Allison Salter, APN/APRN
"I've thought a lot about ways in which we can help patients create lasting change in patients' lives, rather than just temporarily stabilizing them following a crisis. I think an important focus that is often overlooked at my facility is on follow-up care and communication with those who provide it. To me, exceptional patient care is going beyond what is required of you during the confines of the time you spend with a patient and considering what will happen to them after they leave your care. This means being proactive, thorough, innovative, and collaborative. I also think that "exceptional patient care" is a relative term and have hopes that some of what is now considered "exceptional" will later become standard."
Marie Blacker, APN/APRN
"I am now working in a mental health outpatient clinic and am emotionally touched daily by the vast need for psychiatric care in children, adolescents, and adults.  I see individuals that have exhausted their efforts to try and "handle things on their own" because of the stigma of needing "psychiatric care." I've seen the devastating effects of addiction, trauma, mood dysregulation, and severe depression and anxiety on the lives of countless individuals who are kept from living their best lives due to the burden of mental illness.  I find the challenge of creating an individual psychiatric treatment plan exhilarating because it truly impacts the daily life of each individual I have the privilege to provide care for."
Jonathan Waknine, Nurse Practitioner
"I will be taking my PMHNP licensure exam and applying for jobs this summer, so this is an ideal time to be immersed in learning about psychopharmacology and surrounded by a community of experts. I am constantly reading to ensure I am up to date on best practices, but attending Elevate will supplement my education in ways that textbooks and journals cannot. When many passionate and innovative people get together, the effect is synergistic. Being part of the conversations that occur at this year's event will help set me up to be the best new clinician I can be."
Justin Arcaro, Psych MD
"As a psychiatrist, I would like to work as a member of a multidisciplinary team of mental health specialists, so that we can work together to address the needs of our patients using our different specialties and training. I know that I would like to support communities in more remote regions of Canada or the USA, where they face unique and significant barriers to accessing healthcare services."
Sandy Juste, Psych MD
"I want to be able to positively impact youth who are attempting to navigate life with mental health illness, neurodevelopmental disorders, and/or childhood traumas. I plan on using the robust skills I am currently gaining providing culturally sensitive healthcare to treat my future patients. I would like to focus on various therapeutic modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. My ultimate goal is to contribute to health equity by reducing disparities in mental health and substance use disorders."
Zuhaab Temuri, Psych MD
"I hope to be serving as a psychiatrist in a community clinic that readily offers mental health management in underserved populations. The goals of a clinic I will open eventually will emphasize eliminating mental health disparities and offering culturally competent care. I also want to establish pillars of health care success that make the clinic more accessible to vulnerable groups such as the rural population. Throughout my career, I hope to provide compassionate health care, educate the next generation of physicians, and continue learning as a mental health care provider."


Avani Patel, Psych MD
"I hope to integrate the most current pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions to improve patient outcomes in the acute and long-term management of mental illness; analyze emerging clinical and technological research and tools and their current and potential future impact on revolutionizing mental health care; and utilize these new skills to understand key strategies, resources, and opportunities available to optimize a career in mental healthcare."
Camille Chan, Psych MD
"As a future geriatric psychiatrist, I will be able to continue exploring the bio-psycho-social problems in geriatric patients and reducing the gap in mental health care for older adults. I will continue to work hard on the art of reducing polypharmacy and the implementation of psychiatric advance directives for my community."
Yaroslav Polehonkyi, Psych MD
"My academic and career goals revolve around becoming a skilled and compassionate mental health care provider. I envision myself advancing in my career, perhaps specializing in a particular area of mental health or even starting my own practice. Ultimately, my goal is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals struggling with mental health issues and contribute positively to the field of mental health care."
Zulmarie Hernandez, Nurse Practitioner
"This opportunity will allow me to gain insight into the latest research and advancements in the field. When I attended Elevate last year, I learned so much that I was able to apply in my classes. This opportunity will expose me to diverse perspectives, access to resources, and allow me to stay informed regarding current trends and breakthroughs. Elevate helped me realize I made the right choice in pursuing this career path."
Anthony Pascual, Nurse Practitioner
"My path to mental healthcare has been characterized by a commitment to lifelong learning, professional growth, and advocacy for mental health awareness. I continuously seek opportunities to expand my clinical skills, stay abreast of emerging research and treatment modalities, and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to deliver comprehensive care to those in need. My path to mental healthcare has been shaped by a profound sense of purpose, a dedication to excellence, and a relentless commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others."
Omolola Aragbada, APN/APRN
"Exceptional patient care means participatory care - creating an atmosphere where patients are able to freely express themselves without feeling judged, and an environment in which patients are able to contribute to their own care. Approaching treatment in a holistic manner and integrating the psychosocial component of patient's life into the treatment picture."


Malorie Cross, APN/APRN
"Exceptional patient care goes beyond just providing medical treatment; it encompasses a holistic approach that prioritizes the overall well-being of the patient, actively listening to patients to understand their concerns, fears, and goals, and then tailoring care plans to meet their individual needs. It also involves fostering a compassionate and supportive environment where patients feel empowered and respected, and advocating for patients' rights and preferences, ensuring they have access to information and resources to make informed decisions about their health. Ultimately, exceptional patient care is about going above and beyond to make a positive difference in the lives of patients and their families, treating them with dignity, empathy, and utmost professionalism."
Austin Isaac, APN/APRN
"My path to mental health care has been a journey of advocacy, driven by a deep-seated commitment to serving underserved populations. I have actively worked towards fostering inclusivity, cultural competence, and awareness. I aim to address mental health disparities, especially among children, adolescents, and males with mental health issues. By pursuing advanced education, I aspire to bridge the gap in mental health care accessibility and contribute to the well-being of marginalized communities. As a future PMHNP, my mission is to provide culturally competent and inclusive mental health services, ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, receives the care they deserve."
Stephanie Kress, Nurse Practitioner
"My academic and career goals are to enhance the knowledge and training of other healthcare professionals on treatment-resistant depression and novel therapies, optimize access to the effective treatments, add to the momentum for treatments affecting glutamate and gaba to be first-line, and ultimately reduce suicide risk, increase survival outcomes, and make room for JOY and SUNSHINE in living our collective best lives! To join efforts to change the language of mental health and take the hand of those in need like they are my loved one."
Allyson Newer, APN/APRN
"I hope to integrate holistic mental health services in my direct practice and utilize my policy and administration experience to lobby for systemic change. Through my work I want to revolutionize current systems of care, bridge gaps in services, and improve health outcomes of those served, particularly in underserved areas like rural Appalachia."
Nour Safa, Physician Assistant
"My academic and career goals are deeply rooted in my passion for breaking down barriers and reducing stigma surrounding mental healthcare, particularly within Muslim communities. I aspire to be a catalyst for change by educating healthcare professionals about the cultural nuances and barriers that exist within Muslim communities. My aim is to create a safe and inclusive space where individuals from these communities feel comfortable seeking mental healthcare. I believe that everyone, regardless of their background or location, deserves access to quality mental healthcare, and I am dedicated to making this a reality through my work."
Danielle Sawyer, APN/APRN
"My goal is to transition into an advanced practice role, where I can provide comprehensive psychiatric care to individuals experiencing substance use and mental health disorders. I am committed to delivering holistic, patient-centered care that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of recovery. Furthermore, I am passionate about advocating for policy change and improvements in access to mental healthcare. Too often, individuals facing mental health challenges encounter barriers to treatment, including stigma, limited resources, and inadequate insurance coverage. I aspire to be a vocal advocate for my community, pushing for policy reforms that prioritize mental health and ensure equitable access to care for all individuals."
Hallie King, Physician Assistant
"Embarking on a journey in rural mental healthcare, this opportunity is invaluable for equipping me with the most current information and insights as I begin my professional journey. This scholarship will facilitate crucial networking opportunities within the field. Given the scarcity of Physician Assistants specializing in mental health, these connections are not just beneficial-they are essential for my growth and for fostering advancements within the sector."


Erika Hall, Nurse Practitioner
"This scholarship will allow me to expand my knowledge and equip myself with the necessary tools to be a well-informed and proficient advanced practice nurse. Attending this conference will allow me to network with peers in the psychiatric realm who could become valuable resources in my future career as a PMHNP. Strong support relationships are fostered through events such as Elevate. These relationships are vital because cohesive and supportive networks that foster open communication and knowledge-sharing allow for continued growth. This is a remarkable opportunity for me to build a solid foundation for my future career as a clinician."
Danielle Nahas, Physician Assistant
"PTSD and other forms of trauma are often considered invisible illnesses and I would like to be a provider that recognizes these signs and prevents the trauma from overpowering a patient as well as reducing their risk for developing chronic illnesses. I highly believe that mental health is underappreciated in the healthcare field compared to physical health and I hope as a future PA to be able to bridge this gap to help each patient live a happy and fulfilling life."
Lorelys Arroyo Rivera, Psych MD
"Exceptional patient care emphasizes a treatment model following "wrap-around/community-based services "where patients are treated in the community, not just in a facility. This treatment includes biopsychosocial formulations that allows for a more holistic approach to treatment, incorporating social determinants of health. This approach enables us to bring dignity to our patients and uphold the ethical principles of medicine at the highest standard of care."
Nicole Hendrickson, APN/APRN
"Exceptional patient care to me means listening to the patient, placing their needs, desires, and health first. Encouraging the patient to be a part of the planning and decision making, providing them with evidence-based information to make informed decisions about their care and then educating and speaking with them on the best options for treatment whether that therapy is through counseling or pharmacology and/or a combination of the two."
Maria Siena May, APN/APRN
"Exceptional patient care means treating each patient and family as an individual with unique talents, needs, and abilities while providing evidence based care. I try to meet patients where they are and support them to transition to a more stable, functional, positive life style through medication, therapy, and various forms of social support."
Sherle Rubin, Nurse Practitioner
"Exceptional patient care is walking together with them through their healing, trauma and recovery, assisting them in reaching their highest level of functioning, implementing programs and collaborating with others to decrease the bias, prejudice, stigmas and judgements."


Adebayo Adeeko, APN/APRN
"My academic and career goals are aligned with becoming a PMHNP and working locally to contribute to my community's well-being. My aim is to address the challenges of drug use and homelessness that currently affect my community. Academically, I aspire to gain expertise in ethical practice, proper assessment and diagnosis techniques, effective treatment planning, and cultural competence. By achieving these goals, I aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals struggling with mental health issues in my community and beyond."
Ivy Bagley, Nurse Practitioner
"My goal is to offer families in rural areas more access to mental health services through telehealth and provide care at more flexible times than current office hours. We can impact families and the care provided to children by incorporating telehealth into our offered services that families currently travel for. Each person is entitled to access to care. When we utilize telehealth, families do not need to miss work, and children do not miss school. Although telehealth has limitations, including access to internet services, I believe we can overcome many of those obstacles to create a "win-win" for the family unit."
Charles Ezeaka, Psych MD
"As a psychiatrist, I will provide high-quality care, contribute to research and literature in psychiatry, and possibly hold leadership positions in healthcare organization or academic institutions. I plan to raise awareness, reduce the stigma around mental health illness and advocate for better access to mental healthcare services in the communities."
Iesha Nwagwu, APN/APRN
"My path to mental health began with working as a nurse in underserved communities. Many people didn't have access to healthcare, let alone mental healthcare. In my community, people with mental disorders were often overlooked and labeled. Seeking help in our community was a stigma, which meant those individuals suffered greatly. I saw a great need. I knew then, no matter how big or small the impact, I will make a change."
Jesse Ninmol, Psych MD
"I would like to be part of a team that brings services to rural underserved communities. My philosophy remains on patient centered care and advocating for patients. I am constantly motivated by the possibility of being part of a team that will be trained in research to apply guideline derived therapies to practices in our communities both at the local or teaching centers."
Marie Chery, Psych MD
"My career goal is to become a well rounded and highly trained psychiatrist that is able to provide quality care to individuals, regardless of their backgrounds or socio-economic status."
Yves-Smith Benjamin, Psych MD
"My primary academic and career goal is to become a community psychiatrist. I am passionate about addressing mental health needs at a grassroots level and fostering well-being within communities. I plan to pursue specialized training and engage in community-based initiatives to develop a holistic understanding of mental health within diverse populations. Ultimately, I aim to contribute to the accessibility and effectiveness of mental healthcare services in community settings."


Shawna McCafferty, PCP MD
"Exceptional patient care means understanding the complex psychosocialmedical needs of the patient in the context of their background and economic means, and being able to tailor your recommendations to create attainable goals for the family. It means being willing to think outside of the box, consider alternative or off-label treatments, meet patients where they are, collaborate with other members of the health care team, and take all of the necessary time to help ensure the family understands the diagnosis, care plan, and expectations. It means being willing to pivot and adjust course if needed."
Brian Bender, Psych MD
"Exceptional patient care means being able to adapt your style to the patients needs. It's also means optimizing their medications to fully meet their requirements."
Ashley Davis, Nurse Practitioner
"Exceptional patient care is establishing a relationship of trust with those you serve. It's building a rapport and open lines of honest communication while also setting firm boundaries, and including the patient in developing treatment plans, and making treatment plans based on the person - not the disease. It means that I stay updated on current recommendations and evidence-based practice to provide the best possible patient care. It also means acting as an advocate, especially for our vulnerable populations."
Lauren Skelly, APN/APRN
"I am driven by a strong desire to make a positive impact on people's lives. The ability to make a difference in someone's life during their most vulnerable moments is a privilege that I hold in high regard. Choosing a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner is a testament to my dedication and passion for providing quality mental health care. As a passionate and dedicated future psychiatric nurse practitioner, I have the potential to make a positive difference in the field of mental health and I promise to fulfill that quest."
Norma Vela, APN/APRN
"This scholarship will help me by increasing my knowledge base not only through attending sessions, but through the networking that can prove beneficial in many ways. Learning of the latest psychopharmacology and speaking to different practitioners from a vast array of practice settings will contribute to my personal growth and help me develop the confidence to counter individual situations and provide alternative treatment I may not be inclined to suggest otherwise."
Ashley Parker, Nurse Practitioner
"This scholarship will afford me the pleasure of being in a room with experts in my field and gathering information that will help me better serve my clients. My career goal for the next five years is opening a practice specializing in caring for clients with mood and thought disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."