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Kathy Connelly


Kathy has been a nurse for over 40 years, graduating in 1977 with her ADN from Sandhills Community College in Southern Pines, NC, then with her BSN in 1984 from UNC Chapel Hill.  She received her MSN, NNP at UNC Chapel Hill, NC in 2002.  She has been a member of CANNP since she graduated practitioner school.   She previously served for 4 years as secretary and 4 years as Vice President to the organization.  She is also a member of NANNP, ANN, and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing.  Kathy is a member of the Boy Scouts of America where she has served many leadership roles along with teaching new leaders.  She is active in her church singing in the choir and playing handbells.  She also is involved in mission work through the United Methodist Church.  She was fortunate to have been able to go to El Salvador for the past 3 years on a medical mission.  She has been married to Richard for 35 years.  She has two sons, Patrick & Nathan, a wonderful daughter-in-law Beth (who some of you may know from Duke!) and the greatest grandsons ever, Bennett & Rhys.  She is a member of the Neonatology team at WakeMed working in the NICU in Raleigh, Cary, and North Raleigh. 


Amy Jnah

Vice President

Dr. Amy Jnah is a board certified neonatal nurse practitioner, professor, researcher, Army wife and mother of two. She is the director for the neonatal nurse practitioner concentration (MSN) with East Carolina University. Dr. Jnah has published articles in several peer reviewed nursing journals, several textbook chapters (to be released in 2016) and is a nurse researcher within the clinical and academic setting. Her academic research trajectory includes mentoring and its implications for the neonatal nurse practitioner workforce. Dr. Jnah's clinical research trajectory include non-invasive screening mechanisms for premature neonates, psychomotor skills competency, and simulation -based training. In her "spare" time, she enjoys triathlons, tennis and vacations to the beach with her family!


Sharon Rush


I was born and raised in the great state of Maine, a true Yankee. I started my nursing career as a graduate of Eastern Maine Medical Center School of Nursing in 1985. I went right into the NICU as a new graduate and spent 13 years there at EMMC in Bangor Maine. After the great ice storm of 1998 in the northeast, I packed the family and household up and headed south to warmer weather.  I have spent the last 19 years in the NICU at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville NC.  In 2005 I graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with my MSN degree in the NNP program, and continued practicing at Cape Fear Valley only in the advanced practice role as an NNP. In my spare time, I’ve raised 3 successful children and am anxiously awaiting my first grandchild this August of 2017. Traveling is my number one passion and looking forward to retirement.


Stephanie Blake


Dr. Stephanie McCallum Blake is also a board certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. She received both her MSN and DNP degrees from Duke University and has the distinction of being the first masters prepared NNP from the Duke School of Nursing.  She currently is employed full time in the Intensive Care Nursery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham NC and employed part time in the Special Care Nursery at Alamance Regional Medical Center Cone Health in Burlington NC.  In addition to her clinical responsibilities she is also adjunct faculty at the Duke University School of Nursing, providing guidance and helping to prepare current NNP students as they complete their residency and enter into their new role.  Dr. Blake has presented at several national nursing conferences, has been published in peer reviewed nursing journals and currently is authoring a textbook chapter.  She serves as the current chairperson on the NANN Health Policy and Advocacy Committee and over the last several years has become passionate about the health burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in our neonatal population. On the community front she is the coordinator for Toys for Tots in Chatham County. She is married to her wonderful husband Steven and in her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as traveling to the beach or mountains.


Desi Newbery


Desi is a practicing NNP with over 15 years of experience. She currently practices at WakeMed in Raleigh, NC. In addition, she is a clinical assistant professor in the East Carolina University Neonatal Nurse Practitoner program in Greenville, NC. Her research interests involve the examination of non-invasive practices to improve care and provide optimal health to premature infants in the NICU. Specific research interests include the utilization of placental blood for neonatal admission labs. She has been a CANNP member since 2005.