Valarie Artigas, Assistant Clinical Professor, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
Dr. Valarie Artigas serves as the Director for the NNP Program at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. Having joined the faculty of UConn's School of Nursing in 2017, Dr. Artigas has extensive experience teaching at the undergraduate, accelerated, and masters level and has been a board-certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for over 25 years, dedicating her entire professional nursing career caring for fragile newborns and their caregivers.
Dr. Artigas received her BSN from Adelphi University in New York, her MSN with the Neonatal Track from Stony Brook University, and graduated from the University of Connecticut with her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2017. Dr. Artigas also holds a postgraduate Health Care Professions Teaching Certificate from the University of Connecticut.
Dr. Artigas’ research dissertation focused on neonatal abstinence syndrome and its moral impact on neonatal nurses. Dr. Artigas published an article: “Management of NAS in the Well Nursery” in the Journal of Women’s Health and was a chapter editor for the neonatal section for "Clinical Simulations for the Advanced Practice Nurse." Dr. Artigas is also one of the chapter editors for "Osteopenia of Prematurity for Fetal and Neonatal Pharmacology for the Advanced Practice Nurse."
Dr. Artigas serves as a content reviewer for Neonatal Network, Advances in Neonatal Care and AWHONN’s Journal of Women’s Health. Dr. Artigas is an active member of several professional organizations including Sigma Theta Tau Mu Chapter in Connecticut, NANN, ANN, and COINN where she mentors neonatal nurses in Zambia, Africa. Dr. Artigas’ research and special interest lies within the care of mothers with opioid-use disorder, their newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, as well as moral distress in the NICU.
Sandra Bellini, Clinical Professor, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, CNE
Dr. Sandra Bellini is a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. Dr. Bellini has been practicing in the neonatal nursing realm since 1988 and has served in varying roles and capacities, such as: staff nurse, nurse practitioner, educator, author, program administrator, and collaborative researcher. Dr. Bellini holds a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) degree (Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, 2007), a post-MS CAS in Nursing Education (University of Massachusetts Worcester, 2003), and an MS in Neonatal Critical Care Nursing (Northeastern University, 1996).
Dr. Bellini’s faculty position at the UConn School of Nursing includes a joint appointment with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where she continues her NNP practice in the NICU. Dr. Bellini serves as the Special Interest Group Facilitator representing the NNP Faculty Group, for the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. She also serves as Chair of the Practice Leadership Network, for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Dr. Bellini’s additional service commitments include teaching both the NRP and STABLE Transport Programs on a regular basis, serving as the column editor for the “28 Days” column and on the editorial board for Nursing for Women’s Health, an AWHONN Journal. Her areas of interest include advanced practice nursing scope of practice, advanced practice education, evidence-based practice, quality and safety in the NICU, and neonatal transport.
Dr. Bellini led the development of the NNP Online Program in 2013, the first online APRN Program at the UConn School of Nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau (Mu Chapter) and is actively involved in several neonatal and women’s health professional organizations: Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN), and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Michele Beaulieu, Assistant Clinical Professor, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
Dr. Michele Beaulieu is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, as well as author, researcher and educator and shares her time with UConn and her clinical practice at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Beaulieu graduated with her Doctor of Nursing (DNP) degree from Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in 2007.
In addition to her neonatal practice, Dr. Beaulieu has been the column editor for “Pointers in Practical Pharmacology” in Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, and co-investigator for several research studies. Her research interests include perinatal safety, extremely low birth-weight infants, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and the management of high-risk newborns in the delivery room. Her doctoral dissertation on “Failure to Rescue as a Process Measure to Evaluate Fetal Safety” was published in MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing in 2009. Along with Dr. Sandra Bellini, she co-edited a textbook on “Neonatal Advanced Practice Nursing: A case-based learning approach,” published in 2017.
Dr. Beaulieu developed and taught the first online course for the post-master’s Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program at UConn in 2013. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau (Delta Beta Chapter) and is actively involved in several neonatal and women’s health professional organizations: Florida Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (FANNP), Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN), Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National League of Nurses (NLN).
Marybeth Whalen, Associate Clinical Professor, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
Dr. Marybeth Whalen is an Associate Clinical Professor for the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. Dr. Whalen has been with the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program at UConn since 2008. She also has an active clinical practice as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for UMass Memorial Heath Care in Worcester, MA, where she also serves as a Clinical Instructor with the Division of Pediatrics at UMass Medical School.
Active professionally, Dr. Whalen is a member of NANN on multiple selection committees and an NANNP council member. She is an active member of the national LACE council on behalf of NANN. She is also a contributing editor for Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing. Additionally, she has contributed various abstracts, publications, and has spoken at many conferences with major interests in nutrition and pharmacology. She has been recognized with: Nurse Leader of the Year Award, March of Dimes (2011), Excellence in Nursing Award, Division of Pediatrics at UMMC in 2008 and Professional Advancement for Clinical Excellence Award in 1994.
Dr. Whalen received her Diploma in Nursing from Hahnemann Hospital School of Nursing, followed by a BS from Worcester State College, MS from Northeastern University, and completed her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Case Western Reserve University.
Tiffany Gwartney, Associate Professor, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
In addition to her neonatal clinical practice at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL, Tiffany Gwartney, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, joins the University of Connecticut with seven previous years of experience as an Assistant Professor teaching BSN, MSN and DNP students.
She implemented a simulation focusing upon nursing interaction with a maternity couplet on airborne precautions, while in full personal protective equipment. This simulation was integrated into her COVID Care Education Module in which undergraduate students in their final practicum participated in a pilot at designated clinical partner sites, providing bedside care for patients with COVID-19 disease during the pandemic. For this scholarly work, she was recognized as a Champion of Humanistic Care by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. She continues to develop educational outreach opportunities focusing on infection control & prevention in underserved areas of the Tampa Bay area and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as part of Project Firstline, a grant from the American Nurses Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Her research interests include education, neonatal diabetes, role transition for novice Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP), simulation, management of high-risk newborns in the delivery room, and couplet care for mothers with COVID-19. Dr. Gwartney has had several opportunities to speak internationally regarding the benefits of deliberate routine practice of high acuity, low-volume technical skills, and nationally regarding neonatal diabetes and conflict management.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and is actively involved in several neonatal professional organizations: Florida Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, Council of International Neonatal Nurses [education committee member], National Association of Neonatal Nurses [member], and The American Academy of Pediatrics [member, conference planning committee]. She is also a contributing editor for Neonatal Network.
Dr. Gwartney enjoys traveling for pleasure but has also found herself working triage in a children’s clinic located in the remote village of Zapote, Guatemala, as well as educating NICU nurses in Paisley, Scotland and Shanghai, China.