Skip to Content

Appalachian American Alliance of Nurse Practitioners Virtual Fall Education Series

Join us for the Fall 2021 Appalachian American Alliance of Nurse Practitioners (AAANP) Education Series: Rural NPs Rock: Accelerating the Impact of NPs in Rural Communities

Beginning at 1pm, this education series will be held on the following Fridays: Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. Topics include:

  • Pharmacology | Margaret Fitzgerald, DNP, APRN
  • Policy and Advocacy | Stephanie Burgess, Ph.D., APRN- BC
  • Nurse Coaching | Karen Avino, EdD, RN
  • Rural Health Equity | Michael Meit, MA, MPH, ETSU
  • Post-COVID Panel | facilitated by Tracy Fasolino, Ph.D., APRN
  • Genomics | Linda Ward, Ph.D., APRN
  • Telehealth | Lisa Miller, Ph.D., APRN
  • Human trafficking | Pat Speck, DNSc, APRN
  • Appalachian SC Health | Lucia Gonzales, Ph.D., APRN FNP-C, AGPCNP-BC

The conference is $90 which includes our Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Education Series plus Clinical Conversations. The Fall 2021 Education Series includes 13 CEUs (ANCC approved CEUs) . Please register, even if you cannot attend all of the live sessions. These sessions will be recorded and will be available for 60 days via our online conference platform. 

Register today!

More information detailed below.


Learn more: Schedule & CEU Information | Registration Information | Speakers

Education Series Schedule & CEU Information

Date & Time Session Speakers #CEUs #Pharmacology CEUs

Oct. 15

1-2 p.m.

Integrating Nurse Coaching into Practice

Karen Avino, EdD, RN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC

60 minutes 0 minutes

Oct. 15

2:15 - 5:15 p.m.


1) Dangerous Liaisons: Drug-drug, Drug-nutrient Interactions

2) Community-Acquired Pneumonia and COPD Exacerbation

3) Unexpected Consequences: The Positive and Negative Impact of Psychotropic, Diabetic and OTC Medications

Margaret Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, CSP, FAAN

180 minutes 180 minutes

Oct. 22

1 - 2:30 p.m.

Health Equity, Poverty, and Rural Resilience

Michael Meit, MA, MPH, Director of Research and Programs, ETSU Center for Rural Health Research

60 minutes 0 minutes

Oct. 22

2:30 - 3 p.m.

Appalachian Communities & the Social Determinants of Health: A Compassionate Provider Education and Research Project

Lucia Gonzales, Ph.D., APRN

30 minutes 0 minutes

Oct. 22

3:15 - 4:45 p.m.

Rural NP Role in Policy and Advocacy

Stephanie Burgess, Ph.D., APRN, BC, FAANP, FAAN

90 minutes 0 minutes

Oct. 29

1 - 2:30 p.m.

Post-COVID Sequela Panel

Topics include:

  • CV
  • Pulmonary
  • Neuro
  • GI

Facilitator: Tracy Fasolino, Ph.D., FNP

90 minutes  30 minutes

Oct. 29

3 - 4:30 p.m.

Genomics Linda Ward, Ph.D., FNP 90 minutes 15 minutes

Nov. 5

1 - 2:30 p.m.

They don’t trust us... Survivors and Healthcare


90 minutes 15 minutes

Nov. 5

2:45 - 4:15 p.m.

Telehealth: Practical Techniques for Incorporating the Virtual Visit

Lisa Miller, Ph.D., FNP 90 minutes 0 minutes

                                                                                        TOTAL:  780 min (13 hrs)                            240 min (4 hrs)

Continuing Education Credit: Upstate AHEC is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credential Center's Commission on Accreditation. Upon successful completion of this program, attendees will receive 13 nursing continuing professional development hours. Attendees will also receive 3.5 pharmacology hours.

Successful completion of the session requires attendance for at least 90 percent of the live session and a completed online evaluation by the participant. A certificate of completion will not be made available for you if the evaluation is not completed.

ANCC Disclosure Statement: Upstate AHEC’s conflict of interest policy requires faculty to disclose any real or apparent commercial financial affiliations related to the content of their presentations/materials. The speakers have signed a vested interest form declaring no conflict of interest in education activity. Provisions of this educational activity by Upstate AHEC does not imply endorsement by Upstate AHEC or ANCC of any commercial products displayed in conjunction with this activity.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Upstate AHEC is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or veteran’s status. If you require reasonable accommodations for a disability in order to participate fully in a continuing education activity, call 864-349-1160 no later than one week before the date of the activity.

 Back to top

Registration Information

Cost: $90

Register today!

After you register, you will be sent information prior to the start of the live sessions. Please ensure you have the correct email entered into our system when completing the registration process.

Questions? Email

 Back to top


Karen Avino, EdD, RN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC
Avino is the Executive Director of Education for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy and the International Nurse Coach Association providing online and onsite continuing education programs for nurses. As a consultant, Karen helps healthcare organizations create optimal healing environments and integrate holistic nursing into practice. She taught Holistic Nursing and Integrative Health for 20 years in online and on campus classes at the University of Delaware. Karen waived her honorarium in return for advertisement for their Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. That should be no problem since we always advertise the speaker and their affiliations. (Janice Lanham recommended Karen Avino who Janice describes as the rock star of coaching.) Declines honorarium in lieu of advertising the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy.

Stephanie Burgess, Ph.D., APRN, BC, FAANP, FAAN
Burgess is a certified family nurse practitioner. Over her career, she has positively influenced health policy changes for APRN health care delivery Dr. Burgess is a certified family nurse practitioner. Over her career, she has positively influenced health policy changes for APRN health care delivery. These are evidenced by significant reform in five legislative/judicial laws (most recently in May 2018 for changes in the scope of practice for APRNs), 20 nurse practitioner-led medical homes established, and 19 payer policy changes for nurse practitioner direct reimbursement, all resulting in increased access to care and saving South Carolina over 100 million dollars. Her successful and sustainable model of health policy reform has received recognition by the American Nurses Association, the AANP, SC Office of Rural Health, SC Hospital Association, and AARP.

Margaret Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, CSP, FAAN
Dr. Fitzgerald is the founder, president and principal speaker of Fitzgerald Health Education Associates (FHEA), an international provider of NP certification preparation and CE for health care providers. Dr. Fitzgerald has provided thousands of programs for numerous professional organizations, universities and national and state health care associations on a wide variety of topics, including clinical pharmacology, clinical assessment, laboratory diagnosis, health care and NP practice. She is the recipient of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of vision and accomplishments in successfully developing and promoting the nurse practitioner role. She is also a charter fellow in the Fellows of theAmerican Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Tracy Fasolino, Ph.D., FNP, RN
Dr. Fasolino strives to advance nursing research and evidence-based practice within the Upstate through health system partnerships and academic settings. She has an active NP practice with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Greenville, SC in the inpatient and outpatient Palliative Care Clinic. Her area of research is symptom management for patients with chronic, non-cancer illness with a focus on end-stage pulmonary conditions. She teaches at the Doctoral & Master's level and enjoys working with the Undergraduate students in the Global Health Certificate Program.

Lucia Gonzales, Ph.D., MSN, MBA, NP-C, AGPCNP-BC
Dr. Gonzales is the associate director of research at Clemson School of Nursing. Dr. Gonzales has more than ten years' experience as Director of Education and more than ten years as chief nursing administrator in acute care health systems. Her career accomplishments include awards of $420,000 grants for care coordination and nurses' computer education. She developed an onsite RN to BSN program in collaboration with UMDNJ/Rowan School of Nursing for 93 nurses. She is an invited international speaker on transition and adult development, palliative and cardiovascular care, and cultural competence. At the baccalaureate level, she taught leadership, professional nursing, contemporary issues, organizational transitions, and logic and critical thinking at Clayton State College and University. At the graduate level, Dr. Gonzales has taught leadership/professional issues and health theory at Emory and Kennesaw State Universities and research at Thomas Jefferson University. Her publications encourage faculty and clinical nurses to interject research into both the academic and clinical settings. Dr. Gonzales maintains a nursing practice as a transition planner for the midlife woman and nurse practitioner.

Melinda Jenkins, DNP
Melinda Jenkins is an experienced nurse practitioner with 20+ years caring for patients in a variety of settings. She currently is a lecturer and clinical assistant professor for the Clemson University School of Nursing. Her passion is cardiology, most of my years are in this field. Most recently her clinical practice has been in the specialty of advanced heart failure. She has special interest in palliative/end of life care for elders, helping to make quality of life key for those with chronic illness that are approaching end of life.

Michael Meit, MA, MPH
East Tennessee State University has named Michael Meit, a nationally respected leader in rural health, as the director of research and programs at the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research.“ Michael Meit is one of the nation’s most respected leaders in rural health,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, founding director of the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research and dean of the College of Public Health. “Through his work with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the National Rural Health Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and many other organizations, Michael has become one of the most recognized voices advocating for real improvements in rural health in America.”Meit brings a long history of research in the Appalachian region, having conducted multiple studies for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), including the 2017 report Appalachian Diseases of Despair, and a 2008 study documenting substance use disparities in the Appalachian region, co-authored with ETSU faculty. Meit’s partnership with ETSU extends to several other studies, including ARC issue briefs focused on opioids, obesity, and smoking, as well as studies for the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the and the Appalachia Funders Network. Meit summed up his approach to rural research in his acceptance video for the 2019 NRHA award by saying, “In the end, my favorite part of the research process is working directly with people who are trying to make a difference in their communities. Community stakeholders teach us what works and what doesn’t, how community strengths and resources are leveraged, and how residents and organizations come together to solve problems.” 

Lisa Miller, Ph.D., FNP
Miller has over 19 years of experience working with developing families including newborn healthcare, and women throughout the stages of the lifespan from childbearing years through menopause. Since starting with Clemson University in 2007, I have been involved in the education of undergraduate and graduate nurses in the specialty of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health. I am a member of AWHOHH, NONPF, NLN and NPWH.

Elizabeth Orr, FNP
Elizabeth Lowery Orr is a Nurse Practitioner Specialist in Greenville, South Carolina. She graduated with honors in 2014. Having more than 7 years of diverse experiences. She specializes in neurology at Prisma Health.

Sabrina Raja, PA-C
Sabrina Raja received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina in both Biology and Psychology. She then went on the complete her Physician Assisting degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Sabrina is certified in both advanced cardiac and basic life support, and is affiliated with the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), North Carolina Association of Physician Assistants, and the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (SCAPA).

Speck is a lead author on AAN Policy brief on human trafficking. Patricia M. Speck retired from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing as the DNP Public Health Nursing and DNP Forensic Nursing Concentration Coordinator, she joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing in the Department of Community Health, Outcomes, and Systems. Currently, Dr. Speck is a Professor and Coordinator of the graduate Advanced Forensic Nursing program. She is internationally recognized as a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and expert in advanced forensic nursing care of patients experiencing an intersection with the legal system. She consults with the Department of Justice as a subject matter expert, with universities, and internationally in Africa, Eurasia, the Caribbean, and Central, South and North America with governments, universities, institutions, and Non-Governmental Organizations to evaluate and implement infrastructure change in response to victims of violence. As a forensic nursing practice expert and researcher, she develops policy, evaluates programs and builds nursing workforce capacity through publication, education, and violence prevention initiatives. Her research currently focuses on health outcomes following violence and DNA detection. She was President of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (2003-2004), Chair, American Public Health Association's Family Violence Prevention Forum/Caucus (2011-2013), Her awards include: Fellow American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2008), Distinguished Fellow, International Association of Forensic Nurses (2001) and Distinguished Fellow, Academy of Forensic Nursing (2018), and Fellow, American Academy of Nurses (2002). She is the recipient of over 25 awards and received the Lifetime Professional Impact.

Cindy Steeves, FNP
A Virginia native, Cindy Steeves has lived in the Greenville, SC area since 1985. She has been in pulmonary medicine for over 25 years and in healthcare for over 30 years. Her work is part of my personal mission to provide expert, compassionate care to every patient that I meet. She works for Bon Secours St. Francis Palmetto Pulmonary.

Linda Ward, Ph.D., FNP
Linda Ward is an associate professor at Clemson University School of Nursing. Dr. Ward’s early career was as a laboratorian in analytic chemistry and clinical microbiology. In 1995, she turned to the nursing profession, earning a BSN and working as an RN as she continued her education to become a family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. Her practice as a nurse practitioner was in primary care, home health, and student health. In 2003, she completed a genetics fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, which led her to pursue a nursing doctoral degree. Her dissertation and research focus on integration of genetics and genomics into nursing education. Dr. Ward developed the Genomic Nursing Concept Inventory (GNCI), an instrument to measure knowledge of genetic and genomic concepts essential to nursing practice. The GNCI has been validated among nursing students, nursing faculty and practicing nurses, and data inform evidence-based approaches to genomic nursing education. Dr. Ward implemented the Genomic Nursing Cyberhub, a web-based platform that supports faculty deployment of the GNCI to inform curricular planning and evaluation. Dr. Ward has published several manuscripts around genomic nursing education and holds a genetic nurse education expert designation through the National Human Genome Research Institute. She has also written several genetics chapters for nursing texts. She served on the editorial board of G2C2, an NIH-based repository of genetic and genomic education resources, and served a four-year term on the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) with the CDC.

 Back to top