Dr. Johnson is an advance practice nurse, educator, and advocate. He began his career in healthcare in 2000 as a CNA, and continued his education as an LPN (2001); RN (2006); NP (2010); and PhD (2018). His clinical background includes inpatient medical/surgical, psychiatric, home health, substance abuse and intensive care and emergency room nursing.
He is the CEO of Show Me Your Stethoscope, an online nurse advocacy community of over 600,000 nurses; and an organizer for NursesTakeDC. He is a Founding member of the Society of Nurse Scientist Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders (founded 2018); as well as a Fellow of the Facebook Community Leadership Program (2019). Professionally, he is most passionate about helping nurses become greater self advocates. He is a father to five children, and husband to his wife who is also a nurse.
Alice Johnson JD
Executive Director of the Illinois Nurses Association
Alice Johnson is among the most influential health care labor professionals in Illinois. As the current executive director of the Illinois Nurses Association, Alice has directed the operations and activities of the INA union and its staff since 2012. In that time, she spearheaded efforts to organize advanced practice nurses at retail health clinics and defeated Governor Rauner’s effort to lay off more than 124 correctional center nurses in 2017.
Under her tenure, INA has successfully advocated for important legislation protecting the safety of nurses against violence and defeated short sighted efforts to dilute the scope of nursing practice. In 2018, in a rare case of action amidst state gridlock taking place at that time, INA successfully advocated for the passage of the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act, mandating Illinois hospitals, veterans’ homes and retail healthcare facilities to institute workplace violence prevention programs, protecting the rights of healthcare workers to contact law enforcement and implementing safeguards for inmate healthcare.
In 2019, the INA spearheaded efforts to pass the Safe Patient Limits Act. For the first time in the history of the Illinois General Assembly, the Safe Patient Limits Act was passed through the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
Prior to 2012, as the director of the INA’s collective bargaining program, she directed and supervised INA’s labor negotiations and representation. She was a staff attorney at the INA from 2006 to 2010, where she negotiated collective bargaining agreements and represented the INA in labor arbitrations and before the labor board.
In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Illinois Nurse Association, Ms. Johnson also serves on the University of Illinois Labor Education Advisory Board and serves as a Director on the Board of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, a research organization dedicated to thoughtful economic growth for businesses and working families.
About the Illinois Nurses Association:
The Illinois Nurses Association is the nurses’ union, at the forefront, fighting for nurses’ rights and empowering them to be the best advocates for their patients and their community. INA is the nursing union in the State of Illinois, providing professional representation, improving wages and terms and conditions of employment for nurses in bargaining units represented by the INA, creating an environment where all RNs can participate and lead in protecting patient care by organizing unorganized RNs that do not have the professional standards that INA represented members have gained. INA currently represents nurses working in the private and public sector in Illinois.
Donna Kelly-Williams RN
President of Massachusetts Nurses Association
Donna Kelly-Williams is currently serving her fifth term as President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, a post she has held since 2009. Donna’s career at the bedside of maternity and pediatric patients at the Cambridge Hospital expands over 45 years, and she has been an active member and leader at the MNA for more than two decades.
Donna holds an associate degree in nursing from Lasell College, a bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies from UMass Boston, and a Master of Management from Cambridge College School of Management in Health Care. She also earned a certificate from the internationally renowned Harvard Law School Trade Union Program and is board certified in pediatric nursing.
Under her leadership, the MNA has continued its leadership role as one of the most powerful and respected state nurses’ associations in the nation. During her tenure, the MNA has passed a landmark law to penalize those who assault registered nurses, a law to ban mandatory overtime in hospitals, while waging a number of high profile contract fights that resulted in improvements in staffing, while protecting and preserving MNA members’ rights and benefits.
She also led MNA’s campaign to pass a ballot initiative to ensure safe patient limits for nurses in Massachusetts Hospital. This effort resulted in a negotiated compromise with the legislature, where the MNA agreed to pull the initiative for a new law passed in June 2014 with unanimous votes in both the House and Senate, which establishes safe patient limits for nurses in all hospital intensive care units. The new law set the highest standard for the care of critically ill patients in the nation, requiring each nurse to care for no more than one patient at a time, unless it is determined that the patient is stable enough to allow the nurse to care for a second patient.
In 2018, Donna helped to marshal an effort by the MNA and a growing coalition of health care, consumer and labor advocacy groups to pass a new ballot initiative, the Patient Safety and Hospital Transparency Act, which would extend safe patient limits for nurses working in every unit and department in the hospital to ensure all patients in our state’s hospitals are guaranteed safe patient care. While the effort was defeated at the ballot box, the campaign drew state and national attention to the issue and raised public awareness of the role and value of nursing in patient care delivery.
Donna has become a recognized leader within the state’s health care industry and has been widely quoted and interviewed by the media about a host of labor, nursing and social justice issues.
About the Massachusetts Nurses Association:
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest professional health care organization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing and by lobbying the legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is also the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth, providing collective bargaining representation to nurses working in 85 health care facilities.
Matthew keller jd, rn
Mathew Keller is a nurse attorney who previously worked as the Director of Nursing Practice and Health Care Policy for the Washington State Nurses Association. In Mat’s role he worked to advocate and advance the nursing profession through continuing education, legislation, blogs, earned media, unionism, and other means.
Mat is a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing as well as the University of Minnesota Law School. He served honorably in the US Army including an 18 month deployment in Iraq, where he functioned as the Nurse-Officer in Charge of a Level 1 TMC.
Mat has held various roles as a nurse regulatory and practice specialist, including with the Minnesota Nurses Association, medical device maker Haemonetics, and the American Nurses Association.
He is the proud father of a 3-year-old with way too many questions, Leo, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
lorie a. brown rn, mn, jd
President Elect for The American Association of Nurse Attorneys
Lorie Brown has a passion for supporting nurses. She is truly a nurse for nurses. She became a Registered Nurse after graduating from Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1982 and has worked in a variety of nursing fields, including medical surgical nursing, management and administration.
In 1984, she obtained her Masters in Nursing Administration and Medical-Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist program from the University of California, Los Angeles, California.
She obtained her law degree from Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1990. As a Nurse Attorney, Lorie practiced in medical malpractice defense for the State of Indiana and a private law firm. She is currently admitted to practice in Indiana and Illinois.
Lorie founded Brown Law Office, P.C. in 1999 and began working as a legal nurse consultant and representing nurses and other healthcare providers before the licensing boards.
In 2012, Lorie founded EmpoweredNurses.org, an organization designed to help nurses protect their licenses while learning to “speak their mind, stand in their power and to be a change agent to improve patient care”.
Lorie has authored three books:
Law and Order for Nurses: The Easy Way to Protect Your License and Your Livelihood”
From Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses System”
The Legal Nurse Consultant’s Workbook: Turning Your Nursing Knowledge into a Successful Consulting Practice
Lorie is currently the President Elect for The American Association of Nurse Attorneys. She has a weekly blog on either or . She has been a keynote speaker and speaker at many regional and national nursing organization conferences and is the author of numerous published articles.
President of American Federation of Teachers
RANDI WEINGARTEN is president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT is dedicated to helping Americans secure a better life, a voice at work and a stronger democracy. The AFT champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for students, their families and communities. The AFT and its members advance these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through members’ work—we care, fight, show up and vote.
Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. Weingarten is the recipient of many commendations, including the Roosevelt Institute’s 2017 FDR Distinguished Public Service Award, City & State New York’s 2018 Labor Power 50 and 50 Over Fifty honors, and Washington Life’s 2018 Power 100 list of prominent leaders. In 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years.
Weingarten has led the AFT’s efforts to address the crisis in the teaching profession caused by deep disinvestment from public education and the deprofessionalization of teaching. Through the AFT’s Fund Our Future campaign, AFT members and leaders throughout the country are fighting for adequate investment in public education. Weingarten has launched major efforts to place real education reform high on the nation’s and her union’s agendas. She created the AFT Innovation Fund, a groundbreaking initiative to support sustainable, innovative and collaborative education reform projects developed by members and their local unions. At Weingarten’s direction, the AFT developed a model to transform teacher evaluations from a way of simply rating teachers to a tool for continuous improvement and feedback, and is using this model to align tenure and due process so that tenure serves as a guarantee of fairness, not of a job for life. Weingarten led an AFT committee that called for all prospective teachers to meet a high entry standard—as in medicine or law—so that they’re prepared from the day they enter the classroom.
Weingarten oversaw the development of the AFT’s Quality Education Agenda, which advocates for reforms grounded in evidence, equity, scalability and sustainability. She promotes what she calls “solution-driven unionism”— an approach to collective bargaining and collective action that unites the interests of union members and those they serve in the pursuit of solutions that benefit students, schools and communities.
The AFT and a broad array of parent and community partners have collaborated on events across the country to advance a community and educator-driven agenda for public school reform. Parents and many others have joined the AFT’s efforts to end the overuse and misuse of standardized tests, and to fix—not close— struggling schools, something Weingarten has advocated since her involvement in the creation of New York City’s Chancellor’s District, which dramatically improved achievement in what had been some of the city’s lowest performing schools.
Weingarten spearheaded the development by the AFT and British partner TES Connect of Share My Lesson, the United States’ largest free collection of educational resources created by teachers, for teachers, with an emphasis on resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Weingarten and the AFT were asked to lead a partnership to transform McDowell County, W.Va., one of the poorest counties in the United States. The AFT has assembled close to 100 partners not only to improve the quality of education provided to children in the county, but to focus on jobs, transportation, recreation, housing, healthcare and social services. The AFT also has developed a partnership with First Book, which has provided 5 million free and reduced-price books to children.
Under Weingarten’s leadership, the AFT continues to grow and expand its voice as a union of professionals. Nationwide, the AFT is the second-largest union of nurses and the largest higher education union, representing 230,000 higher education faculty, professional staff and graduate employees. Weingarten has championed the union’s efforts to help borrowers manage student debt, and to hold unscrupulous loan servicers to account.
In 2012-13, Weingarten served on an education reform commission convened by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which made a series of recommendations to improve teaching and learning. She was appointed to the Equity and Excellence Commission, a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress to examine and make recommendations concerning the disparities in educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap.
For 10 years, while president of the UFT, Weingarten chaired New York City’s Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization for the city’s 100-plus public sector unions, including those representing higher education and other public service employees. As chair of the MLC, she coordinated labor negotiations and bargaining for benefits on behalf of the MLC unions’ 365,000 members.
From 1986 to 1998, Weingarten served as counsel to UFT President Sandra Feldman, taking a lead role in contract negotiations and enforcement, and in lawsuits in which the union fought for adequate school funding and building conditions. A teacher of history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood from 1991 to 1997, Weingarten helped her students win several state and national awards debating constitutional issues.
Elected as the local union’s assistant secretary in 1995 and as treasurer two years later, she became UFT president after Feldman became president of the AFT. Weingarten was elected to her first full term as UFT president in 1998 and was re-elected three times.
Weingarten’s column “What Matters Most” appears in the New York Times’ Sunday Review the third Sunday of each month. You can follow her on Twitter at @rweingarten (Twitter.com/ rweingarten) or on Facebook (Facebook.com/ randi.weingarten.9).
Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. She is an active member of the Democratic National Committee and numerous professional, civic and philanthropic organizations. Born in 1957 and raised in Rockland County, N.Y., Weingarten now resides in New York City and Washington D.C.
pam robbins msn, rn
Nurse Educator for Nursing Excellence Continuing Education Services, LLC
Robbins is a 1978 graduate from Saint Joseph Hospital Diploma School of Nursing. She has worked as a staff nurse in the ICU/ PACU acute and ambulatory care setting. Robbins received her BSN degree from the University of Saint Francis (USF) in 2007, and in 2013 graduated from USF with her master’s degree in Nursing Administration.
As a member of her Illinois Nurses Association state professional nursing organization, Robbins as served as the union’s Economic and General Welfare Chair, elected to the state professional nursing association Board and served as Illinois Nurses Association President. Robbins has been deeply involved in Government Relations, fashioning contract language and Illinois legislation such as RN Circulator, No Mandatory Overtime in Hospitals and has authored delegation and scope of practice language in the Illinois Nurse Practice Act in 2007 and continues today. She currently is member of the Chicago Chapter National Black Nurses Association serving on their Health Policy Committee.
Robbins’ passion is awakening the professional nurse to wield their political power – enlightening them on the current legislation that will impact their nursing profession and the public’s health. Robbins encourages all nurses to develop their political voice and raise it as a nurse constituent advising their legislators on how to vote on health policy in Springfield and across the nation.
Robbins has been a lobbyist as well as an adjunct professor Millikin University in Decatur teaching graduate nurse anesthetist students Health Policy and Politics and currently is a nurse educator for Nursing Excellence LLC. Robbins served as an Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition Leadership (IHAC) sub-committee chair developed and presented with nationally recognized speakers the IHAC 2015 two-part series webinar Nurses to the Boardroom!
In 2018, Robbins was recognized for her political advocacy with the Health Care Advocacy Award presented by the Chicago Chapter National Black Nurses Association, Alpha Eta Chapter of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., Beta Mu Chapter of Lambda Pi Alpha Sorority and Provident Hospital Nurses’ Alumni Association.
Robbins has been as a member of Show Me Your Stethoscope and as a Nurses Take DC Organizer presenting CE programs at Nurses Take DC Conference 2017, 2018 and in 2020 in Washington DC.
julie blake-griffin bsn, rn
Nurse for over 25 years, US Navy Veteran currently working as a pediatric nurse in CVICU, Julie started out in healthcare as a home health aide while obtaining her degree. First enrolled in a nurse diploma school at St Joseph School of Nursing in Memphis TN and finished her BSN at Grand Canyon University.
Throughout her nursing career she has not only worked as a bedside nurse, but also in administration, where she was the Assistant Regional Director of a national homecare/staffing agency. Leaving administrative duties in the past, she went back to bedside nursing where her heart was.
Ms. Griffin’s passion to fight for nurse to patient ratios became vocal after she became the victim of retaliation by her employer for speaking up about safety concerns. Following in Nurses Take DC lead, she currently heads Nurses Take Florida advocating for Florida citizen. Her story was published by Hospital Watchdog and has been featured on many Florida radio stations as a patient safety advocate.
The mother of three boys with the hopes of a grandchild eventually, Julie knows that safety at the bedside should not be compromised.
charlene harrod-owuamana lpn
Charlene Harrod-Owuamana, has over 30 years of experience in Healthcare. She is a best-selling Author, professional Speaker and an educator to the youth in her city. She spends most of her time as a Professional Kids Coach; for her brand “NURSZ’s HIVE”, where she inspires young adults to focus on a Healthcare Career.
She started her career at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore City – as a Unit Clerk. Then she decided to pursue a career in nursing. As a professional Licensed Practical Nurse with her Associate of Arts Degree; focusing on Pediatric/Adult Care – Emergency Department, School Nursing, Urgent Care/Ambulatory Services, Neurology, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Her accomplishments include:
Speaking at “Baltimore in Conversation” on Trust vs Mistrust in Healthcare with the LGBTQ community.
1st time Ambassador & Co-Author for “We Are Women of Substance”
Founder/CEO of Nursz’s Hive
NursesTakeDC Speaker 2017-18
Former President/Founder of Black Nurses Rock Baltimore MD Chapter, where she changed lives educating the community in which she served.
serving on several boards in her city, including DMV Mastermind Group, Maryland Board of Nursing, CNA/GNA ADVISORY, Keep it safe & smart (K.I.S.S.), and Black Girls Vote (Member)
Despite all of the challenges that her city has been faced with over the years. She returned to the neighborhood where she was raised 40 years ago. To strengthen the Healthcare System and show the community her commitment and dedication. She has managed to collaborate with top city leaders and educators; such as, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office, Baltimore City Police Department and Baltimore City Fire Department.
Remaining busy in vulnerable communities doing what God intended her to be a nurturing, caring and inspiring NURSE.
Leslie Silket bsn, rn
Leslie has been a registered nurse for 29 years. She received her BSN from San Francisco State University in 1990. Since then, she has worked as a bedside nurse in medical-surgical, chemical dependency, and oncology. She has an established record lobbing for patient rights and nurse to patient ratios. As a chief nurse representative, she supported her colleges by sitting in on disciplinary meetings and grievances and advocating on their behalf.
Mrs. Silket realized that African American nurses needed a platform that united, supported, educated and empowered them. On February 10, 2011, Leslie independently organized and founded Black Nurses Connected, an event to celebrate and recognize the achievements of black nurses past and present. While preparing for the 2012 event, she received an email that changed her life. A friend and fellow nurse, with 3 young children, was stricken with cancer and was dying. Moved by the situation, Leslie was compelled to action and found her calling. She went on to establish a foundation which gives future hope to the daughters and sons of deceased nurses.
She created Nurse's Children Foundation, Inc. (NCF) in 2012. NCF is a non-profit foundation dedicated to financially assist children of deceased nurses with their educational dreams.
Leslie works as an HIV/ AIDS casemanager in the community and as an adjunct instructor for Samuel Merritt University where she is committed to instructing the future generation of nurses.
Leslie is married and the proud mother of two sons and one grandson.
Janie Garner rn
President of SMYS
Biography coming soon.
Kate Mclaughlin rn
Kate McLaughlin is the founder of the New Jersey based patient safety, grassroots organization NJ Safe Ratios. NJ Safe Ratios’ mission is to improve patient safety and outcomes though legislation. Prior to becoming a nurse, Kate was an Air Force medic and flight medic. After her career in the military she earned her BSN and worked in critical care serving and an Emergency Department in Newark, Edison and New Brunswick, Trauma ED and Medical ICU Nurse in New Brunswick, NJ and as a Trauma ICU Nurse in Camden New Jersey. In addition to lobbying for safe staffing legislation Kate is also a Critical Care Transport Nurse serving patients throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey Safe Ratios has united nurses and patient advocates from around the state in order to educate communities and legislators. In addition to working on safe staffing legislation NJ Safe Ratios is raising awareness about maternal deaths and the need for meaningful education for medical staff to ensure the safety of every mother. Currently New Jersey is ranked 47th in the county for maternal deaths.
angela simpson bsn, rn
Founder of Silent No More Foundation
Angela Simpson, BSN, RN is the Founder & National Director of Silent No More Foundation, an organization with a goal of protecting healthcare workers before, during, and after an assault in the workplace through advocacy, awareness, education, and legislation. As an international speaker and influencer on policy change, Angela challenges the cultural expectation that violence is just part of the job. She is a fierce advocate for safe staffing ratios, as short staffing is a known risk factor for violence. In her downtime, this Maryland native enjoys a big table filled with steamed crabs and days filled with fall foliage in the Appalachian mountains.
winifred yvonne carson-smith ab, jd
Attorney & Nurse Advocate of 30 Years
Windy Carson-Smith is an attorney whose career has been advocating for nurses and nursing
organizations in their pursuit for equity in the workplace and the healthcare system.
Carson-Smith began working on nursing practice issues over thirty (30) years ago when tasked to write
legislation consolidating the regulation of health occupations in the District of Columbia. In doing so, she was the principal drafter of the District’s Health Occupations Revision Act which contained some of the earliest independent practice provisions in the country. Knowing the provisions would face critique by the medical community, she authored the earliest nursing-related request for review on record by the Federal Trade Commission. And over 25 years ago, Attorney Carson-Smith crafted and initiated the grassroots campaign which led to DEA recognition and regulation of independent nurse prescribers. Attorney Carson-Smith identified, advocated and promoted use of the FTC to address anticompetitive practices against advanced practice nurses.
Attorney Carson-Smith has testified before Congress and numerous federal agencies; individually submitted federal and state comments on regulations; visited almost every state in the Union, lecturing, speaking or assisting state nurse associations with advanced practice legislation. Advocacy for nursing has taken her quest international and she was a part of the nursing delegation to negotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. Additionally, she has spoken and written for international nursing organizations on advanced practice regulation.
Windy has worked with state nurse associations and other nursing organizations on staffing policies. While with ANA, she was detailed to Illinios and Michigan to assist with collective bargaining campaigns. Early in her career, she was a shop steward in both District and Federal government (ASCME and AFGE) and she sat on teams and negotiated collective bargaining agreements.
The author of several chapters and articles on the law and regulation of nursing practice, Carson-Smith has served on numerous nursing and health editorial boards; and is one of two non-nurses to have been recognized by Nurse Practitioner Magazine on the 25th anniversary of advanced practice. Most recently she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing for her work on advanced practice regulation. With this work, Ms. Carson-Smith has developed a vast network and community of nurses who discuss, engage and share with her issues of concern to nursing. Carson-Smith continues to interact with her nursing friends providing expert and professional guidance and support, legal and advocacy services and lobbying support.
Carson-Smith continues to advocate for advanced practice through social media, including a FB page and podcast network (LTN) dedicated to legal issues related to nursing practice.
Windy received her undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Duke University and her law degree from George Washington University. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of the United States and federal district and appellate courts.