Ben Danielson, MD

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington


Ben Danielson, MD, is a pediatrician and advocate for the health and well-being of children and families with low incomes. For 20 years, he served as the medical director of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic – a post he resigned from in November 2020 to protest what he identified as racist and discrim­i­na­tory practices at Seattle Children’s. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Along with two sisters, Dr. Danielson was raised by an amazing single mom who instilled in him an appreciation for the value of education and a desire to be a contributing member of the community. In college, he decided that becoming a doctor was a good way to meld his scientific and human service interests.

Dr. Danielson graduated from Harvard University and then the University of Washington School of Medicine, specializing in pediatrics. He completed his residency at Seattle Children’s before assuming responsibility for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in 1999. Dr. Danielson participates on numerous boards and committees, including the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities (chair), the Group Health Foundation (chair) and the University of Washington Foundation.

Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN

Vice President for Nursing Programs, American Nurses Association


Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN is the Vice President of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association. In this role, she is provides senior leadership to the Directors of the departments of Health Policy, the Center for Ethics and Human Rights, and the Minority Fellowship Program. These departments are responsible for guiding policy development, as well as advising the ANA CEO, President, and Membership, on the full range of policy and practice issues facing the nursing profession. As part of her policy portfolio, Ms. Peterson is responsible for managing ANA’s participation within the International Council of Nurses, as well as supporting the development and implementation of quality indicators affecting patients, nurses, and the entire health care team. Since coming to ANA in 1990, Ms. Peterson has developed expertise in several areas including political education and campaign involvement; lobbying issues related to labor, employment, trade and immigration; and policy development on the supply of and demand for nursing services. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University.

Christine Watts, MN, RN, CLNC

Senior Labor Consultant, Washington State Nurses Association


Christine Watts, MN, RN, CLNC has been a registered nurse for more than 25 years, practicing at the bedside and in leadership roles in medical/surgical, critical care, emergency department, GI lab, and surgical clinics. Her wide variety of clinical and leadership experience in long-term care, acute care, and clinical areas contributed to her move into advocacy and union work at Washington State Nurses Association. Since joining WSNA in 2007, she has been in various roles with a variety of responsibilities as a Nurse Representative, Assistant Director of Labor, and Assistant Executive Director of Labor. She now proudly advocates and protects nurses’ workplace rights in her current role as Senior Labor Consultant.

Clarise Mahler, BSN, RN

Registered nurse, Evergreen Cardiology Clinic


Clarice Mahler, BSN, RN has been an RN for 35 years, with all but the last 7 months in hospital bedside nursing. She spent the previous 21 years in ICU at Evergreen Health, a community public hospital. Clarise joined WSNA in 2004 and has been involved in local unit officer leadership over the previous 10 years and on the WSNA Cabinet of Economic and General Welfare. She currently works at Evergreen Cardiology Clinic, which has been a big change, moving from bedside bargaining unit to doing clinic work.

Clint Wallace, BSN, RN, CCRN

Registered nurse, Sacred Heart Medical Center


Clint Wallace, BSN, RN, CCRN has been a registered nurse for 20 years, spending his entire career as a staff nurse in ICU. He currently works at Sacred Heart in Spokane in their Neuro/Trauma ICU. He is a member of the Rapid Response team. Clint is in the Special Pathogens Unit, which was initially the group of nurses and respiratory therapists that cared for Covid patients. Clint joins the officer team at his WSNA bargaining unit as the local unit treasurer.

Craig Clapper, PE, CMQ

Safety expert


Craig is a consulting engineer who has 30 years of experience improving reliability in power, transportation, manufacturing and health care. He specializes in failure analysis, event analysis, reliability improvement and safety culture improvements.

Prior to entering private practice, Craig worked for multiple consulting companies, including Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI), Performance Improvement International, and Failure Prevention Inc (FPI). He has led safety culture transformation engagements for health care systems. Craig is a registered professional engineer in Arizona and is a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence by the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Danielle O'Toole, RN

Registered Nurse, Tacoma General Hospital


Over the last 10 years as a bedside nurse, Danielle has become known as fierce advocate for not only her patients but for nurses as well. In 2015, she stumbled into a WSNA pre-contract negotiation meeting and never looked back. She negotiated that CBA and is now serving her second term as Local Unit Chair. Danielle has remained passionate in the fight for many things that she holds dear and she has no intent on giving up! In 2021, her priorities remain: Patient Safety & Quality, Safe Staffing, Nurse's working conditions, including rest breaks and decreasing disparities for People of Color within healthcare.

Janet Stewart, BSN, RN

Nurse Representative, Washington State Nurses Association


Janet Stewart, BSN, RN has been a registered nurse for 34 years. She began her career learning nursing and leadership skills after successful completion of the Army ROTC and Nursing programs at Pacific Lutheran University and serving in the US Army. After Desert Shield/Desert Storm, she joined the civilian community, working in critical care units in Portland, Southern California, Seattle, and Tacoma. For the past six years, Janet has been a dedicated local unit officer at SJMC in Tacoma, serving as Grievance Officer and Treasurer, and occasionally Secretary and Co- Chair when the need arose; and was a negotiations team member for two contracts. She served 2 terms on the WSNA Cabinet on Economic & General Welfare. After WSNA successfully advocated for Break Nurses, she became a Break Relief nurse for her department. Janet has recently become a Nurse Representative for WSNA where she will continue her work and dedication advocating for nurses in Washington State.

Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington


Jay Inslee is serving his third term as Governor of Washington State. Jay first became involved in public service in 1985 when he and Trudi helped lead the effort to build a new public high school in Selah. Motivated to fight against proposed funding cuts for rural schools, Jay went on to represent the 14th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives. He continued serving communities in the Yakima Valley when he was elected to Congress in 1992. The Inslees later moved back to the Puget Sound area where Jay was elected to Congress in 1998, serving until 2012 when he was elected governor.

Jennifer Graves, RN, MS

Vice President, Washington State Nurses Association


Jennifer has been a proud member of the health care community in the Pacific Northwest for her entire, multi-decade career. Before joining Kaiser Permanente as the Vice President for Quality and Safety in both the Northwest and Washington Markets and serving as the Regional Chief Nursing Executive in Washington, Jennifer was the Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at the Washington State Hospital Association — where she was instrumental in creating a formal partnership for the nearly 200 hospitals across Alaska, Oregon and Washington whose exclusive focus was on reducing harm and improving patient outcomes. Prior to her role at WSHA, she completed a successful tenure as Chief Executive at both Swedish Edmonds and Swedish Ballard.

Jennifer Muhm

Director of Public Affairs, Washington State Nurses Association


Jennifer has worked in public affairs for 20 years, specializing in government relations and political communications. She joined WSNA in late 2016.

In her role as Director of Public Affairs for WSNA, Jennifer led efforts to pass the Rest Breaks and Overtime Protection and Workplace Violence bills in 2019. She served as a key liaison with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies throughout the COVID-19 crisis, fighting for the protections and supports nurses need.

Previously, Jennifer served as the Director of External & Legislative Affairs at Public Health – Seattle & King County and as Vice President of Public Affairs for the Washington Health Foundation. In these positions, Jennifer led government relations and health policy strategy, and cultivated partnerships with external organizations. Her passion is helping others feel empowered to tell their stories and make positive contributions to health policy outcomes.

Jennifer served on the Washington State Public Health Association board for five years, leading its policy and legislative work; and spent a number of years as the Co-Chair of the Public Health Roundtable.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.

Julia Barcott, RN

Chair, Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare, Washington State Nurses Association


Julia Barcott, RN has been a registered nurse, patient advocate and social justice champion for over 25 years, dedicating most of her career to caring for patients in critical care, especially ICU and Emergency Medicine. In addition to her work at the bedside and her elected position as Chair of the Washington State Nurses Association’s Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare, Barcott dedicates her tie to advocating for people to have access to affordable health care. She feels privileged to have been able to participate in the AFT medical missions to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the past few years. It was that opportunity that inspired her to work in a rural hospital on the Yakama Indian Reservation to reach under-served populations in Washington. Barcott serves as a member of the AFT Nurses and Health Professionals Program and Policy Council and was appointed to the AFT Women’s Rights Committee. She is currently on the Washington State Labor Council Women’s Rights Committee.

Kate Scherer, BSN, RN, CEN

Registered nurse, Island Hospital


Kate Scherer, BSN, RN, CEN began working at Island Hospital in 2016 and currently works at Island Hospital in Anacortes in the Emergency Department. She has served as her local bargaining unit grievance officer for more than a year and serves as staffing committee co-chair. Kate has been primarily an ER nurse throughout her career; however, she has also spent time in transport, NICU, and administration. When describing her work life she says," I love what I do, where I work and who I work with. It’s the career trifecta!”

Katie Haerling, PhD, RN

Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma


Katie Haerling is an associate professor at the University of Washington Tacoma’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership. Katie's recent research includes examining student and faculty experiences debriefing after virtual simulation activities and comparing the cost-effectiveness of virtual and mannequin-based simulation activities. Her research mission is to help identify the most effective and efficient ways to prepare the next generation of health care professionals and contribute to the evidence that supports better healthcare education.

Katie believes improving health care providers' education will support improved health care and a healthier nation and world. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including HIV/AIDS Global and National Issues, Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice, Theories of Learning and Methods of Teaching, and Critical Analysis and Writing. She was a 2010-2011 Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and a 2014-2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.

Linda Cohen

Professional speaker and consultant


Linda, also known as the “kindness catalyst,” is a professional speaker and consultant. She works with businesses and associations on the ROI of Kindness. She helps leaders improve communication, boost teamwork and improve the client experience through further engagement in acts of kindness. Linda’s first book, “1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life,” is an inspirational guide to a life of gratitude. Since her book’s publication, she has been interviewed on National Public Radio, NBC and ABC and FOX television.

Linda received her bachelor’s degree from American Jewish University and master’s degree from Brandeis University. Linda is the past president of the Oregon chapter of the National Speakers Association.

Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN

President, Washington State Nurses Association


Lynnette Vehrs, RN, MN has served as president of WSNA for the past two years. She is a registered nurse who has worked in a broad variety of health care capacities, including at Providence Visiting Nurses in Spokane; Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane; Providence Medical Center in Seattle; in an intensive care unit in Lillehammer, Norway; and in psychiatric nursing in Tacoma.

Lynette went on to teach classes at& the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing prior to her retirement from the workforce.

Lynette obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as her certification as a nurse educator, at WSU.

Molly Voris

Special Advisor for Pandemic Health Response and Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health and Health Care, Office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee


Molly Voris is the Special Advisor for Pandemic Health Response and the Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health and Health Care for Washington Governor Jay Inslee. In these roles, she advises the governor on the state’s COVID-19 health response, leads policy development and provides guidance on health care issues.

Roxanne Filson

Program Manager, Health care Division, Aon, Affinity Insurance Services, Inc.


Roxanne Filson is a program manager in the health care division of Aon’s Affinity Insurance Services, Inc. Roxanne works with more than 70 national, state and specialty health care professional organizations.

Roxanne’s core accountabilities include retaining client and insurance broker relationships while strictly adhering to underwriting guidelines and maintaining high customer service standards. Roxanne has been part of the Affinity team for eight years and frequently presents at professional organization meetings on health care risk management and other insurance-related topics.

Suzanne Gordon

Journalist and author


Suzanne is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about health care delivery and health care systems and patient safety. Her books about nursing’s contribution to health care include “Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines” and “Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care.” With Bernice Buresh, she is author of “From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public,” which is in its third edition.

Suzanne coined the term “Team Intelligence” to describe the constellation of skills and knowledge needed to build the kind of teams upon which patient safety depends. She is a strong advocate of teamwork, and her own books on the subject have addressed important and complex issues in patient safety.