Program Advisory Board
American Sentinel’s programs are updated on a regular basis with input from industry experts to ensure they continue to be of great value to students and employers. We rely on the expertise of our Nursing Professional Advisory Board to make sure all of our nursing programs are well-aligned with the ever-changing needs of the healthcare profession. American Sentinel’s advisory board is made up of 15 healthcare professionals from around the country with extensive real-world experience in the healthcare industry.
Dr. Bickert is a System Vice President of Nursing for Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. Dr. Bickert served as a critical care nurse before moving into advancing leadership positions. Dr. Bickert has led nursing teams at two hospitals to achieve Magnet Designation. She has collaborated with various universities to develop partnerships to support professional growth for nurses. Dr. Bickert serves on a Board member for the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association; is a member of other professional organizations; and is active in various Advisory Councils.
Dr. Bickert began her career as a diploma nurse at Lancaster General Hospital and completed progressive education at East Carolina University, Bloomsburg University and lastly a doctorate from Jefferson University.
Ellen Caruso provides independent government affairs consultation with an emphasis on regulatory and reimbursement advocacy for Colorado health care providers. She is a registered lobbyist and her blog “Colorado Home Care: Things You Need to Know Today” is published in conjunction with The Crag Business Group, a leading home health consulting company based in Montrose, Colorado. Several times a year she coordinates Congressional lobby missions to our nation’s Capitol and is a regular participant in meetings and discussions at the state departments of Health Care Policy & Financing, Public Health & Environment and Regulatory Agencies, as well as the Division of Workers Compensation.
Ellen is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism and has worked in government affairs, association management, public relations and publishing for her entire career. She founded Caruso Group International, a full service association management / government affairs / meeting planning firm headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, which she sold in 2010 to spend full time in government affairs work.
As executive director and director of government affairs for the Colorado Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Home Care Association of Colorado, she shepherded numerous major health care bills through the entire legislative process, from the initial drafting process to all lengthy and detailed regulatory hearings. These bills included licensure of physical therapists, home care agencies and naturopathic doctors; confirmation of wound debridement, Grade V joint mobilization and dry needling in the PT scope of practice and increased reimbursement rates for home care and therapy.
She works at serving her clients well. She knows how to help her clients reach their legislative / regulatory goals without “burnout” and helps them do the things they find difficult to do. She knows whom the experts in the industry or profession are — the health care companies themselves — and she makes sure their expertise is put to good use. And she knows the state and federal legislators as well as the state regulatory officials and how to open the doors to better public policy.
Ellen began her career in Helena, Montana, where she was executive director for a number of trade and professional societies in her and her husband Fred’s firm, Association Management Services. Her association accounts included the Montana Bar Association, the Montana Association of Life Underwriters, the Montana Water Development Association and the Montana Legal Services Association. During that time, she represented several of these organizations as a registered lobbyist before the Montana Legislature.
Upon moving to Washington, D.C., she was appointed the first Public Relations Director of Northern Virginia Community College’s new Loudoun Campus. After returning west, Caruso was named Director of the University of Colorado at Denver Alumni Association. In this five-year position, she organized UCD’s first legislative relations program and served as legislative liaison for UCD. She then opened her association management business in Centennial, which led to her current endeavors.
Ms. Wendy Devreugd, RN, BSN, PHN, FNP, MBA has been a registered nurse for 48 years and advanced practice nurse for 38 years. She is currently the Assistant Medical Center Administrator of Operations for Continuing Care at Kaiser Permanente, Downey, CA, a 352 licensed-bed facility servicing 378,000 Kaiser members. In that capacity, she oversee the departments of inpatient Case Management and outpatient Home Health, Palliative Care, and Hospice. Ms. DeVreugd is a specialist in Transition of Care Program implementations at the Medical Center. She is the Total Joint Replacement Program Coordinator and recently the Program was awarded a designation of Advanced Disease-Specific Certification from The Joint Commission. The TJ program does approximately 930 Total Joint Hip and Knee Replacements per year, and discharges 75% home the day of surgery through their ERAS protocols and Home Recovery program design with Home Health services. She also has assisted the Spine surgeons in launching Kaiser’s first Spine surgery Home Recovery ERAS Program and the Medical Center’s Neonatologists in implementing a NICU Infant Early Discharge Program with specialized follow-up of these high risk infants with Home Health OB/NICU/Pediatric RNs. In the past, Ms. Devreugd has championed Case Management mentorship programs, scholarships for higher nursing education, and developed academic partnerships to assist over 300 nurses to attain higher degrees. She has also published over 25 articles in Case Management publications and was a columnist with CMSA TODAY magazine for over two years.
Dr. Ellen Harper has made significant contributions in the field of biomedical informatics. Her keen interest in Health IT and secondary use of data has produced innovative technologies, patents, and methodologies designed to answer questions about clinical and operational safety and quality. As an advocate to achieve the Quadruple Aim (better care, better health, lower costs, and improving caregivers’ experience) Dr Harper is dedicated to rigorous foundational and applied research, effective translation of research to practice, and development with adoption of interoperability standards.
Currently, Dr. Harper has a faculty appointment at the University of Kansas School of Nursing within the Center for Health Informatics. Her research includes big data science practices, workforce and evidence based practice. Prior to joining University of Kansas (2017), she served as the VP, Chief Nursing Officer at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City. During her time in industry she focused on clinicians’ accessibility to patient information across the care continuum, implementation science, and ensuring that technology enhances the end-user experience.
An accomplished writer with multiple peer reviewed published articles and book chapters she has lectured extensively in the United States and around the world.
Dr Harper is a registered nurse and board certified in informatics, holds a doctorate in nursing practice executive leadership, and a master’s in business . Dr. Harper is active in numerous HIT related organizations, and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nurses.
Dr. McMenamin’s career encompasses more than 45 years of both private market and government experience in health care financing research, policy analysis, and advocacy. His most recent engagement was as Senior Policy Advisor with the American Nurses Association. He was also the Chief Health Economist for the Association. His portfolio included documenting the economic value of registered nurses and he identified, collected, and curated data on employment and compensation of RNs including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). He was a frequent spokesperson for ANA with respect to trends in the nurse workforce and economic controversies involving nurses. Dr. McMenamin has also been an expert economic consultant for the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services working on such issues as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts to improve vaccine availability in Africa and examining appropriate government policy with respect to determining prices for pharmaceuticals.
Previously he was an Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton on the Economic and Business Analysis Team working on issues for the Veteran’s Administration and Medicare. He was Senior Director of Research for PhRMA, where he was responsible for assuring the methodological soundness of all in-house policy research, and initiating research into federal data sets with respect to changes in spending for prescription medicines. As the Director of Health Care Financing Policy for the American Medical Association his duties included preparation of advocacy documents presenting AMA policies and objectives to the public, Congress, federal agencies, and physician and other health care oriented associations. He also represented AMA in liaison to Washington, DC area research groups and health care advocacy organizations with respect to health insurance reform and market-oriented approaches to health care. As a former federal official and as an economic consultant on health care financing issues Dr. McMenamin has worked in, with, or for virtually all of the government’s civilian health agencies: ASPE, OASH, HRSA, CMS (formerly HCFA), NIH, CDC, OTA, CBO, CRS, PROPAC and PPRC (now MEDPAC).
Dr. McMenamin is also an expert on health data collection and analysis and was a member of the Data Development Advisory Committee to the Maryland Health Care Access and Cost Commission. Dr. McMenamin served as a member of the Advisory Panel on Preventive Health Care Services for the Elderly under Medicare for the Office of Technology Assessment. In the late 1970s, he taught economics and health administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His experience includes: advocacy and association projects, physician reimbursement studies, drug cost studies, Medicare Part B data analysis, data systems, cost of illness studies, payment/coverage forecasts/projections, and public health/evaluation studies, among others
Donna Meyer is the CEO of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) and is an executive leader in the National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative (NEPIN), partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to beginning her tenure, as OADN’s CEO she was the Dean of Health Sciences and Lewis and Clark Community College and the Director of the Lewis and Clark Family Health Clinic, the only nurse managed center operated by a community college. She developed the clinic in 2007 through the assistance of funding from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nursing Education and Practice Grant. She is very engaged in numerous organizations, holding appointments and offices in both state and national organizations. Her professional nursing activities include: HRSA’s National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), American Red Cross National Nursing Committee, the National Academies Global Forum on Interprofessional Healthcare Education, the Nurses on Boards Coalition Board of Directors, American Sentinel University Advisory Board, American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Commission, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. Additionally, she has lead nursing mission trips to a remote village in Guatemala for both faculty and students to provide much needed healthcare. She has received various awards for her work including the: MetLife Community College Excellence Award for Innovation, Illinois Nurses Association Innovation in Health Care Award, Illinois Community Administrators Award for Innovation, Illinois Nursing Pinnacle Leader of the Year, the Southern Illinois University Outstanding Nursing Alumni Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and was inducted into the Southern Illinois University Hall of Fame. In 2015, she was bestowed the Professor Emeritus designation from Lewis and Clark Community College. She has published in numerous journals on various nursing topics and presented at both national and international conferences on nursing leadership, innovative clinical practice, and education. She is a fellow of the National League of Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education and an honorary fellow in the Academy of Associate Degree Nursing.
Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN, is the past two-term president of the American Nurses Association (2006-2010), and currently holds the Inaugural and first in the nation, Endowed Perioperative Nursing Chair, Lucy Jo Atkinson Perioperative Nursing Professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University.
As a nurse, author, and lecturer, Ms. Patton has presented extensively throughout the world. Ms. Patton has testified before Congress and met with major policy makers– including Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton when she lobbied on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. She was invited by President Bush to tour and meet with the soldiers and nurses at the Guantanamo Prison Camp in Cuba. Ms. Patton was selected twice by the US State Department to serve on the US delegation at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ms. Patton serves on the American Nurse Today and AORN Journal editorial boards and has written numerous book chapters and for nursing journals.
Focused on hospital board opportunities, Ms. Patton was appointed in 2013 to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation – Lakewood Hospital Board of Trustees and in 2016 to Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital.
Ms. Patton has received numerous recognitions and awards including Modern Healthcare “Top 100 Most Influential Persons in Healthcare” in 2009 and 2010. She was award the Sigma Theta Tau International Founder Dorothy Garrigus Adams Award for Excellence in Fostering Professional Standards in 2013. She is a Fellow, American Academy of Nursing.
Ms. Patton latest investment in the nursing profession is the creation of an American Nurses Foundation Endowed Fund for a Washington Fellow Program for Nurses. Her published textbook, Nurses Making Policy from Bedside to Boardroom is available and 100% of editors’ royalties will support the fund.
Carol Pehotsky, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, ACNS-BC, CPANt, is associate chief nursing officer of surgical services for Cleveland Clinic health system, and senior director of surgical nursing at Cleveland Clinic main campus. In her role, she is responsible for leading the strategic direction of all surgical nursing services throughout the health system, as well as providing direct oversight and supervision for the surgical nursing areas within Cleveland Clinic main campus. Dr. Pehotsky has received certifications as an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, a Certified PeriAnesthesia Nurse, and an Advanced Nurse Executive. She is a recipient of the Cleveland Clinic Professional Development and Education Award and her departments have been recognized for engagement
Leanne Salazar, DNP, APRN, MBA, MSN, is the Chief Operating Officer at Oak Hill Hospital. Dr. Salazar is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree, a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is Board Certified in Family Practice (FNP-BC). She is also Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP), Professional Health Care Quality (CPHQ), a Professional in Patient Safety and Certified Executive in Nursing Practice.). Dr. Salazar completed her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program for executive leadership at American Sentinel University.
In his role as Regional Chief Nurse Executive &Vice President, Dr. Spicer provides strategic leadership to drive “Best Hospital” initiatives across the Southern California region of Kaiser Permanente. Working collaboratively with the 15 medical center Nurse Executives, he and his team ensure consistency of operational systems and processes. In order to maximize the quality and safety of patient care as well as meet the clinical and financial goals of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan/Hospitals, he leverages his experience in professional practice, health care delivery systems, workforce policy, program evaluation, and health services research.
During his tenure with Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Spicer has been instrumental in establishing a Regional Professional Practice Community, bringing together key nursing leaders within the region, including labor, to address practice and professional issues that span the continuum of care. Under his leadership, Kaiser Permanente Southern California secured a multi-million dollar grant to support new graduate nurses’ completion of a 13-week transition-to-practice program. Dr. Spicer is committed to increasing the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees and is working with Kaiser Permanente Senior Leadership and Labor Partners to develop a plan to reach 80 percent by 2025. Additionally, Dr. Spicer and his team are developing educational and training programs to prepare Kaiser Permanente nurses to assume leadership positions at all levels.
Before joining Kaiser Permanente in 2011, Dr. Spicer was part of the executive team at Colorado-based St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center where he oversaw all aspects of the delivery of clinical services to patients. He joined St. Mary’s in 1999 as Director of Emergency Services. The following year he assumed to role of Administrative Director of Patient Services and in 2003 he accepted the position of Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. Prior to joining St. Mary’s, he served as Assistant Administrator for the Corpus Christi Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
A graduate of St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, Dr. Spicer continued his education receiving a Bachelor in Nursing from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in health care from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. He completed his Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership from American Sentinel University, Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Spicer’s doctoral research examined the perceived importance of nurse executive competencies on Chief Nurse turnover.
Dr. Spicer is active in professional organizations and boards at the local, state and national levels. He is past-president of the Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders, the past Chair of the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence Board of Directors, a member of both the American Nurses Association and the Association of California Nurse Leaders, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and certified as a Healthcare Insurance Executive. Currently, Dr. Spicer is a member of the Nursing Advisory Council, a Board Committee of the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC). In 2006, Dr. Spicer received the Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders “Circle of Excellence “ award and is a 2008 alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program.
Caroline is an accomplished and dedicated healthcare leader with over 20 years of nursing experience and over 20 years in leadership positions. Caroline has successfully implemented strategic initiatives in the areas of patient experience, safety, and financial stewardship resulting in exceptional quality metrics, decreased LOS, improved productivity, improved employee engagement and HCAHPS results. She has a diverse background that has contributed to her development as a dynamic healthcare leader including serving as, Director of Critical Care, Director of Education for a level one Trauma Center, and an Associate Chief Nursing Officer. Caroline is also a successful graduate of the HCA Executive Development Program in Houston, TX.
Caroline has most recently served as the Chief Nursing Officer at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, Florida, an HCA Healthcare facility, since 2015. Caroline earned her Masters of Science in Nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center and earned her MBA from Texas Women’s University and is currently studying for a DNP with American Sentinel University. She is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), American Organization of Nurse Executives, Florida Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau and Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Daniel Suarez has been a Nursing professional with more than 35 years of experience in the nursing field. During his career, he has held several positions as a Clinician and Nurse Recruiter in several hospitals around New York City. Currently, he is a Clinical Liaison Manager at Mount Sinai in NYC. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, he was Director of Sales for the NY/NJ region, at Nurse.com formerly Nursing Spectrum.
Besides having a successful professional career, he is also very involved in the Hispanic community to help students and young professionals to pursue a career in Nursing. Presently, he is the Immediate past President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.
He graduated from Stony Brook University with a BS in Nursing, and he also earned a Master degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University.
- 2007 NYU Latino Institute leadership Award
- 2007 Lutheran Medical Centers Hispanic Heritage Award and Community leadership award
- 2008 Lillian Wald medal of Honor Espirit Award
- 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Stony Brook University
- 2009 St. Vincent Medical Centers Mission Award for Community service
- 2010 Inducted into New York Academy Medicine as a Fellow
- 2012 National Association of Hispanic Nurses Leadership Award<
- 2014 Received the Annual Sales of the year award from Nurse.com
Shawn Ulreich is chief nursing executive and senior vice president, clinical operations of Spectrum Health, a $6.5 billion not-for-profit integrated health system based in West Michigan. Shawn is responsible for the practice of nursing and pharmacy services within the 12-hospital system. She also serves as the executive leader for Spectrum Health Aero Med as well as North Flight Aero Med, a joint venture air medical transport program between Spectrum Health and Munson Healthcare.
Shawn is an experienced leader, including 18 years of executive health care leadership. She joined Spectrum Health in 2004 as the chief nursing officer and vice president of operations. Throughout her tenure at Spectrum Health, Shawn has been responsible for a number of clinical departments, including laboratory, nursing, pastoral care, pharmacy, respiratory and surgical service, as well as Spectrum Health Aero Med and North Flight Aero Med. She currently has responsibility for 3,000 employees. Under Shawn’s leadership, Spectrum Health Grand Rapids has achieved Magnet status three times.
Prior to joining Spectrum Health, Shawn served for five years as chief nursing officer and chairman for the division of nursing at The Cleveland Clinic. In that role, she had direct responsibility for professional nursing practice within the division of nursing and surgical services. She also led that organization to its first Magnet designation. Within the Cleveland Clinic, Shawn held a number of roles of increasing leadership. Shawn started her career as a staff nurse at St. Vincent Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, in 1980 and joined Parkview Osteopathic Hospital in 1983 as the director of staff development.