Alumni Board of Directors

The Yale School of Nursing Alumnae/i Association (YSNAA) Board of Directors is an opportunity to engage with the greater YSN community in a leadership capacity. Members meet in New Haven annually and also collaborate on a number of initiatives via conference calls throughout the year. Nominations for new board members are typically collected throughout the summer months, and an election for their membership takes place each fall.


  • To further the mission (better health for all people) and strengthen the interests of the Yale University School of Nursing.
  • To promote professional standards and educational advancement of nursing.
  • To promote fellowship among graduates of the School.
  • To increase the visibility of the School within the University.

Current Projects

The YSN Mentoring Program launched in January 2014. Students and mentors are matched based on nursing specialty and geography, when possible. We plan to launch another cohort of pairings in fall 2017 and would welcome new mentor involvement!

We host two on-campus events that connect local alumnae/i with current students. Our speed mentoring event in the fall allows students to rotate (akin to speed dating) among alumnae/i volunteers and ask career-related questions. We also host an annual spring career panel, which includes recent graduates in which panelists discuss tips for finding a first job, interview techniques, contract negotiation skills, and loan repayment. We hope you join us for one of these exciting events this year.

With YSN alumnae/i widely scattered throughout the globe, the board has strived to initiate fellowship throughout the major hubs. Regional gatherings have been implemented throughout Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, to name a few. We welcome your company and involvement not just in New Haven, but all over the globe. Please let us know if you are interested in connecting with local alumnae/i in your respective areas.

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Mary C. Geary, ’74 MSN, Board President

Mary C. Geary is a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in clinical work and healthcare operational leadership including team development and departmental turnarounds. She has successfully executed roles ranging from Chief Nurse Executive at hospitals to Senior VP of Operations for a national rehabilitation services contractor. Mary has served as the YSNAA delegate to the AYA for three years and has been active on the YSNAA board as Co-Chair of the Mentoring Committee and President Elect. She has a special interest and expertise in teaching negotiation skills. Other Board experience includes her current role as a community member and Vice-Chair of the board of trustees of St. Francis Medical Center, an inner city safety net hospital in Trenton NJ. Mary has researched how high achievement women blend work, marriage and motherhood and she is completing a book on this topic. She blogs on

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Taby Ali, ’12 MSN

Taby Ali is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who has been working for Wellmore Behavioral Health in Waterbury, Connecticut since graduating Yale. Prior to attending nursing school, she earned her bachelor’s degree in community health from Brown University in 2005 and then worked in direct services for children and then state public policy research. She continues to utilize her direct experience with children and adults to advocate for systemic policy changes to address gaps in mental health care.

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Ani N. Bagdasarian ’14 MPH, MSN, RN, AGACNP-BC

Ani is from Cupertino, California and graduated from YSN’s GEPN/Acute Care MSN program in 2014. She received a BS in Biology from UCSD, and a MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from USC. She was a research assistant for the Cardiac Arrhythmia Group at Stanford Hospital, where she was inspired to enter the field of nursing from being surrounded by intelligent, passionate, and dedicated advanced practice nurses. 

Throughout her time at YSN, she was involved with a variety of activities. She was a TA for three YSN courses, wrote case studies with Donna Diers, worked as a research nurse for the YSOM Department of Sleep Medicine, student member of the YSN External Advisory Board, assisted with the admissions interviews for the Acute Care program, and gave a TED-like talk for the graduate school called, “What is a Nurse Practitioner?” Ani also competed on Marge Funk’s National Toboggan Team and coached the Yale Women’s Club Volleyball Team.  She thinks it’s important for YSN students to get the most out of their time at Yale.

Ani currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a Nurse Practitioner for the Department Vascular Surgery at Stanford Hospital. Her areas of interest include cardiovascular disease, and she recently published an article in the American Journal of Cardiology on the novel Nurse Practitioner Run Cardioversion Program at Stanford.

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Wailua Brandman ’94 MSN, APRN, PMHCNS/NP, BC, FAANP

Integrative Health Care Professional, Wailua Brandman is a board certified Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist in private practice in Honolulu. A Registered Nurse for 45 years, both in critical care and in primary/acute mental health, energy work has always been integrated into his practice. Wailua has been an advance practice registered nurse (APRN) for the past 22 years. He has been a consultant in both the private and public sectors in Hawai`i. In addition to running his psychiatric primary care office, Ke`ena Mauliola Nele Paia LLC, Wailua is the first nurse to become a certified Holographic Memory Resolution Practitioner. He has held local and national offices with the Hawai`i Nurses Association, the Hawai`i Association of Professional Nurses, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Wailua holds the Master of Science in Nursing degree in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Yale University, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from California State University Long Beach.

He has published in the professional nursing literature and he is featured in Profiles of Nurse Healers, by Dossey and Keegan and in Illuminations: A Book of Days, by Van Betten and Moriarity.  He has regularly made presentations since he was a graduate student, locally and nationally, on mental health and energy dynamics in healing.  His main area of interest is the evolution of Consciousness.

Linda DiMario, ’85 MSN, MPH

Linda DiMario is a 1985 graduate of the Yale School of Nursing. While at Yale, she completed her master’s degree with a concentration in Oncology. At Yale she also completed an MPH at the School of Public Health, focusing on Healthcare Management. Ms. DiMario received a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy and her BSN from Cornell University. She practiced Pharmacy for a short period before making the transition into Nursing. Ms. DiMario’s clinical career included working in the ICU at Yale-New Haven Hospital, caring for the first AIDS patients at Bellevue Hospital and later at Yale, and starting the first hospice program at Cornell-New York Hospital. After graduate school, she shifted into industry and worked for Baxter Healthcare in new product development, starting a biotech business and managing the oncology homecare business. She eventually returned to the non-profit sector with a solid understanding of business, finance and management. She went on to open and oversee a new cancer center for the Rush System for Health. She also directed the statewide Oncology Centers of Excellence program for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers), developing the framework for two new cancer centers in New Jersey. She managed a consortium of five medical schools in Philadelphia focused on strengthening clinical research in the region. Currently, Ms. DiMario provides oversight and direction for all the clinical research conducted at the Atlantic Health System, a six hospital system in northern New Jersey.

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Amanda Filippelli, ’15 MSN

Amanda is a pediatric nurse practitioner working in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. She earned an undergraduate degree in biology and American sign language/deaf studies from the College of the Holy Cross in 2009. She also holds a master of arts in medical sciences and a master of public health in maternal child health from Boston University. Also interested in research, she has worked in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center since 2011 where she assists in clinical research in the field of integrative medicine and health disparities.

Serena Cherry Flaherty ’06 MSN, BA, Past President

Serena is a pediatric nurse practitioner. She graduated from Yale College (BA, 1999) and Yale School of Nursing (MSN, 2006). After graduating from nursing school, Serena worked at Fair Haven Community Health Center providing full scope pediatric primary care. She subsequently worked at The New York City Department of Health and The Door Adolescent Health Center in New York City before relocating back to Connecticut. She is now working for Maven Clinic, a company providing telehealth services to families, and she is enjoying time home with her two daughters.

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Tracelyn Hairston, ’13 MSN

Tracelyn graduated with a BSN from Howard University in 2010. In 2013 she completed her MSN from Yale University School of Nursing with a focus in management, policy, and leadership. While attending Yale, Tracelyn worked as a medical surgical nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. After graduation Tracelyn moved back to Washington, DC where she worked as adjunct faculty with Chamberlain College of Nursing as a clinical instructor. She began her current role as a manager evaluating and recognizing practices as Patient Centered Medical Homes with the National Committee for Quality Assurance in June 2014. She also provides her nursing expertise and knowledge as nurse planner with the education department at NCQA. As a nurse planner she develops and reviews content for trainings and webinars and participates as training faculty. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling practicing yoga and spending time with her family and friends.

Christa Hartch, ’02 RN, MSN

Christa is currently a full time faculty member in the School of Nursing at Norwalk Community College where she has taught at both the college and at Greenwich Hospital for the past 5 years. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Nursing in 1997 and worked as a Registered Nurse at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center at the Cancer Center in Gynecology/Oncology. She also worked at The New York and Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus, in Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, as well as Greenwich Hospital Home Care and Hospice. She became a Family Nurse Practitioner and enjoyed time raising her three children and relocating to Paris, France with her husband. Christa also serves as President-elect of the University of Virginia School of Nursing Alumni Association and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau.

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Danielle Morgan, ’00 MSN, CNS, Family PMHNP, APRN-BC

Danielle is a Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Northeastern University (BS, 1991) and Yale School of Nursing (MSN, 2000). Shortly after graduating from Yale, Danielle opened a private practice where she has provided full scope psychiatric care in her New Haven and Guilford offices for the last 16 years. Additionally, she has maintained medical staff appointments at community mental health centers serving the indigent mentally ill population.

Since 2000, Danielle has remained politically active, serving on the local and national nurse practitioner professional organizations’ leadership boards and working to ensure patients’ access to health care and APRNs full practice authority. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD, while embracing her duties as choir mom as well as maintaining a rigorous travel baseball schedule for her two boys.

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Brenda Penner, ’76 MSN

Brenda received her BSN from University of Missouri-Columbia and a MSN in Maternal-Newborn at Yale in 1976. After graduation, Brenda worked at YSN at a clinical instructor/lecturer providing care at YNH Women’s Clinic, Young Mother’s Program, and in Meriden, CT where she started nurse-midwifery services as a student. Now retired, she has worked as an Army Nurse, clinician, CNM, director of nursing, manager, educator, and consultant in working in Women’s Health, Public Health, Home Health and Hospice. She has served on numerous local and national boards. Brenda organized Yale Day of Service events in Oregon and New Haven.

Pauline Tran (Student Representative, 2018)

Pauline just finished her GEPN year here at YSN and is now in the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty. Prior to coming here, she received her undergraduate degree from Boston College in Biology. Thereafter, she worked in NYC doing clinical research on orthopedic surgery. Since coming to New Haven, she also became involved with working on a research project leveraging community resources to help reduce fall admissions in the Emergency Department. On her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and exploring the New Haven area. 

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Nina Adams ’77, MSN (Ex Officio)

Co-Chair, YSN Alumnae/i Fund and YSN Class Agents Nina is an Adult Nurse Practitioner who retired (after more than 20 years) from Internal Medicine at Yale University Health Services to become the director of Film Fest New Haven (1996-2005), a competitive, international festival of independent films. Since then she has worked in film and theater as a consultant to independent film festivals and on the board of the Yale School of Drama Summer Cabaret. She continues as Co-Chair of the YSN Alumnae/i Fund (since 1997) and just completed 6 years of service on the Yale Alumni Fund Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. Nina also actively participates in the YSN Creative Writing Award Program. Email:

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Bridget Cota ’09, MSN (Ex Officio)

Co-Chairperson, YSN Alumnae/i Fund and YSN Class Agents

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Ann Kurth, '90, Dean of YSN (Ex Officio)

Dean and Linda Koch Lorimer Professor of Nursing

Asefeh Faraz ’08 CN, MSN, PhD (AYA Representative)

Dr. Faraz is an assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Nursing and nurse practitioner at the University of Virginia Health System.  Her research focuses on NP workforce issues and autonomy to improve NP job satisfaction and retention in primary care settings.  She received her BS in Psychology and BA in Spanish from the University of Washington, as well as her MSN and PhD in Nursing from Yale University.  She has volunteered in a multitude of capacities at YSN since 2005, including as Past President of the Yale School of Nursing Alumnae/i Association and member of the Yale Alumni Fund.

Alana Kaczmarek ’06 CN, MSN (AYA Representative)

Karin Nystrom ’95 CN, MSN, PMC (AYA Representative)

Karin is a New Haven resident and graduated from YSN in 1995 in the CNS-cardiovascular specialty and then again in 2005 in the acute care NP specialty. She is currently the Stroke Program Manager at Yale-New Haven Hospital and oversees the clinical and regulatory activities of the hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. She has contributed to building the Advanced Practice Nursing practice in stroke.

She has been an active fellow in the American Heart Association as well as participating on committees of the American Stroke Association. She has been involved in numerous research projects related to acute stroke and telestroke care, and has contributed to AHA 2017 Policy Statement on Recommendations for the Establishment of Stroke Systems of Care.

She continues to serve as a clinical preceptor for YSN students and serves as a visiting lecturer for Yale’s GEPN program.

Elizabeth Silvers ’19 (Student Representative, 2019)

Elizabeth just began her first specialty year in the Primary Care Pediatrics specialty as a newly minted RN! Before coming to YSN she received her bachelor’s degree in German Studies and Chemistry from Wellesley College. She then did research in internal medicine in Boston before moving to New Haven. She is currently involved in the HAVEN free clinic, student government, and pediatric research at the YNHH primary care center. During her down time, she enjoys exploring the New Haven foodie scene and CT coastal towns.

Vivian “Enyo” Dzata '07 MSN

Enyo currently serves as Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Community Health Centers of Lane County in Springfield, Oregon working in a medical home for children who are underserved by diagnosing, managing and treating common pediatric conditions, including medical, behavioral and psychiatric ailments. Prior to her current position, she was working in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as an Endocrine Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL in 2002 where she earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Development & Psychological Services. She then earned her Post-baccalaureate at the University of Oregon in 2004 in Eugene, OR. In 2004 she returned to higher education to earn her Master of Science (MS) in Pediatric Nursing from Yale School of Nursing in 2007.

Michelle Schmerge '17 DNP

Michelle is currently the Director of Post Acute Care for Novant Health. In addition to her administrative role, she is an adult nurse practitioner practicing in Charlotte, NC providing care to an aging population. Prior to this position, she served as both President and Nurse Practitioner for Medical Plaza Family and Geriatric Physicians in Charlotte, NC. She started this independent medical practice, which partnered Nurse Practitioners and Physicians with an innovative practice model. She has been practicing in the long-term care/post acute care setting for ten years. In addition to her clinical and administrative work, Michelle has participated as a sub-investigator in a number of pharmaceutical research studies, including those for therapies for cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine system diseases. Michelle volunteers regularly with the North Carolina Nurses Association advocating for full practice authority for APRNs. As a result of her efforts, she completed a yearlong fellowship with the American Nurses Advocacy Institute and she was named the Joanne S. Stevens Political/Legislative Nurse of the Year for 2016. Michelle holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Yale University in New Haven, CT. She received her undergraduate and masters degrees from Vanderbilt University. Michelle is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Honor Society of Nursing.

Candace M. Willett '13 CN, MSN

Candace currently serves as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner(PNP) in a private Infectious Disease practice, the Jemsek Specialty Clinic (JSC) located in Washington, DC.  The specialty clinic is focused on raising awareness for Lyme Borreliosis Complex (LBC); through innovative treatment supported by extensive years of research, study, and experience the clinic has restored thousands of patients to health.  Prior to her current position at JSC she was working in the field of Dermatology in a private state-of-the-art outpatient surgical center specializing in cosmetic, medical and Mohs Micrographic and Reconstructive Surgery for the removal of skin cancer in Pinehurst, NC.  She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA in 2002 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and a minor in Religion.  Pursuing her lifelong passion for the health sciences, she then went on to obtain a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) in 2008 from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services located in Washington, DC with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health.  In 2011, she returned to higher education for a third time to earn a Master’s in Nursing Science (MSN) from Yale University School of Nursing in New Haven, CT graduating in 2014 with a specialty focus in Pediatrics.  She is ANCC board certified as a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP-BC).  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, practicing yoga and spending time with her family and friends.