#NAHNSTRONG Campaign Celebrates Service-Driven Nurses

NAHN Strong

Congratulations to the 2021 #NAHNSTRONG Honorees!

On behalf of the NAHN Engagement Committee, thank you for nominating #NAHNSTRONG candidates! #NAHNSTRONG recognizes members who treat others with dignity, respect, kindness, compassion, and civility. #NAHNSTRONG honorees are NAHN’s good citizens who are dedicated to practicing social justice in their everyday lives. They are also engaged and in good standing with the organization. The committee chose student and professional members and were recognized biweekly via the NAHN National newsletter, NAHN National website, and social media platforms.



Thank you, Armando Riera, MSN, NP-BC, RN

August #NAHNSTRONG Honoree Armando Riera, MSN, NP-BC, RN
(Miami Chapter)

#NAHNSTRONG Armando Riera

An advanced practice nurse, Armando is known for his compassion, advocacy, and dedication to underserved populations in his community and in diverse Hispanic populations outside the USA. Locally, Armando has led from the frontlines during the COVID pandemic.

With hundreds and thousands of Hispanics impacted, Armando made a difference in the lives of those with the virus and those who lost loved ones. In addition, providing culturally competent care in communities impacted by COVID has resulted in prevention practices, thus saving lives.

Not only has Armando made a difference in recent months, his social justice advocacy began long before COVID. Through medical missions, Armando partnered with healthcare entities paralleling NAHN’s mission. Determined to improve the health of Hispanic communities, Armando advocates against unjust discrimination of patients, nurses, and healthcare providers. Armando lives for social justice advocacy in the local, state, national and international arenas with a strong and steady voice of change to dismantle healthcare inequities. Armando’s participation in nursing organizations, local and national nursing boards has enhanced his commitment to ensuring vulnerable populations include social supports.

It is for these reasons that Armando extraordinarily deserves the #NAHNSTRONG recognition; Armando is NAHNSTRONG.

Thank you, Karen Garcia, RN!

August #NAHNSTRONG Honoree Karen Garcia, RN
(Phoenix Chapter)

#NAHNSTRONG Karen Garcia

Karen Garcia joined NAHN as a student and was dedicated and committed to NAHN. She knew she wanted to volunteer in membership, and she started mentoring for it a year in advance. The minute Karen passed her NCLEX exam, she began preparing to run for the Phoenix Board of Directors. Karen has been a nurse for about a year and has impressed us with her contributions to society. Karen has been an avid advocate for DACA this past year. She is a DACA recipient, herself, and has participated in dozens of interviews to demonstrate the value DACA recipients bring to the United States. She has partnered with local hospitals to put a spotlight on DACA and urges people to stand up for DACA recipients. Karen also advocates for the Black Lives Matter Movement and uses her social media platform to educate her followers on the importance of standing together against police brutality and racism. She is an activist and fights for social justice every chance she gets. Thank you, Karen, for all you do in our community.


Thank you Lisa Ani Hernandez, BSN, RNC-MNN

October #NAHNSTRONG Honoree
Lisa Ani Hernandez, BSN, RNC-MNN
(Illinois Chapter)

Lisa Ani Hernandez

“Lisa is one of our most loyal and enthusiastic NAHN-Illinois members. She is passionate and energetic when it comes to mentoring the younger generation of students who are interested in health careers. Throughout the years she always participates in career day presentations for young students interested in hearing our message to stay in school and seek nursing as a career.

Lisa has a deep commitment to academic success, transformational patient care, and exemplary community engagement. Lisa is pursuing her FNP so she can serve our communities and role model culturally relevant care. Lisa has been aspiring to her visionary goal of FNP for several years, steadily she continues her baby steps to get to that goal. Trials and tribulations have given her much defeat, but she has gotten back up and tries again.

Her family and friends are in awe, as she juggles the many roles she has as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, nurse, student and phenomenal volunteer with NAHN-Illinois. She has a commitment in her role at Rush Copley to give safe, competent compassionate Mother & Baby nursing care. She has amazing clinical and communication skills and is often sought for her excellent care and patient-focused safety leadership. She loves teaching and supporting new staff and peers to give positive experiences in Women’s Health including Antepartum care, Gynecological, Labor Delivery Recovery, neonatology care and specialty areas of high-risk obstetrics.

She enjoys being a role model and is accountable to the development and safety of new graduates at her facility. She seeks continuing nursing education to complete her FNP and stay in this field and has a vision of being innovative and serving culturally relevant bilingual bicultural Spanish speaking services in her professional practice. We have given her many accolades and recognized her servant leadership. She has given much of her time in helping us role model our community engagement with services to the American Heart Association, healthy nurse healthy nation, career day presentations, and providing free clinical services at many health fairs.”

Thank you, Juana, LPN

November #NAHNSTRONG Honoree
Juana Quiñones
(Illinois Chapter)

Juana Quinones

Juana Quiñones , LPN is #NAHNSTRONG in November. A member of the Illinois Chapter, Juana is an amazing nurse and caregiver with a full heart of compassion and love. She is currently a Wound Care Nurse for a SNF. In her everyday setting she is a single independent woman who has raised her children during challenging times as a young woman. Through every hard knock she prevailed and figured out a way to survive and raise her children in the best manner she could. She has provided for her family and role modeled how to get up after every turmoil. She is not finished with her educational journey as she envisions obtaining an RN completion. Here is an example of what makes Juana a phenomenal leader as an LPN is when we went on several medical mission trips to Puerto Rico during hurricane Maria devastation.

NAHN-Illinois along with Norwegian American Hospital and the New Life Covenant Church combined forces to give time, skills, and talents for a medical mission team to serve on the island. We left as separate individuals and returned as kindred changed human beings. It was awe-inspiring that she was the first one up at the crack of dawn and ready to serve daily. She moved equipment, carried medication, sorted and organized the supplies and for every patient she cared for, she served them with dignity and respect. Juana is a nurse who exemplified compassion and innovation in everything she did during that trip and many of our other community volunteer activities. Juana demonstrates the perseverance and tenacity to succeed in anything she wishes to do. She has given countless volunteer hours to our organization in many forms. Her diligence, values, and work ethic are impressive. She is moving with her energy and commitment to the future wellbeing of all humankind. She is determined no matter how long it will take to succeed and will make pivotal strides as a registered nurse for decades to come.


Thank you, Elisa Martinez, BSN, RN

August #NAHNSTRONG Honoree Elisa Martinez, BSN, RN
(Phoenix Chapter)

#NAHNSTRONG Ellisa Martinez

Elisa Martinez is a registered nurse who takes pride in being an activist and fighting for social justice. Last year Elisa was the only floor nurse meeting with legislators to discuss HB2538 which was created to prevent assaults on health care workers. She demonstrates daily her fight for social justice as she uses her social media platform to advocate for Black Lives Matter (BLM). She takes the time out of her day to educate people regarding the benefits of voting and how to register. She also discussed why the Black Lives Matter (BLM) is important and how we as the Latino community can help support it. She is also a part of several different committees at work where she is a MAGNET Champion and helps identify ways to improve the unit. She is a part of our Community Outreach committee where she helps volunteer for events and shares her ideas to assist in strengthening the events. Elisa is a true activist and is the change she wishes to see in the world.


Thank you, Guadalupe Perez

August #NAHNSTRONG Honoree
Guadalupe Perez
(Illinois Chapter)

Guadalupe Perez


Guadalupe Perez, MSN, RNC-MNN, CNL, is a registered nurse and maternal and newborn nursery certified clinical nurse leader. She has over 18 years of experience working in a variety of healthcare settings and is currently a nurse care manager at Rush University Medical Center. She is pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Advanced Public Health Nursing and a Rush University. In addition she has been working at the Chicago Department of Public health serving the maternal, infant, and child population. One of her main accomplishments at the Chicago Department of Public health was completion of city-wide population health assessment focused on the high-risk infants. This comprehensive, population assessment lays the groundwork for future initiates to better serve high-risk infants and their families in Chicago. Her commitment to public health in the maternal and child nursing domain has allowed her to continue to grow as nurse leader.

Guadalupe serves as co-chair of the community engagement committee for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses-Illinois Chapter. She focuses on health promotion and disease prevention, particularly within the Latinx community by identifying social determinants of health that significantly impact health disparities and inequities in the communities she serves. To address health disparities she leads, educates, and advocates for the health of the public by engaging our communities as partners in ways that help close the gaps in health inequities.

Guadalupe is also a nurse educator for Dominican University Bachelor’s in Science of Nursing BSN) program and for Morton College Associates in Nursing degree (AND). She teaches nursing fundamentals, professional communications, and maternal and child health. She serves as a mentor to her nursing students and to NAHN-IL members by dedicating her free time to provide support and guidance.

Guadalupe’s nursing philosophy states “Healthy families make up a healthy nation.”



Thank you Alyson León, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC

October #NAHNSTRONG Honoree Alyson León, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC
Greater Milwaukee Chapter

Alyson Leon

Alyson León, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist overseeing five inpatient units including an intensive care unit. As busy as that sounds, she is also a mother and a wife. Alyson found time and importance to attend the 2020 Wisconsin Nurses Day at the Capitol and organized our health policy and advocacy committee to attend. Alyson attended and advertised Talk on Racism Radio Milwaukee. She has been limited due to COVID on attending more events but that hasn't stopped her from sharing information and petitions. Alyson has shared information on supporting the CDC, Anti-Racism & Allyship, Wisconsin Governor's updates for police reform, people's maps commission application, and advocacy summit for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. In addition, Alyson has participated in her Chapter’s virtual Book Club for “How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick”, volunteered for the WI Working Families Party to phone bank in support of voting, & is now a member of her organizations Diversity & Inclusion Council for Greater Milwaukee.

Thank you, Ashley Merida, BSN, RN

November #NAHNSTRONG Honoree
Ashley Merida, BSN, RN
(Phoenix Chapter)

Ashley Merida

Ashley Merida is the definition of selflessness. She has continued to advocate for minority groups by protesting during the Black Lives Matter movement and participating in several protests in Arizona. Ashley goes above and beyond to mentor nursing students and new nurses that would otherwise have no one to guide them. As the Public Relations Chair of the Phoenix Chapter, Ashley continuously uplifts local members by highlighting their hard work. Ashley is a force to be reckoned with and is not afraid to use her voice to speak for injustices.