality, and related topics. Larson has co-authored several journal articles, chaired the Patient Needs Workgroup for the Healthy Illinois 2021/State Innovation Model, and received many awards for her work, including the Professional of the Year Award from the Illinois Certification Board and the IDHS Platinum Customer Service "Going the Extra Mile" (PCS GEM) Award. In 2019 she published her first book, From Shattered to Restored, a story of recovery, discovery, and the restoration of hope and purpose. Her passion for this work comes from her personal experience of recovery from mental illness, and her message of hope is for everyone affected by these conditions.


Standup Comedy & Discussion Panel
Thursday, October 3  |  6:30pm - 7:30pm

Pete LeePete Lee, whose joyful humor comes from his Midwestern roots, was the first standup comedian to get a standing ovation on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Currently, he is a cast member of TruTV’s Greatest Ever, hosts his own segment on Nickelodeon’s Nick Toons called NFL Rush, and is a regular on TruTV’s Comedy Knockout and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle. Lee also hosts a friendship advice podcast with his PMH-NP girlfriend Jaime, called Snugglestorm.

Lee has performed on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal (where he was voted a standout performer), and on NBC’s Last Comic Standing (where he was a semi-finalist). He has also shot his own Comedy Central Half Hour Special, was a writer and cast member for three seasons on VH1’s Best Week Ever and made his late-night television debut on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman.





Mardi Gras!
Thursday Evening Festivities

Thursday, October 3  | 7:30pm - 9:30pm

When in NOLA, let the good times roll!  On Thursday night you’ll get a taste of the Big Easy with Mardi Gras themed snacks and beverages, entertainment, and all that jazz. Throw on some purple and gold and don’t miss it.

APNA Annual Conference Attendees


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