Directors-At-Large Candidates

Arleen Crider, LPN

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Position: Curriculum Developer and Instructor

Employer:  Cleveland School of Cannabis

Years as ACNA Member: 2


Arleen is the founder of Indo.Guru, a proud Cannabis Nurse Herbalist and expert on cannabinoid therapeutics. She currently writes medical curriculum for the Cleveland School of Cannabis, the ONLY state approved Cannabis College East of Colorado. Arleen LITERALLY wrote the book on the Endocannabinoid System. She instructs classes on Dispensary Operations, which teaches students the proper operations of a cannabis dispensary in Ohio under HB523. The course covers many subjects ranging from dispensary operations, security plans, business management, and regulatory compliance, with a strong focus on interacting with patients and interfacing with the healthcare community. She also teaches Patient Navigation to future caregivers entering the medical cannabis industry, discussing interactions between doctors, patients, nurses and caregivers. Students learn how cannabis is recommended by doctors, retrieved by patients as well as the safe and effective application of cannabinoid therapeutics based on disease processes.  

Arleen has been the key note speaker for several Medical Cannabis organizations including MidWest CannaWomen, Cleveland’s Marijuana Business Association, and the Cleveland School of Cannabis live panel discussion along side other esteem cannabis industry professionals and public officials. Arleen has been an active member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association since 2016, participating on the membership committee and developing the Ambassador Program. She is excited about reaching a younger audience with social media outreach and increasing diversity by encouraging nurses in inner city communities to become educated and take leadership positions in the medical cannabis space. She looks forward to continued work in advancing excellency in the field of Cannabis Nursing, growing the number of cannabis nurses through ACNA recruitment and providing continuing education opportunities for all nurses.

Liam Christopher Devlin, FNP Ed.S

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Position: Consultant; ACNA Board of Directors

Employer: Self Employed

Years as ACNA Member: 2


I'll soon compete my first 2 year term on the ACNA Board and I'm seeking re-election. In addition to participating on the finance committee, I've contributed to sensitive governance conversations around cannabis related ACNA policy positions and have been "keeping up" with the rapidly expanding Cannabis medicine knowledge base. Alaska is a "recreational use" state and I've found many recreational cannabis users are actually using it medically. I believe all cannabis patients (and even social users) should be able to talk to a nurse about their use of this very safe medicine. The majority of my 40 years plus in nursing has been as a family nurse partitioner. From busy NYC clinics to remote "bush" clinics in Rural Alaska I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with some exceptional patients and nurses. My work experience includes the a wide nursing experience continuum: from the bedside to providing primary care and from teaching to executive leadership roles. I now consider myself "semi-retired" now, providing consultation services and some locum services. I have time for continue ACNA involvement and request your vote for continuing service on the ACNA Board. Thank you.

Elizabeth G. Dost, RN

Hometown: Taunton, MA

Position: RN and Senior Consultant - Medical Cannabis

Employer: Self Employed and Mddrip

Years as ACNA Member: 4


In 2012, I was invited to participate as the COO in the formation of a Medical Marijuana Dispensary. Massachusetts had just passed the Humanitarian Use of Medical Marijuana and the state had 100 dispensary applicants. Despite the fact that it took 6 years for the program to mature and the dispensary I participated in did not open, I went on to become the first nurse to publicly stand for the compassionate use of cannabis in Massachusetts. I spent countless hours advocating before the state legislators and DPH on behalf patient's and was instrumental in securing the statuary adjustment "institutional caregiver act" which provides for the use of cannabis by patients in healthcare institutions and is a model for the nation. I speak locally, regionally and nationally on cannabis and have been a featured guest on radio; educational series, podcasts and in person. I serve as the Clinical Director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. I also instruct nurses on the use and benefits of cannabis. I am currently lecturing to the MNA and for a dispensary applicant. It was my great concern for human suffering while working as the VP of Hospice which launched me into cannabis medicine. As such I was a past nominating committee member for the ACNA. I was awarded Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare, New England Region, for my ability to build businesses.

Sheri Matteo, CNM

Hometown: San Rafael, CA

Position: Certified Nurse Midwife

Employer: Prima Medical Group

Years as ACNA Member: 1


I am in the midst of a career change. Though I am a relatively new explorer of cannabis nursing, I have 20 yrs experience as a clinical Certified Nurse-Midwife, cumulative 8 yrs of experience as a midwife chief or director, am an alumnus of the California Healthcare Foundation Leadership Development Fellowship and am the chairperson of the American College of Nurse-Midwives Business Network. I am the Secretary of the California Nurse Midwife Association. Though I am only learning myself the ins and outs of cannabis nursing, my experience as a women's health practitioner and leadership skills can be translated easily to this new and exciting field. To help propel this career change, I am happy to serve on the board in any capacity to immerse myself in the culture, discipline and business of cannabis nursing.

Barbara Jo Ochester, RN

Hometown: Bowie, MD

Position: Clinical Director, Salvera Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Employer: The Wright Wellness Group

Years as ACNA Member: 3.5


Most recently, Barbara has pursued her passion for pristine and compassionate patient care. As her interest in medicinal cannabis has grown, she has become an avid student of research and data that supports the use of cannabis for patients with any number of conditions and diagnoses. Barbara's journey led her to become a Director on the Board of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and to be active with the group in educating and helping clinicians and patients understand the benefits of the addition of cannabis to their regime. Of utmost importance is the glaring issue of opioids, their abuse and the devastating results of overuse. Over the past two years, Barbara has been employed by the Wright Wellness group and has worked together with her colleagues in designing, developing and supervising the buildout and patient process of Salvera Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Bowie Maryland.  

Currently Barbara is pursuing her Doctorate in Health Administration and Leadership with a focus on cannabis research and the dispensary experience. Education remains a top priority, teaching medical professionals, patients and caregivers what is available, what works, how to access, and how to use cannabis and cannabinoid products. Prior to becoming interested in getting cannabis to the patients who need it, Barbara held a number of clinical and management positions in healthcare. The teams she organized and managed focused on education and assisting patients in pursuing the achievement of their individual optimum level of health. Being a clinical director of this new dispensary allows a continuation of those goals. 

Barbara has also spent many years as an associate professor/professor of nursing focusing on community and medical/surgical nursing and now travels to educate students regarding all facets of medical cannabis. She continues to teach students today. Barbara attended Cornell University for her undergraduate work and received her bachelor’s and master’s from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. She has additional certificate/board training in Occupational Health and Wound Care. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and family.

Robin Schmidt RN, BSN/PHN, MPH

Hometown: Orangevale, CA

Position: Retired

Employer: Retired

Years as ACNA Member: 1.5


I have been a proponent of medical cannabis since the 1980's. I received my Associate of Arts degree/RN from Riverside City College in January 1980. I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1993 from California State University Dominguez Hills and finally a Master's in Public Health with focus on Health Education and Health Promotion from UCLA school of Public Health in 2000. I have worked in a variety of settings: surgical intensive care unit, emergency department, medical/surgical unit, operating room, post anesthesia recovery unit and home health care/hospice. My last position was with the State of California, department of health care services as a nurse consultant contracting for medical supplies for California's Medi-Cal program. I have been doing volunteer work at a local dispensary for about the past 7 years doing blood pressure monitoring and a crohn's support group for the dispensaries clients. I also talk with clients about how they use cannabis and make recommendations to them. It is really rewarding when these clients come back to me and tell me that my recommendations worked well for them. I am taking the cannabis nurse curriculum and am hoping to expand my role with the dispensary and maybe add more dispensaries in which I could educate clients and/or dispensary employees. Very exciting! I LOVE what the ACNA is doing to promote cannabis. I mention the ACNA to folks as well as fellow nurses every chance I get! I would be honored to be a part of it! Thank you for your consideration. Love and Light -Robin-

Llewellyn Dawn Smith, MSN RN

Hometown: Suffolk, VA

Position: Endoscopy; ACNA Treasurer and Membership Chairman

Employer: Sentara Healthcare

Years as ACNA Member: 3


It has been a privilege to serve on the ACNA Board of Directors since 2016. With your gracious support, it is my desire to continue to help ACNA build a solid foundation as a professional nursing organization recognized as a sub-specialty by the American Nurses Association. As Membership Chairman and Treasurer, I am committed to increasing membership, encouraging regional meetups and improving benefits all while maintaining my fiduciary responsibilities as Treasurer for ACNA. Please re-elect me to the Board of Directors so that I may continue to serve this uniquely valuable organization. Thank you for your support.

Dawn-Marie Steenstra LPN, SDC, IC, QA

Hometown: Frederick, MD

Position: Patient Outreach Coordinator

Employer: 4Front Ventures/Mission Dispensaries

Years as ACNA Member: 4


I would be honored to return to the Executive Board to assist our leadership as an influence in cannabis education and outreach to all nurses around the country. As trusted navigators for our patients in the science of cannabinoid therapeutics, we serve as the gatekeepers to accurate knowledge and excellence in practice to accomplish the very best outcomes. As a past Board member, I was privileged to play a part in The American Cannabis Nurses formation and growth from 2012-2015. I coauthored Resolutions for ACNA as well as Patients Out of Time. I have worked with my home state of Maryland with our legislature in crafting regulations for safe, tested medicine through our medical cannabis program. I regularly speak and educate nursing groups in the tri-state area, new markets and am a National Ambassador for United Patients Group, the leading resource for patient education in the country. This past year, I was honored to co-produce Season 2 of "The Sacred Plant" docuseries with John Malanca, and have a role in the series. I believe in leading by example with determination reflecting transparency and truth in all matters. Currently, I am the Patient Outreach Coordinator for MISSION Dispensaries, arranging educational series and community forums for medical cannabis patients holistic support and health care learning. If elected, I will work to unite, support, and nurture our members to personal growth and inclusiveness in our shared mission and goals. I believe every nurse's heart beats it's unique rhythm and those of us who are called recognize our "tribe". Together, we are a mighty force!

Debora Stepanik, MSN, FNP-BC

Hometown: Auburn, CA

Position: Currently not employed

Employer: Currently not employed

Years as ACNA Member: 1


I am submitting my application to serve as a Director. My background as a MSN/FNP-BC from the University of Texas includes working for a number of years at the world number #1 cancer hospital MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. My various roles were in Chronic and Acute pain management, Hematological Cancers and Phase I Investigational Cancer Therapy. Prior to becoming a Nurse Practitioner I was the Founding Executive Director of a community orchestra north of Houston, for 7 years where I was instrumental in board development of 25 prominent community members, committee development and creating a collaborative environment. I now reside and I am a Licensed APRN, FNP-BC in the State of California. Based on my experience with oncology patients, pain and symptom management I believe I bring a credible background to this interesting and emerging field of medical care to our patient population. Thank you for your consideration.

Aubrey Wade

Hometown: Corte Madera, CA

Position: Telephone Advice Nurse

Employer:  Veterans Administration

Years as ACNA Member: 1


I seek a nomination to ACNA leadership because the organization promotes the medicine I've researched and utilized for beneficial results for many patients. The organization represents my values, beliefs and wisdom obtained over a long career. ACNA provides validity to the medical wisdom of researching and utilizing the endocannobinoid system for practical relief for real patients, which is a good nurses' most important function. I began my nursing career as a hospice CNA working with AIDS and cancer patients, at a time few knew how to bring comfort with such a devastating painful and rapid disease. Our San Francisco team of visiting nurses were free to give patients anything they wanted; and many wanted marijuana products for comfort and relief. I became an obstetrical nurse and home midwife in 1989, practicing all aspects of birth support and medical management, in high-risk, high-volume urban facilities, and homes and birth centers.

 Education's always been my main passion. I've taught for USF and Dominican University, small classes and doula support for expecting parents, and wrote a book for new families. Concurrently with this I've always pursued studies in spiritual and esoteric wisdom paths, philosophy and alternative medicine; Chinese and ayurvedic principles. After completion of my MSN in Nursing Education and Health Policy, I served as Nursing Educator for Children's Hospital in Oakland, and then a position as Nursing Supervisor at San Quentin prison, to further leadership abilities. At San Quentin I supervised over 300 staff, and managed mental health programs. I developed a deep interest in helping those with PTSD, anxiety, anger, chronic pain and end-of-life issues. I continue that research in my current position as an Advice Nurse for veterans of all ages. I'm willing to serve the terms requested by ACNA in any capacity the Board deems most valuable; and commit to furthering the legitimacy and usage of gentle medicines in any way I can best serve.

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