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Austin, Texas — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is pleased to announce four advanced practice nurses (APNs) who have been selected as 2023 AANP International APN Ambassadors. These exceptional nurses will enjoy an exclusive opportunity to exchange knowledge with and be mentored by distinguished nurse practitioner (NP) leaders. The AANP International Ambassadors Program was established to provide NPs and other nurses from countries with emerging APN roles the ability to establish relationships with each other, AANP members and NP leaders; be mentored; gain new perspectives about the NP role; and accelerate the development of advanced practice nursing within their countries.
Congratulations to Sandra Veronica Leyan Castillo, FNP-C, from Chile; Godfrey Cosma Martis Ajgaonkar, BN, MN, MNNP, from Australia; Beatriz Rosana Gonçalves de Oliveira Toso, DSc, RN, from Brazil; and Roland van Rens, RN, MaANP, from Spain! Each ambassador will receive a scholarship and travel stipend to attend the 2023 AANP National Conference in New Orleans on June 20-25.
Leyan graduated from Boston College as a family NP in 2019 and became Chile’s first practicing NP. Currently working in orthopedics at Red Salud UC CHRISTUS, she has been the coordinator of the country’s first fracture liaison service since 2020. In 2022, Leyan received the Betsy McClung Travel grant from the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research for her contributions caring for patients with osteoporosis. Her work includes preoperative visits to enhance patients’ recovery after surgery, and she is starting a program to prevent diabetic foot disease. Leyan is an assistant professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile within the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) master’s degree program, which is the country’s first NP program. She promotes APRN role development in Chile as a board member of Chile’s first APRN professional association, where she serves as the first president. Leyan will be mentored by Jamesetta (Jamie) A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN.
Martis Ajgaonkar is an NP in cardiology at Logan Hospital in Queensland, Australia. His love for making a difference in people's lives led him to become a nurse, while his desire for advanced knowledge led him to become an NP. Martis Ajgaonkar has been a registered nurse for the last 15 years and has practiced as an NP across Australia for the past eight years. As an NP in cardiology who has worked across tertiary, rural and remote hospital settings, his favorite workplace has been the outback — or as Australians call it, "the Bush” — working in the middle of nowhere with challenges of having minimal resources, delivering culturally safe care to First Nation people and bringing care closer to home. He is also a researcher, pursuing a higher degree in research study reviewing the role of yearly yarning about end-of-life care in First Nation people living with chronic diseases in remote communities. Martis Ajgaonkar will be mentored by Richard Riccardi, PhD, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN.
Toso is an associate professor at the Western Paraná State University — UNIOESTE on the campus in Cascavel, Paraná, Brazil. She is a researcher and professor of the master's and doctoral programs in biosciences and health. Toso also teaches the nursing undergraduate course on child and adolescent health. She has teaching and research experience in the fields of pediatric nursing, primary health care and advanced practice nursing. She volunteers as the president of the Brazilian Society of Pediatric Nurses from 2022 to 2025. Toso also serves as the vice president of the Red Latino-Americana de Enfermería Práctica Avanzada (RED EPA LatinA) network with 14 countries working to promote the development of advanced practice nursing within Latin America. In 2022, she became a member of the Research Group of the International Council of Nursing. Currently, two multicentered and international research studies are being coordinated for her to develop and implement the APN role in Brazil. Toso will be mentored by Maria Kidner, DNP, APRN, FAANP.
Van Rens has more than 20 years of clinical experience in neonatal nursing and holds a master’s degree in advanced nursing practice from Erasmus University in the Netherlands. He has worked as an advanced neonatal NP, performing complex vascular access procedures. Van Rens has developed and delivered multi-professional educational activities and conducted clinical research in Europe and the Middle East. He served as the clinical director of nursing for the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Women’s Wellness and Research Center, Qatar. His research explores ways to improve neonatal care, most notably including studies on vascular access. Alongside his international research collaborators and co-authors, he has presented at international conferences and published several referred journal articles concerning neonatal vascular access, infusion therapy and related technology. Currently, he is preparing for his PhD study in the Netherlands. Van Rens will be mentored by Wakako Eklund, DNP, APRN NNNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN.
“The 2023 AANP International APN Ambassadors bring a wealth of experience and valuable perspectives that will enhance our understanding of ways APNs increase access to quality care for patients worldwide,” said AANP President April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN. “These remarkable individuals are working to establish the APN role within their countries, advance clinical care and meet the growing global need for health care. We look forward to meeting each ambassador in New Orleans this June.”
AANP will also host two 2020 AANP International APN Ambassadors at the 2023 AANP National Conference: Gaonyadiwe Lubinda (Sinombe), PhD, MNS-FNP, RN, from Botswana and Samwel W. Mwangi, BSCN, RN, from Kenya. These ambassadors were previously unable to attend an AANP national conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As AANP strives to empower all NPs to advance accessible, person-centered, equitable, high-quality health care for diverse communities through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership, the association recognizes the importance of advanced practice nursing worldwide. AANP seeks to increase its global impact by continuing to build relationships within the international APN community and increasing the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives from which NP practice can benefit.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 355,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs’ patients and other health care consumers. To locate an NP in your community, visit npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.