NATIONAL ASsociation of travel healthcare organizations

Clinical Executive Committee

The NATHO Clinical Executive Council (CEC) convened to be a champion for themes and trends that represent opportunities for education and improvement for the industry from a clinical and quality standpoint. The CEC serves as a resource for NATHO member companies.

Benefits of being a Clinical Executive Committee member:

  • Real-time updates to legislative efforts per state ( per our legislative arm of the CEC)
  • Real-time clinical insights shared by the group
  • Sharing of emerging best practices – covid assessment forms, declination forms, reduced credentialing requirements for crisis assignment
  • Thought leadership – White paper, webinars, blogs, publications
  • Mentorship – some of the brightest clinical minds in the industry
  • Ongoing guidance and updates to future and unforeseen issues that affect our industry – Collective intelligence to solve the next “crisis”.
Click here to show your interest.
Meet the Clinical Executive Team

Amber Barna, BSN, RN - Medical Solutions

Past CEC Chairwoman

Amber has been a registered nurse for over 20 years, holding several key positions in nursing leadership, regulatory compliance, and infection control. Amber currently serves as VP, Clinical and Quality Services at Medical Solutions. She also volunteers her time as a member on the Joint Commission Advisory Committee for Healthcare Staffing Services. Amber earned her ASN from College of St. Mary, BSN from University of St. Mary, BSBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and graduated in July 2021 with her MSN in Executive Leadership.

Michelle Brudigan, RN, BSN - Fastaff, US Nursing Corporation, trustaff

As Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, Michelle Brudigan oversees the hiring and professional standards for Fastaff and U.S. Nursing Coporation. maintaining the company’s Joint Commission Certification for Healthcare Staffing Services. Since joining the organization in 2001, Michelle has served in many roles, including Director of Credentialing and Regional Sales Director.

Denise Carlson, MBA, MSN, RN - Jackson Nurse Professional

Clinical Director/Risk Manager

Denise Carlson, MBA, MSN, RN, joined Jackson Healthcare this year. As Clinical Director, Denise, provides her expertise relating to quality, risk, and clinical support for our clinicians. She brings more than 30 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings to the Orlando team. In addition, she serves as a member of the NATHO Clinical Executive Council and Health Care Staffing Services Advisory Council.

Earl Dalton, MHA, MSL, RN, NEA-BC - Health Carousel

CEC Chair

Earl currently sits as chair of the Clinical Executive committee for the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO) and membership in the Joint Commission’s Staffing advisory council and technical council. In 2018 Earl keynoted the Philippines Nurse Association’s Annual conference and events in South Korea and UAE. Dalton recently was a contributing author on “Building a Culture of Safety: A National Nursing Licensure Model” published in Beckers 2021. Dalton was published in Customer Care News for innovation in customer experience in 2015 and won the Mount St Joseph Distinguished Nurse Administrator award for Cincinnati.

Thad Dufelmeier, RN, CCWP - Theodore Drew & Associates

Thad Dufelmeier is the Founder/CEO of Theodore Drew and Associates (TD). Founded in 2009, TD offers Joint Commission consulting, clinical oversight, business process outsourcing, competency services, State Licensure services, payroll and accounting services, and digital marketing services. Thad was a Critical Care RN for the first 15 years of his career, with experience in major medical centers in the Greater Los Angeles area. He also assists healthcare staffing companies in becoming Joint Commission certified with over 200+ JC certifications under his belt. He is also a husband and father of 3 sons and loves sports and cooking.

Doreen Donohue, DNP, RN NEA-BECAUSE, CPHQ - The Joint Commission

Dr. Donohue is the Field Director for the Disease Specific/Health Care Staffing Certification program at The Joint Commission. She has over 35 years of nursing leadership experience in a variety of hospital operations roles. Dr. Donohue received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, NY, her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Terim L. Dortch, MSN, RN - Medical Solutions

Co-Vice Chair

Terim joined Medical Solutions in 2018. As the Manager of Clinical Services, Terim manages a large performance management and clinical services team of nurse managers who interview and oversee the performance of several thousand contingent clinicians working in facilities nationwide. Terim also meets with facility partners to develop an understanding of their hiring expectations and provides insights into onboarding policies for facility partners. Currently, she is co-vice chair of the Clinical Executive Committee for the healthcare travel industry and co-authored a paper to call to action a National Compact License. Prior to joining Medical Solutions, Terim worked as the Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Supervisor at a major Magnet pediatric trauma facility in Omaha, NE. A former travel nurse herself, she is also an experienced pediatric trauma and Med/Surg nurse leader. Terim received her MSN in Executive Leadership from Nebraska Methodist College and BSN from the University of Nebraska Medical Center-Lincoln.

Hank Drummond, PhD, MDiv, BA, RN - Cross Country Healthcare

CEC Senior Vice President

Hank serves as the Chief Clinical Officer for Cross Country Healthcare, overseeing the clinical, quality, education, and regulatory compliance for the organization. Throughout his more than 25-year career, Hank has applied his healthcare administration experience and a broad base of exceptional management expertise to assist organizations in meeting their long-term objective of delivering superior patient care. His past leadership roles include executive and director-level positions as Chief Nursing Officer, Nursing Administrator, and Nurse Executive. He has also served as a University Instructor at Indiana University and Montana State University. Hank's proficiency in balancing patient care with business efficiencies provides our clients with an innovative approach supported by cutting-edge technology to meet the daily demands of healthcare delivery. Hank earned his RN at St Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing, his bachelor's from Ottawa University, his master's from Concordia University, and a doctorate from Canterbury University.

Jillene Eliassen, RN, BS, BSN, Vice President of Clinical Services - Travel Nurse Across America

Vice Chair

Jill Eliassen proudly serves as vice-chair of NATHO’s clinical executive council and as the vice president of clinical services at TNAA, one of the fastest-growing healthcare traveler agencies in the country. With more than 20 years in the healthcare industry, her professional career includes tenure in bedside nursing at a level-one trauma ICU, service as an RN paralegal, and work in rapid response staffing. In 2013, Jill joined TNAA and brought a unique skill set combining one-to-one clinician care, risk mitigation, and policy management. She is responsible for building TNAA’s clinical department to its full functionality and leads a team of more than a dozen people, including clinicians and referencing specialists who support thousands of healthcare travelers. She is involved at every step of an assignment’s creation and placement, ensuring that each assignment meets the facility’s needs and the traveler’s goals. Jill, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare sciences, joined NATHO in 2015 and was appointed vice-chair in 2021. She is also a member of The Joint Commission. She lives in Colorado with her husband, her two children, and their dogs. She enjoys the beautiful Colorado outdoors as she boats and skis with her family in her free time.

Marisa Freo, VP of Credentialing- Epic Staffing Group

Marisa has over 20 years in healthcare staffing. She recently joined Epic Staffing group as VP of Credentialing overseeing multiple life science and healthcare staffing verticals ensuring regulatory compliance. Prior she has worked from smaller to large firms in a leadership role either VP or Director of Credentialing. She has significant experience in establishing the protocols and processes needed to achieve and maintain Joint Commission Certification along with the experience in personnel management and training. In the beginning she was bedside as a Home Health Aid and Unit Tech. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Ethics from Dallas Christian College. She lives in Texas with her husband and 4 children.

Mary Grace Guizar - Theodore Drew & Associates

Chief Operating Officer

Mary Grace Guizar is TD’s Chief Operating Officer and responsible for ensuring that all of the systems, resources, and people are in place to achieve the company’s goals. She has extensive experience in Joint Commission Certification and in assisting clients in obtaining their State Licensure/Certification. Before TD, she was an Administrative Assistant/Staffing Coordinator/Bookkeeper for Nurse Connection Inc/JFB Staffing in 2008. She has served as the Executive Director, CFO, and Youth Futbol Clinic Program Director of Philcorps organization for the Indigents, Inc. She is a member of the National Organization of Professional Teachers Inc. in the Philippines.

Kelly Gunn, MBA, RN, NE-BC- Accountable Healthcare Staffing

Kelly Gunn is a nurse executive and consultant in healthcare staffing. For over 15 years, she has been providing clinical support and expertise to healthcare staffing organizations. She assists organizations with preparation for The Joint Commission, acts as a clinical resource, and serves as a liaison between the client and healthcare professionals. Kelly joined Accountable Healthcare Staffing in 2019 and as the Director of Clinical Services, supports the Travel division as well as all branches across the country to achieve mutual goals. She earned her BSN from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and her MBA from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Kelly currently lives in Illinois and is a member of the IONL

Melissa Knybel, BSN, RN - Randstad Healthcare

As the VP of Clinical Practice within Randstad's risk management team, Melissa support all field branches and operations related to workplace safety, quality, and risk within healthcare environments. As the clinical expert, she provides support during the sales & client engagement process with clients looking to Randstad to support their clinical and non-clinical staffing needs. Prior to joining Randstad, Melissa was employed as a Registered Nurse working in a variety of settings. She has over ten years of clinical experience, primarily in the critical care setting. Melissa currently serves on the board of NATHO as well as on NATHO's Clinical Executive Committee. Additionally, she is one of the education coordinators for TravCon (Travelers Education Group) and serves on the conference planning committee.

Stacy Laue, RN BSN- RTG Medical

As the Director of Clinical and Compliance Services, Stacy develops policies and procedures to elevate the staffing initiatives at RTG Medical while providing experienced clinical support. Stacy has been a registered nurse for over 20 years. Her clinical experience is grounded in Intensive Care with specialty expertise in open heart surgery. Prior to her work in the travel nursing industry, she was the Director of Supply Chain for large 16 hospital health system. She also has experience as a Value Analysis Manager overseeing products implemented by the group purchasing organization. She has trained new employees and was responsible for reviewing and strategic planning and implementation as a Territory Manager for a global medical device company.

Peter J. Mecouch, MBA, MSN, RN- General Healthcare Resources

Mr. Mecouch currently represents General Healthcare Resources as Director of Quality Assurance. He has a clinical background in nephrology and critical care nursing. For the last 16 years, he has served in varying clinical and administrative leadership roles in the acute care realm.

Jenny Palmgren- Medical Staffing Solutions Inc.

Jenny Palmgren, BSN, RN is an accomplished nurse leader with over 16 years of hospital experience. Currently, Jenny serves as the Clinical Nurse Manager for MSSI. Over her career Jenny has held several nurse leadership roles including Clinical Nurse Manager of a Float Pool, Staffing Office, Nursing Supervisor Department, Educational Coordinator and Float Pool RN. Jenny has years of experience in working with travel nurses and their onboarding. Jenny earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Sally Porter, RN, BSN - Supplemental Health Care

Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer

Sally Porter has maintained the highest standards, keeping the welfare of the patients she cared for at the forefront of everything she does. As Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Supplemental Health Care, she has the opportunity to take that philosophy across the country. The standards, policies, and procedures she has developed ensure the highest levels of screening and service from the thousands of healthcare professionals SHC places in hospitals, schools, clinics, and therapy centers nationwide. Sally is a past member of the Health Care Staffing advisory board of the Joint Commission and a current member of ASHRM.

Donita Ross, MSN, RN, NE-BC - Health Carousel

Donita is a former nurse leader of perioperative, medical surgical, and oncology services for a 320-bed acute care facility in Cincinnati, OH. She has given conference presentations on leadership and best practices in the gastroenterology/perioperative setting as well as regional, national and international conference presentations on the nursing shortage and international workforce solution. Donita developed and led several multi-state educational conferences and specialty certification review courses. She has also administrated educational scholarship programs to support advanced educational opportunities and certification in nursing along with multiple evidence-based practice policies focused on safety and improved patient outcomes. Donita is also the recipient of the Mount Saint Joseph University Distinguished Leadership Award and the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Hero Award.

JoEllen Ryan - Theodore Drew & Associates

Chief Nursing Officer

JoEllen Ryan is the Chief Nursing Officer of Theodore Drew & Associates. JoEllen is the CNO of Healthcare Staffing Hire, a division of Theodore Drew & Associates. She worked for Joint Commission as a Healthcare Staffing and Disease-Specific reviewer for 16 years. JoEllen was a Nursing Instructor at Northern Illinois University, retiring after 20 years in 2019. Currently, she holds a PRN position in a Pediatric Unit at Swedish American Hospital. A co-owner and President of ABC Staffing until 2000. Previous to teaching at the university, JoEllen was a manager of a Pediatric and PICU in Rockford, Illinois. She currently is the Founder/President of Latortuga Foundation, which has coordinated at least yearly a medical mission trip to assist the Mayan communities in Chiapas, Mexico.


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