2018 Jonas Policy Scholars

2018 - 2020 Academy Jonas Policy Scholars



Laura Britton, BSN, RN, PhD Candidate

Women's Health Expert Panel

Laura Britton will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University School of Nursing in July 2019. She completed her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in 2018. She earned her BA from Wellesley College.  She earned her BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, during which time she was a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation. Dr. Britton’s research seeks to ameliorate inequities in reproductive health outcomes among women with chronic illnesses.  To complete her dissertation study, she was awarded an F31 NR017320-01 “Sociodemographic, Cognitive, and Affective Antecedents to Pregnancy Planning among Women with Diabetes.” As a postdoctoral fellow, she will begin developing interventions that improve shared decision-making around family planning, optimize reproductive health outcomes, and support reproductive self-determination. Her publications are available here. In 2018, Dr. Laura Britton joined the Jonas Policy Scholar for the Women’s Health Expert panel.  Dr. Britton was highly involved with the Academy, specifically the WHEP’s policy analysis and advocacy efforts, mobilizing the WHEP membership to respond to proposed regulatory and legislative changes with implications for the health and well-being of women and their families. In 2019, Dr. Britton will continue to contribute with evidence-based policy products that align with the Academy and WHEP action plans.


Kristin Choi, PhD, RN

Maternal and Infant Health Expert Panel

Kristen Choi, PhD, MS, RN, is a nurse scientist and child/adolescent psychiatric nurse in Los Angeles. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA. She completed her PhD at the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor and her MS in Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Choi studies health services and policy approaches to trauma, violence, and behavioral health among children. The goal of her research is to transform health systems to be more responsive to trauma and violence in communities and to change trajectories of childhood adversity from risk to resilience. Her research portfolio include studies on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among children, adverse childhood experiences, community violence, the impact of mass shootings on healthcare providers, firearm-related deaths, and treatment for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a both a clinician and a scientist, Dr. Choi maintains a clinical practice as a registered nurse (RN) at a community psychiatric hospital in Downtown Los Angeles. Her research is informed by her real-world practice and understanding of the challenges children and families face in accessing and receiving mental health services, recovering from the harm of trauma and violence, and navigating system complexity. Dr. Choi uses interdisciplinary and interprofessional approaches in her nursing science, working collaboratively with colleagues from medicine, public health, psychology, and law to find solutions for children and families affected by trauma and violence. She addresses trauma and violence from the individual, family, system, and policy levels in her research and is committed to a creative, action-oriented program of research led by nursing that will reverse the harm of trauma and violence in the lives of children and lead to policy change. 



Kelli DePriest, BSN, RN, PhD Candidate

Environmental and Public Health Expert Panel

Kelli DePriest, BSN, RN, is a PhD Candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Kelli recently defended her dissertation and will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing after graduation in Summer 2019. Her overarching career goals are to advance our understanding of how neighborhood-level factors influence children’s health and development and implement interventions that achieve health equity for children and families living in poverty. She received her B.S. in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins University and degrees in Sociology and Liberal Arts from Colorado State University. Her research is informed by her academic training, clinical work, research internships, and field work. She began to learn about the social determinants of health affecting children in poverty during her first undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Ethnic Studies. After graduation she joined the United States Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Caribbean country of St. Lucia to work for three years in youth development. Upon returning to the United States, she earned her BSN and spent the next several years working as a nurse clinician in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. These experiences inspired her to pursue her PhD to advance her career goals. Ms. DePriest’s research is supported by and NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Nursing Research. Ms. DePriest has several publications in professional journals with a focus on the impact of social determinants on children’s health. She has disseminated her research through poster presentations, oral presentations, blog posts, an oral thesis competition (3 Minute Thesis), and through social media on Twitter. Kelli is an active member of the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association, serving as the Chair of the communications committee and the webmaster. Kelli recently began working as a Jonas Policy Fellow, paired with the Environmental and Public Health Expert Panel and hopes her work will support policies to improve the health of children and families living in poverty.



Anna Dermenchyan, MSN, RN, CCRN-K

Violence Expert Panel

Anna Dermenchyan, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, is a Jonas Policy Scholar (2018-2020) on the Violence Expert Panel. Anna is a Senior Clinical Quality Specialist in the Department of Medicine at UCLA Health and Ph.D. student at the UCLA School of Nursing. In her quality role, Anna leads, facilitates and implements improvement initiatives in the areas of hospital medicine and population health management. Her long-term research goal is to investigate the relationship of self-management support programs to health outcomes in patients with heart failure. Anna’s professional interests include leadership, health policy, health care ethics, quality and patient safety, critical care, work environments, and global health.


Nicholas Giordano, PhD, RN

Military and Veterans Health Expert Panel

Nicholas A. Giordano PhD RN, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. Nicholas' research focuses on implementing and assessing interdisciplinary, multimodal, pain management interventions capable of improving the quality of life and the physical function of American service members and veterans. This program of research leverages patient reported outcomes, large longitudinal clinical datasets, and cost effectiveness analyses.
As an AAN Jonas Policy Scholar, Nicholas seeks to forge collaborations across expert panels and other stakeholders in order to advance the science and inform policies that address the health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Nicholas holds a BSN, AM in Statistics, and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation and NIH-funded Predoctoral Fellow. 


Elizabeth Henderson, MSN, MS, RN, AFN-BC, NREMT-P, PhD Candidate
Psychiatric, Mental Health, and Substance Use Expert Panel

Liz Henderson, MSN, MS, RN, AFN-BC, NREMT-P, is currently a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Her dissertation research is focused on suicide prevention among professional firefighters. She is currently active in nursing leadership, holding the position of Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department (ED) at Boston Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been a nurse for over 19 years, having spent the majority of her clinical career as a nurse in the ED working with a diverse patient population including both victims and perpetrators of violence. MS. Henderson has a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Forensic Science from Boston University and a Master of Science in nursing with a specialty in Forensic nursing from Boston College. Prior to enrolling in doctoral studies, Elizabeth maintained a dual career for over 15 years as a registered nurse and as a full-time professional Firefighter/Paramedic. Her leadership skills are demonstrated through various leadership roles in the health and local community setting. She is the recent Past President of the Greater New England Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and also recently served out her term on her local school committee. Elizabeth also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Forensic Nursing. She has published and lectured on a variety of violence and injury related topics including the Duty to Warn, workplace violence, lateral violence, and care of the forensic patient population in the ED setting.

She has received numerous clinical performance and academic excellence and achievement awards during her career, is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau, the Emergency Nurses Association, the American Burn Association, and the Association of Critical Care Nurses.


Deborah A. Gross, DNSc, RN, FAAN

Jonas Policy Scholar Senior Advisor

Deborah Gross is Senior Advisor for the American Academy of Nursing Jonas Health Policy Scholars Program.  She is also the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Endowed Professor in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and holds joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine, and the Department of Mental Health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Dr. Gross is best known for her work in promoting positive parent-child relationships and preventing behavior problems in preschool children from low-income neighborhoods. Previously, as the Associate Dean for Research and a department chair at Rush University College of Nursing, Dr. Gross and colleagues developed the Chicago Parent Program, an innovative parenting program that improves parenting behavior and reduces child behavior problems. The program has been used in a agencies serving low-income families across the country and is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Dr. Gross was a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, and among her many recognitions are the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research President's Award for outstanding research, induction in the Sigma Theta Tau International Researcher Hall of Fame, and the American Academy of Nursing Edge Runner award honoring developers of model programs offering solutions to health care challenges.  Dr. Gross was recently appointed as an Ambassador of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.  She has served on numerous review panels for the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine, published more than 100 articles, book chapters, and abstracts, and currently serves on the editorial boards of Research in Nursing & Health and Nursing Outlook.