2021-2024 NSAC RN/APP Committee

Chair - Whitney Gray, CRNP

  • Name/credentials: Whitney Gray, CRNP
  • Institution: UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Role: IBD Nurse Practitioner
  • Years on NSAC: Going on 6!
  • Years involved with the Foundation: Since 2016
  • Area of interest within IBD: Health maintenance, transition readiness, nutritional therapy, population management
  • Fun fact/outside of work hobbies: Enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, and megaformer pilates



Co-Chair - Abigail J Meyers, P.A.-C.

Abigail J Meyers, P.A.-C.

After graduation in 2011, Abigail Meyers joined the Colon and Rectal Surgery Division as a hospitalist where she worked to implement Enhanced Recovery for post-operative patients. In 2016, she transitioned to the division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology with the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic through.  She returned to Colon and Rectal Surgery in the outpatient practice in Summer 2022.


Meyers enjoys educating both her professional peers and her patients by speaking nationally and at Mayo Clinic conferences as well as helping to create educational content for patients and providers.


Meyers is an active member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation where she brings her skillset to both the professional membership and advanced practice provider committees. In her role there, she acts as a Co-Chair for the RN/Advanced Practice Providers and actively works towards achieving the Foundation’s initiatives for advanced practice provider members. Meyers also serves as a preceptor host site for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Advanced Practice Provider Preceptorship program to enhance IBD specific knowledge in the GI APP. In this role she mentors Advanced Practice Providers from around the country.


When not working, she enjoys running, traveling with her husband, reading and chasing her twin boys throughout Rochester.


Donna Bacchus, PhD, MSN, RN

Donna received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada and later her Master’s in nursing, specializing in critical care at UTHSC in Houston. Her work included recovery room, critical care, and administration.  She returned to school at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi and obtained a post masters specializing in family nursing practice. Donna worked as a nurse practitioner for a few years then joined academia and returned for a PhD in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington.


Her focus in research is adherence to medications in IBD patients. She joined the Foundation as a Professional Member 13 years ago and has pursued her avid interest as a volunteer to advocate for IBD patients. Donna is a member of the North Texas/Oklahoma Chapter – Healthcare Professional Education Committee. She has presented posters and talked at patients, families, and providers conferences locally and nationally. Donna’s interests in IBD are adherence to medications, transitions of college students, and psychosocial issues.

Andrea Banty, DNP, FNP

Andrea Banty is a nurse practitioner at the F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel Disease Institute at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. She has been a member of the NSAC committee since 07/2021 and has been involved with Crohn’s Colitis Foundation since 2018.  Her interest in IBD includes preparing patients physically, mentally, and nutritionally for surgery through a multidisciplinary approach. She is also interested in improving access for patients with urgent needs. Outside of work, she enjoys trail running!



Amy Donegan, MS, CPNP-PC

Amy Donegan is a nurse practitioner at Nationwide Children's Hospital.  She has over 35 years of pediatric nursing experience, with the last 23 years focused in pediatric gastroenterology.  Amy works primarily with the pediatric IBD population. Her main areas of interest are in transition of care, health maintenance and self-management education. Amy participates in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary annual IBD clinic that includes psychology, social work and nutrition support.  
Outside of work, Amy loves spending time with her 3 adult children and husband of 32 years.  She likes to ride bikes, play with her 2 dogs, listen to audio books and watch women’s volleyball.


Helena In'T Veld, MSN, FNP-C

Helena has been a Nurse Practitioner with Arizona Centers for Digestive Health in Avondale, AZ since 2018. Prior, she was in primary care for three years. While her organization is a GI and hepatology practice, Helena has a special interest in IBD.


Helena has served on NSAC since 2021, however has been involved in her local chapter’s medical advisory committee (now known as HPEC) since 2019. It is important to Helena to give back to the Foundation because, “it has been so good to her.” Helena had the privilege of rotating in the APP Preceptorship in 2019 at University of Chicago and “will always be grateful for that experience.”


Helena is particularly interested in preventive care in IBD patients, as we often become the primary providers for our IBD patients. Additionally, her practice is involved in some clinical trials. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, watching baseball (Go White Sox!), and spending time with her husband and floppy eared German Shepherd.


Teri Jackson, MSN, APRN

  • Name/credentials: Teri Jackson, MSN, APRN
  • Institution: Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children’s Center for Pediatric Digestive Health and Nutrition
  • Role: Pediatric GI Nurse Practitioner with special focus on IBD
  • Years on NSAC: 6
  • Years involved with the Foundation: Since 2009
  • Area of interest within IBD: Health maintenance, transition readiness, pre-visit planning, population management, patient and family education
  • Fun fact/outside of work hobbies: Enjoys cooking, gardening, party planning, home decoration/design and crafts



Kimberly Kearns, MS, APRN, ANP-BC

Kimberly Kearns is a Nurse Practitioner who specializes in adult Gastroenterology for DULY Health and Care in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. For the past 15 years, she has been providing both inpatient and outpatient healthcare specializing in adult Gastroenterology. Her healthcare philosophy focuses on education, disease prevention and health promotion. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Illinois Society of Nurse Practitioners, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and a long-term member of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). She is currently serving as the co-chair for the Crohn's and Colitis Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Crohn's and Colitis RN/APP Committee.


Ms. Kearns is the Co-founder of MIDGUT, a professional society dedicated to the education, mentorship and collaboration of nurse practitioners and physician assistants specializing in gastroenterology and hepatology.  She has been an invited speaker on several topics in Gastroenterology at both regional and national meetings. Education for staff, students, peers and most importantly patients is truly her passion.


Maureen Kelly, DNP, CPNP

Maureen Kelly, DNP, CPNP

Maureen’s training and background as a nurse practitioner are in the areas of pediatric primary care and pediatric gastroenterology. She is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing and nurse practitioner at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC.

Maureen’s primary area of interest in GI is pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly health maintenance, self-management, transition to adult care, and care coordination efforts. She has extensive clinical experience caring for pediatric patients with IBD, and is responsible for annual health maintenance visits for UNC’s adolescent patients. Within this clinic, Maureen assesses and delivers preventive services including immunizations. Maureen has held leadership roles locally and nationally within the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation over the past 12 years.


Shelby Mudarri, MS, RN, APRN, CPNP-PC

  • Name/credentials: Shelby Mudarri MS, RN, APRN, CPNP-CP
  • Institution: Boston Children’s Hosptial
  • Role: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the IBD Center
  • Years on NSAC: 1
  • Years involved with the Foundation: 7 (Camp Oasis)
  • Area of interest within IBD: Education for newly diagnosed patients and families about IBD, educating patients and families about administering injectable medications, mental health and coping skills
  • Fun fact/outside of work hobbies: I love to spend time outdoors and enjoy hiking, kayaking and skiing!


Sharon Perry, MSN, APRN-CNP

  • Name/credentials: Sharon Perry, MSN, APRN-CNP
  • Institution: Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital
  • Role: Nurse Practitioner
  • Years on NSAC: 2
  • Years involved with the Foundation: 10
  • Area of interest within IBD: Pediatric health maintenance, new diagnosis education, transition of care
  • Fun fact/outside of work hobbies: I love to play with my dog, Finn and listen to true crime podcasts









Michele Rubin is an APRN certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Gastroenterology Nursing. She has 45 years of experience in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) in leadership, IBD medicine, IBD research and currently in IBD colorectal surgery.  She is the Associate Director of the IBD Center. Michele works closely with the UCM multidisciplinary IBD patient management team of gastroenterologists, surgeons, APPs, nurses, dieticians, GI Psychologists etc. in managing the care of IBD patients and their families. The care and management of J-Pouch patients is her particular interest in IBD. She initiated the J-Pouch clinic at UCM to ensure patients adapt successfully, have positive outcomes and receive ongoing J-Pouch surveillance and support. She is a known leader and lecturer on IBD across the country and has published numerous articles.  She has been a professional member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation since 2009 and on the NSAC committee as well.


Michele was elected to the National Board of Trustees for 2 terms from 2009 to 2015 to represent nursing on the board. While on the board she established and chaired the IBD Nurses Task Force which eventually became the CCF National IBD Nurse Initiatives Committee. Then the committee included IBD Advanced Practice Providers (APP) which continues today as the IBD Nurse and APP Committee to promote education and the development of IBD Nurses/APPs. Since being a member, she has also chaired numerous Foundation’s National and local Chapter Nurse and APP sessions over the years. Participated in numerous projects to give patients a voice and promote better care for IBD patients such as working on promoting the “multidisciplinary model of care for all IBD patients.


In 2017 Michele helped to initiate and lead the Foundation’s initial APP Preceptorship program which has grown from 2 sites, to now 5 sites and has become a popular educational training program for IBD APPs across the country. The program continues today and accepts 15 applicants who spend 3 days in an IBD center of excellence learning how to manage and treat IBD patients in a multidisciplinary model of care. In addition, they have access to ongoing mentorship from their site team of IBD providers.


A fun fact about Michele is that she is often thought to be the “wife” or the one she prefers is “daughter” of the IBD Gastroenterologist, Dr. David Rubin, who is also practicing at the UCM. Not a day goes by at either work or professional meetings that patients or others ask the question “Are you related to Dr. David Rubin? Her response is “Yes, I am his daughter!” But the truth is she is neither, but they do have fun with it!


Janette Villalon, PA-C

Janette Villalon completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of California Irvine and went on to become a Certified Physician Assistant at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY in 2001.  She has been employed at UCI Medical Center since 2003 and began her career as the PA-C for the IBD Program in 2014.


Janette has a passion for helping educate peers in IBD.  She  has spoken at the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Conference for APP’s;  she is currently an Ambassador for the Advances in IBD National Conference (2022-2024 term);  she traveled with the University of Chicago as a member of the APP IBD Immersion:  An IBD-U Initiative CME Program for several years;  she is currently part of the National Scientific Advisory Board for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and recently was one of the selected few by  Cedars Sinai to participate in their unique IBD Diet Nutrition Certification Program.  Janette is always seeking ways to advance her knowledge in IBD and to improve the UCI IBD Program.


When not working, Janette is a proud mom of a beautiful young girl and enjoys being with her family and friends, traveling, exercising at the gym, being active and also has an adoration of animals, especially dogs!