Conference Speakers

Listed in alphabetical order

Amy Pontius, MSN, RN

RN IV – PCU 2 Women’s Specialty Unit

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center

Amy Pontius, MSN, RN currently serves the Clinical Inquiry & Excellence Council as Co-Chair and is the PI for the Compassion Fatigue nurses study.

Angie Garrett, MSN, RN, CPHQ

Trauma PI Project Manager

Memorial Hermann Dr. Duke Trauma Institute

Angie Garrett, MSN, RN, CPHQ has many years of experience in quality improvement and patient safety, most recently in the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute. With the passion to improve care, she is making a difference with the use of evidence-based practice, improvement methodology and dissemination of results are her mission.

Carolyn Bautista, MSN, RN

Magnet Program Coordinator

Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital

Carolyn Bautista, MSN, RN has been a Registered Nurse in the state of Texas for over 12 years. Her background is in Med-Surg. Bautista taught at Austin Community College in the ADN Program from 2007 – 2012 before moving back to Houston and joining the Memorial Hermann Health System. Since joining Memorial Hermann, she has worked in the capacity of a Med-Surg staff nurse, core measure audit nurse, and policy and procedure coordinator. Bautista has been in her current role as Magnet Program Coordinator for the past 2 years at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

Cherylann Vaillancourt, MSN, MHA, RN, CCRN, NE-BC

Director of Nursing Practice and Innovation

Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center

Cherylann Vaillancourt, MSN, MHA, RN, CCRN, NE-BC has spent 32 years in clinical nursing leadership. She passionate about developing staff nurses and connecting them to their passion so that they are positioned to provide excellent patient-focused, family-centered care. 

Claire Chastain, RN, BSN

SWAT Nurse and Supplemental Operations Administrator

Memorial Hermann Katy

Claire Chastain, RN, BSN has been a Registered Nurse for more than 20 years. Her background has been primarily as an Adult Intensive Care nurse with some years spent in open heart recovery and surgical ICU. Since joining Memorial Hermann 6 years ago, Chastain has served in the role as SWAT nurse (rapid response team ) and also serve in the capacity of Operations Administrator.

Debbie Cline, MSN, RN, OCN, CNL, NEA-BC

Associate Director, Nursing Workforce Planning and Development

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Debbie Cline, MSN, RN, OCN, CNL, NEA-BC works as the associate director of nursing workforce planning and development, a team that focuses on planning for future nursing needs and developing current clinical staff. Debbie is passionate about patient care and preparing for the future. 

Debbie DePaul, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC

Lactation Clinical Coordinator Women & Newborn Services

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center

Debbie Depaul, BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC is currently serving as the Chair of the Clinical Inquiry & Excellence Council. This council has an annual research celebration day. This fall was the 10th Anniversary of the celebration in place of the Myth Buster challenge nursing units and other councils were challenged to find areas of nursing that are still being practiced even though EBP does not support the Challenge “Old as a Dinosaur”. In addition, this council is currently conducting research as it relates to Compassion Fatigue.

Ellen Fineout-Overholt, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

Professor of Nursing

University of Texas at Tyler

Ellen Fineout-Overholt, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, is a nationally recognized nursing leader, educator and promoter of evidence-based practice in nursing across the United States and globally. She is passionate about fostering inquiry and wonder in learners, whether they are novices or experts. Dr. Fineout-Overholt is the Mary Coulter Dowdy Distinguished Nursing Professor in the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Texas at Tyler. She is dedicated to building a critical mass of young leaders in nursing who will advance evidence-based practice and thereby, transform healthcare. Fineout-Overholt has published extensively and has received numerous honors in recognition of her contributions to the profession of nursing, including election as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing and the National Academic of Practice.

Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar, PhD, RN-BC, CNE

Clinical Educator II

University of Texas Medical Branch

Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar, PhD, RN-BC, CNE is a clinical educator who focuses on evidence-based practices for the UTMB Health System. She also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the UTMB School of Nursing. Stout-Aguilar received her BSN and PhD in nursing from UTMB in 2011 and 2015, respectively. She has been with UTMB for four years and previously worked in gynecology/ oncology. Her area of research is focused on innovative strategies for implementing interprofessional education and the effects of music therapy on preterm infants.

Jae Hernandez Frazier, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC

Manager, Hospital Quality, Enterprise Quality and Patient Safety

Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital

Jae Hernandez Frazier has served in both clinical nursing leadership and quality/safety roles over the last two decades. Along with her interests in both quality improvement and pediatric/neonatal care, she has mentored healthcare professionals in every-day applications of performance improvement in clinical areas. She is also passionate about the role of the bedside nurse in improvement activities and the pivotal role of communication in enhancing outcomes.

James Hury

Director of Finance

Texas Children's Hospital

James Hury is the Director of Innovation Partnerships at Texas Children’s Hospital. He assesses business lines and technologies that support Texas Children’s mission. Hury’s experiences range from directing and managing medical group practices, developing and executing strategic initiatives, front end revenue enhancement and improving the performance of existing product lines. His primary focus is emerging business opportunities. Prior to joining Texas Children’s, Hury was the VP of Operations and Finance for a large radiology practice and president of a wholly owned billing company. While at the Radiology Practice, James dealt with strategy, new business lines, governance, and revenue cycle management. He gained his foundation for healthcare management from the Jones School of Management at Rice University MBA program and currently teaches Healthcare Ventures eLab at the Jones School.

Jody Collins, MSN, RN-BC

Director, Education, Professional Development and Magnet Program

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center

Jody Collins, MSN, RN-BC​, has some 25 plus years in the healthcare industry, with the past 13 years as a nurse leader at Memorial Hermann Health System. She received her Master’s degree in Nursing Education from Texas Tech University-Health Science Center and holds a professional certification in Nursing Professional Development. Collins has lectured locally and presented on various topics from nursing excellence to patient safety; including presenting multiple posters at national Magnet and ANA nursing conferences. She is active in a variety of nursing organizations; including serving in leadership positions for the Texas Nurses Association – District 9.

Kelly J Brassil, PhD, RN, AOCNS, ACNS-BC

Director, Nursing Research and Innovation

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Kelly Brassil, PhD, RN is the director of Nursing Research and Innovation at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In this role she supports research, evidence-based practice, publishing and presenting for a community of over 3600 nurses in a diversity of roles and practice settings. She has participated, either as a mentor or a primary investigator, in the development and conduct of numerous research protocols, many of which were funded. She has published in diverse peer-reviewed journals, as well as authored chapters in and edited clinical textbooks.

Krisanne Graves, PhD, RN, CPHQ

Nurse Scientist

Texas Children’s Hospital

Krisanne Graves, PhD, RN, CPHQ is passionate about supporting nurses to deliver safe, quality care and applies this passion in her current role of Nurse Scientist at Texas Children’s Hospital. After nearly 20 satisfying years as a Bachelors educated nurse in varying capacities she was spurred to apply to graduate school by a personal encounter with a nurse who inadvertently connected an enteral feed to an intravenous line. A literature review conducted at the time revealed similar events in the medical literature extending back over 35 years. Realizing that both patients and nurses had suffered as a result of that medical device issue, she returned to school to focus on patient safety and the nurse’s ability to deliver safe care. 

Michael Pickett, APRN, CPNP-BC

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Cardiovascular Anesthesia, Chair - Innovative Solutions Nursing Council

Texas Children's Hospital

Michael Pickett, APRN, CPNP-BC, is a pediatric nurse practitioner with 17 years in clinical practice who has a passion for innovation and staff-led solutions. He spearheaded and became the first chair of a new shared governance council at TCH called the Innovative Solutions Council. The Innovative Solutions Council (ISC) is a nurse led, interdisciplinary shared governance venue to support staff led solutions. The ISC uses a novel approach to discover, develop, and implement innovations that focus on quality, safety, technology, patient centered care and staff satisfaction.

Nicole M. Fontenot, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, CCNS, CCRN-K

Clinical Nurse Expert

Houston Methodist Hospital

As a nurse with eleven years in critical care and six years as an advanced practice nurse, I have long been a champion for nurses utilizing research at the bedside. I have conducted research, implemented evidence-based practice, lead quality improvement projects, and mentored critical care nurses along their own clinical inquiry journeys.    

Rachel Murphy, BSN, RN, CCRN

Clinical Operations Administrator

University of Texas Medical Branch

Rachel Murphy, BSN, RN, CCRN, clinical experience centers around medical-surgical and critical care nursing. She is currently a MSN student with a passion for nursing innovation. Nurses are resourceful by nature through the day to day demands of the job. Highlighting these creative moments and encouraging growth of evidence-based practice through UTMB’s Maker Health Space is a way Murphy enjoys exploring the vast array of nursing ingenuity. 

Shannan K. Hamlin, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, AGACNP-BC, CCRN, NE-BC

Director, Center for Nursing Research, Education and Practice

Houston Methodist Hospital

Shannan Hamlin earned her PhD from UTHealth School of Nursing in 2010. The adult critically ill patient population has been the focus of Dr. Hamlin’s advanced practice, research, and publications. She has worked in the critical care area at Houston Methodist Hospital as a clinical nurse, Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Scientist and is currently the Director for the Center for Nursing Research, Education and Practice.  Dr. Hamlin has received over $230,000 in grant funding to conduct her research. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and served as co-editor for the journal Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America on a special issue titled Monitoring Tissue Perfusion and Oxygenation. 


Sorayah Bourenane, RN, BS

Clinical Resource Nurse

MD Anderson Cancer Center

As the Clinical Resource Nurse (Clinical Nurse Leader in Training), I provide objective data to support clinical decisions and steer quality improvement initiatives. I bring innovation and evidence-based practice to the bedside and assist in operationalizing changes in practice for the nursing staff. I act as a liaison from the clinical side to the research, evidence-based side along with exploring new avenues to improve overall patient outcomes.

Tammy Cupit, PhD, RN-BC

Director of Nursing Science and Innovation

University of Texas Medical Branch

Tammy Cupit, PhD received her PhD in nursing with an emphasis on research and education. She is an alumni of the UTMB School of Nursing/ Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The majority of her clinical practice was in psychiatric nursing,  and the brain and behavior remain a favorite research area of interest. In her current role, Dr. Cupit conducts local and multi-site research, assists with the teaching of evidence-based practice, and oversees the first medical MakerSpace, by MakerHealth™ in the nation.

Theresa Johnson, MSN, RN, CBCN

Associate Director Nursing Quality-Ambulatory

MDAnderson Cancer Center

Theresa Johnson in a nurse leader with more than 17 years’ experience in oncology who has received national awards for her leadership and work in breast care. Johnson has a strong passion for nursing excellence, quality improvements, and professional development of clinical nurses. Johnson is the author of a JONA article on how to create a nursing certification program within your department, multiple posters and is the CO-PI for a current nurse led research study around neo-adjuvant chemotherapy and nursing telephone interventions.