Directors-At-Large Candidates

Dr. Denise Foster, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE

Hometown: Chesapeake, VA

Position: Associate Professor

Employer:  Purdue Global University & Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

Years as ACNA Member: 3


Cannabis nursing is at the cusp of immense health care changes in our country, and ACNA is poised to lead the way as the professional organization to support and extend cannabis nursing knowledge and behaviors. My vision for the organization is one that upholds traditional nursing values while identifying and expanding the roles and responsibilities of cannabis nurses. As a nursing educator with over 15 years’ experience instructing at all levels of nursing education, I recognize the unique challenges associated with cultivating knowledge. My vision for cannabis nurse education is to provide a foundation from which an effective, applicable endocannabinoid/cannabis-related curriculum can be developed as the organization seeks certification as a subspecialty of nursing. Over the past year, I have chaired ACNA’s Research & Education Committee and have led the group to develop a schedule of CE- and non-CE webinars for members, two of which I authored and presented with my cannabis nurse colleagues. Advocacy and collaboration have been supported though my work as chair of the Social Media & Communications Committee, where I have led the group’s activities to connect members and others through ACNA’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, with more communications plans forthcoming as our organization finds its place among the realm of professional health care. Much research in cannabis nursing is expected to commence as interest in cannabis nursing grows, and I would like to help ACNA membership and others attracted to cannabis nursing find ways to develop, conduct, and disseminate research that builds our understanding of what cannabis nursing is and is not as well as how to best advocate for and support patients and communities who use medicinal cannabis. Outside of ACNA, I am a member of Virginia and Hampton Roads NORML, where I have lobbied state legislators, meeting with them individually to endorse changes in cannabis laws and access to cannabis. The outcomes of these meetings have inspired me to work with local government officials to begin the process of educating community health care professionals, school nurses, and the public. As an instructor of pathophysiology and pharmacology, my nursing educational background has allowed me to author several medicinal cannabis presentations, including the privilege of writing “Chapter 2: The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS): Physiology,” scheduled to be published in 2020 in Cannabis: A Handbook for Nurses (1st ed.). I will also be presenting The Endocannabinoid System in the Regulation of Lipid & Glucose Metabolism at our inaugural conference in December 2019. Finally, as a cannabis nurse professional, I have worked with physicians, nurses, and cannabis patients and their families over the past year in my own cannabis business as a nurse consultant and researcher as Virginia prepares to commence its own medical marijuana program. I would like to continue these efforts to help ACNA grow and prosper as the professional organization for cannabis nursing excellence.

Elisabeth Mack, RN, BSN, MBA

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Position: VP of Clinical Operations

Employer: True Farma

Years as ACNA Member: 3


Greetings to all ACNA members; I have been a cannabis nurse since 2015. 1986-1996 I spent in hospital units of psychiatry and diabetes. 1996 after completing my MBA in Healthcare Administration I began a career in managed care, insurance operations, and sales. My last role was the Regional Sales Manager for Anthem Blue Cross for the County of San Diego, which I left after a bicycle crash in 2015. Finding medical cannabis as useful for my own injuries, I began studying everything I could, attending conferences, and networking. I began daily doses of high-CBD and micro dosed THC to wean myself off several pharmaceuticals. I founded Holistic Caring in 2016 to bridge the gap between traditional and cannabis medicine for other patients, and marketed this solution to providers to serve as a resource. I recruited a small team of nurses and have operated for the past 3 years in SoCal. The training manual I wrote for nurses has grown into a book titled; “Cannabis Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare”, and it will be published by Jones & Bartlett in November 2019. I joined True Farma in May 2019 as the Director of Clinical Operations, building the Advocate programs for patients and clinicians to access cannabis as medicine, and be guided, educated, and supported in its use. Now I am Vice President hoping to take these programs nationally. I speak to audiences of patients, consumers, providers, and payors. Through my insurance connections, I hope to influence policymakers to include CBD and medicinal cannabis products as viable options in the treatment plans of millions of Americans. It is my hope to offer Advocate training and opportunities for all ACNA nurses very soon. I look forward to supporting the missions and growth of ACNA and am dedicating the rest of my career to advancing cannabis research, application, and outreach. Please join me in these efforts and vote to add my voice to the ACNA board this election. Thank you!

Jessie Gill 

Hometown: Colonia, NJ

Position: Founder & CEO

Employer: Cannabis Education LLC

Years as ACNA Member: 3


I’m Jessie, I’m a registered nurse in NJ who has dedicated the last five years to educating patients about cannabis therapeutics. I’m the founder of, an online resource where I teach how and why to use cannabis and I consult locally with patients. I also teach classes about cannabis and speak at conferences and events around the country. My work has reached hundreds-of-thousands. I’ve been cited by publications such as High Times and Forbes, and have had my work been featured on Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, MSN, and more. I’ve also been seen on Viceland and have received international press coverage. My career is dedicated to cannabis full-time and I’m eager to help the American Cannabis Nurses Association grow into a more powerful and influential group that directly impacts mainstream healthcare. We are cannabis nurses and we are changing the way the world approaches medicine.

Mark G. Worster, RN-BSN 

Hometown: Boston, MA

Position: CEO

Employer: NoWaitNation, Inc.

Years as ACNA Member: 1


I have served in various Board capacities including: 9yrs Board of Directors - 4yrs as Board Chair, 3yrs Treasurer of $20mm human services organization; 3yrs Board of Directors Largest Hospice in MA; 3yrs ANA of MA Board, 2yrs Treasurer; Former President of Entrepreneurs Organization Boston Chapter.

Mary Kay Gilbert, RN, CCM 

Hometown: Minnetonka, MN

Position: Cannabis Nurse Consultant

Employer: Self-Employed- MKG Strategies, LLC

Years as ACNA Member: 1


I’m eager and excited for the opportunity to give back to both the nursing profession and the professional organization where I found my perfect fit. I am always learning, always improving, and I would bring that mindset to serve on the ACNA Board of Directors (BOD). Throughout the first half of my nursing career, I worked as a Registered Nurse and Case Manager, providing care for high-risk pregnant women and neonates. For the past twenty years, I worked to manage clinical and financial healthcare risk by launching innovative cost containment initiatives within the managed healthcare and employer space. My healthcare industry knowledge coupled with strong business acumen provides me with a unique perspective to serve ACNA. I have been an active ACNA member for the past year. While serving on both the membership and sponsorship committees, I’ve uncovered opportunities for organizational improvements. For example, I am working to implement a tool to improve committee communication and collaboration that will help the organization work more productively together. By this collaboration, we can advance excellence in cannabis nursing in the spirit of growing the industry. I have found “our” association to be the most welcoming and passionate professional organizations I’ve been a part of for the past 30 years of my career. The incredible diversity and experience of our community members’ perspectives is crucial because lessons can be learned from every ACNA member. I am committed to celebrating the many paths that bring us together and connect the study of what we do with how we do it. As a board member, I would advocate for expanding ACNA professional development resources and seek to create opportunities for others to grow and lead. I see an ACNA that is attractive and welcoming to entry-level professionals who stay for the course of their career. I see an organization that allows our members to grow their passion, leverage their place and do some good in the world. I see an organization that pays homage to the vision that brought it into reality by evolving into a more mature definition of itself. More than anything, I look forward to being a part of a team that isn’t necessarily driven by the passion for “the industry” solution, but rather driven by the empathy for the patient suffering with a lack of options. This to me is at the core of the unique expertise we as cannabis nurses bring and should celebrate. There are many opportunities ahead. I believe that each one of us has a voice of influence converging from our collective experiences and backgrounds to enable us to advance our specialty. We need a strong foundation as an organization to bring cannabis nursing closer to the day that we achieve sub-specialty recognition. If elected to the ACNA Board of Directors, I am committed to bringing my passion and talents to this organization. It would be my privilege to serve as your board member.

Maureen Smyth, RN, BSN 

Hometown: Mendocino, CA

Position: Cannabis Educator

Employer: Smyth Med LLC

Years as ACNA Member: 1


From 2005-2018, I had a very exciting clinical nursing career. I took care of spinal cord injured war veterans in Boston. Then, as a travel RN, I have cared for thousands of patients in a variety of settings. I have worked at major trauma centers of big cities and small Critical Access hospitals in rural settings. This is what I have learned; after taking care of thousands of patients with chronic multiple medical problems, Americans are sick. The current medical model rarely provides chronically ill patients with tools to better exist in their lives. I believe cannabis medicine will bring the positive change needed by the western medical model and its overdependence on big pharma. Currently in my role as cannabis educator, I teach the basics of the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids, cannabis pharmacology and the research associated with the medical use of cannabis. I am certified by the Medical Cannabis Institute Global, in the Medical Cannabis Curriculum for Nurses and the Core Knowledge of the Endocannabinoid System. I am Healer Certified as a Cannabis Advisor. I am a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) and an ACNA Ad Hoc Committee member. I teach dispensary education in Mendocino County and speak at workshops all over the country I hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Simmons College, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies from The University of Massachusetts at Boston. Cannabis medicine is gaining wider acceptance. As a nurse, I play an important role in cannabis education. I dispel myths and extend the reach of the health and safety message of cannabis medicine. I wholeheartedly believe in this plant’s capabilities to illuminate scientific discovery and the art of healing for our future generations to heal both themselves and the globe.

Michael D. Rochlin, RN, MN, COHN-S, CSP (RET)

Hometown: Portland, OR

Position: President & Founder

Employer: Confidential Therapeutics, LLC

Years as ACNA Member: 4


Mike established a collaborative medical program practice model in Oregon (2014) and is a current ACNA (RET.) member since 2015, member of the Education & Research Committee ; Co-Founder and Leader of a new Oregon Cannabis Clinicians Group (OCCG) in 2019; Oregon Cannabis Commission (OCC) Subcommittee member on Clinical Practice, Legislative and Regulatory Testimony to Support Safe Medical Practice and Patient Access since 2015; Speaker, panelist/participant at Local, State and National Conferences (Portland Cannabis Policy Oversight Team [CPOT], Oregon Hemp Conference, Patients Out of Time Conference, Cannabis Science Conference, OHSU Cannabis Clinicians Symposium). Mike has published articles on healing, wellness and USP quality processes for cannabis products since 2015. He is currently working to establish consensus cannabis standards (production, processing and analytical methods) with validation for quality assurance, such as ISO 9001 (Quality Systems), ISO 17025 (Testing, Calibration), ASTM D37, FDA GMP and US Pharmacopeia purity (USP). It is up to us, NOT the industry, to ensure our patients have safe and effective/reliable medicine. One proposal I have proposed is standard Certificate of Analysis (COA) format, with listed ingredients. Oregon has an existing requirement for ingredients, but needs a required ingredient format, similar to a Material Safety data sheet or MSDS (aka SDS). Mike’s vision for the ACNA organization: Mike believes that we are in a unique window of time, an inflection point with our practice. The mission of ACNA is THE best statement/mission for all clinicians, and is being adopted by OCCG, with a simple word change: To advance excellence in cannabis (Clinical) practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development. Collaboration is key: ALL clinicians, not limited to nurses and docs, but includes dentists, veterinarians and other allied licensed health care professionals that provide wellness and healing practice therapies, and need this knowledge about the mammalian endocannabinoid system; nurses are pioneers in the new educational challenge, and are ready! ACNA can be an effective educational resource and nurses can be the most trusted educators (we ARE TRUSTED, and that matters!). During a recent Nursing Pain Management Conference in Portland, Mike helped staff an ACNA booth with President-elect Eloise Theisen and Board member Chris Devlin. He was excited to get to know them and was impressed with their progressive thinking; that helped move him to apply for a Board position. In the spirit of continuous improvement, Mike is reaching across traditional boundaries in Oregon, to establish ONE united voice for health practitioners. This is important, as clinicians have not had one united voice; most clinicians have been fearful to advance their practice, from license and liability concerns as well as a lack of peer mentors. Mike has mentored many students in his career and will continue to do so; students are our future! And Mike has experience with defending medical licenses from boards, so he is passionate about defending our cannabis nursing profession.

Nancy Skinner, RN-BC, CCM, ACM-RN, CMCN

Hometown: Whitwell, TN

Position: Principal Consultant

Employer: Riverside HealthCare Consulting

Years as ACNA Member: 2


At the heart of each nursing practice is patient advocacy. My nursing background includes over 40 years of acute and post-acute experience but care coordination, transitional care and case management have been my passion and primary focus for the past 30 years. Since becoming a nurse case manager, I have advocated not only for my patients but also for the emerging and ultimately, maturing practice of case management. My dedication to the practice of case management included serving as a Director and two time National President of the Case Management Society of America (CMSA). Being a member of the CMSA Leadership Team afforded me the opportunity to learn not only about association management but also the absolute value of meeting the needs of both the members and the potential members of an organization. Over the years, I have served on many Professional Boards including the Kentucky/Tennessee Chapter of the American Case Management Society and the National Transition of Care Coalition. I have also experienced an opportunity to serve on a number of groups dedicated to supporting research related to specific disease states and treatment modalities. One group that I was privileged to join was the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis And Hemp. My knowledge regarding cannabis at the time I joined that group was limited but working with global experts with extensive knowledge regarding cannabis and hemp assisted me to learn more; to value the knowledge that was offered to me; and to develop a strong desire to seek further information regarding cannabis Since joining ACNA over two years ago, my understanding of the endocannabinoid system and the benefits and challenges associated a patient's utilization of cannabis or hemp has increased greatly. That said, I realize that there is so much more for me to learn and to ultimately share with my case management colleagues. I strongly believe that every case management should develop and maintain an understanding of cannabis pharmacology and support patients in making informed decisions regarding the use of cannabis. In addition to educating other healthcare professionals and the patients we serve, I strongly believe federal and state legislators must receive valid information regarding cannabis therapy. As President of CMSA, I lead a number of public policy initiatives related to care coordination and transitional care. With the support of other case managers, we visited the Hill to present Members of Congress with factual information regarding the value of case management interventions and the absolute need to extend those services across all sites of healthcare It is my hope that ACNA will develop and support a Public Policy Committee to educate both federal and state leaders regarding cannabis. I am honored to be a member of ACNAs Conference Committee and although I have not completely achieved excellence in cannabis nursing, I continually seek to expand my knowledge with a goal of sharing that knowledge with other healthcare professionals. By seeking a ACNA BOD position, I hope to be even more successful in achieving that goal and enhancing my focus on patient advocacy.

Rachel Parmelee, MSN, BSN, RN, CRRN 

Hometown: Belleville, MI

Position: Student - Doctor of Philosophy Nursing Education

Employer: Self-Employed

Years as ACNA Member: 3


As a Certified Rehabilitation RN with over 11 years of nursing – mostly on a spinal cord injury unit in downtown Detroit, Michigan. I was confident in neuro, but in the dark about cannabis. Like many of you, cannabis became a perforce part of my life when a family member ran out of traditional options. Medical cannabis became legal in Michigan in 2008, but without quality medication, a family member of mine began cultivating for five qualified patients. As we learned more about others’ questionable processes, I grew increasingly concerned for others – especially those critically ill. Searching for support, I found the ACNA and joined. That was in February of 2016, and although somewhat new, I whole-heartedly believed in the ACNA mission. My first communications with the ACNA were with two of the Directors, Sarah Cohen, RN, MS, BS who wanted to acknowledge my presentation in the Member Highlights of the ACNA newsletter; and when Dr. Denise Foster, Ph.D., MSN, BSN, RN, CNE replied to my email letting me know that I could join as many committees as I want! Now, I am that person writing YOUR accomplishments in the newsletter! I proudly serve on the Communications and Social Media Committee, where I co-chair the newsletter and website re-design subcommittees. I support the Conference Planning Committee by acting as a liaison, reviewing educational planning tables submitted by our speakers, assist in the design of scholarship opportunities, among many other activities. My newest venture began working with the Nominations Committee to help bring more leaders to the Board of Directors. With the momentum of the ACNA, we need significant dedication to our mission, and that is why I decided to apply (not to worry, I cannot influence or vote myself in as a Director). I know I can give ACNA the time and professionalism it deserves. In all honesty, our members have given me more than I could have ever imagined. The ACNA has connected me with leaders that have trusted me to contribute to a publication, design a research study as a co-investigator, and present my findings at our first conference! Recently, I graduated with an MSN in Nursing Education from Purdue University Global and began a Ph.D. program at Walden University. My dissertation topic will examine an aspect of cannabis nursing so I can give back to this community. I want the nurses of ACNA to be an unyielding force with quality resources and to pave the way for recognition of cannabis nursing as a certified specialty. I hope that cannabis nursing consults will one day be a service supported by health insurance plans so all patients can afford the opportunity to benefit from medical cannabis care. I have proved to dedicate a significant amount of time and want to make sure those elected will do the same. Please vote for me so I can give back to our members as ACNA has given me.

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