ACNA Election for 2021 Leadership

Presentation of the Candidates for the Positions of President-Elect
& Member-at-Large of the ACNA Board of Directors 

NOTICE OF ELECTION: ACNA is conducting its annual election cycle from November 1-15, 2020. Members are strongly encouraged to exercise their right to vote and help determine the future of our association. Voting is securely conducted through ElectionBuddy. Members should note that they will be receiving their election link directly from Election Buddy--and not ACNA. MAKE SURE TO VOTE!   

The Nominating Committee is pleased to put forward the following slate of candidates for the open positions on the ACNA Board of Directors. 

Below you will find the background, information and statements of the 12 incredible members who have stepped forward to stand for office. We ask all members to do their due diligence in reviewing all of the nominees' credentials by scrolling through all the candidate presentations. Thank you!   


Candidate for President-Elect on the ACNA Board of Directors

To be elected for a 4-year term starting on January 1, 2021 (one year president elect, two years as president and one past president). 
Candidate for President-Elect

Name: Mark G. Worster RN-BSN, AFA

Hometown: Berkley, MA
Current Position: Co-Founder
Employer: The Green Nurse
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 6-10 years

WATCH CANDIDATE'S VIDEO

Statement:

I am formally announcing my intent to be the next President-Elect of the American Cannabis Nurses Association. I graduated from Regis College in 2014 with my AS in Nursing after serving as class President during my time there. I completed my BSN at Regis College, graduating in 2018. I am currently enrolled in the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and will graduate in June of 2021. Over the last 30+ years I have volunteered in the non-profit space in various capacities. I have worked in the field as a volunteer doing everything from painting homeless shelters to mentoring teens living in community-based homes. My greatest joy, however, has been volunteering at the Board level. My first experience was with Community Care Services, a $20mm health and human services organization in southern Massachusetts. They had been a client for several years and I attended many events in support of their mission. I was approached by their CFO, a brilliant former attorney named John Royston, and asked if I’d be willing to sit on the Board (John passed away from glioblastoma a short two years later and I’m thankful for his contributions to my life). I willingly agreed and began a journey that lasted over 9 years and was instrumental in my growth as a leader. I was asked to assume the role of Treasurer after a year on the Board. I spent another year in that role and was then asked if I’d like to be the next Chair-Elect. I was elated to be asked to step up to that role. The Chair at that time was a powerful nurse leader by the name of Del Moscartolo, who was the Director of Patient Services at a local hospital. Del turned out to be the most amazing mentor and her advice and support made the transition smooth and easy. The Board makeup was very diverse in gender, age and ethnicity. We worked together to ensure the success of the organization through the many challenges of running an organization that is dependent on government funding. I remained the Chairman of the Board for 7 years until we successfully completed a merger of the organization with the Justice Resource Institute, after which the CCS Board was disbanded. In 2006 I was invited to join the Board of Directors of Old Colony Hospice. Old Colony is the largest and oldest non-profit hospice organization in Massachusetts. I was elected Vice-Chair and spent three years working on behalf of the organization. It was an incredible experience learning about the inner workings of hospice and connecting to their mission. I remain an active supporter of the organization and count the current President, Toni Eaton – another RN, as one of my closest friends. In 2012 I joined Entrepreneurs Organization. EO is the largest peer network of entrepreneurs in the world with over 14,000 members in over 60 different countries. I joined the Board of the local chapter and have been an active member since that time. I have held various positions, but my favorite was being the Chapter President. They say that the President’s role is the best in all of EO and I wholeheartedly agree. The President is responsible for leading a diverse Board consisting of other powerful leaders. Not an easy task but ultimately rewarding. I currently serve on the Regional Board as a Communications Expert. In this role I guide the local east coast chapter Communications Chairs in how to best achieve their goals. As an EO member I have attended many leadership training programs but the one that stands out above all others was the Regional Leadership Academy held in Williamsburg, VA in April of 2019. The Academy was led by Warren Rustand, the former aide to Gerald Ford, a former NBA player and accomplished entrepreneur and family man. This Academy, which is by invite only, focused on servant leadership – the foundation of my leadership style. My life, both personally and professionally, was changed in the most positive way by my attendance at this academy. In addition to the experiences listed above I joined the board of the local chapter of the American Nurses Association in 2014. From 2016 thru 2018 I served as the Treasurer of the chapter. ANA Massachusetts is an extremely active chapter in the area of legislation and education. I’m proud that we were, after several years of lobbying and direct testimony, able to add a nurse to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. This was a hard-fought battle and one that was extremely important to us. The Commission advises the Governor on all things health policy related and the nursing community, the largest community of healthcare providers, was not represented. Throughout all these experiences I was able to utilize my greatest skill as a leader – my ability to build consensus. Everyone is seen, respected and heard. As you can imagine over those many years there were times of contention and heated debate. Throughout each experience we were able to communicate effectively and agree on a final outcome where everyone felt heard and accepted. My vision for the organization is simple – I see the ACNA as the leading authority on all thing’s cannabis medicine related. When anyone raises a question regarding cannabis, I want them to immediately think of the ACNA as the trusted organization that can answer that question. I look forward to serving in a leadership role in the American Cannabis Nurses Association as President-elect, and finally President.

President-Elect Statement:
After joining the ACNA in 2018 I immediately reached out to offer my participation on the Board. I spent the first year as a member of the Finance Committee, a role I know well. This year I have participated in the Conference Planning Committee and have enjoyed it immensely. Bylaws are crucial to the success of any organization and are a living document that should be reviewed on an annual basis. They provide the framework for agreement as to how members and the organizational leadership conduct themselves as such. The requirements for President-elect are clear – you must be committed to the organization as evidenced by your participation in the day to day activities of the ACNA. Beyond that the President-Elect must display a history of commitment to other like-minded organizations. This evidence points to the individual’s ability to take on a challenge and stick with it to completion. Continuity in the rile of President is important in any organization. When leading any organization, especially an all-volunteer organization, diplomacy and communication are paramount to effective leadership. When someone gives of themselves without compensation there is an expectation that their contribution will be honored and recognized. In all of my past leadership positions I made it a top priority to recognize each individual’s efforts on behalf of the organization. Communication is also a key component of effective leadership. Having served for several years as both a Marketing/Communications Chair for the local chapter of EO and then as a Regional Expert, I have been in the trenches creating effective communication strategies that inspire and inform membership on any and all matters of importance. I have used virtually every methodology of communicating with members within the organization. Communication is always at the top of the list of most important functions. I am a very dynamic, inspirational leader. I value everyone in the organization and strive to create a community of inclusivity. My focus would be on communicating regularly with members to ensure they felt as much as part of the organization as possible. In addition, I would work diligently to create an environment of trust and respect for all. We work in an industry where we deal with stigma related to the plant and we need to make certain we always support each other in moving this new healthcare paradigm forward. My direct experience in leading diverse organizations is that managing conflict is part of everyday life. Creating the space where people can feel comfortable in expressing their opinions safely and without fear of ridicule is key to the long-term growth and success of our organization. It can be a delicate balance between strong personalities as passions run high especially when it comes to healthcare. Those who have led before worked tirelessly with a vision for this organization that has brought us to a place of amazing success. I look forward to continuing to build on that success and propel the ACNA to even greater heights!


11 Candidates for 4 Open Member-at-Large Board Positions

To be elected for a 2-year term starting on January 1, 2021.

Candidates for (4) Member-at-Large Positions

Name: Arleen Crider LPN

Hometown: Shaker Heights, OH
Current Position: Board Member
Employer: Self-Employed
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 11-20 years

Statement:
So much excellent work has been done at the ACNA in the years that I've been a member of the association. I am even more proud of the hard work that has been done in the last year under my leadership as board member and chair of the committee for advocacy diversity and inclusion by developing policy, issuing statements, and holding difficult townhall discussions during troubling times within the association, the nursing profession, and in the world. I am extremely proud to have been in leadership with the ACNA during this time of exponential growth. I am excited to continue this important work as a board member and committee chair. We've only just begun! I promised to work to increase diversity within the association and leadership. I am excited to see rapid growth in the number of members while watching our diversity increase as well. I am eager to continue my work to guide our members into becoming the next generation of leaders within the ACNA and the nursing profession as a whole. It has been an honor to serve an would be an honor to continue to serve our members in creating safe spaces for us all.

Name: Dedee Culley, RN ASN

Hometown: Republic, MO
Current Position: RN/Owner
Employer: 2 Leaf Nurses
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 21-30 years

Statement:
After 25 years in the healthcare industry, including 20 as a Registered Nurse, I have seen so many changes in the way this industry functions, the way care is provided, and the role of the nurse. I’ve seen how the industry increasingly relies on pharmaceuticals to create a sicker nation instead of taking a holistic approach to the root cause of patient issues to create a healthier nation. I began my career in chiropractic care before returning to college to get my ASN. After graduating with honors and as president of my class, I worked in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where I quickly advanced to being a preceptor. After four years I moved to a private pediatric group and then took a sabbatical to care for my dad and run our family businesses. Upon returning to the nursing field, I worked for over six years in a home health agency in multiple capacities including case manager, mentor, educator, and director of operations. I then decided to expand my knowledge and skills in electronic healthcare by taking a position with a national software vendor as their clinical statistics analyst for over three years. Since then, I have worked with companies as a nursing educator and private consultant before starting my own cannabis consulting/education business. Each life role and change has afforded me the benefit of not only knowing and understanding the root of nursing care, but learning how to work with and operate a successful business. I have served my community by volunteering with organizations that feed the homeless and hungry, supporting those going through gynecological cancer, leading a vacation bible school conducted each year simultaneously at multiple sites for over 1,000 children each night for four years and this year began working with a local group helping special needs children/families and veterans obtain their medical marijuana card at reduced/no cost. Last year, I served ACNA as a member of the social media committee as we began reaching out further to nurses across the country. What does all of this have to do with running for a board position? I love nursing as it was designed to be, but I realize at this time more than any other in our history just how important it is to come together as a profession. Those committed to the cannabis plant as medicine and those who put our patients first, foremost, and always must rise up and create the best professional cannabis nursing organization possible. So many have come before us and set the bar high, and now I am ready, willing, and able to be part of taking it to the next level with nursing dignity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration. Dedee Culley, RN ASN

Name: Penny Daugherty, RN, MS, OCN, ONN-CG

Hometown: Sandy Springs, GA
Current Position: Oncology Nurse Navigator
Employer: Northside Hospital Cancer Institute
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 30+ Years

WATCH CANDIDATE'S VIDEO

Statement:
Please read my LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-daugherty-rn-ms-ocn-onn-cg-72627334. I have been in the oncology field for 40+ years. I am currently a speaker for several cannabis focused conferences on the future of cannabis in oncology. I am a co chair of AONN & ONS for the annual & mid term conferences. I am devoting the rest of my life to bring coherency into effective protocols surrounding cannabis & western medicine. This is my passion and main focus in life as I have seen first hand the spectacular healing effects this plant has had on my patients. I have recently joined your group and will be a proud member that effectively would like to assist this organization is making the most change in the world possible.

Name: Jessilyn Dolan, RN, CMT

Hometown: Underhill, VT
Current Position: Owner
Employer: Self-NurseGrown Organics
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 6-10 years

WATCH CANDIDATE'S VIDEO

Statement:
Jessilyn Dolan is a nurse researcher, educator and consultant. She currently works for the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine, Center on Behavior and Health in clinical research, specializing in opioid use, substance use and mental health disorders. She formerly managed a residential treatment facility for pregnant and parenting families for substance use recovery and newborn withdrawal. Jessilyn teaches at the University of Vermont Medical Center in maternal child health, co-founding their Volunteer Labor Doula Program, was a Faculty Labor Doula Instructor for the last decade for CAPPA, Childbirth and Postpartum Association, national speaker and relentless advocate for vulnerable families. She continues to serve CAPPA as a Scholarship Committee Chair as well as the Vermont Lactation Association Conference Committee. Jessilyn is an experienced herbalist, intuitive healer and energy worker. She is a Certified Massage Therapist with advanced training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Craniosacral Therapy, and Reiki. She is a Vermont cultivating medical marijuana caregiver for another nurse in cancer remission, cultivating and crafting medicinal herbs for decades. As a medical marijuana patient herself, she personally understands the life changing impact cannabis and alternative medicine can have. After having had 3 dozen plus surgeries from an MVA as a child, her personal healing journey naturally blossomed into an overwhelming passion and desire to help others find and create their own path to optimal health. In 2017, Jessilyn founded the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association, and co-founded Nurse Grown Organics, Vermont Hemp and CBD. She is the first Clean Green certified hemp farmer in Vermont, going above and beyond the National Organic Program standards, always conducting and advocating for in depth lab testing. She works with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Hemp Program to help craft rules and regulations to ensure proper lab testing and consumer safety. She recently became committee Co-Chair for the ACNA Sponsorship Committee and was appointed Vice President for the American Nurse Association-Vermont, 2020 and 2021. Jessilyn loves working hand and hand with nurses of varying backgrounds as a CPR, First Aid and Overdose Rescue Trainer, through her affiliate program for NurseGrown Organics, and most especially within the ACNA tribe! She is thrilled to become more active with ACNA as a Committee Co-Chair, and is excited at the opportunity and possibility of working with and on the Board of Directors. She values each and every person and patient and truly believes in meeting people where they are at, supporting one another and helping to create an entourage of amazing cannabis nurses! Her vision is a world where cannabis farming and cannabis medicine can enhance personal and global health, healing and consciousness. Conscious Cannabis Conscious leadership, Conscious teamwork! Without teamwork and supporting, learning from and growing with one another, we are all just isolate, and who wants that….yuck!! She is ready to work with the amazing ACNA nurses and Board to lead the charge of cannabis nurses and cannabis medicine across the country, inspiring, educating, and advocating for cannabis nurses, ACNA, and this sacred plant!

Name: Marissa Fratoni, BSN-RN, CMT, RYT, INHC

Hometown: Leominster, MA
Current Position: Integrative Nurse - Telehealth
Employer: Zaklin Integrative ECS Wellness
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 6-10 years

Statement:
Dear Fellow Members of the ACNA, My name is Marissa Fratoni. I am a BSN-RN with a diverse professional background that centers on holistic health. I started my career over twenty years ago as a licensed massage therapist. I am also a registered yoga teacher, a wellness coach, and a non-practicing doula. In 2011, my nursing practice began in a position as far away from my comfort zone as I could get - the OR in a level one trauma center. It was a good start and the experience I gained there was invaluable. After two years, I endeavored to move on from that position and work outside of the hospital setting as a visiting nurse. I signed on with a company that specialized in behavioral health homecare. As a visiting nurse, I noticed that most of my patients were struggling with side effects from polypharmacy and limited therapy. Most of my patients were young and they were not thriving or healing. At this time, I noticed that a few of my patients used cannabis. They were more aware of their conditions and making strides toward improved health. I wanted to know why. It was these patient experiences that led me to dig deeper into cannabis and to unearth a wealth of information about the Endocannabinoid System on the Internet. In 2016, inspired by my patients, I sent my resume to a local medical dispensary and was hired. I was relieved to discover and join the ACNA around the same time. Stories of healing and quality of life improvement with the use of cannabis were shared with me every day in the dispensary. As inspiring as this experience was, the stigma associated with cannabis use was troubling. Bolstered by the guidance, education, and support provided by my fellow members of the ACNA, I commenced my own cannabis education endeavor in my community and on social media. I started writing my patients’ stories with their permission. I volunteered on the Membership Committee which helped me to hold a few meetups at my local library.I volunteered on the Education and Research Committee where I had the opportunity to write part of our resolution papers. I had no idea where this path would lead. I’m proud to say that I write professionally for several cannabis publications now and was a contributing author on Clark’s Cannabis - A Handbook for Nurses. I work in an integrative medicine practice that recommends cannabis. I am also a public speaker and educator in the cannabis and wellness spaces. Most importantly though, I am a mother and by virtue of being a cannabis patient myself, I am an advocate for parents and families who require the use of cannabis throughout their lives. The ACNA recognized this and honored me with an opportunity to speak about cannabis care and pregnancy implications last year at the inaugural Cannabis Care Conference in New Orleans. Indeed, the ACNA has afforded me opportunities that I never would have thought possible when I started on this path. I love and admire what we stand for as an organization and community. I feel called to serve in a greater way and this is the main reason why I am nominating myself for a position on the Board of Directors. It is time for me to give back to an organization that has provided me with so much. In closing, my heart and mind are always with our patients. This movement is after all driven by patients for patients. Therefore, I envision a continuation and expansion of our education efforts in the nursing and medical communities. Discontinuity of care is a great detriment to vulnerable patients who choose to use cannabis. Too often, cannabis patients are treated in undignified and punitive ways by the medical establishment. They quite understatedly deserve better. I know that together, we can influence such changes. I would be honored to play a leading role in these endeavors. Thank you for considering me for a BOD position. And thank you for believing in me. I believe in all of you too. Here’s to accomplishing great things together! With Great Love and Respect, Marissa Fratoni

Name: Michael Harvey

Hometown: Lexington, SC
Current Position: Nurse Staff Officer
Employer: US. Army
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 1-5 Years

Statement:

As a Registered Nurse since 1993, as well as being a service member I have practiced nursing in a variety of settings, often different that many of my colleagues. Within the civilian community my primary role has been as a nurse within the VA health care system. As a VA nurse, I was provided the opportunity to give back to those that served before me, delivering the freedoms that I currently enjoy. As an Army Nurse Corps officer, my ability to grow as a leader has evolved with varied duty assignments, special projects and a deployment. With assignments as Assistant Chief Nurse of a Combat Support Hospital and as a Nurse Staff Officer at two Army Reserve division level commands, I have been afforded the ability to assume roles of increasing responsibility of specialized groups of Soldiers and to having the privilege to assuming the command of a Medical Support Unit within the Army Reserves responsible for 130 plus Soldiers. With my constant moving over the last 25 plus years, the ability to volunteer outside the Army has been difficult. I have only recently joined the ACNA Conference Committee and had the opportunity to be a part of something I so strongly support. As a member of the American Legion Post 7 in Lexington SC, I have volunteered my time to set up and tear down for events and with inside and outside facility maintenance. Within the Army my wife and I have been vital members in the Family Readiness Group, consisting of Soldiers and family members working to ensure that when a Soldier deploys, their family members have the resources needed to deal with their Soldiers absence. Monthly calls to family members during a Soldiers deployment are vital to ensure that the family is in contact with their Soldier, the bills are getting paid, health care is available, and the family members are doing okay. As a Family Readiness Group, we also planned holiday events and family day events with the goal of providing education to the family members of what resource they have in the time of war and during their Soldiers military service. My vision for the future of the ACNA is to grow in our diversity, foster compassion and care for our patients and promote the continued research of medical cannabis. As our ACNA ranks grow and we incorporate members of varying educational backgrounds such as law, we as a group need to begin pushing our message out at the federal levels. My vision also see’s additional research and support for our valued service members who have given so much of their lives to support our freedoms. Michael R. Harvey, RN, BSN

Name: April Hatch MSN, RN

Hometown: Blue Springs, MO
Current Position:
Co-Founder-Cannabis Care Team, Founder-Respite Nurse
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 11-20 years

WATCH CANDIDATE'S VIDEO

Statement:
Over the last 15 years I have been dedicated to serving patients as a registered nurse in a variety of settings. Regardless of my title or role my focus is always to provide holistic education, support, and advocacy for patients, their families, and the community. Working as a nurse in acute care I quickly became frustrated with our healthcare system and the focus on treating individual diseases. I received my Master’s in Public Health Nursing and this gave me the opportunity to promote health, prevent disease, and care for the whole person. Over the last ten years I have been fortunate to work in or create my own role where I could focus on teaching and providing compassionate care. Since Missouri legalized medical cannabis I have provided individual education to over 100 patients, distributed 400 treatment journals, and I work tirelessly to ensure the cannabis industry will provide safe cannabis and quality education. I am currently on the board of two organizations in the state of Missouri. The Missouri Cannabis Industry Association is a patient-focused organization that strives to make cannabis available to those who could benefit from it, to create an industry that provides opportunities for local Missourians, and to eliminate criminal prosecution for those in possession of cannabis. I worked with a small team of healthcare professionals to develop content and a certification exam for caregivers and currently sit on the board of the Caregiver Committee as a health-care representative. MizBiz is an organization that has formed out of the need to create social equity in the cannabis industry among minorities and women. I have been involved in this organization since its inception and our objectives are to mentor, empower, educate, and collaborate to further elevate women in the cannabis industry. I was selected for the Board of Directors for MizBiz because of my front-line experience with cannabis patients and the cannabis community. My leadership background goes back to my baccalaureate days when I was deeply involved in and was the President of the Student Nurses Association. I brought a team of student nurses together that was responsible for many achievements and the Dean of the school credited me with bringing the organization back to life. My dedication to going above and beyond for patients and to support other nurses has been valued and in all of my nursing roles I have quickly been placed in leadership and training positions. I would like the opportunity to have a leadership role in the American Cannabis Nurses Association. The ACNA was the first cannabis organization I joined because of its professionalism and mission; to “advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development.” My vision for the ACNA is to continue to provide evidence-based resources and education for nurses working in all roles, and to assist with the development of a certified cannabis nurse curriculum. I would like to bring more nurses into the organization and create more opportunities for local and regional support. The ACNA is the authority on cannabis nursing and my vision includes increasing the awareness of what its members have to offer to patients, the industry, and all levels of government.

Name: Shaunese C. Henry, BSN, RN

Hometown: Richton Park, IL
Current Position: Research Committee Chair
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 11-20 years

Statement:
Hello Fellow Cannabis Nurses! I am so thankful for this opportunity to run for the Board of the ACNA. Like many of you, I had a profound experience that pulled me into cannabis nursing. I should first point out, though, over a decade of nursing and experience in neuro, pain, intensive care, recovery, wellness education, case management, early intervention, and over the four states I am licensed to practice in – cannabis education was not included in education nor training. Although many of you understand this, I continue to see the disconnectedness and isolation across the continuum. Many systems are built to serve short term goals relative to that discipline, rather than long-term. When a person is injured, we must recognize that the quality of health is severely at risk when we do not account for the person's environment, beliefs, experiences, relationships, emotions, and lifestyle. I realized that with so many patients using cannabis, it is always interwoven into those same accounts. The holistic nature of care urged me to seek a deeper understanding of humanity, and when I set out to accomplish something – I go at it full speed. Within the next year, I will complete my Master of Science in Nursing Education, which will provide methods of aligning cannabis education with measures most important to stakeholders, increasing the likelihood of acceptance into practice. I completed the Pacific College of Health and Science's accredited Medical Cannabis Certificate program. I volunteer for the Chicago Norml's Events Committee. I joined the ACNA and have volunteered for the Advocacy, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, Education Committee, Conference Planning Committee, Social Media/Communications Committee and I am now the Chair of the Research Committee! I believe the experience in each of these committees is what sets me apart from other applicants. I am not merely here for the title; I am here to work towards the ACNA's mission and bring the members of this organization practical tools, new research, and a renewed purpose. To the Pioneers, the Visionaries, and the Brave – I want to celebrate you!

Name: Nancy Skinner, RN-BC, CCM, ACM-RN, CMCN

Hometown: Whitwell, TN
Current Position: Principal Consultant
Employer: Riverside HealthCare Consulting
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 30+ years

Statement:

As a nurse, my practice was based on Western allopathic medicine and I utilized that knowledge to advocate for my patients. My passion to be a patient advocate lead me to become a nurse case manager; supporting patients through the often turbulent waters of healthcare delivery in America. My dedication to the practice of case management included serving as a Director and National President of the Case Management Society of America (CMSA). Being a member of the CMSA Leadership Team afforded me the opportunity to learn not only about association management but also the absolute value of meeting the needs of both the members and the potential members of an organization. In 2016, I was invited to become a member of the Steering Committee for the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp. My knowledge regarding cannabis was extremely limited then but working with global cannabis experts assisted me to learn more; to value the knowledge that was offered to me; and to develop a strong desire to seek further information regarding cannabis. As I sought that greater understanding, the American Cannabis Nurses Association was identified as the primary educational resource for nurses who wish to learn more about cannabis as medicine. Membership in ACNA not only assisted me in gaining accurate information about cannabis use but also advanced my ability to educate my patients and to support informed decision-making regarding plant-based medicine. Because of ACNA, I now proudly represent myself as a cannabis nurse rather than being reluctant to discuss cannabinoid therapy with other nursing professionals. And, in doing so, my colleagues have become open in discussing cannabis among themselves and with their patients. It is the facilitation of those discussions that encouraged me to bring accurate and timely information to my colleagues especially those who do not possess a working knowledge of cannabis pharmacology. It is my desire to correct the many inaccuracies regarding medicinal marijuana that have been presented at national nursing conferences. It is the science of cannabis that needs to be shared rather misinformation that is presented as fact and not opinion. The Mission of ACNA is: "To advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development". It would be my absolute honor to advance that Mission and Vision as a member of the ACNA Board of Directors. If elected, I will support all efforts to bring cannabis education to each and every nurse. I would also seek to advance fund raising opportunities because as Mother Theresa said, "No margin. No mission." Maintaining the financial resources of ACNA is the responsibility of each member of the Board and I believe I possess those skills having raised over $500,000 as President of CMSA. And, while education and funding are essential, the primary responsibility of every member of the Board is to meet the needs of each member and potential member including public policy efforts that support cannabis nursing as a component of all federal and state legislative actions. Thank you.

Name: Deanna Sommers Ph.D, MSN, APRN, PNP-PC

Hometown: Romeoville, IL
Current Position: Associate Dean
Employer: Lewis University
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 30+ years

Statement:

Deanna Sommers, PhD, MSN, APRN, PNP-PC is the Associate Dean and Director of the College of Nursing at a private non-profit academic institution in the Midwest, United States. She is an accomplished and respected nursing leader in academic and health care institutional environments for 15 and 30 years, respectively. Dr. Sommers holds a terminal degree, Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health with a specialty in Health Promotion and Community Education. Dr. Sommers’s past leadership roles include: Assistant Dean, Chairperson, Clinical Coordinator, Chair of Admissions and Curriculum, Course Coordinator, and Faculty Advisor and Mentor. Dr. Sommers is a progressive and innovative professional with a history of positive outcomes in process design and programs expansion: a pediatric and pediatric intensive care unit development and multiple nursing programs. Dr. Sommer’s nursing background includes adult and pediatric general medical surgical; adult and pediatric intensive care units and emergency room nursing. In addition, Dr. Sommers has worked in private practice as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care. She has addressed a variety of challenges and met organizational goals through experience in the following areas: nursing, project management, course coordination, wellness management, clinical care education, health promotion and community education. Dr. Sommers has served on many university and community committees. She is skilled in the creation and maintenance of strategic partnerships with community stakeholders. Dr. Sommers, former chair, and member of the Health Living Council (HLC) a grass roots, coalition. She secured grants and collaborated with other organizations, leaders, and faculty to create the organization in partnership with the university and Aurora, Illinois community leaders. The HLC’s vision is to foster a community that promotes, supports, and advocates for wellness through life lasting healthy habits in children. Dr. Sommers’ research results were the foundation for the initial education programs in the community. Dr. Sommers’ volunteer experience includes seven years as the Wellness faculty advisor for hundreds of nursing students. She forged partnerships from diverse opportunities for thousands of hours of student volunteer work in homeless shelters, health fairs, mobile health facilities, races, and national organization events. Moreover, she was a Girl Scout Leader and Cookie Coordinator for the western suburb of Chicago council. Dr. Sommers began her involvement with the American Cannabis Nurses Association by attending the Inaugural conference in 2019. Thereafter, she has shared her cannabis knowledge with her nursing students and faculty colleagues. Subsequently, she has participated in ACNA Credentialing committee. Recent, Dr. Sommers has been a contributing writer on cannabis in a chapter in a soon to be published book. She is a member of the Illinois, Women in Cannabis organization. Dr. Sommers is determined to contribute to the body of knowledge to the nursing and public community on the topic of cannabis through research and education. Her vision for the American Cannabis Nurses Association is the expansion of the delivery to educate nurses and the community on various current aspects of cannabis including the benefits of cannabis with various diagnoses. In addition, she hopes to develop a curriculum template for nursing schools to integrate cannabis curriculum into higher education aiding the next generation of nurses in caring for their patients and community. Her dream is to contribute in the national recognition and certification of the specialty of cannabis nursing to the body of nursing. Dr. Sommers acknowledges the stigma of cannabis and by educating and collaborating with politicians and participating in developing policies, she hopes to decrease or eliminate that stigma. Lastly, the overall vision would be to further expand and cultivate relationships with other holistic and organizations in nursing and the medical arena.

Name: Sherri Tutkus

Hometown: Rockland, MA
Current Position: CEO, President, Founder
Employer: GreenNurse Group
Years Practicing as a Nurse: 30+ years

WATCH CANDIDATE'S VIDEO

Statement:

I am formally announcing my intent to be a one of the Board of Directors for the next serving term for the American Cannabis Nurses Association. My name is Sherri Tutkus. I am a registered nurse, cannabis nurse, patient and advocate. I earned my Bachelors in Science in Nursing from Boston College in 1988. I am a highly skilled Registered Nurse with 32 years of clinical experience in various departments within the hospital and home setting. I have been educating and implementing holistic integrative healing modalities within my practice for over 25 years. In 2017, I founded the GreenNurse Group which is a nonprofit whole health consulting agency of Registered Nurses who educate on the safe utilization of cannabinoids and other complementary modalities to nourish the endocannabinoid system. In 2018, we received non-profit status and have had a lot of organic growth over the past two years expanding into multiple states. Under my leadership as non-profit President we have developed multiple complementary programs to support the mission and vision which is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life. Our community outreach was recognized in 2019 when we won best nonprofit of the year in a non cannabis friendly town where our office was located. Both myself and one of our other nurses were nominated for health professional of the year in the cannabis space for the 2019 New England Cannabis Convention Awards. We were the only two nurses nominated and these awards are being given out virtually in September 2020. I have been a member of ACNA since 2017 and have volunteered tabling at multiple events distributing ACNA literature, marketing materials and educating on the organization. Over the past few years I have had various ACNA members on my podcast to educate on the organization, encourage ACNA membership and to promote the growth and development of other cannabis nurses in the organization who are leaders and change agents. In 2019 I had the opportunity to collaborate and write with other ACNA members a chapter in the first cannabis nursing textbook, “Clarks Cannabis: a Handbook for Nurses” which was only possible through being a member of ACNA and the professional relationships that were developed. In the fall of 2019, I hosted a meet up for the New England Nurses and we educated on ACNA’s mission and vision and encouraged membership to those who were not members. In December of 2019, I attended the first annual ACNA canna care conference in New Orleans and have continued to support and foster those professional relationships and mentor new nurses. I am committed to upholding and enacting the mission statement of ACNA by advancing excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development. My vision is to continue to grow the organization as one of the board of directors serving the president and its members, representing ACNA as the leading authority on cannabinoid therapeutics for nurses.