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AVA Foundation Board of Directors

Charlese Smithson

Charlese is a passionate nurse of 12 years. She has worked throughout the hospital starting med-surg, then mobile nursing, finding my true passion 6 years ago when we started 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 this specialty field, Vascular Access. First learning PICC insertions and building on that, USGPIV, midline, IO's. She has an understanding of  the patients need for reliable access and deliver. 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, Legionnaire's 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.

Pitamber "Pitou" Devgon


Pitou is a physician entrepreneur, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Velano Vascular and the inventor of Velano Vascular’s patented vascular device technology.

Prior to co-founding Velano Vascular, Pitou spent several years in venture capital at Safeguard Scientifics, focused on medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT investing. Pitou caught his entrepreneurial spirit while still in college as a dot-com entrepreneur in the collegiate web portal space by founding and directing the Student Information Network, which became Sinapse Consulting.

In addition to his ongoing staff physician appointment in the Medical ICU at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center Pitou regularly guest lectures at UPenn and the Wharton School on topics of entrepreneurship and healthcare investing.

Pitou holds a BA in biological psychology from the College of William & Mary, an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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 is currently working 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.

Jiaye Jho
MS, MEng


Jiaye joined the AVA Foundation Board in 2019. Jiaye holds graduate degrees in both Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He has 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 M&A.