Local Chapter Committee
The Local Chapter Committee provides a major link between the APHON Board and APHON membership. This committee helps chapters get started and maintain their activities, and is a primary source of communication between APHON members, APHON Local Chapters, and the APHON Board.
The committee is made up of one chair and 8 committee members. These individuals have been active within their own local chapters and understand the concerns, problems, and questions of local chapters. The Chair of the Local Chapter Committee assists chapters that are getting started and chapters in their organizational year, while committee members are the resource for chartered local chapters. Each committee member is assigned to serve as a liaison to several chartered local chapters in order to assist with chapter operations, encourage, communicate information, ensure that reports are completed on time, and celebrate your accomplishments.
Scarlett Czarnecki, MSN BSN RN CPHON®
Chapter assignments: El Paso, Sacramento, North Dakota, Fresno, Up State New York, West Virginia
Loma Linda University Children's Hospital Loma Linda, CA
Scarlett Czarnecki has been a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse for over 15 years. She has worked at the bedside, as a bone marrow transplant coordinator, and as a research nurse in a Phase 1 clinical trials consortium for neuroblastoma. She currently is working in an outpatient hospital-based peds hem onc clinic. Scarlett served as the SCAPHON president for 5 years.
Immediate Past Chair
Kathleen Perko, MS CPNP CHPPN CPON®
Chapter assignments: Central Ohio Arear and Salt Lake City
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
University of Washington
Beaverton, OR W: 503.418.5172
Kathy Perko is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She has been a pediatric nurse for 37 years, a PNP for 27 years. She has spent the majority of her career in pediatric oncology, specifically caring for children with brain tumors. She is the founder of the Bridges Pediatric Palliative Care Program at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital and was the director until her retirement in November 2020. Kathy is the Pediatric Track Director of the UW Palliative Care Certificate Program and continues to provide education and consultation in palliative care. She is national faculty for ELNEC, EPEC, and Vital Talk. She has a certificate in pediatric bioethics from Children's Mercy in Kansas City and in Palliative Care from the University of Washington.
Susan Dulczak, MSN RN ANP-C CPON®
Chapter assignments: Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Gulf Coast, St. Louis Gateway, Arkansas, Atlanta, and Greater Kansas City
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
The Unterberg Children's Hospital
Long Branch, NJ
Susan spent most of her career in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. As a member of APHON for many years, she served as a program chair, Director-at-Large, and most recently as an APHON Chapter Representative. Prior, she was the NJ chapter president from 2011-2014. She is CPON certified and a Pediatric Chemotherapy/Biotherapy Instructor. She just renewed my ELNEC training. She has lectured nationally and internationally and enjoys the times she gets to interact with those that are passionate about pediatric hematology/ oncology. Currently, Susan works at The Unterberg Children's Hospital as a Clinical Director and PNP.
Erin Friedman, BSN RN CPHON®
Chapter assignments: Arizona, Albuquerque, Bay Area, Northwest, Central Pennsylvania, British Columbia, Greater Mid-South, and Southern California
Clinical Development Specialist
University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital
Being a part of an organization that brings together nurses from around the world with one common focus, pediatric oncology, means so much to me. Knowing that we gather nurses to learn from one another is so inspiring. As I talk to colleagues in other areas of nursing who don’t have the capacity to harness the power that APHON provides, I’m grateful to be part of an organization that allows me to work in partnership with and learn from colleagues around the world. I draw my professional energy from the collaboration and dedication of the nurses that care so passionately for kids with cancer and blood disorders.
I’ve been a part of 3 local chapters as my life and career have moved me around the country. Most recently, I’ve served as chapter president of my local chapter and learned so much about leadership at the local level. As I’ve moved and grown in my career, my level of commitment to helping my chapters sustain and grow has not wavered. I’m excited about this next step – to help more chapters sustain and grow.
From the day I started my nursing career focused on pediatric hematology/oncology/BMT, I joined APHON. I’ve attended conferences, been an active participant in local chapters, and collaborated with colleagues around the world. I’m proud to step into a role with national responsibility because I’ve looked up to the national leaders before me and now I can hope to be that mentor or person to look up to for young nurses in this subspecialty.
Mary E. Newman, MSN RN NE-BC CPON®
Chapter assignments: National Capital, Greater Pittsburgh/Three Rivers, Greater Philadelphia, Palm Beach Broward, Indiana, Nashville, Wisconsin
Director of Nursing
Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Mary received her BSN from Gwynedd-Mercy College, in Pennsylvania, and her MSN in Healthcare Administration from the University of Delaware. Mary has been a Registered Nurse since 1986. Mary began working as a clinical nurse on the BBMT unit at Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children in 2001 and that is where her passion for pediatric hematology/oncology nursing was born. As a clinical nurse, Nurse Manager, and now Director of Nursing, APHON has been a motivating force in her personal and professional development.
I have been a member of APHON since 2005. I served as President of our First State Chapter for 7 years and am currently our chapter Treasurer. Over the years I became more active in APHON, achieving certification, becoming an APHON ChemoBio instructor, and volunteering where needed. Whether facilitating a town hall, session moderator, serving as a poster judge or committing to a term on an APHON committee, I have felt connected to our membership and the impact APHON is making. Each of those experiences has taught me so much! I am proud to be a member of an organization that is defining and promoting the highest standards of practice and care. Active participation in my professional organization is important to me. Not only for my own professional growth, but as a leader, I feel strongly we need to walk the walk. Through my own professional contributions and scholarship, I try to role model the importance of engagement in our area of expertise.
I consider it a privilege and honor to serve on the Local Chapter Committee. This is my first year and I am so excited to get to know my chapters! I have gained so much insight into the significance of the many, many contributions local chapters make. The strength in our local chapters is really the force that drives APHON. The heart of APHON is National and only works with vessels, our Local Chapters, to circulate it. We need the chapters to connect to all our communities and bring the purpose and energy of national APHON to the community of healthcare providers, patients, and families we serve. Being a liaison for the Local Chapter Committee will create the opportunity for our chapters to feel connected and supported, and leverage the knowledge and expertise that each chapter offers.
something that makes you proud to be an APHON member with national responsibilities:
Being an active and engaged member has afforded me so many opportunities to more formally develop as a leader. I served on APHON Nominating Committee 2015-2018 and as Chair the last year of my term. I am currently serving on APHON Local Chapter Committee. Each time I volunteer to serve, I am reminded that it isn’t so important what I am doing, but the fact that I am invited to be a part of this great work. In the short time, I have served for APHON on the national level, I recognize how much there is to learn, how much there is to do, and the privilege it is to be a part of it.
While I have been a nurse for more than 3 decades, my greatest professional growth has been over the past 15 years, and I attribute much of that development to what I have gained and learned through my membership in APHON and the opportunities to serve. I have developed lifelong personal and professional friendships through APHON. I now have a network of professional colleagues whom I have reached out to more times than I can count. Get involved, volunteer to serve! APHON is a visionary organization filled with a membership who takes great pride in our profession. APHON promotes continuous professional development by creating life-long learning opportunities and provides opportunities to apply all that we learn. I truly believe that being actively involved in APHON creates an opportunity for me to give back to APHON all that I have gained, and to promote the professional engagement and development of other pediatric hematology/-oncology nurses.
Colleen Nixon, MSN RN CPHON®
Chapter assignments: Boston, Louisville, Lexington, Metro New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Western New York, and Rocky Mountain
Boston Children's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pediatric Oncology/HSCT RN since 1987. Presently clinical educator, responsible for overseeing patient education on the inpatient oncology unit at Boston Children's Hospital and outpatient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Jimmy Fund Clinic. CPON certified from 2000-present; CPHON certified 2013-present. APHON Pediatric Chemotherapy & Biotherapy Instructor, since 2004. CPHON nurse of the year, 2012 and APHON Chemotherapy/Biotherapy Instructor of the year, 2014.
I have always felt that as a pediatric oncology nurse it is my responsibility to be a part of my professional organization. I am not always able to read and learn all that I want to about peds heme/onc, but by being an APHON member I have access to the most up to date information via journals and all of the local and national members I now know and have worked with over the years.
I have always had a leadership role in the local chapter, but when Janice asked me to be a part of this committee, I felt honored that she had sought me out. I love working with other chapters and have learned so much from each of the chapters that I am the liaison for. Last year I had the privilege of editing five sections of the upcoming 4th edition of the Fundamentals Book and was able to reach out to the chapter presidents (that I am the liaison for ) and offer them the chance to write one of the sections…it was a great opportunity for all who were involved.
I love volunteering for causes I believe in and being an APHON member with national responsibilities allows me to work with and meet so many other amazing pediatric heme/onc nurses.
I encourage my fellow members to find something to enjoy and get involved!
Kari Wheeler, BSN RN CPN BMTCN® CPHON®
Chapter assignments: Connecticut, First State, Vermont, Nebraska, Central Virginia, Southwest Florida, and Minnesota
Kari received a BSN from DeSales University in Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a DNP in Acute Care Pediatrics from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Kari has had the pleasure of being a pediatric nurse for over six years. Her previous experience includes spending time at both the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For the last four years, Kari has worked in hematology and oncology and specialized in areas such as leukemia and lymphoma, experimental transplants, immunotherapy, and clinical research. Currently, Kari works as an outpatient pediatric hematology and oncology nurse for Inova Schar Cancer Institute. Additionally, Kari spends time teaching and mentoring undergraduate nursing students at the University of Maryland's School of Nursing.
I participate in APHON for professional experience and connections with pediatric hematology and oncology nurses from all over the world. Pediatric hematology and oncology is a challenging field to work in, and having connections with nurses who are committed and love the job as much as I do is essential! It has been wonderful making relationships with fellow nurses and discussing the latest EBP or quality improvement projects to advance our field. Participation within APHON has provided educational and professional development to help keep me at the top of my field and encourages me to achieve more as a nurse.
Early in my experience with APHON at the local level, I had the pleasure of serving as the local chapter president for the National Capital Chapter. Running a successful chapter encompassing members from multiple institutions and three different states was a wonderful learning experience and it taught me how to be an influential leader. After spending three years as their president, I developed a strong passion for working to celebrate the successes of local chapters. I am hoping I can guide other local chapters to help achieve their goals, grow, and make the local experience one that APHON members love and enjoy as much as I do!
Stacy Wolf, MS RN CPNP-AC CPON®
Chapter assignments: Northeast Ohio, Southern Ohio, Chicago, Central Illinois, Mississippi, and Las Vegas
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Blood & Marrow Transplant
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland
I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas School of Nursing in 1998, and a Master of Science from the University of California – San Francisco Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program in 2010. I have worked in pediatric oncology for over 14 years as an RN, and for five years as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner in both academic and tertiary care centers. Since 2017, I have worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Department of Blood & Marrow Transplantation at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. I also served as the Membership Chair on the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of APHON (BAPHON) from 2014 to 2020.
Being a part of the APHON community has given me many opportunities over the years to expand my own professional growth and development, and has helped to strengthen my passion for and commitment to my chosen profession. I love attending the annual APHON conference and connecting with nursing colleagues from around the country and increasing from around the world. I value APHON’s commitment to expanding and promoting the pediatric hematology/oncology nursing profession, as well as the ever-expanding resources that have been developed for nurses, patients, and families.
I have been very lucky to be a local chapter board member with a group of enthusiastic nurses who are incredibly dedicated to expanding and strengthening our local APHON chapter. We have had many successes over the past six years in developing and expanding our local chapter, including developing an annual educational symposium, now in its 5th year. As a Local Chapter Committee Liaison, I hope to become a useful resource for other local chapters in promoting and advancing their outreach and educational efforts, as well as fostering their ongoing successes and achievements.
I am excited to take on the role of Local Chapter Committee Liaison and to be a part of the national APHON community with a new set of responsibilities. I have long been inspired by the many amazing nursing leaders that have been so influential in fostering APHON’s amazing achievements over the years, and I feel fortunate to now be a part of this extraordinary organization.
Local chapters are always looking for dedicated pediatric hematology/oncology nurses who are passionate about their patients, families, and profession to volunteer. I encourage all nurses who are interested in connecting with their colleagues to consider volunteering for your local chapter. You will not regret it!
Kaye Schmidt, MA RN NEA-BC CPHON®
Senior Operations Manager