Dr. Ester Ruiz has over 40 years of nursing experience in practice and as an Educator, most recently as
PsychMental Health Nurse Practitioner and Psychologist in private practice. Dr. Ruiz is co-founder of the
National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Phoenix Chapter (formerly Valle del Sol Chapter) and has served
as Past President, in addition to other key Board member positions. She retired as Associate Professor
at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CONHI) at Arizona State University (ASU) where she
taught psych mental health at the graduate level and mentored numerous students through the years.
During her tenure as faculty at ASUCONHI, Dr. Ruiz has helped to organize the Nursing Students for
Cultural and Ethnic Diversity (NSCED), an innovative organization that provides guidance and mentorship
to ethnically diverse nursing students in order to ensure academic success in all areas of nursing. Her
scientific agenda focused on cross-cultural issues; depression; Latina health; cultural norms influencing
violence against women in the Latino community; cultural factors affecting the relationship between
psychological separation and college adjustment. She teaches counseling skills to graduate psychiatric
nurse practitioner students and she is frequently asked to consult on local racial/ethnic health issues.
Dr. Ruiz has presented internationally, nationally, and locally and as one of the few Latina Psychologists
and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, she has provided mental health services to traditionally
disenfranchised groups, such as migrant farmworkers and monolingual Spanish-speakers. These
activities are often described as “inspiring” and “motivating” to Latina/o nursing students, especially
since Dr. Ruiz shares her strategies for achievement in order to promote the development of future
Latina/o nurses in our community. She continues to raise the visibility of Latina/o nurses in Arizona,
helping to promote diversity among clinicians that can represent and help care for our growing diverse
patient population. Currently she serves on the Education Committee of the National Association of
Hispanic Nurses, and helps to provide information to multicultural communities on the Affordable Care
Act. She is an outstanding Latina faculty, teacher, role model, and mentor in our community!
Andrea Kilgore, BSN, RN graduated from Chamberlain College of Nursing in August of 2015 and currently works as the Clinical Coordinator for Adelante Healthcare's Buckeye clinic. In her current role she has had the opportunity to train new nurses, develop a mentorship opportunities within leadership, and help with workflow development. She also is graduating from Grand Canyon University with a Master's of Science in Nursing with emphasis in public health in April 2018.
Outside of work she also helps coordinate medical missions with Sonoran Medial Mission, another non-profit organization in which she serves as a board member too. Her goal is to bring more awareness, education, and focus to the underserved populations to provide quality, life-changing chronic-disease management care in an effort to improve patient outcomes.
Rose Lopez BSN, RN was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Rose is part of a large family with eight siblings. When Rose was only a teenager, her 13-year-old niece was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Watching her sister go through the struggles of caring for her niece and the financial burden that resulted, shaped her into the servant nurse she is today. Rose began her journey long ago but left school to raise her three children. When the time was right for her family, Rose enrolled in the concurrent program between Estrella Mountain Community College and Northern Arizona University where in December 2014 she graduated with honors.
As a new graduate nurse, she actively sought out ways to utilize her education to serve her community and excel in her organization, on the Telemetry unit of Abrazo West Valley. Some of her recent accomplishments include establishing a new hospital policy, expansion of her hospital’s community service projects and being chosen by the Arizona Nurses Association to present her team’s evidenced-based practice proposal. She has a passion for her community and wants to continue her nursing career focusing on preventative care and education.
Felipe Santoyo-Cuellar, BSN RN was born in Guanjuato, Mexico and was raised in North Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with his BSN in December of 2016. He was awarded the Presidents' Scholarship, completed the honors program and was the recipient of the Excellence Award for his class. Felipe currently works at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in the Cardiovascular Progressive Care Unit. Felipe will be attending the University of Arizona to pursue a dual Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Philosophy of Nursing (PhD) degrees. He is excited to be a part of an amazing organization and to build strong connections with the community.
Lorenza “Lori” A Villegas-Murphy, MSN, RN is from Glendale, AZ. Lori currently works at Brookline College as nursing faculty teaching Medication Math and Gerontological Nursing. She is a Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence Scholar and United Health Foundation Diverse Scholar.
Lori was appointed by the Arizona State Board of Nursing to serve on the Scope of Practice Committee. Her background is oncology nursing and has a passion for caring for the older adults with cancer. Lori is committed to educating and mentoring nursing students to provide the best quality compassionate care.
Monica Miller BS, RN, CHC is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Nursing is Monica’s second career. Monica graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree and worked in the Insurance Industry for many years prior to becoming a Nurse. In 2003 Monica carried on the tradition of working at Maricopa Medical Center (MIHS) and has been there ever since as a Registered Nurse. This is where her father was a Resident Dr. back in the 1960’s. He too believed in the mission of caring for the community through public health education and awareness. Monica has worked in the Surgical Trauma ICU, High Risk Labor & Delivery, Adult Progressive Care Unit, Gynecology-Oncology Nursing, assisted with the initiation of a Maternity Medical Home Model at the MIHS clinic setting as the Nurse Care Coordinator-Manager as part of an initiative effort called Strong Start between CMS, HRSA and the ACF for high risk pregnant woman. She also served as a Preceptor for the New Grad Program at MIHS. Monica also worked with the IT department as a Trainer and Provider Educator when MIHS went up with their first EMR (EPIC.) She has a certification in Management of Clinical Information Technology, clinical documentation application certifications in EPIC and a certification in Healthcare Compliance from the HCCA. Monica has now joined her previous background in the insurance industry, informatics education and clinical experience and is now the Clinical Compliance Auditor-Educator of the Corporate Compliance Department at MIHS. Monica enjoys serving the vulnerable community through health education, awareness of utilizing our community resources and embracing a proactive health and well-being lifestyle.
Monica was awarded The March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award for Care Coordination in 2015. She is a member of Arizona Latin-American Medical Association (ALMA), Gamma Phi Beta Alumnae Association and on the Board for Latina Strong Foundation. She also volunteers with the Maricopa Health Foundation and served as a community outreach ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Monica enjoys spending time with family and friends, creating healthy recipes, catering for certain events, open water swimming, sprint triathlons, tennis and being active in the community.
Dr. Veronica Vital is a native of Mesa, Arizona. In December 2013, she completed her PhD in Nursing from the University of Arizona and her dissertation was titled “Experiences of Adults of Mexican Origin Newly Informed of Having Hyperglycemic Values that Exceed the Threshold of Diabetes”. She also graduated from Arizona State University where she received her BSN in 1998 and MSN in 2005. Dr. Vital has 18 years of nursing experience in research, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, and Community Health and is currently an Assistant Professor at Chamberlain College of Nursing.
Dr. Vital has dedicated a great deal of time, energy and education to addressing the care and health disparities experienced by Hispanics with diabetes. She has shared her expertise, advocating for the needs of newly-diagnosed diabetic patients. Dr. Vital was recently selected as one of 15 leaders in the country who will implement the MueveteUSA program - a physical activity and healthy diet program addressing childhood obesity. Dr. Vital is a graduate of the Valle del Sol Hispanic Leadership Institute (HLI) Class of 2000, and the recipient of the Profiles of Success 2014 Latino Excellence in Health & Sciences Award.
Come join us at our next volunteering event! We are always looking for able hands to help our mission become reality. Click below to find out more information or contact Andrea Kilgore at
We're continually looking for the leaders of tomorrow throughout the Valley of the Sun. If you're interested in applying for one of our scholarships, please click on the link below.
We have a simple but powerful mission: to empower Hispanic Nurses. We do that through advocacy, and through various educational, professional, and leadership opportunities for Hispanic nurses while impacting our community.
Anabell Castro Thompson is a Nurse Practitioner and Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Equality Health. Anabell also serves as the President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.
Anabell’s leadership exemplifies sustained commitment towards improving healthcare to the Hispanic community. Her work features a practice focused on integrating concepts related to access to care and cultural competence to facilitate delivery of culturally congruent care. Determined to bridge health care disparities, she is responsible for building and managing innovative programs and strategic initiatives which enhanced education & outreach and guaranteed equality in diagnostic and treatment options for all.
As President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Anabell is seasoned in governing, and has deep experience in influencing resource development and diversification of funding revenues, leading projects that reduce barriers in access to care for vulnerable populations, and is passionate about principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Anabell serves on multiple national and regional boards and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2015 University of Arizona Alumni – “Young Professional Achievement Award”, the 2011 Valle del Sol “Latino Excellence in Health and Science Award”, the 2010 Arizona State University- Los Diablos Hispanic Alumni, “Horquilla Award” and the 2010 National Association of Hispanic Nurses “Janie Menchaca Wilson Leadership Award”. Anabell was selected for Fellowship into the American Academy of Nursing on October 2016.
Our current by-laws were revised in January of 2016 and can be viewed here.
Our by-laws, or our organization's operating manual; the rules created by our organization which guide and govern our organization's actions by its board and membership in order to fulfill its mission and vision.
Cecilia, also known as Cece, is a native of Arizona. She graduated from Brookline College in December of 2015 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. She is currently working at the Mayo Clinic as an RN. Cece is currently attending Brookline College pursuing her Masters of Nursing in Healthcare Administration. She is a proud mother of one daughter, who has several chronic healthcare conditions. This is one of the main reasons she chose nursing as her second profession. She is currently working on applying to a psych NP program. Her long term goal is to work with adolescents who have chronic healthcare issues, or have been through traumatic experiences. She is very grateful for NAHN and looks forward to learning from the many leaders and mentors that are currently part of NAHN.
Joseth “Joey” Hermosillo Enriquez, BSN, RN was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in West Phoenix, AZ. He graduated from Grand Canyon University with Summa Cum Laude honors (and debt-free!) in December 2016. As an acute care nurse on a medical/surgical floor in one of Phoenix, Arizona's largest hospitals, Joey takes care of a variety of patients with complex and often multiple diagnosis'. From elective orthopedic surgeries to trauma-related orthopedic surgeries, to OMFS cases, urology patients, bowel surgeries and psychiatric admissions, Each patient provides a new learning experiences, something Joey values- learning something new every day. Joey also works on a PRN-basis as a telephonic triage nurse assisting clients with workplace injuries, getting them the medical evaluation necessary or recommending home care. No call is alike and Joey values the critical thinking and triage experience he is gaining through this position.
He joined NAHN in 2015 while still a nursing student and has found great mentors and inspiration from fellow members to advance his health care career in the near future. Joey also volunteers extensively as a camp nurse for both the Arizona Lung Association and the Arthritis Association in Arizona, providing nursing care during either entities' summer camps for children with asthma or autoimmune disorders. Joey is a first-generation college graduate and prides himself in being accountable and an asset to any team he joins.
Bertha Sepulveda is a Registered Nurse from Arizona State University, 1968. Bertha has worked at Mesa Community College as a Director, Special Projects which provided direction for the implementation of the Enfermeras en Escalera (E3) grant received from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services, 2005-2009. Bertha implemented a 2nd grant that recruited and trained bilingual students to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). Bertha started her own business and provided consultation in the areas of healthcare systems development, establishing community partnerships and nursing administration, 1997-2003. Bertha was employed for 28 years at Maricopa County and retired in 1997. During her career with Maricopa County, she specialized in Community Health, Outpatient Nursing and Executive Administration. She held the positions of Public Health Nurse, Clinic Nurse, Nursing Supervisor, Primary Care Center Administration, and Director, Ambulatory Care. Bertha was also in the Arizona National Guard, as a First Lieutenant, Flight Nurse, 1970-71. Bertha was recognized at Sigma Theta Tau, National Honor Society of Nursing, 1981-present; Nurse of the Year, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, 2009; Nurse Leader of the Year, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, 1996; Innovation of the Year Award, Enfermeras en Escalera Program, Maricopa Community College District, a program that fast tracks internationally educated nurses that are citizens to obtain licensure in the United States, 2006; Co-Founder, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Phoenix Chapter, and the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens; Profiles of Success Award, Valle del Sol, 2012; Hall of Fame Award, Superior High School, Superior, AZ, 2013 for the grant that recruited and trained bilingual students to become certified.
Cheryl Courtois is originally from Arkansas, but has called Phoenix home for the last 20 years. With the support of her husband and two children she graduated with Honors from Estrella Mountain Community College in 2014. She was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Professionalism and Leadership by the Nursing Faculty of Estrella. Cheryl then went on to Arizona State University (ASU), where she graduated with her BSN in 2016she is currently working as a Telemetry/PCU and charge nurse at a local hospital. She assists in many areas of the hospital including education of new grads and staff, community outreach, and preoperative testing. In the summer she also acts part-time as a health supervisor at a Girl Scout camp in Prescott.
Lyda Velez, MSN, RN, CCTN was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She graduated from Grand Canyon University (GCU) with a Bachelor in Science of Nursing and Phoenix University with a Masters in Science of Nursing. Lyda is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in many areas in nursing such as: Intermediate care, Transplant, M/S, Palliative care, Ortho, Oncology, Post-partum, case management, and transplant coordinator. Currently, working at Mayo Clinic as a Team Lead in the intermediate/transplant unit. She is a Unit Base Team (UBT) co-chair, health and wellness representative, and Wound-ostomy resource nurse. In 2009 Lyda was awarded the Michael B. O’Sullivan Nursing excellence award for inpatient nurses at Mayo Clinic Hospital.
She has supported the Hispanic community by giving back: during health fairs, education, and volunteering in events that promote health care with NAHN. Her passion is nursing, making a difference, and decreasing the disparities found in Hispanic kidney transplant patients.
Dámaris was born in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico and was raised in Chandler, AZ. A daughter of immigrant parents, she was the first in her family to graduate from college. She obtained her Associate Degree in Nursing from Gateway Community College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University. Her nursing background is in End Stage Liver & Kidney Disease, Transplant, Hematology/Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Care. During her nursing career she has mentored and been a preceptor to new graduate nurses and nursing students. Dámaris has also been involved in Evidence-Based Research on Compassion Fatigue in Acute Care Nurses, has been a member of the Nursing Peer Review Board and her employers Daisy Award Nominations Committee.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing as well as having participated in the Arizona Action Coalition Diversity Council. In 2015, she was awarded the Dr. Esther Ruiz Academic NAHN Scholarship. She is currently completing the Adult Gerontology-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at Grand Canyon University and will finish in May of 2018. Serving the Latino community is her passion.
For information about the NAHN National By-laws, please visit the website at http://www.nahnnet.org/NAHNBylaws.html
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