GRNEN Ambassadors

About the GRNEN Ambassadors

The Global Rural Nursing Exchange Network is seeking rural nurses from across the globe to act in the capacity as ambassadors to assist in extending our network in its mission to support rural nurses and rural communities.

Learn more about becoming a GRNEN Ambassador.


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Gladness N. Mkawe


Registered Nurse | Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre
Gladness is a Registered Nurse with 10 years experience of working, she graduated on Nov.2019 at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, prior to that she had her Diploma in nursing at Huruma School of Nursing and graduated on August 2011.
Gladness is employed by Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) since December 2011 to present. 

Gladness has been taking care of medical and gynecology patients ands he has been doing prevention Awareness campaign against cervical cancer in Rural areas around Kilimanjaro Region – Tanzania. Gladness goal’s is to promote and create awareness for Rural nurses and student nurses on better provision of nursing services to Rural areas.


Phelgona Odeny


Community Health Nurse

Phelgona Odeny earned her Diploma in nursing from Kenya Medical Training College in Kisumu and a bachelor of science in nursing from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

Phelgona has 15 years of nursing experience and 10 years as a community health nurse. She coordinated nursing services and Reproductive health programme in the sub county which had a coverage of slightly above 300,000 people for 7 years.

Due to her passion for the community, supported by exemplary skills in clinical patient care, she is currently working in a rural health center in liaison with the community health volunteer to offer nursing services directly to the community and training medical students in their rural health experience. She spearheaded a community awareness program to educate people regarding income generating activities and kitchen gardening in poverty stricken communities.

Phelgona is also an active member of Kenya national Union of nurses ( KNUN) of Kenya.

David Oluoch Headshot

David Oluoch



David has a bachelor of Science in Nursing, BscN and also joined the master in community health nursing course. He has practiced as a nurse for over 20 years and joined the Ministry of Health in Kenya in 2004 as well as, currently coordinating maternal and reproductive health activities in Rarieda sub-county, Siaya .

David is also a part-time  nursing lecture in Bondo Medical Training College and Matibabu College of Health Sciences. David is the project director of INTOUCH – International Nursing Technological Outreach Uniting for Community Health



Midori Kamizato


PhD, PHN, RN | Professor, President Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing

Midori Kamizato is currently the president and a professor at the Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing in Naha City, Japan. Her education includes a Bachelor of Health Science from Ryuku University, a Master of Nursing Science and PhD of Nursing Science from Tokyo Medical and Dental University. 

Midori is interested in cancer nursing, and topics specifically related to island nursing, research, and graduate student education. She is a prolific author with publication with several books and publications. She also helped develop the first island nursing nurse practitioner program in Japan, and has worked with the Ministry of Education of Japan to research and develop and educational program for Island Nursing with Pacific Islands.

North America


Kim English


Nursing Professor | Trent University
Kim is a Nursing Professor at Trent University. She has been teaching nurses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level since 2002. Prior to that, her background was in acute care and professional practice.

Kim is currently at Doctoral student, completing a Doctor of Education, Education Leadership with a focus on Educational Technology at William Howard Taft University. She completed her Master of Nursing at the University of Toronto, Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University and her nursing diploma at George Brown College.

Kim’s research focus is working in rural and remote settings, looking at nursing practice in those settings. As well, she addresses issues in the provision of nursing education through the use of virtual simulations, the impact of inclusive, anti-racist and anti-oppressive approaches to education. Kim has a particular interest in addressing racism in healthcare to serve as an ally to Indigenous populations.

MSiemon SUU Photo

Mark Siemon

United States

PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, CPH | Professor, Southern Utah University

I grew up in Ketchum, Idaho, a small rural community in central Idaho. After spending two years as a Rural Primary School Construction volunteer with the Peace Corps in West Africa, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boise State University in 1993. I have worked as a Public Health Nurse (PHN) and Community/Public Health Nurse (C/PHN) educator for 28 years in a variety of positions. I began my career as a PHN/nurse epidemiologist at Central District Health Department in Boise, ID, before moving to Arizona and New Mexico where I worked as a PHN on the Navajo Nation and Health Department Director with the Pueblo of San Felipe. I received a dual Masters Degree in Public Health and Community Health Nursing from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2006, and I was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellowship with the UNM Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative in 2008. I graduated with a PhD in Nursing in 2014. I have taught undergraduate public health and population health nursing course at the University of New Mexico and Boise State University. I spent three years helping to care for my aging parents, and I returned to teaching population health nursing at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, UT, in 2019. I work with undergraduate nursing and Rural Health Scholar students to improve their understanding of population and community-based health care, and the need to address social determinants of health to improve health equity in rural and remote communities.


Sharleen Jahner


Saskatchewan Health Authority

My research focuses on the occupational impact of exposure to traumatic events on the psychological and physical well-being of nurses in rural and remote areas, specifically, those who live and work in the same rural agricultural community.

My clinical background includes practice in a range of urban, rural, and remote northern areas across 3 western provinces in Canada in a broad range of roles from emergency, utilization, coordination, supervision, education, community, evaluation, Public Health (TB, HIV, Hep C programs), and various management roles (Regional and Provincial level) including work with the First Nations Inuit Health Branch, Northern Health Inter-Tribal Health Authority, Public Health Agency of Canada, Population Health, Ministry of Justice, Coroners Branch (as a coroner) and numerous projects. I currently work for the Saskatchewan Health Authority managing the Nursing Practice and Education department which oversees the Clinical Nurse Educators.

Through my academics, I have had the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant on several projects including the Nursing Practice in Rural and Remote Canada II Study, Disaster nursing in rural/remote, Rural Mentorship, and Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture. I have also participated in the development of two National documents (outlined below).

My past work experiences have provided a first-hand understanding of the unique complexities faced by nurses in rural and remote settings, challenges and disparities between urban centers, and underscored the importance of conducting research in this area, and its application.

I am currently a member of the Canadian Rural and Remote Nurses Organization executive in an effort to advocate and support rural/remote nurses on a broader scale.



Kate Stark

Central Otago, New Zealand

Nurse practitioner | 
Kate graduated as a New Zealand Registered Nurse in 1988 and has worked in a variety of areas in primary and secondary care. She has worked in rural primary care since 2006 and became a Nurse Practitioner in 2016.
Although Kate grew up in an urban setting, she has lived rurally on a farm since 1997 and her experience prior to this has given her excellent insight into the uniqueness of rural practice and the inequities experienced by rural compared to urban. Kate has a passion for primary care and works in a small rural practice in an autonomous role seeing a wide variety of presentations as well as in a pre hospital role within the practice as a PRIME Practitioner providing pre hospital acute care to the wider community while supporting the ambulance service. Kate is passionate about rural nursing. She is an advocate for rural nurses and has been mentor to other Nurse Practitioners and rural nurses who share the same passion as well as implementing and growing the Nurse Practitioner role in other rural practices. As well as her clinical role she also has a leadership / clinical governance role within the practice she works in, acting as a conduit between the governance board and the clinical practice, staff and supporting services. Alongside this, over the years Kate has been involved in a number of committees as a rural nursing representative and enjoys being able to make a difference for rural nurses working across a variety of rural settings. Outside of her work, Kate is married with adult children and lives on a sheep/beef and arable farm in Southland. Her interests outside of work include walking, photography, music, cooking, reading and movies.

Ron Picard

Melbourne, Australia

BN, Grad Dip CCN, MHSc | Lecturer, Latrobe University

Ron Picard has been employed as a Nursing Lecturer with Latrobe University since 2007.  His duties include development & delivery of undergraduate curriculum content, development & delivery of post-graduate curriculum content, program development, teaching into La Trobe’s post registration Singapore nursing program, supervision of undergraduate students on community placement in Kathmandu (2016-2019), academic director Re-Entry to Practice (RN) Program.

Ron’s work related interests include Transition to Practice programs, international learning opportunities for undergraduate nursing students, and law & ethics in healthcare.

He has lived in various cities & towns across Australia, moved to Albury in 1995 (a town of 60,000 roughly half-way between Melbourne & Sydney).  He entered into the Nursing profession in 1992, and has spent most of his clinical practice in ICU.  Although now full-time at the university, he still manages a weekend shift or two each month in the HDU of the local private hospital.  Prior to nursing, he worked in a number of positions including electronics, silo construction in the outback, laborer, salesman, and dance instructor.

His hobbies and interests include bike riding, yoga, walking, & playing guitar, bass, piano & sitar.


Majella Blackwood

Auckland, New Zealand

Nurse Manager | Tuakau Health Centre

Majella is the Nurse Manager at Tuakau Health Centre, a rural practice south of Auckland.

She has been a nurse for over 30 years and loves her work. Her initial experience was in acute medicine, ICU and emergency nursing, before she moved to General Practice nursing in 2007. Majella also has a strong interest in Quality and was a Quality Manager at a large private surgical hospital for 2 years prior to coming to Tuakau Health Centre.

“Our rural community is amazing, we share lots of laughs and engage with our community leaders regularly to connect with our hard to reach patients and those with high needs.” 

On a personal note, Majella is married to Michael, with grown up children. Her and her husband enjoy getting out and driving around the countryside in their American cars and going to car shows.

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