Cohort 2

In 2022, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) launched the second cohort of the Fellowship. This group of 20 nurses brought together our most diverse cohort yet. Spread across the nation, these nurses wore many hats in addition to nurse as we had Fellows join us as a farmer, a council member, a student, and even a mayor. Learn more about the fellows by reading their bios below and clicking the provided links on what kind of work they did with their host community-based organizations (CBOs).

Convening Events

Cohort 2 Fellows

Sofia Aragon JD, BSN, RN

Sofia Aragon, JD, BSN, RN lives with her husband in Burien. Aragon’s passion is to apply her experience and expertise to shape public policy. Strong public policy creates opportunity for all. As a registered nurse and attorney, she worked in Olympia for over a decade to advocate for affordable and accessible health care, protecting public health, workplace safety, and ensuring differing opinions are included when developing public policy.

She moved on to be the executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing, a private nonprofit organization focused on building a strong and diverse nursing workforce. In this role she works with business and education leaders to build a health workforce our communities need. While Burien is moving forward for plans for more growth, planning should include community needs such as strong schools and access to health and social services.

Aragon has served on numerous statewide advisory committees under Governors Locke, Gregoire, and Inslee. She currently serves on the board of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to help solve the homelessness crisis and ensure affordable housing for everyone.

Gloria E. Barrera MSN, RN, PEL-CSN

Gloria E. Barrera, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN currently works as a certified school nurse at a public high school outside of Chicago, and visiting clinical associate professor of nursing at UIC. She is committed to being a lifelong learner and continues her efforts in improving child health outcomes in our most vulnerable populations through her current practice, advocacy, and teaching. 

Barrera was elected as the first Latina President of Illinois Association of School Nurses (IASN) in 2020. She’s been engaged with ANA-Illinois by serving as an expert panel member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and elected as Representative to the ANA Membership Assembly for 2023. Gloria was appointed to the IDPH Diversity in Health Care Professions Task Force as well as the Governor’s Illinois Terrorism Task Force’s School Safety Committee. She is a vital member and holds a chair elect position within the American Public Health Association’s Nursing Section (APHA-PHN). She is an active representative of Hispanic nurses on the Nursing Coalition on Climate Change and Health, and a Fellow (2022-2023) of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). She has gained interest in addressing environmental health issues and protecting public health from climate change.  She’s been recognized for her leadership and community work by several organizations, both locally and nationally and most recently was named 40 Under Forty in Public Heath by de Beaumont Foundation.

Joseph Bowman BSN, RN

Joseph Bowman, BSN, RN grew up in rural Pennsylvania, enjoyed playing sports while in school, and joined the U.S. Army after H.S. After his service he went to school, becoming a Paramedic in 2000 and working in EMS for 12 years.  Joe completed his BSN in 2009 and began working at Wake Med Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, NC working in several roles as a CICU nurse then Cardiac Cath Lab nurse: gaining proficiency in Cardiac Cath/PCI, Peripheral and Neuro-vascular Intervention, and Structural Heart procedures.  In 2015 Joe became Cardiac Cath Lab Clinical Coordinator at UNC Johnston Health.  In 2019, he transferred into the role of Chest Pain and Stroke Coordinator for the two-hospital system.  Joe also staffed as a Covid ICU RN from April 2020 through February 2022.  Joe began working at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health in March of 2022 in the Office of the Chief Public Health Nurse as the Emergency Preparedness and Environmental Health Nurse Consultant; in May 2022 he became an Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Fellow completing his fellowship and his project is currently ongoing with the support of the NC DHHS.  He is happily married to his best friend and has a daughter who is a junior majoring in Biology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prabina Dahal MSN, RN

Prabina Dahal, MSN, RN is a school nurse and a per diem nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Virginia Mason. Prabina graduated with BSN in 2007 and with MN in 2020. During the COVID pandemic, she witnessed the disproportionate effects of the virus, and climate change very close to the children of the community she lived in. These incidents and a strong desire to be a part of the community changed her career path. Currently, Prabina is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice in a pediatric primary nurse practitioner track. Her commitment to working with the youngest population in our communities moreover to applying social determinants to improve the quality of health led her to the DNP program at the University of Washington. At the university, Prabina chose to be a student co-chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She is fortunate to be able to partner with bigger organizations to fight the inequity rooted in our society.

Jessica Dahlman ASA, RN

Jessica Dahlman, ASA, RN is currently employed as a Surgical Services Float RN at Logan Health in Kalispell, MT. She is proud of her twelve years of service as an RN in numerous & diverse nurse settings, her dedicated involvement with her union chapter SEIU 1199NW and her winning campaign for Kalispell City Council. Jessica is a proud mother of one of our next generations to come and honored civil servant of this great City of Kalispell. She has been privileged to work alongside numerous influential nurses, community leaders and an ever-new stream of inspirational people that allow her to learn and grow during this life. She lives in a remote and magical area of Northwest Montana and is appreciative of all this great land has to offer and protect.

Alex Dudek BSN, RN

Alex Dudek, BSN, RN is an EMT and critical care nurse in the Trauma Life Support Center ICU at UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. As a bedside nurse caring for COVID ICU patients during the pandemic, Alex has seen first-hand how environmental health impacts their patients’ risk and protective factors related COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Alex is passionate about educating current and future nurses on the connections between climate justice and clinical nursing, including in emergency and critical care settings. Alex is also a researcher and graduate student completing their Master of Public Health at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Their current areas of interest include climate justice, healthcare sustainability, epidemiology, emergency management, and health equity for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations.

Alex Fay BSN, RN

Alex Fay, BSN, RN is a registered nurse working and living in Seattle, WA. Alex graduated nursing school from Washington State University in 2020 and started their nursing career working in a specialty unit focused on pregnant people detoxing from drugs and alcohol. From there, Alex started their current job, working as a nurse in an outpatient clinic for those with HIV and AIDS. The clinic Alex works at is low barrier and takes a harm reduction approach, which allows them to build meaningful and trusting relationship with the patients they work with. Alex is a newer nurse, but is very excited to be part of this fellowship and work towards addressing environmental health issues that affect the patients they work with as well as the community at large.

LaDonna Gaines DNP, MPH, RN, CSPI

LaDonna Gaines, DNP, MPH, RN, CSPI is the Manager of the Alabama Poison Information Center located at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, AL. She has been a nurse for 16 years. She has worked as a Hematology/Oncology Staff Nurse, Medical Case Manager, and a Specialist in Poison Information throughout her career. Professionally, she is a member of the Specialist in Poison Information Advisory Council where she serves as a Council Chair. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Alabama State Nurses Association, and the American Association of Clinical Toxicologists. She currently volunteers with the Junior League of Birmingham and sits on the Samford Black Alumni Association (SBAA) Board of Directors. She is also a member of SBAA Connects, where she mentors an undergraduate student.

Christy Haas-Howard MPH, BSN, RN, NCSN, AE-C

Christy Haas-Howard, MPH, BSN, RN, NCSN, AE-C is a Program Director for Health at the National Environmental Education Foundation. Christy oversees the development, execution and evaluation of health initiatives related to the environment. She collaborates with the conservation and K-12 education teams to identify priority areas of common interest to maximize resources and impact. As an experienced health care provider, Christy tracks emerging trends in the health and environment space, recognizing and amplifying the opportunities to create greater health equity and environmental justice. She has over 17 years experience as a registered nurse in the school setting. She has been asthma educator-certified since 2009 and led various school-based asthma programs at the local and state level. She also worked at the national level to cultivate an increase in school nurse’s knowledge and skills related to asthma care. Christy has presented and published on asthma and the upstream benefits of addressing environmental exposures and climate change. Her other previous projects include supporting a pilot air quality sensor network and health literacy project in Denver, CO, and implementing an air quality and asthma literacy project as an Environmental Health Nurse Fellow with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.

Through these professional experiences, she has seen the growing impacts of climate change on the health of children and communities, along with the disparate health outcomes due to systemic racism. Empowered by this knowledge, Christy’s personal and professional goals focus on health equity and climate justice.

Lisa Jaurigue PhD, RN, CNE

Lisa Jaurigue, PhD, RN, CNE is a clinical assistant professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) from Grand Canyon University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) from the University of San Diego. She has been a nurse for 32 years and a nurse educator for 21 years. Her background is in pediatrics, community health, and school health. 

Lisa has completed various articles, textbook chapters, and online learning resource chapters regarding community health, public health, integrative health, health promotion, school nursing, evidence-based practice, and political activism. 

She is a fellow at the University of Arizona’s Integrative Nurse Faculty Fellowship and completed the fellowship in 2018. She holds certification as a nurse educator (CNE) and is a certified Koru Mindfulness teacher.

Debra Lett PhD, MSN, MPA, RN

Debra Lett, PhD, MSN, MPA, RN has worked in varied capacities in academic, regulatory, acute, community and behavioral practice settings. Working in rural and public health designated health care shortage areas predicated community engagement in varied facets of health care access. Research interests are inclusive of associated levels of medical mistrust, health disparities, social inequities, agency, access, hope and quality of life in a depressed area in the southeastern region of the United States. Is currently serving as a nursing division lead in a community college, an HBCU – having recently implemented an inaugural Associate of Applied Science nursing program. Having worked for many years in nursing practice and education has provided many opportunities for growth. Providing supportive contexts for success for underserved students in nursing education for the accrual of social and human capital has been a career focus.

LCDR Matthew Lindsley MPH, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC 

LCDR Matthew Lindsley, MPH, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC is a Commissioned Corps Officer in the United States Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health where he works with brain and spine tumor patients on clinical trials. He began his nursing career as a new grad in the Peruvian Andes as a Peace Corps volunteer working out of a village health post. LCDR Lindsley is pursuing a DrPH part time at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on food systems, in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. In 2012 he began producing food in Hanover, PA on Hobart Farm where he has found the intersection of agriculture and public health are intricately linked in multiple ways. Recognizing that local, sustainable food systems are more resilient and mitigate climate change, he seeks pragmatic solutions across sectors in his roles as a Nurse, Farmer and Officer.

Kaitlynn Liset MS, RN, CNL

Kaitlynn Liset, MS, RN, CNL is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire (NH), Department of Nursing and a clinical nurse based in acute care community hospital settings. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation Studies prior to her career in nursing, her interests in climate and health have afforded the opportunity to transform passion and profession into advocacy through education. Currently she is Chair of the NH Nurses Association Commission on Climate Change Action and Health, a member of the NH Healthcare Workers for Climate Action, and a member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Current projects are centered on educating and engaging the healthcare workforce, health and human services students, senior elected officials, and the public regarding climate change, health equity and climate solutions.

Mia McPherson BSN, RN

Mia McPherson, BSN, RN is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Nursing, with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. She currently works as a Public Health Nurse and an adult med-surg nurse, specializing in neurosciences and hospice. Mia is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Alumni (University of Michigan) and a previous Health Leaders Fellow with the Ecology Center (Ann Arbor). When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, hiking, visiting art museums, and reading. Mia’s passions include: urban gardening, health policy, racial/social/environmental justice, and raising awareness about the health implications of climate change.

La Vaida Owens-White MSN, RN

La Vaida Owens-White, MSN, RN is a Faith Community Nurse serving the 9th Ward Interfaith Clergy Coalition in the City of Wilmington, and the Delaware Region Health Ministries Network as Coordinator for congregational health ministries. Ms. Owens-White has over fifty years of nursing experience in acute, long-term care, rehabilitation, and community health.  Ms. Owens-White retired in 2010 and, currently, serves as a volunteer consultant assisting congregations, synagogues, mosques and temples in establishing wellness models of health, civic associations in developing health committees, and as a liaison between community-based agencies and organizations promoting health and educational practices.

Prior to retiring, she served as a Faculty Educator for the International Parish Nurse Resource Center located in Memphis, Tennessee providing instruction for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing core curriculum for registered nurses and congregational health ministries.

Her current interest is in nursing research, exploring a collaborative partnership of community and faith-based organizations in addressing poverty and environmental climate justice. She serves on the Delaware Community Translational Research (CTR) Accel Community Advisory Council to provide help in overcoming existing barriers (lack of trust and inclusion) in reaching the community to become engaged in solving problems of interest to the community.  She is a member of the American Nurses Association, and the Delaware Nurses Association. Ms. Owens-White  is a life-long member of the NAACP and serves as committee chair for the State Conference of Branches health committee.

Jennifer Rasmussen MPH, RN

Jennifer Rasmussen, MPH, RN has been a registered nurse for more than ten years working primarily in community health and home care. In 2022, Jennifer graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she received a Master of Public Health in Global Health. Upon graduation, Jennifer began her ANHE Fellowship where she collaborated with community-based organizations in Boston to produce three educational webinars for over 150 community residents on the topics surrounding the intersection of climate change, health equity, and environmental justice. In 2023, Jennifer was selected as Education Junior Fellow for the Planetary Health Alliance where she is working on expanding education initiatives to integrate planetary health curriculum into international medical, nursing, and public health education systems. She is an active member of Planetary Health Alliance’s subgroup Clinicians for Planetary Health, IUCN WCPA’s Health and Well-being Specialty Group, American Holistic Nurses Association’s Planetary Health Task Force, and ANHE’s Education Forum. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, exploring nature, reading a good book, open water swimming, and going on long trail walks with her dog, Oliver.

Aletha F. Savage BSN, RN

Aletha F. Savage, BSN, RN has been a nurse for more than ten years in an area with a multi-culturally diverse population. Most recently in the last five years working in the Neuro and Trauma Intensive Care Units at a Level II Trauma Center in The Woodlands, Texas.  Ms. Savage is currently serving as The North Region Board Member for The Texas Nurse Association in District 9.  Ms. Savage has been an active member of the district for more than six years and is passionate about her service as a nurse advocate, serving on various committees at the district and state level as well as coordinating fundraising events for the district. Ms. Savage was awarded The Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship from The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments in 2022.  Ms. Savage holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from The University of Texas at Tyler.


Dr. Nelson Tuazon, DNP, DBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, CPPS, CPHQ, CPXP, FNAP, FACHE, FAAN has a successful track record in nursing practice, academia, and executive leadership. His involvement in professional associations and boards has influenced nursing practice, nursing education, and public policy. He was the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (now the Journal of Nursing Practice Applications and Reviews of Research). He serves as a peer reviewer of the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice. As founder of the San Antonio Nursing Consortium and Board Member of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, he actively participates in public awareness campaigns, including the Stop-the-Bleed Program and humanitarian projects related to climate change in the Philippines. He serves as adjunct faculty at Excelsior University and UT Health San Antonio. His interests in the Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship focus on integrating environmental health and environmental justice into nursing practice, curriculum, public education, and health policy. Dr Tuazon is also Vice President & Associate Chief Nursing Officer at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.

Reenu Varghese D.N.P. APRN, FNP-C

Dr. Reenu Varghese, D.N.P. APRN, FNP-C is a proud AHNE Fellow. She practices as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the UTMB Urgent Care services. She also teaches nurse practitioner students at the Houston Baptist University. She graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She began her career as a Nurse Practitioner in 2010 and has been working as a Primary care provider since then. Her work has been mostly geared in the underserved population but now works in a university based urgent care facility. 

She was recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders by the ISAPN and was also awarded the Marie Lindsey Spirit of Advanced Practice Nurse award for her dedication to her patients and improving access to care in her community. This award was given in October 2016 and is given annually to one advanced practice nurse in the state of Illinois for making a difference in the community. 

Her hobbies are cooking, dancing, reading and playing with her dogs. She loves dogs and attempts to rescue them from the busy streets of Houston.

Kayla Williams AAS, RN

Kayla Williams, AAS, RN joined the nursing profession in 2019 and currently works at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. She is an ecoAmerica Climate for Health Ambassador and leads the school’s Climate Justice and Planetary Health Workgroup. With her guidance, the KU School of Nursing became an early member of the Nurses Climate Challenge School of Nursing Commitment to educate nurses about the health impacts of climate change. Kayla is a member of the Professional Advisory Board for The Resilient Activist, a non-profit providing mental health support and community-building for environmental activists. As an ANHE Fellow, Kayla has partnered with CleanAirNow Environmental Justice, a community-based organization working to advance health equity in the Kansas City region and beyond. Prior to becoming a nurse, Kayla served for over a decade as a veterinary technician. She is a beekeeper, tree steward, and community garden leader. Through these experiences, she knows that ecological solutions must be species-spanning and center around human stewardship of the earth.

Cohort 2 Mentors

Azita Amiri PhD, RN

Dr. Azita Amiri, PhD, RN is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, College of Nursing. She is a nurse researcher with an interest in indoor air, environmental health, and environmental justice. She measures indoor air quality by simulating residential and occupational settings in her lab and studies the common indoor air exposures, their concentrations and sources, and their impact on pregnancy outcomes, child health, and well-being of elderly.

Adelita Cantu PhD, RN, FAAN

Adelita Cantu, PhD, RN, FAAN has worked in public health for over 35 years and focuses on strategies to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations. She has also been involved with ANHE for over 10 years and has used what she has learned from and with the organization to empower vulnerable communities around the connection between health and the environment and how they can mitigate their exposure to multiple environmental health threats.

Teresa Dodd-Butera PhD, RN/DABAT

Dr. Teresa Dodd-Butera, PhD, RN/DABAT is a board-certified toxicologist (Diplomate, American Board of Applied Toxicology/ DABAT). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Concentration: Arts and Sciences, with a specialization in Molecular Toxicology and International Health; and two Master’s degrees – MSN, Nurse Educator Concentration; and MS in Public Health, Concentration: Toxicology. Her research focus is on acute and chronic exposures in pregnancy and placental toxicology. Research investigations include biomarkers, glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genotypes, and birth outcomes from environmental exposures to lead, cadmium, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons in an obstetric population in Baja California. She is also interested in multiple factors that affect global and national maternal-child and family health issues, including families with special needs. She has traveled to Mexico, Ireland, South Africa, and Vietnam for educational and research interests. Before joining Azusa Pacific University as a public health faculty member, her leadership positions included serving as Co-Director for the Center for Health Equity, Assistant Director of the BSN program, and Graduate Coordinator for the MSN program at CSU San Bernardino. Her teaching and mentorship experience is multidisciplinary, including: nurses, physicians, pharmacists, toxicologists, and graduate and undergraduate public health students.

Catherine Graeve PhD, MPH, CNE, BSN, PHN

Catherine Graeve, PhD, MPH, CNE, BSN, PHN is an Associate Professor and Interim Program Director for a holistically certified Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at St Catherine University in Minnesota, where she has taught community and global health, holistic care of older adults, mental health, and pharmacology. She previously worked as a hospice and hematology/oncology nurse. Her research has included work on how the environment impacts children’s health from before birth, chemotherapy safety for healthcare workers, advance care planning, and quality of life surrounding menstrual symptoms in individuals from various ethnicities. She co-chairs the Minnesota Cancer Alliance Policy Committee. She has been engaged in ANHE for many years, and loves being a part of the important work they do!

Christine Fasching Maphis DNP, PMHN-BC, FNP-BC

Christine Fasching Maphis, DNP, PMHN-BC, FNP-BC is a full time faculty member in the School of Nursing at James Madison University. She holds practice credentialing and expertise in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and as a Family Nurse Practitioner and recently transitioned from practicing in a community based crisis stabilization unit to providing virtual behavioral health and substance abuse services. She combines her passion and role as an educator and advocate with her research and interests in holistic population and planetary well-being, social justice, quality care, ethics, and empowering nurses to practice to their full professional scope and standards to serve the multiple communities with which she interfaces. She is certain that “knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do”.

Kathy Murphy MSN, Ed.D, RN, CHSE

Kathy Murphy, MSN, Ed.D, RN, CHSE received her nursing degree from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing, Associate Degree from Mattatuck Community College, Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Connecticut State University, Master’s Degree in Science and Doctorate in Education from the University of Hartford. Doctoral thesis topic: The Confidence of New Nurse Graduates in the Application of Environmental Health in the Nursing Process.

Dr. Murphy has experience in pediatrics, labor and delivery and community nursing. She is a Professor of Nursing at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), adjunct faculty at Charter Oak State College where she developed a course focused on climate change and adjunct faculty at the University of Hartford where she teaches a course Environmental Health and Nursing. Dr. Murphy has publications and conference presentations on environmental health and climate change. She is an active member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, co-chair of the Education Forum and Steering Committee member.


Aaron Salinas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, NRP is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas-Pan American and a Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Brownsville Aaron began his nursing career as an emergency room nurse in South Texas at a level 3 trauma center. It is with his emergency department experience that he felt the need to continue with his higher education and received three post masters certificates and completed his doctoral education from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. In addition , he was part of the first Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship with the Alliance of Nurses for Health Environment and will now be serving as a Nurse Mentor.

Charlotte Wallace MS, RN

Charlotte Wallace, MS, RN has a master’s degree in Community & Public Health Nursing. In 2007, Charlotte initiated an environmental health team, who were the first acute care hospital in Maryland to achieve lead certification. In 2013, Becker’s Hospital Review recognized them as “50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America”. Charlotte is proud of her advocacy work, including banning arsenic in chicken feed and fracking in Maryland. Her clinical background includes almost two decades in pediatrics. She currently is a community health nurse at Luminis Health, Maryland where she focuses on reducing health disparities, specifically in lower economic, black, and brown communities. In January 2021, she developed and launched one of the nation’s first mobile COVID vaccination clinics; reducing the language, immigration status, transportation and technology barriers to care. Charlotte is committed to upstream solutions to improve the health of all.