Your voice is important! Make sure you vote in the upcoming elections for the 2021 Board of Directors. Elections will open on September 1, 2020 and close on September 17, 2020. Newly elected board members officially take office January 1, 2021.

Only full member registered nurses can vote; each eligible voter will receive a ballot email from our partner, Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS). Voting is confidential. More information about the voting process can be found in the AWHONN Bylaws.

For questions or comments, please email leadership@awhonn.org.

President-Elect Candidates

Sandra K. Cesario, PhD, MS, RNC, FAAN

Sandra is the PhD program director at Texas Woman’s University; Women’s health specialist with 44 years of clinical, research, education, and policy development experience. She has been an AWHONN member for 32 years, actively engaged as chair of the National Practice committee and serving on advisory panels, JOGNN and NWH editorial boards and leading EBP guideline development teams.

AWHONN leadership:
She has been an AWHONN member for 32 years, actively engaged as chair of the National Practice committee and serving on advisory panels, JOGNN and NWH editorial boards and leading EBP guideline development teams. She is an AWHONN awardee for Distinguished Professional Service, NWH Excellence in Writing, and Excellence in Education.

Other leadership:
Sandra’s research interests include violence against women, reproductive decision-making, gynecologic cancers, nursing education, second stage labor management, newborn abandonment, and cultural aspects of childbearing and birth.  She has provided care to women and newborns throughout the United States and internationally and was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2008.

Sandra holds leadership roles in Sigma Theta Tau, Texas Nurses Association, Texas Medical Center Women’s Health Network, and the Women’s Health Initiative of Texas.

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Sandra passionately supports AWHONN’s advocacy goals through promotion of diversity and inclusivity, education of nurses and communities, and policy development to improve the care of women and newborns.

Robert Durkee, MHA, BSN, RN, FACHE

Robert is a Healthcare Consultant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Baylor University. He has over 30 years of experience in women’s health, quality and safety. He has been an active AWHONN member for over 29 years and has held positions on the national finance committee, board, and as a section Secretary/Treasurer.

AWHONN leadership:
Robert has served on the National Finance Committee – February 2019 to Dec 2019, as a National Director January 2016 – February 2019, and as the Armed Forces Section Secretary / Treasurer 2005 – 2008

Other leadership:
Nurse Manager, Labor & Delivery
Joint Commission Surveyor
Army Patient Safety Program Manager 

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Robert believes AWHONN’s programs should make it easier for you to do your job; whether as staff nurse, nurse manager, director of women’s services, or any position in which women and newborns are the primary focus.  Our efforts to improve the health of women and children should center on activities to expand access to healthcare services to all women, regardless of their personal situation. A woman’s access to high-quality healthcare should not be based on where they live, their socioeconomic status, or based on any other demographic factor.

Secretary-Treasurer Candidates

Susan Dendrinos, MSN, RNC-MNN

Susan has over 40 years’ experience in nursing and nursing leadership roles in the Metro-Detroit area.  Most recently she was a Director of Clinical Operations at Henry Ford Health System. 

AWHONN leadership:
An AWHONN member for more than 25 years, Susan has served as both Section Chair and Section Secretary Treasurer in Michigan.  She also served on the Board of Directors and has volunteered for the Nominating Committee, Finance Committee, and the Development Committee. 

Other leadership:
Susan participates in the Michigan Advisory Committee on Immunization, the Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health and serves on the Michigan BioTrust for Health – Community Values Board. She is on the Board of Directors for the National Certification Corporation. 

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Susan believes AWHONN, now more than ever, must be a vital resource for the nurses in our country who care for women and newborns.  Wmust advocate for what is right and just, set the stage for work that is meaningful and impactful, driving success through an inspired and energized membership. New efficiencies and partnerships would allow resources to be entirely dedicated to the growth and development of the organization to better serve not only our nurses but also women and their families. 

Julie Zimmerman MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM

Julie has a BSN and MSN in Women’s Health from the University of Iowa College of NursingFor over 40 years, she has been a staff nurse at UnityPoint – St. Luke’s Hospital Birth Care Center in Cedar Rapids, IA. Julie also serves as nurse residency program facilitator.  She teaches EFM and POEP AWHONN programs and was previously an educational outreach coordinator   

AWHONN leadership:
Section Advisory Council – District 4; Participates on the EFM task force and staffing guidelines committees; EFM instructor for 23 years; EFM instructor trainer for 17 years- conducting numerous courses across MidwestLegislative liaison for Iowa; 2018 national conference planning committeeFormer Iowa Section Chair; committee member for POEP and EFM programs. 

Other leadership:
Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, former March of Dimes and Iowa Breast Cancer Action Foundation board member, previously on IHI committee for UnityPoint Health. 

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
AWHONN should be THE leader in healthcare change.  In this time of social change we have an opportunity to reduce and end racial disparities through education and legislative workBut there is an urgency to act now. As an organization, AWHONN has the opportunity to come through this time in history stronger and more visible as the leading nursing organization in the U.S.  

Director Candidates

Jeanne L. Alhusen, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN

Jeanne is an Associate Professor and Acting Associate Dean for Research at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. Jeanne is also a practicing family nurse practitioner and has maintained a clinical practice for over 20 years. Jeanne received her BSN from Villanova University, MSN from Duke University, and PhD and postdoctoral fellowship from Johns Hopkins University.

AWHONN leadership:
Jeanne is a full panel member and Chair of AWHONN’s Research Advisory Panel (RAP).  Since 2018, she has been a Director on AWHONN’s National Board of Directors

Other leadership:
Jeanne volunteers on two additional boards, both whose missions are focused on improving health outcomes for families living in poverty.

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Jeanne believes AWHONN’s strengths lie in its staff and members, each wholly committed to improving the lives of women, newborns and their families. She is deeply committed to a) fostering the next generation of nurse clinicians and scientists through mentoring, engagement, and leadership opportunities; b) expanding our research funding, particularly as it relates to health inequities among women of color and the role of racism, and other forms of oppression; c) demonstrating accountability in our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by fostering diverse perspectives and actively pursuing equity in all aspects of our work; and d) launching the AWHONN Fellows program which will recognize nurse leaders who have made substantive and sustained contributions to the field while also better utilizing their talents to advance AWHONN’s mission.

Margie Mueller Boyer, MS, RNC, C-EFM

Margie received her BSN & MS from The Ohio State University where she worked as an L&D RN and later as the Perinatal Nurse Manager.  She also worked as a traveler L&D RN in Honolulu & Phoenix before moving to Tampa.  She has over 35 years experience in Women’s Health, Obstetrics & Neonatal Nursing as an L&D RN, CNS, Director, Perinatal Safety Officer & Nurse Consultant.  She is passionate about providing family centered holistic care with a health equity focus. Currently, Margie works as a Nurse Consultant with The Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative & as Adjunct Faculty at Rasmussen College.

AWHONN leadership:
Margie’s AWHONN leadership positions include past Florida Section Chair, Florida Conferences Chair, Florida Newsletter Editor & OPS Instructor.

Other leadership:
Margie serves as a Nurse Expert for the OHI (Hemorrhage), PROVIDE (vaginal birth) & MORE(Opioid) FPQC initiatives.  She is also on Healthy Start Hillsborough Board as Past-President & Tampa Family Health Centers Board.

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Margie’s goals for AWHONN are to promote EBP for women, infants and their families in a holistic, non-biased, culturally diverse manner and provide mentorship and support for members through local and national healthcare initiatives.

Elizabeth Kester, MSN, RN

Elizabeth is a nurse leader and passionate advocate for women’s rights and patient-centric empowered birth experiences. She is the Nursing Director of the labor and delivery unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Elizabeth serves as the Marketing Director for March for Moms, a national advocacy organization that promotes policies ensuring every family can grow with dignity and support. Elizabeth has experience delivering care in maternity services in vastly different settings, from rural critical access hospitals to large academic medical centers.

Elizabeth holds an advanced degree in communications, with a specialization in marketing and design, having enjoyed a successful career in advertising prior to transitioning to women’s health nursing.

AWHONN leadership:
New Hampshire Section Coordinating Team Leader; National Corresponding Member, Program Committee; Emerging Leader Mentor and Participant; National Nominating Committee.

Other leadership:
March for Moms Steering Committee, Marketing Director; Executive Planning Committee, Perinatal Leadership Forum; and Ariadne Labs, expert consultation on TeamBirth and Nurse Influence.

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Elizabeth’s goals for AWHONN include promoting education and policy that reduces maternal morbidity and mortality by:

  • Educating members and advancing policies grounded in equity; addressing structural racism, listening and supporting black-led organizations.
  • Strengthening advocacy efforts surrounding equal access to care and healthcare disparities.

 

Catherine “Kate” McGovern, RN, MSN, WHNP-BC, ANP-BC, CNM, IBCLC

Kate has 35 years of experience in the OB/GYN specialties in various roles in hospital, clinic and faculty settings. Currently she is the Director of Professional Development for Perinatal services at Tufts Medical Center serving a community of patients and staff with more than 80 ethnicities and 40 languages.

AWHONN leadership:
Kate’s AWHONN leadership positions include, Massachusetts Section Chair, Massachusetts Section Education Committee, National Nominating Committee, Fetal Heart Monitoring Instructor Trainer, convention host committee chair, and presenter for women’s cardiovascular health.

Other leadership:
YMCA Leader of the year award
Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary member
March of Dimes
American Cancer Society

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Kate’s mission and goals for AWHONN include to increase diversity and culturally specific growth across the organization, educational programs and build strength in leadership. Additionally, promote growth in legislative advocacy, research and technology initiatives by engaging members and leveraging expertise of team contributors.

Shellie R. Nelson, RN, MS

Shellie Nelson, RN, MS has faithfully given her time to Women’s Services as a nurse, charge nurse, manager and director. Her clinical experience includes an outstanding academic background which includes; a BBA in accounting from Prairie View A&M University, a BSN in nursing from Avila University, and a Master’s of Science in Health Systems Management from Texas Woman’s University.  Shellie is currently in her final stages of studies for her PhD in Nursing Science.

AWHONN leadership:
Shellie has served Texas as the Secretary/Treasurer and Section Leader.  She has also served on the Finance Committee and planning committee for the National Conference in New Orleans. She currently serves on the Section Advisory Committee representing both Texas and Oklahoma.

Other leadership:
Shellie currently works as a Director of Women’s Services for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). In her role as Director she has developed and implemented many programs in efforts to assist her staff in providing safe, quality and efficient care. She is actively involved in maternal and infant health initiatives both on the job and in her community. Improving care for all patients by educating on the importance of diversity and inclusion has become a highlight in her career.

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Shellie’s dedication to her craft and the health of women and infants motivates her to continue her quests of inspiring others to become more involved. She strongly believes that every healthcare experience provides an opportunity to have a positive effect on a patient’s health and should be designed to relate to all cultures.  

Dixie Weber MS, BSN, RN 

Dixie is the System Service Line Director for Women’s and Children’s Services at PeaceHealth in Vancouver, WA. She also serves as the National Director of Healthcare Programs for the Family to Family Support Network, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. For the past 20 years, Dixie has specialized in Maternal-Child Healthcare and has held numerous leadership and programmatic positions within the specialty. Dixie holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Management, as well as a post-graduate certificate in adult learning theory. 

AWHONN leadership:
Dixie previously served as the Idaho AWHONN Section Leader and is currently the Legislative Coordinator for the Idaho AWHONN section. 

Other leadership:
Dixie is an expert in best practices in the care of Unique Perinatal Populations including, women making an adoption plan, families growing through surrogacy arrangements, the pregnant incarcerated population, women giving birth after a sexual assault or domestic violence, and social complex families. She has established expectations for healthcare in the delivery of comprehensive, consistent, and high-quality medical care for these complex patients. She has developed numerous innovative programs and has spoken across the country on topics including Generational Workforce Management, Neutral Compassionate Care Models, Adoption and Surrogacy, Bioethics, and Leadership Development.   

Mission and goals for AWHONN:
Dixie is focused on working with states across the country to educate healthcare teams, assisting them to revise their internal infrastructure and workflows to improve patient care and proactively engaging the community in the total care of the Unique Patient Population. Additionally, she is a pro-education healthcare advocate working to influence congressional leaders at both the state and national levels to continue efforts to improve women’s and children’s health outcomes.