MELANIE L. BALESTRA, BS, MN, NP, JD has her own office, Law Offices of Melanie Balestra in Irvine and Newport Beach, California. She has been a nurse practitioner and registered nurse for over thirty years. Before becoming an attorney, she taught Pediatric/PNP nursing at various colleges throughout the United States. She focuses on legal and business issues that affect physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care providers. This includes advising health care providers on the legal aspects of starting their own practice. She represents health care providers with criminal and civil complaints against them before their respective disciplinary boards in California and Arizona. She is counsel for the California Association for Nurse Practitioners.
Melanie has lectured on topics of business, disciplinary and legal issues affecting registered nurses and nurse practitioners at the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, Non-Physician Practitioners, The American Association of Nurse Attorneys, Esthetic Institute, Association of Plastic Surgery Nurses, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP) both Regional and National, California Association of Nurse Practitioner Conferences, University of California Irvine Nurse Practitioner Program, Kaiser Foundation conferences, Michigan Association of Nurse Practitioner Conference and University at Sea. She has published articles in the Nurse Practitioner World News, Advance Practice for Nurse Practitioners, Medscape, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, The Clinical Letter for Nurse Practitioners, Nursing Research, Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, Nursing Spectrum, NSO Risk Advisor, HPSO Risk Advisor. She is a member of the Nurses Services Organization Advisory Board.
Melanie continues to work part time as a PNP and Director of Pediatrics at the Laguna Beach Community Clinic in Laguna Beach, California.
CAROLYN DOLAN, JD, MSN, FNP-BC, PNP-BC received an Associate Degree in Nursing from Polk College, Winter Haven, FL in 1979, a BSN from Auburn University in 1993, and a Masters of Nursing with a focus on Family Nursing in 1995 from the University of South Alabama. She received the Juris Doctorate in 2003 from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, Montgomery AL and is a member of the Alabama State Bar. She is board certified in advance nursing in family and pediatrics and a professor in the college of nursing at the University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL in the graduate school. In addition, she teaches paralegal and legal nursing consulting courses focusing on medicolegal topics. She is certified in alternative dispute resolution and has volunteered as a mediator. She has published in a number of nursing journals such as The Journal of Nurse Practitioners, The Journal of Cultural Diversity, The Journal of Nurse Educators, Minority Nursing, Nurse Practitioner World News, Clinical Advisor, The Journal of Camp Nursing, The Alabama Academy of Science, The Journal of Nursing Law and others. She has published several chapters in books on protocols for NP practice and NCLEX preparation for undergraduates and provides regular peer review of nursing textbooks and journal articles. Previously she co-edited The Journal of Nursing Law’s practice division. Currently Carolyn’s passion is in serving on the steering committee of her county’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in an effort to improve care of victims and to ensure just outcomes for all.
Professor Dolan’s background includes all areas of nursing with a penchant for ER, critical care, home health, pediatrics, management, and education. She has received a number of awards including clinical excellence in practice, mentorship, leadership and writing, but the most important accomplishment she claims is her founding of a health clinic for migrants which continues to serve a number of otherwise overlooked and underserved people living in her area. For her efforts she was recognized nationally by the receipt of the Migrant Clinicians’ Unsung Hero Award of 2007.
Carolyn has been a member of TAANA since 2009. In addition to TAANA, she is a member of AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners), a lifetime member of IAFN (International Association of Forensic Nurse Association), BANP (Bay Area Nurse Practitioners), Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Theta, Tau, Mobile Bar Association, and the Alabama State Bar.
MARC MEYER, RN, JD began his career in health-care in 1983 in Ithaca, NY, volunteering for Cornell University EMS and the Lansing (NY) Fire Department while attending Cornell University. Marc received a BS in Biology from Cornell in 1986. In 1989, Marc graduated with a MS in biochemistry from Texas A&M University.While at Texas A&M, Marc volunteered with Texas A&M University EMS and obtained his paramedic training with Scott & White Hospital in 1990. In July, 1990, Marc joined the City of Houston Fire Department as a paramedic and firefighter. In 1998, Marc graduated with an AS in nursing from Regents College (now Excelsior College) is licensed as a Registered Nurse by the Texas Board of Nursing. Marc has been employed as a nurse with the St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and the Methodist Hospital System in the Emergency Department, Neurological ICU and Medical-Surgical floor settings. In 2009, Marc graduated from the South Texas College of Law and is licensed as an attorney by the State Bar of Texas. Marc is involved in the American Bar Association, Health Law Section and Young Lawyer Division; The American Association of Nurse Attorneys; the Woodlands Bar Association; the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association. Marc holds leadership positions in the American Bar Association as the Vice-chair of Nursing and Allied Healthcare Issues Task Force and as the Vice-chair of the Web & Technology Committee of the Health Law Section; Marc is also President of the Texas chapter of the American Association of Nurse Attorneys. On the local level, Marc is also a Charter member of the Southwest Montgomery County Lions Club. Marc recently retired a Captain/Paramedic with the City of Houston Fire Department in Texas after twenty years, ten months and sixteen days of service to the citizens of the City of Houston.
PAULA F. HENRY, RN, NP, JD has over thirty years of experience in the medical field as a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner, and continues to be actively involved in healthcare issues. In the past, she was the Medical Legal Editor for the Nurse Practitioner Forum, authoring several articles pertaining to legal aspects of the Nurse Practitioners’s practice. Ms. Henry has authored chapters in two textbooks: Nurses and the Law, and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is a frequent lecturer on medical/legal issues. Ms. Henry's medical expertise and experience has been an asset in her ability to provide quality legal representation to her clients. She has provided representation for all levels of healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, medical groups, an health maintenance organizations. Ms. Henry has provided legal counsel for legislative matters and administrative hearings. Since 2003, Ms. Henry has been a Court Certified Mediator and Fee Arbitrator and has been a TAANA member in good standing since 2006.Ms. Henry also currently co-chairs the TAANA Litigation Committee.
Immediate Past PresidentJONATHAN D. STEWART, JD, MS, RN, CPHRM
is a health care risk manager and administrative lawyer with a background in emergency nursing. He earned his law degree from the University of Tulsa and his Master’s degree in nursing (health policy) from the University of California at San Francisco. He completed a VHA patient safety fellowship in 2011 and received a certificate in clinical bioethics from Loyola University Chicago in 2012. Mr. Stewart has been admitted to the bars of Washington, Alaska, California, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is on the nursing faculty at California State University, East Bay and he lives with his family in Vancouver, Washington.
KATHERINE KABY ANSELMI, JD, PhD, CRNP-BC is an Associate Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean of Accreditation/Regulatory Affairs & Online Innovation at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. Formerly she served as Assistant Dean of RN/BSN & MSN Advanced Role Programs; Assistant Dean of MSN, Online, & RN/BSN Programs; and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Programs & Clinical Compliance at Drexel University. She teaches Politics of Health Care in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and created and teaches Experiential and Transdisciplinary Perspectives of Health Law in the MSN programs.
Dr. Anselmi is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Prior to her return to academia at Drexel, she practiced civil litigation representing survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking at the Barbara J. Hart Justice Center, a project of the Women’s Resource Center in Scranton, Pa. There she relied heavily upon her nursing skills to advocate for women and children in crisis. She has also practiced in the areas of health effects, pharmaceutical defense, personal injury, and family law. She holds a certificate in Technology Transfer from Syracuse University College of Law where she also received her JD. Currently she serves as an Arbitrator for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Anselmi’s dissertation, addressing women’s response to reproductive trauma from the Dalkon Shield IUD, was nominated Best Dissertation of the Year at the University of Pennsylvania and finalist for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation doctoral dissertation grant. Dr. Anselmi has practiced as a nurse practitioner primarily in the area of women’s health. She is licensed to practice nursing in Pennsylvania. She has taught doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate nursing for over 25 years. She is published in The Med/Surg Journal, The Nurse Practitioner Journal, Nurse Educator, Advance Online Editions for Nurses, Holistic Nursing Practice, Journal of Nursing Law, and book chapters. She has presented at national conferences on domestic violence, legal issues in nursing and higher education, clinical compliance, and the Dalkon Shield mass tort case. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Luzerne County Law & Library Association, National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF), Sigma Theta Tau, and TAANA.
LORIE BROWN, RN, MN, JD, 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. She is currently admitted to practice in Indiana and Illinois. While still in law school, she became a member of TAANA. In 1994, she went on to start the Indiana Chapter of TAANA and served as the Chapter President and as a member of its Board of Directors. She has returned to TAANA to again serve on its Board. As a Nurse Attorney, Lorie practiced in medical malpractice defense for the State of Indiana and a private law firm. Lorie then 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. She soon branched out and began mentoring other legal nurse consultants and nurse practitioners to help them grow their businesses.
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 the books:
- “Law and Order for Nurses: The Easy Way to Protect Your License and Your Livelihood”,
- “From Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses System” and
- “The Legal Nurse Consultant’s Workbook: Turning Your Nursing Knowledge into a Successful Consulting Practice”.
Lorie is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana State Nurses Association and has a weekly blog on either www.YourNurseAttorney.com or www.EmpoweredNurses.org. She has been a keynote speaker and speaker at many local, state and national nursing and legal organization conferences and is the author of numerous published articles.
KAREN J. HALPERN, RN, BSN, MSN, JD is a litigation attorney in private practice with an office in Melville New York. She is of counsel to the firm Lawrence, Worden, Rainis & Bard, PC. She is admitted to practice law in the New York State and Federal Courts. Her law practice for the past 26 years has been limited to medical malpractice defense litigation and professional licensure defense representing doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in disciplinary matters. She has lectured extensively on a variety of health law related topics including professional licensure defense and medical malpractice litigation. She has been a member of The American Association of Nurse Attorneys [TAANA] since 2000 and currently sits on the Board of Directors. She is the immediate past president for the New York Metropolitan TAANA Chapter, current chapter Board of Directors member and has previously served as the national co-chair for the TAANA litigation section.
Karen has held faculty positions at Adelphi University and Duquesne University in the Schools of Nursing, and SUNY Stony Brook, Department of Preventive Medicine where she has taught courses in legal issues, ethics and forensic nursing. Before becoming an attorney Karen was a Registered Nurse with over 12 years experience as a Labor and Delivery Room Nurse. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree with a major in Nursing from SUNY Stony Brook, a Master of Science Degree in Nursing from Duquesne University and a Juris Doctor degree from Touro Law School.
SUSAN MATT, PHD, JD, MN, RN, CNE is an associate professor and assistant dean in Seattle University’s College of Nursing, where she has been for the past nine years. She earned her BSN from the College of New Rochelle in New York, and her MN, JD, and PhD from the University of Washington. In addition, she is a certified nurse educator. She has been admitted to practice law in Washington State and the U.S. Supreme Court, and is licensed to practice nursing in Washington and New York. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Matt had a law practice focusing on disability law, guardianships, and a variety of family law cases. Her nursing practice was in neuroscience and rehabilitation.
Dr. Matt’s research and professional publications have addressed nurses with disabilities, disability climate in hospital workplaces, attitudes toward individuals with disabilities in developing countries, and bullying in the nursing profession. She teaches ethical considerations and health policy in nursing practice and critical inquiry at the graduate level, foundations of professional nursing and gerontology clinical at the undergraduate level, and an inquiry seminar in social sciences in the University Core Curriculum freshman level entitled “Disabled: What’s in a Name?”
TAANA has been like a breath of fresh air for Dr. Matt, who enjoys the camaraderie and participation in both the local chapter level and the national conferences. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband of 45 years, a shih-tzu, two cats, and a cockatiel.
RONNIE MCKINNON, RN, JD, CPHRM, CPSO, CPPS is a Registered Nurse with a clinical background as a Neonatal ICU Nurse Clinician and Nurse Educator. She also holds a law degree and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM), a Certified Patient Safety Officer (CPSO), a Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS), a TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer and a Certified Just Culture Professional. Additionally, she completed the intense Human Factors Analysis Classification System ("HFACS") training which is an empirically derived system-safety model used to perform root cause analysis to identify, classify and analyze human error in complex high risk systems and is used for causal factor accident/error analysis by Aviation, Military, Nuclear Power and Chemical Power Plants and other High Reliability Organizations. Specializing in health law, healthcare risk management and patient safety she coupled her clinical background and law degree in representing health care providers in their vigorous defense of medical malpractice matters. In that role she defended Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, Nurses, Dentists, Respiratory Therapists, Emergency Medical Technicians, Pharmacists and many other disciplines of health care professionals against allegations related to diagnostic error, medical errors, medical malpractice, scope of practice issues, medical staff privileges, and negligence.
TERESSA M. SANZIO, RN, MPA, JD of The Law Office of Teressa M. Sanzio, P.C. in Phoenix, Arizona, is a sole practitioner, devoting her practice to administrative and regulatory law. She provides professional representation for licensed health care providers including nurses, nurse practitioners, behavioral health practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nursing home administrators, pharmacists, and osteopaths. She also practices in the area of medical malpractice litigation. In addition to her Juris Doctorate, Teressa holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, and an Associate's Degree in Nursing. Teressa's nursing background is ER and ICU. Prior to becoming an attorney, Teressa worked as a Legal Nurse Consultant, a Risk Management Consultant, and a Nurse Specialist in Quality Resource Management.
Teressa has been an active member of TAANA for several years and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of TAANA. Teressa was member of the Executive Council of the Administrative Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, holding leadership roles from 2003 to 2011, including president of the council. Teressa has a passion for representing and educating nurses. She speaks locally and nationally on the subject of disciplinary defense of nurses. Teressa is admitted to practice in all courts of the State of Arizona, and in the United States Supreme Court.