WVNA Legislative Leaders
In preparation for legislative sessions, WVNA offers a legislative leader trainings, to educate and coordinate with our legislative leaders the plans for the upcoming legislative sessions.
The WVNA legislative leaders training offers guidelines for nurses, so that they can assess needed information to coordinate political advocacy in their district of West Virginia. Our goal is to help members develop into a strong leaders that influence policy and legislation at the local level which will affect all WV nurses.
Legislative leaders are supported by Julie Huron, WVNA, Executive Director, Deborah Casdorph the Legislative Leader, Coordinator, Joyce Wilson, WVNA President, Toni DiChiacchio, WVNA HP & L Co-Chair & WVNA Immediate Past President and Teresa Hovatter, WVNA HP & L Co-Chair &WVNA Voting Delegate to the ANA Membership Assembly.
Our team works closely with our WVNA Lobbyist and we have a series of checks and balances to ensure that we represent the constituency of WV Nurses. While several WVNA legislative leaders have an established relationship with their Senators and Delegates, we have several new legislative leaders that are ready to learn from us.
If this type of work speaks to you, contact us by clicking here.
Billie Adams is the Perioperative Director at Weirton Medical Center and has been involved with WVNA since 2018. She became involved with the WVNA because it is one of her goals in life to promote safe medical care access to all. She is aware of the tremendous opportunity that nursing leaders, from all nursing genres, have in ensuring that medical care is provided in a safe and practical manner. By “being involved” as a WVNA Legislative Leader we can provide a voice for the future of nursing and health car
Christy Priem has been an advanced practice provider/family nurse practitioner since 2003. She obtained her FNP in 2003 from Wheeling Jesuit University and her BSN from West Virginia University in 1991. She is currently employed as a travel nurse practitioner for Med Express and travels throughout North-East and North-Central West Virginia, providing urgent care in many underserved areas of West Virginia, that experiences limited or no-access to healthcare. Christy has been a member of WVNA off and on since 1998 after returning to West Virginia. Priem become more interested in nursing policy affecting both RN and independent practice APRN’s while attending graduate school at Wheeling Jesuit University. Christy is passionate about policy, healthcare and the nurses role regarding right to work laws.
Cherrie Cowan is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Copeland Health Systems, Parkersburg Family Care in Parkersburg, WV. Cherrie specialization in Diabetes Management and Diabetes Education. She has been a member of WVNA since 1987 and believes in nurses unity – working together to promote our profession and participates in monitoring health care legislation that impacts our patient care and our profession and is proactive in protecting patients and our profession. She enjoys learning from other nurse leaders and she communicates health care issues as well nurse practice issues to WVNA District 3 Nurses. Cherrie has held dual memberships with WVNA and the Ohio Nurses Association at times throughout her career, to stay informed of issues in both states – (laws affecting APRNs are different in both states).
Deborah Casdorph is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Copeland Health Systems in Ripley, WV. Deborah graduated from St. Mary's School of Nursing in 1970, West Virginia University with her BSN in 1983, and Marshall University with her MSN in 1992. She spent 23 years as a bedside nurse at CAMC most of that time working pediatrics and has been an FNP for 27 years. Deborah retired from the US Navy after 21 years of service as a Captain. She lived and worked in Idaho for 15 years where she was involved for 13 years of that time working toward "full practice authority" for APRNs which was finally achieved in 2004. Deborah owned a private practice in rural Idaho for 10 years and moved back to her beloved WV in 2008. She has been a WVNA member and WVN-PAC member for several years and she is a Legislative Leader for District 4. Her goal is to help West Virginia APRN’s obtain "full practice authority".
Stacy Lynn Cales, RN, MSN, FNP-BC
Stacy Lynn Cales graduated from West Virginia University-Parkersburg with her Associates Degree in Nursing in 2004. She worked as an ER nurse at Jackson General Hospital starting as a nursing tech in 2003 then as a Registered Nurse from 2004-2010. While working as an Emergency Department RN, Cales continued her education and graduated from West Virginia University-Morgantown with her Bachelors Degree in Nursing in 2006. Stacy entered the Nurse Practitioner Program at Marshall University Graduate School in 2007 and completed her Masters Degree in Nursing in 2010. She passed the ANCC Nurses Certification Exam, which validates nurses' skills and knowledge through board certification as a Registered Family Nurse Practitioner, in August 2010. As a board certified Nurse Practitioner, Stacy's experience includes Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care, Long-Term Care, and Substance Abuse. In her spare time, Stacy enjoys working on her farm, quilting, and spending time with her family.
Tim Maynard, FNP-BC
Tim Maynard is a Family Nurse Practitioner, owner of OnCall Health and Aesthetic Care in Ceredo WV a primary Care Practice which also provides home visits for the elderly and sober living homes. In addition, they also provide aesthetic care for those who desire to enhance their natural beauty. Tim has been involved with WVNA for a few years with a focus on legislative issues. He became involved with WVNA because they are the primary source supporting legislative agendas for nurses supporting and defending us in the West Virginia Legislature. Which is exactly why Tim is motivated as a legislative leader, to get the word out and to identify those who work for us and those who don’t. Maynard sees that his job to make your life simpler when you have issues or are concerned about issues that affect you whether you are an RN, Nurse Educator, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, or Nurse Midwife.
Jodi Biller, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CCRN
Jodi Biller is a Nurse Practitioner in the department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Huntington Internal Medicine Group (HIMG) in Huntington, WV. She is the developer and coordinator of the HIMG COPD clinic. Jodi is a 2007 graduate of St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Huntington, WV and obtained her RN-BSN and MSN at Marshall University and is currently working on her doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) with West Virginia University. She has been a member of WVNA since 2016 and has been involved with the passage of two nursing bills in the last two legislative sessions. She was selected by WVNA to attend the American Nurses Advocacy Institute (ANAI) in 2018. She is a Legislative Leader for District 5 and is a nurse-leader with strong working relationships with all of her local WV Legislators. Jodi is a civic-minded nurse that serves on multiple boards and is active in numerous organizations in Huntington, WV.
Pamela L. Alderman, EdD, MSN, RN
Dr. Pamela Alderman is the Dean of Bert Bradford School of Health Sciences, Capito Department of Nursing, and Professor of Nursing at the University of Charleston (UC), Charleston, West Virginia. Dr. Alderman has been a member of WVNA her entire nursing career.
Dr. Alderman has 42 years of experience as a registered professional nurse and 32 years in higher education, which includes teaching at the Associate, Bachelors, and Master degree level and higher education administration. She has an extensive background in accreditation, curriculum development, grant management, leadership, legislation, and regulation. Dr. Alderman worked in numerous nursing position throughout her career including; Emergency Department Staff Nurse; House Supervisor; Quality Assurance Coordinator; Medical Reviewer; Patient Advocate/Educator; and Consultant for health sciences, higher education, and nursing programs.
For ten years Dr. Alderman served on the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional nurses, six years as President. Serving on numerous boards including the West Virginia Center for Nursing Board of Directors, a member of the Logan Healthcare Foundation Board of Advisors, Nursing Education Foundation of West Virginia/Association of Deans and Directors of Nursing Executive Board (representing Private Higher Education), Salem University Board of Trustees, Schiller University Board of Trustees, and the T-Center Board of Directors.
In 2007, while employed at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Dr. Alderman received the President’s Award. During the fall of 2018 the Future of Nurse West Virginia presented Dr. Alderman with a 40 over 40 Nurse Leader Award. Forty awards were presented to 40 nurses with over 40 years of experience as a Registered Professional Nurse. The West Virginia Nurses Association (WVNA) presented the 2019 Nurse Leader Award to Dr. Alderman during the WVNA Policy Summit that was held in February 2019 and Dr. Alderman has been a Legislative Leader for District 7 with WVNA, has served on numerous committees, and is a member of the WVN-PAC Board of Trustees.
Anitra Marie Ellis, DNP, MSN, Rn, FNP-C
Dr. Anitra Ellis, is a 2019 graduate of the Chamberlain College of Nursing, doctor of nursing practice (DNP)-Healthcare System Leadership specialty program. Dr. Ellis is currently employed at the University of Charleston as an Assistant Professor of Nursing in the associate degree in nursing program. She is also currently employed at the Coalfield Health Center as a per diem family nurse practitioner.
New to nursing leadership efforts, she services as a WVNA legislative leader Senate District 7. Dr. Ellis is known for her flipped classroom learning hit song “COPD-I can’t breathe.” In a prior teaching appointment, she led a team of nursing students in a campus wide Mock Disaster Drill. The Mock Disaster helped to foster interdisciplinary collaboration within different healthcare disciplines.
Dr. Ellis has been a nurse since 2011 she obtained her associates degree from Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. She graduated with a BSN from West Virginia University in 2013.She obtained her MSN specialty family nurse practitioner in 2016 also through WVU.
Her areas of expertise include critical care nursing, family practice and she has previously practiced as a hospitalist. During the summer of 2018 she provided medical care in Ghana through Helping Hands Medical Mission.
Dr. Ellis became a Legislative Leader in January of 2019 and was appointed by the WVNA board as the Membership Chair in June of 2019. Dr. Ellis states, “I love being involved with WVNA because, the best voices for nurses, are nurses themselves. We advocate for our patients and it’s essential that we advocate for our profession.”
Jon H. Casto, RN, CRNI
Jon H. Casto began his career in 1998 as a paramedic/firefighter with the Charleston Fire Department where he learned to start IV’s in a moving ambulance. After obtaining his critical care transport certification from Marshall University, he went on to work as a Flight Medic with HealthNet Aeromedical Services where his love of overcoming difficult IV access situations continued to evolve.
After graduating nursing school Jon spent several years in staff nursing at St. Mary’s Medical Center Emergency Department. Not long after beginning his tenure at BioScrip Infusion Services, he became enthralled with home infusion. Trained on PICC and Midline insertion, his passion is navigating vascular access solutions.
Jon Casto currently holds a CRNI specialty certification and he is the nurse manager with BioScrip Infusion Services at their Charleston, WV location. Jon is a member of BioScrip’s corporate RN advisory group and strategic operations team. Most recently, Jon received BioScrips 2019 Star Performer award for the Central Region as well as a BioScrip Hero award.
Jon became a member of the WVNA in 2018 and is currently the Secretary for the West Virginia Nurses Association, a WVNA Legislative Leader for District 8 and Board of Trustee member with the WVN-PAC. Jon became active with WVNA due to a bill that would require mandatory flu vaccines for all healthcare workers.
Jessica Halstead Sharp, PhD, MSN, BS
Dr. Jessica Sharp started her career as a Diploma nurse graduating from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Huntington, West Virginia. In addition to the degrees previously mentioned, she went on to obtain an FNP certificate from Marshall University and a CRNA certificate from Mountain State University. She was also inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Dr. Sharp is an educator, Dean and Professor with Bluefield College and she continues her FNP practice in a rural health clinic and with Welch Community Hospital. She has worked in higher education for more than 40 years. Jessica has been member of WVNA her entire nursing career due to the advice of a friend, “all nurses should belong to WVNA”. Jessica states “at that time, I did it because Nancy told me too, but I soon learned she was correct, no one stands up for nursing, like nurses, and no one stands up for patients, like nurses”. She continues by saying, “to be a legislative leader means keeping people focused, as well as myself on the goal (the goal of serving others).”
Crystal Sheaves, PhD, RN, APRN, FNP-BC
Dr. Crystal Sheaves is an Assistant Professor, Department Chair at West Virginia University, Beckley Division School of Nursing. Crystal is also a primary care and women’s health services provider with Greenbrier County Health Department and an FNP at Rainelle Medical Center. Dr. Sheaves received her BSN from the College of West Virginia and she received both her master of science in nursing (MSN) with a family nurse practitioner concentration MSN, and her PhD in nursing from West Virginia University.
Dr. Sheaves is a civic minded nurse with membership in numerous professional and scientific societies including; West Virginia Association of Deans and Directors of Nursing Education (ADDNE), West Virginia League for Nursing (WVLN), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), National League for Nursing(NLN), Rural Nurse Organization, Sigma Theta Tau International, Southern Nursing Research Society. Crystal is a 2016 Fellow in the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program (LANP) American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and she is was awarded the 2008 Sigma Theta Tau Alpha Rho Chapter Honor Society Member Honors.
Dr. Sheaves has been a WVNA member consistently since 1999. “I joined WVNA because I believe there is power in a collective activist group, and I have seen the power of WVNA as they have worked tirelessly to gain greater autonomy of prescriptive authority for Advance Practice Nurses like myself.” Crystal also shared “I would like to see WVNA also tackle the nurse/patient ratio in hospitals and nursing homes. I am passionate about best practices and improving patient outcomes. I believe WVNA has the power to impact these issues.”
Crystal shares that “in my role as a legislative leader, I do what I can with letters and phone calls and additionally, I use my influence to rally nurses and nursing students in my region to WVNA causes.”