December 11, 2020 | Nurses Out Front: The Future of Nurse-Driven Health Reform

Nurses possess unique health reform priorities forged by front-line experiences as well as patient and community engagement. However, they have not always been full partners in health care reform decision-making. This event explores nurses’ top health reform priorities, including addressing systemic inequities, and considers how they will continue to shape state and federal health policy.

Trevor Nelson, BSN, RN, RNBC

Travis Nelson is an ANCC board certified nurse who obtained his Associates Degree in Nursing from Columbia Basin College and his bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Washington State University. Travis has specialized in Medical/Surgical, Emergency, Case Management and Critical Care Nursing. Additionally, Travis is a former Co-Chair of the American Nurses Association Leadership Society and former Vice-Chair of the American Nurses Association Political Action Committee Board. Currently, Travis serves on the Oregon nurses Association Cabinet on Health Policy and works away from the bedside as a Nurse Labor Representative and negotiator where he advocates for the rights and working conditions of Nurses. Travis Nelson can be contacted at


Casey Shillam, PhD, RN

Dr. Casey Shillam is Dean and Professor of the University of Portland School of Nursing. She holds clinical practice, policy and administrative experience in palliative care, innovation, curriculum development, and executive leadership. Dr. Shillam’s UP career first began in 2006 as an instructor and then assistant professor. After a hiatus during which she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Davis, taught at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and founded a nursing program at Western Washington University, she returned to UP in 2015 to serve as associate dean and in 2018 was appointed dean of the School of Nursing.

Her proficiency in academic administration builds from a variety of programs beyond academic teaching and clinical practice. Her experience includes launching an entirely new nursing program at a university, founding a Palliative Care Institute by partnering with multiple hospitals and community-based organizations to provide community-based palliative care and to deliver interprofessional provider training, and developing health policy in palliative and end-of-life care at the local and state levels.

Dr. Shillam has guided the complete revision of the BSN program of study at the University of Portland. Moving from traditional specialty-focused to a concept-based curriculum, she has led the nursing faculty in exploring every aspect of current best-practices in the neuroscience impact on learning, concept-based teaching, simulation, and innovation. Under her leadership, the School of Nursing has created new curriculum approaches to preparing students to serve in primary, ambulatory, and community-based care settings to meet the demands of addressing population health. Other innovations under her leadership of the University of Portland include establishing a Nurse-Managed Clinic serving those who are houseless, developing a new major in Integrative Health and Wellness studies, and establishing new models of clinical education through an Interprofessional Dedicated Education Unit and an Ambulatory Care Dedicated Education Unit.

Dr. Shillam has a Bachelor of Arts and letters from Portland State University, a bachelor of science, master of science, and PhD in nursing all from Oregon Health & Science University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Davis. She served as an Expert Nurse Consultant to Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and has developed a variety of programs supporting nurses in leadership development. Recognized for her strong leadership history, Dr. Shillam was selected for the final cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Executive Nurse Fellows program and completed the fellowship in September 2017. Dr. Shillam served two terms on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Health Policy Advisory Council, provided leadership in multiple professional nursing organizations and health foundation boards, currently serves on the AACN Essentials Task Force revising academic standards for nursing education, and is a co-chair of the US Department of Health & Human Services Family Caregiving Advisory Council. Casey Shillam can be contacted at

Violet Larry, RN

Violet Larry is a native Oregonian. Violet received her BSN from Linfield School of Nursing. Violet began her nursing career working at the VA in 1987. The VA was a far cry from Maternal Child Health but an amazing foundation for hard work. Violet joined OHSU/ MBU in 1988 bringing her closer to her true passion where she worked for 3 years.  During this time Violet realized how much she wanted to know how families did after they left the hospital, did the education I provided in that short time influence them in a positive way? Violet says working in the hospital was great but left her with the sense that something was missing.  For the last 30 years Violet has been working for Multnomah County Health Department. Currently Violet’s role is Clinical supervisor and Manager for the Healthy Birth Initiatives Program. Prior to this role Violet was a Nurse Home visitor. As I reflect on my nursing career I can truly say I have been blessed to be a part of life changing moments.

Violet and her husband are the proud parents to 3 adult children and Yah Yah and Paw Paw to 5 amazing grandchildren. Violet Larry can be contacted at

Deborah Riddick, RN, JD

Deborah Riddick is a public policy and government relations expert with nearly 30 years of experience in health care and advancing public policy, health equity, and community initiatives in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and Oregon.

She currently serves as the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for the Oregon Nurses Association, effectively advocating for strong nursing policy, public health improvements, and inclusive health care reforms that address the needs of marginalized communities.

Prior to her work in Oregon, she has served as a Chief of Staff in the Michigan Legislature, as a Sr. Legislative Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, as a Policy Director representing school-based centers, as a Program Developer for the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, and as an Adjunct Professor, teaching US Health Policy and Health Law & Ethics.

She is a registered nurse who holds a Baccalaureate Degree in Social Science from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Deborah Riddick can be contacted at

Stacey Cohen, BSN, RN, PCCN

Stacey Cohen is a 2009 BSN graduate of Oregon Health & Science University and has been working as an inpatient cardiac nurse since graduation.  For the past five years, Stacey has worked as a Nurse Cardiac Disease-Specific Coordinator within Legacy Health and works directly with patients and families as an educator for those with new and existing cardiac diseases.  She currently serves on the board of directors of Nurses for Single Payer Oregon and is passionate about working to make healthcare accessible and affordable to all.  Currently enrolled in the Masters of Science Nursing program at Duke University, she will graduate and practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner in May 2022.  When not working as a nurse or studying, Stacey is a long-distance runner and enjoys running ultra trail marathons in remote places around the world. Stacey Cohen can be contacted at

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