Dr. Nava is Chief of Quality and Systems Improvement (QSI) within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and has been in service to our nation’s Veterans for most of her nursing career. She has also served the Latino community as a member and leader within the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). From 2011-2013, she served as the President of the Illinois Hispanic Nurses Association (IHNA), now known as NAHN-Illinois. In this role, she invested in the professional development of Latino nurses by engaging them in community health initiatives in Chicago and inspiring them to reach higher levels of success. With her leadership, IHNA, a small NAHN chapter, became the 5th largest chapter in the country in 2013. Since then, she has focused her efforts on building the leadership capacity of nurses, with a focus on Latino nurses-who continue to be underrepresented in health care leadership positions. In her experience, Latino nurses are at the forefront of health care leadership in their communities and in need of a pathway to local, state and national leadership.
From 2014-2016, Dr. Nava was elected to the NAHN National Board of Directors. In this role, she oversaw membership growth and retention strategies and initiated, proposed, and saw passed the amendment of the NAHN bylaws to create a category for unlicensed health care personnel to be welcomed into the organization as affiliate members. This category of membership is vital to NAHN’s mission as many Latinos work in these unlicensed roles and should be encouraged, through adequate mentorship, to continue their education into nursing. Concurrently, she served as the 2015-2016 Vice-President of the Massachusetts Chapter where she led and created the pilot Nursing Leadership Scholars Program (NLSP). She mentored six millennial nursing mentees in a 10-month pilot program, where they learned about their role as nurse leaders in the community. Even within the VHA, Dr. Nava has invested her efforts in developing the nursing workforce to improve the quality of care delivered to our Veterans.
Dr. Nava has been invited to sit on city task forces, advisory committees, and work groups to share her knowledge about health care and represent nursing and the Latino community. She has a MPA’20 from the Harvard Kennedy School; PhD’19 in Health Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston; a MSN’11 in Health Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania; and a BSN’09 from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing. Dr. Nava has been awarded the 2020 Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Award for Excellence in Nursing; the 2019-2020 U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship from the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School; the 2017 Outstanding Alumni-Excellence in Leadership Award from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing; the 2017 NAHN’s 40 under 40 Recognition Award; the 2016-2018 PhD Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar; the 2015-2016 Albert Schweitzer Boston Fellowship; the 2014 Community Education Service Award from AARP-IL; the 2011 HRSA Advanced Education Traineeship Grant; and the 2011 VA Going the Extra Mile Service Award. As President-Elect of NAHN, Dr. Nava is proud to be the first millennial nurse elected to serve the membership at the national level.