Administration, Faculty, and Staff
Todd F. Ambrosia, DNP, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, FNAP, Dean
Dr. Todd F. Ambrosia is the Dean of Phillips School of Nursing. Prior to joining PSON, Dr. Ambrosia was the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the University of Miami School Of Nursing and Health Studies, as well as the Director of the Division of Family Primary Care at the University Of Maryland School Of Nursing. He is deeply involved with several national and international health organizations, and travels abroad annually to speak and volunteer his clinical expertise. Dr. Ambrosia is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, with a clinical focus on Adolescent and Young Adult Health. His scholarly interests include technology enhanced curriculum development, reducing caregiver burden, and initiatives aimed at reducing health risk in young men. Dr. Ambrosia is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice, an Ambassador of the United States National Health Service Corps, and a Bravewell Fellow in Integrative Medicine. He was selected as the 2017 AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Fellow for Nursing by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ambrosia is a member of several nursing organizations, most notably, the Advanced Practice and Education Committees of the International Council of Nurses, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Lorraine McGrath, MA, RN-BC
Lorraine McGrath is Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs and also teaches Medical-Surgical Nursing and Community Nursing. Assistant Dean McGrath became Board Certified in Medical-Surgical Nursing in 2012. She began her teaching career at PBISN in 1982. From 1988-1991, she worked as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor, as well for both the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing. Assistant Dean McGrath was instrumental in the process that led to the school’s designation as a National League of Nursing Center of Excellence from 2014-2018.
Bernice Pass-Stern, MS, MEd, BA
Bernice Pass-Stern is Assistant Dean, Student Services and Institutional Effectiveness. She has worked at the School for over 30 years and, prior to that, worked as an administrator for the nursing department at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Dean Pass-Stern is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Rho of New York chapter. She holds two masters degrees: one in education and one in training. She is a Program Reviewer for the New York State Board of Regents, visiting other colleges as part of a site team, to ensure compliance with Regents standards. She is also very active in community service: she serves as Regional Faculty in Basic Life Support for the American Heart Association, currently responsible for mentoring and overseeing the BLS CPR Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dean Pass-Stern is also the Director of Medical Training for the New York City Auxiliary Police Program, providing First Aid and CPR classes to the auxiliary police volunteers on a bi-weekly basis.
Natalie Cline, BA
Natalie Cline is Director, Business Operations where she is responsible for departmental budget, human resources, security, facility management, independent contractors, accounts payable and payroll. Mrs. Cline also manages IT/Desktop Support as well as the administrative staff. The Director, Business Operations collaborates with the Deans to assure the smooth operation of financial and administrative functions for the School. Mrs. Cline began working for the school in 1992 as an Administrative Assistant, and in 2011 was promoted to Office Manager. Prior to her employment at the school, she worked as a Legal Assistant for a real estate/law office in New York City where she was responsible for accounts payables, payroll and other expenses pertaining to 40+ real estate properties. Mrs. Cline holds a Bachelors of Arts in Social Science from the College of New Rochelle, New York.
Linda Fabrizio, BBA
Linda Fabrizio is Director, Development and Communications where she is responsible for foundation/corporate and government grant funding requests and stewardship, special funds, and marketing to increase visibility for PSON’s mission, vision, and programs. This position also oversees the marketing campaign and operating budget for the School’s Center for Continuing Education. Prior to joining the school, she was an Assistant Director for Development, Institutional Giving for ten years at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Her interest in healthcare administration was sparked by her early work in the pharmaceutical advertising industry. Ms. Fabrizio holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Baruch College, CUNY.
Maria Gallo, BBA
Maria Gallo is Manager, Enrollment Services where she provides front-line services associated with enrollment management which include the areas of Admissions and Registrar. She is responsible for answering queries by phone and email, meeting with prospective applicants, and evaluating past coursework for transfer credits. She began her career at the school as an Educational Assistant in 2002. Prior to joining the school, she was an Assistant Editor at a not-for-profit organization in Makati City, Philippines. Mrs. Gallo holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Aquinas University, Philippines.
Sandra Howard-Foster, MHA
Sandra Howard-Foster is the Administrative Assistant to the Dean. Ms. Howard-Foster has been with the hospital system for more than twenty years. Prior to joining the school, she worked in Nursing Education where she served as the department’s secretary and had responsibility for coordinating clinical placements, CPR certifications, and prepared various reports for pain management. Ms. Howard-Foster is currently working on her Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.
Joel LeGurre, BS
Joel LeGurre is the Program Manager for Office of Financial Aid. Ms. LeGurre joined the School in Fall 2016 and is responsible for assisting students with attaining the financial resources necessary to successfully achieve their nursing education. She has 15 years of experience in student financial aid and loan processing. Ms. LeGurre holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Touro College.
Pablo Obando, BFA, MFA
Pablo Obando is the Assistant Director for Academic Technology and Media, He oversees the implementation and maintenance of new software and equipment. He also works alongside the communications department to help create campaigns, new programs, and visual materials to promote the School. After attaining his Bachelors of Fine Arts in 3D Computer Animation, Mr. Obando shifted his focus and worked for a number of years as a graphic designer in Miami, Flordia. Being an ever-evolving illustrator and creative with a passion for technology, he pursued a Masters of Fine Arts in Interactive Media at the University Of Miami School Of Communications. Upon completion he increased his skill set to include Web Design, UX, Game Design, Data Visualization, and Project Management.
Dayna Dixon, MSN, RN, EdD(c)
Dayna Dixon is an Associate Professor at the Phillips School of Nursing. Her specialty is, Nursing Administrative Leadership, Medical Surgical Nursing and Women’s Health and Obstetrics. She has over 13 years of experience as a registered nurse and is a 2005 graduate of the school’s Associate in Applied Science in Nursing program. She went on to obtain her BSN and later her Master’s in Professorial Studies in Nursing Education from Teacher’s College of Columbia University. She is currently working on the Doctoral Dissertation conducting research that examines the relationship between RN workforce engagement and healthcare quality.
Laura Garcia, DNP, MSN, RN
Dr. Laura Garcia is an Associate Professor at the Phillips School of Nursing. Her specialty is Women’s Health and Obstetrics. She is currently teaching Fundamentals for AAS students. She has over 30 years of experience as a registered nurse, primarily in Obstetrics and Pediatrics, and has over ten years of experience as an educator. She has written research and unpublished theses, as well as grant proposals. She has been published in the Holistic Nursing Practice Journal. Dr. Garcia is committed to the pursuit of excellence in clinical nursing practice, education, research and leadership. Her personal and professional commitment extends to help prepare quality nurses who would ensure the best outcomes for patient and families.
Carleen Graham, MSN, RN, NY-SAFE
Carleen Graham is the Program Coordinator, RN-BSN Program. She has over 20 years of professional clinical experience and her clinical specialties are mental health and emergency nursing. She is a past recipient of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence Scholarship. Mrs. Graham is certified as a New York State Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in nursing at Capella University.
Jay R. Horton, PhD, ACHPN, FNP-BC, CENP
Jay Horton is a senior faculty member at Phillips School of Nursing. Dr. Horton holds a joint position as Senior Director of Palliative Care Nursing for the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine for Mount Sinai Downtown. Previously, he was the Director of Safety, Quality, and Performance Improvement for the Department of Nursing at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Horton initially joined Mount Sinai Hospital in 2005 as a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. He was promoted to Clinical Program Manager in 2009 and to Director of the Palliative Care Consult Service in 2012. Dr. Horton has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and received funding as a principal investigator and co-investigator for symptom management and palliative care studies.
Dafina Naydenova MSN, RN-BC, AGPCNP-BC
Dafina Naydenova is an Instructor in Nursing at Phillips School of Nursing. Ms. Naydenova started teaching at the school as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor for the Associate Degree program. Currently, she teaches Basic Nursing Skills for the ABSN program and is a Clinical Instructor for the Mental Health Nursing course. Her clinical background includes medical/surgical, orthopedics, neurology, and surgical step-down. Ms. Naydenova became Board Certified in Medical-Surgical Nursing in 2013 and Adult- Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in 2015 by the ANCC.
Zelda Suzan EdD, MA, RN-CNE
Dr. Suzan is an Associate Professor at the Phillips School of Nursing where she is a course coordinator for Level II nursing courses and teaches the pediatric portion. She also teaches in the Pathways to Practice course. Professor Suzan has a Certification as a Nurse Educator by the National League for Nursing. She is the co-editor of the book, Issues of Cancer Survivorship: An Interdisciplinary Team Approach to Care. Past courses she has taught at the school include Nursing Fundamentals, Nursing of Common Health Problems of Adults, Nursing of Complex Health Problems of Adults and Mental Health Nursing. Since 1978, she has been actively involved in community service with the American Cancer Society.
Joana Velasquez, MS, RN, CNOR
Joana Velasquez is an Associate Professor for the AAS and ABSN programs and serves as lead faculty for the ABSN program. Prior to joining PSON, she was the nurse educator at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel’s Perioperative Services Department. Ms. Velasquez holds a post-graduate certification in nursing administration and is a certified operating room nurse. She also coordinates the continuing education course, An Introduction to Perioperative Nursing. In 2015, she presented the poster board presentation “A School’s Journey to Excellence” at the International Council of Nurses in Seoul, South Korea.
Blondine Deprinvil, BA
Blondine joined the School in July 2018 as the Coordinator of Student Accounts. She graduated from SUNY Cortland in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics. At Cortland, she was very active in recreational sports activities, both as manager of the football team (organizing events for the team and coaches, conducting tours and recording/editing videos of games) and as general office assistant for all sports. She is proficient in Creole.
Sharon Fischer, MLS, BS
Sharon Fischer, MLS, has been a research librarian at PSON since 2010. Prior to this position, she was a reference intern at the Biomedical Library at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Fischer focused upon health sciences librarianship in her graduate studies and completed her master’s in 2009. She earned a post-baccalaureate certification in English as a Second Language (ESL) from Rowan University and has a NJ teaching certificate of eligibility for K-12 in ESL. Ms. Fischer belongs to several professional organizations: Medical Library Association as a Philadelphia chapter member including the Nursing and Allied Health Resources section; American Library Association including the American College and Research Libraries division; the New Jersey Library Association; the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association; and NJTESOL/NJBE.
Sheila Sinclair joined the school in 2015. She provides secretarial support to Administration and Faculty.
Omar Tunnell joined the school in July of 2018 as the Lab Instructor Assistant. Previously, he worked as a HAZMAT & Shipping Specialist at Leki Aviation.
Letizia Gaeta, BA
Letizia Gaeta is the Bursar/Financial Aid Officer at the school. She brings over ten years of financial aid experience to the PSON community. Ms. Gaeta is a Member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA).
Sandra Howard-Foster, MHA, BS
Sandra Howard-Foster joined the School in June 2017 and serves as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean. Ms. Howard-Foster has been with the hospital system for more than twenty years. Prior to joining the school, she worked in Nursing Education where she served as the department’s secretary and had responsibility for coordinating clinical placements, CPR certifications, and prepared various reports for pain management.
Kurt Villcheck is the IT Specialist/Simulation Assistant for the School. Mr. Villcheck is responsible for oversight of student IT issues, assists with online course publishing, and works closely with instructors to implement new technologies. He also oversees the School’s Center for Continuing Education. Before joining the school, he did PC building/repair, and freelance 3D graphic design. His custom built computers have been featured in college textbooks and PC magazines.