Last Day to Vote for 2021-22 AVA Board Slate
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When: Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Where: United States
Contact: Tonya Hutchison
801-792-9079 ext. 102

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2021-22 AVA Board

Slate of Candidates Announced

Vote Today!


Dear AVA Members,

The BDC has been working tirelessly to recruit and vet new board members based on the current needs of AVA and their ability to assist our organization in meeting our strategic goals. It is now time for you, as an AVA member, to vote on the slate of candidates the BDC has recommended and the current AVA Board has approved. Voting is open from September 1-30, 2020. AVA will send you the election results no later than October 15, 2020.

Voting is simple. 

1.      Review the Slate of Candidates (listed below) and go to the ballot

2.      Sign in with your User Name and Password

3.      Cast your vote

If you have any questions about the slate or how to cast your vote, please contact me at or 801-792-9079 ext. 102.

Tonya Hutchison, CAE

2021-22 Slate of Candidates


Tonja Stevens, RN, VA-BCTM

Tonja is a passionate Vascular Specialist practicing at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington, D.C. She started her Nursing journey over twenty years ago in the emergency department, where she learned the importance of vascular access. Tonja spent seven years teaching health, and expanding the cardiac rehab program at her local college in Baltimore, MD. She continued to expand her skill list by adding PICC insertion, followed by becoming a Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Specialist and doing home infusion therapy. For over ten years, Tonja has been an educator to medical professionals all over the country, sharing her knowledge in both adult and pediatric care. 

Through out her career, Tonja noticed a constant issue; all patients need a proper working vascular access device. Her curiosity is what brought Tonja to AVA, as she searches for improvements and advancements in vascular access  Tonja acquired her VA-BC in 2014 and became a reviewer for the Journal of Association of Vascular Access. (JAVA) in 2016. She assisted in the development of the Concession Statements AVA published in 2017. She also had the honor of assisting in the development of the new Guidelines for Central Venous Access. Tonja has worked on the Design Team for the past 2 years, and looks forward her many new adventures to come within the AVA family.


Russell Nassof, JD

Russell is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in clinical healthcare and environmental risk management advising clients worldwide on liability and risk minimization for emerging issues. He has owned and operated 3 major consulting groups and is an active presenter and educator on reducing risk and liability for vascular catheter related issues and healthcare associated infections. He has been instrumental in introducing legal and risk management issues to numerous healthcare organizations including ASHRM and APIC. Russ started his leadership role on the AVA Board in 2015, where he has served as Director-at-Large and Treasurer. 


Jon Bell, RN, MSN, VA-BCTM

Jon is a master’s prepared Registered Nurse who began in medicine as a paramedic and then transitioned to emergency nursing. After a decade of emergency experience, he became a perioperative nurse while continuing to practice emergency medicine. These two strands combined to give him an interest in emergency vascular access. Currently, he is a clinical consultant and educator supporting vascular access companies and participating in teaching programs. Jon received a Master of Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University with a focus in Nursing Leadership.


Staci Harrison, DNP, RN

Staci Harrison is an innovative leader with more than 25 years of experience in nursing. Currently, she serves as the Southern California Regional Director of Medical-Surgical and Critical Care for Kaiser Permanente, where she leads the vascular access workgroup. Staci has proven success in leadership roles where she has collaborated with groups to achieve excellent patient care outcomes. She has been instrumental in fostering the collaborative efforts across the Kaiser Healthcare system while leading the vascular access workgroup. After earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2017, she lends her knowledge at various universities as an instructor in their online curriculum. As a member of the board, she will utilize her collaborative and leadership skills to transport the mission and vision of AVA. As evidenced by the success enjoyed by the Kaiser workgroup, Staci’s passion for vascular access exceeds all expectation. Healthcare needs that passion and Staci’s collaborative leadership now more today than ever, and she along with AVA will be there to lead the way.


Swapna Kakani, MPH

Swapna Kakani is a sought-after professional speaker and healthcare advocate. Her inspirational life story with Short Bowel Syndrome and a Small Intestine Transplant shows audiences her individual resilience and self-determination in the face of constant difficulties, as well as the impact her healthcare advocacy has across disciplines. She has successfully helped both patients and clinicians be better patient advocates at every access point. She has required a central venous catheter for 28 years and is proud to be infection free for 13 years. Through her platform, Swapna Speaks, Swapna has given several presentations, sharing her valuable insight across the world to various healthcare companies and associations, hospitals, and non-profit events, including the AVA and NHIA conferences, the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit, and a TEDx talk in 2017. Swapna does healthcare advocacy work both at the federal and state level for the Short Bowel Syndrome/Small Intestine Transplant and broader rare disease community. She has been part of various projects to improve care and maintenance for IV and enteral nutrition consumers and part of policy and regulation changes to improve the rare disease patient experience. Swapna has received awards for her advocacy work including the consumer advocacy award by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, a nomination for patient leader hero by Wego Health, and most recently in 2020, the advocator and innovator award by the Oley Foundation. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Swapna received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). 


Nael Mhaissen, MD

Nael Mhaissen is a pediatric infectious disease physician at Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera, California, where he has been serving in different leadership roles including: the medical director of the infectious disease division, the medical director of infection prevention and control, and the chair of the health information management committee. He also chairs the committee of vascular access safety, which is a collaborative workgroup he created joining the efforts and expertise of the vascular access and the infection prevention teams and shifting the paradigm from focusing on preventing CLABSIs to focusing on preventing ALL vascular access related safety issues. 

Dr. Mhaissen believes that improving the quality of care and ensuring patient safety require a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach that breaks the boundaries between the different disciplines and brings everyone’s expertise and goals together rather than focusing on the individual problems in silo. As a member of the board, Dr. Mhaissen hopes to serve as a liaison between the vascular access specialists and the infection preventionists and hospital epidemiologists and bring them together to elevate the quality of patient care when it comes to vascular access and vascular health.

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