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AVA Foundation Board of Directors



Marcia Ryder


Dr. Marcia Ryder's extensive experience in nursing includes positions as Clinical Director of a Special Care Unit and a Cardiovascular/Thoracic Unit, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Nutrition Support, and Director of Nursing in Home Infusion. She received a nursing diploma from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa. and her Bachelor’s (with honors), Master’s (critical care clinical nurse specialist), and Doctoral degrees from the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Ryder is currently an independent collaborative researcher and consultant in medical biofilm/healthcare related infections. She is an internationally recognized expert in the use and management of vascular access devices. Marcia has been an invited speaker to state, national, and international conferences and has authored numerous publications. Prior to serving as the President of the AVA Foundation for Patient Safety, Dr. Ryder served as President of the Association for Vascular Access (AVA), Chair of APIC’s Scientific Research Council, member of the FDA’s Central Venous Catheter Working Group, and represented AVA on the Technical Advisory Panel of the International “Joint Commission CLABSI project". Dr. Ryder was honored as the recipient of the “2007 Educator of the Year” awarded by Infection Control Today and 2017 Suzanne Herbst Award for Excellence in Vascular Access awarded by AVA.

President Elect  
Amy Bardin-Spencer
Ed(c), MSc, RRT,

Amy is a vascular access specialist with over 25 years of critical care and device insertion experience. She was the recipient of the 2016 Suzanne Levere Herbst Award for Excellence in Vascular Access. Through this career, Amy has embraced and promoted the role of a vascular access specialist inserting, monitoring and educating vascular devices including Arterial, Peripheral and Central Venous catheters, Acute Hemodialysis and IABP catheters. Amy believes all patients deserve safe and effective vascular access options and care. One of her initiatives includes a no blind stick approach when vascular access is required. A second initiative is to ensure position statements and supporting evidence is available for the expanding role of the vascular access specialty. As a leader in vascular access, Amy continues to develop and deliver vascular access curriculums and oversee simulation training courses that enhance clinical confidence for clinicians and safety for patients.


Charlese Smithson

Charlese is a passionate nurse of over 12 years. She has worked throughout the hospital starting med-surg, then mobile nursing, finding her true passion 6 years ago when starting a code team, putting all previous years of experience to work responding to critically ill or coding patients. At this time she was also introduced to the specialty field of Vascular Access. First learning PICC insertions, then USGPIV, midline and IO's. She has an understanding of the patients' need for reliable access and delivery. Having the opportunity to share that knowledge with others has brought her great pleasure.


Russell Nassof

Russell is an attorney with over 25 years 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 (one of which was sold to a public company), and is an active presenter and educator on reducing risk and liability for vascular catheter related issues and healthcare associated infections. Russell is a consultant to the insurance industry on managing risk for outbreaks (MERS, Fungal Meningitis, Ebola, Legionnaires' Disease) and with respect to the opportunity to underwrite coverage for emerging medical technological advancements. He has been instrumental in introducing legal and risk management issues to numerous healthcare organizations including ASHRM and APIC.

Director -
AVA Board Liaison
Tonya Heim


As a veteran in health care, Vice President of Patient Services and CNO at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, Jasper, IN, Tonya led the implementation of a Vascular Access Services department at MHHCC which improved access to PICC and Midline placement and reduced the number of sticks to achieve venous access. She worked with her team on a program to assess patients for risk of IV drug abuse and develop care planning to protect their IV lines from tampering and misuse. She has previously held certification in Infection Control (APIC) and is currently Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified. Tonya has high expectations of her teams and higher expectations of herself while being a role model to many. In her quest for quality and excellence, her innovative ideas brought MHHCC the prestigious honor of being the only healthcare Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient in 2018. Tonya is quick to remind others that we can do better by improving processes while focusing on the patient.


Amit Bahl


Dr. Amit Bahl has over a decade of experience as a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician with subspecialty expertise in emergency ultrasound. He is the Division Head of Emergency Ultrasound, Program Director of the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship program, and serves as Medical Director for the inpatient Bedside Vascular Access Team at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in Southeastern Michigan. His academic appointment is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. 

Dr. Bahl is well regarded for his expertise, clinical care, and research contributions in the fields of point-of-care ultrasound and vascular access. He is the recipient of several foundation and industry grants for research and has authored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts in high impact medical journals. Dr. Bahl is a passionate speaker who presents nationally on the complications of vascular access devices and strategies to improve patient outcomes.

Jiaye Jho
MS, MEng


Jiaye joined The AVA Foundation Board in 2019 with an industry and global perspective. Jiaye holds graduate degrees in both Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He has over 20 years of professional experience in IT and Healthcare industries including executive management positions in the US, Europe and Asia for large multinationals, emerging market companies, investment banking and corporate mergers and acquisitions. 


Marshall Kerr

Marshall Kerr joins the board with over 45 years of experience in the healthcare industry. By listening and learning from healthcare workers, Mr. Kerr has developed over 30 patents and products that are currently being used by healthcare professionals around the world. The majority of his focus for this innovative product development has been on safety for both the patient and caregiver – a key concern for today’s medical workers and patients. A dedicated professional, Mr. Kerr continues to serve in senior management and consultancy roles to established global companies.                                                

Reid Nishikawa

Reid's focus has been on caring for the long term HPN patient.  He has been involved with in the nutrition practice for the past 38 years. He has been actively involved in the leadership of ASPEN, ASHP, local pharmacy organizations, Oley Foundation, and AVA. His research interests include management of the HPN patient, reduction of complication risks, improving quality of life, optimizing vascular access care, and improving clinical outcomes. Reid has presented the results of his research at local, state, national, and international meetings. He is the author or numerous abstracts, book chapters, and journal publications. He is the 2006 recipient of ASPEN’s Distinguished Nutrition Support Pharmacist Award , awarded ASPEN Fellow, in 2019 and the 2019 ASPEN Stanley Serlick Award.


     Matthew Ostroff


Matthew Ostroff is an advanced practice nurse working as the vascular access coordinator and lead clinician for the award-winning hybrid multi-disciplinary bedside vascular access program at St. Joseph’s University Hospital specializing in neonates, pediatrics and adults. Realizing early on that difficult access patients can require more than peripherally inserted options, Matthew’s mission became obtaining the credentials and training to provide a scope of practice to include central and tunneled catheters. Earning the “Outstanding Graduate Award” from Drexel University in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Track, Matthew advanced his scope of practice under the Chairman of Surgery. In 2019, Matthew was trained and certified in Rome, Italy under Dr. Pittiruti in port insertion. 

Matthew has had the privilege of sharing his vision of a multi-disciplinary vascular access service speaking throughout the world with an emphasis on critical thinking, eliminating limitations, and providing our patients with the highest standard of care. With a collection of publications on use of the femoral vein, bedside tunneling, and alternate exit sites in pediatrics, finding the solution for all patients is his mission. Matthew is the proud recipient of the 2020 Herbst Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the art and science of vascular access. His mission is providing evidence, mentorship, and guidance on the creation and implementation of multi-disciplinary vascular access programs in order to provide our patients with the device and technique options they deserve.



      Gregory Schears 

  Dr. Gregory J. Schears, M.D. is a Professor of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  He is a pediatric intensivist and anesthesiologist by training and cares for both adult and pediatric patients in his practice. He has a long standing interest in reducing patient complications and improving our approach to vascular access and patient safety. Dr. Schears completed his pediatric residency at St. Louis Children's Hospital, his anesthesia residency, pediatric anesthesia fellowship and pediatric critical care fellowship at John's Hopkins hospital, and worked at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia/ Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for 5 years until he was recruited to the Mayo Clinic in 2001 to head the ECMO service. There he serves as Consultant in Department of Anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota and is the physician liaison to the nurse led PICC team, former Medical Director of the ECMO Service for 16 years and Co-Director of the Congenital Heart Unit.  He has served on the editorial board for JAVA and on the AVA Board of Directors as Treasurer. He is also joining the AVA Patient Safety Foundation board this year.  He is very active with product development to help reduce complications and has given hundreds of presentations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Elizabeth Li Sharpe


Elizabeth Sharpe is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, with a unique focus in neonatal/pediatric vascular access. She designed, conducted and published the largest surveys of Neonatal Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the United States. Her work exploring the diversity of practices led to her co-authoring the National Association of Neonatal Nurses PICC Guideline for Practice, the only resource on PICCs in infants used as a reference for interprofessional policy and standards development worldwide. She serves on the Infusion Nurses Society Standards of Practice Committee, and was named the First Dr. Janet Pettit Scholar by the Association for Vascular Access. Dr. Sharpe is an Associate Professor Clinical Nursing and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track Director at The Ohio State University.