MNA Association Site

MNA Board

Jennifer Hitt Website Photo 2.24.14


Gayle Harrell, NP-C, CWCN

Debra Allen, MSN, RN

Debra (Debbie) Allen is a graduate of University of Mississippi and Delta State University. She is currently beginning her 22nd year as a faculty member of the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State Univrsity where she is active in the faculty senate, Student Success Task Force, First Year Seminar, and various other committees. She also serves as Delta State's SNA advisor. Prior to DSU, she worked as Director of Nursing. Debbie currently works at DRMC as a part-time Nursing Administrative Supervior, and is faculty for Hurst Review Services, Inc. She is the former Vice President of MNA, has served as President of MNA District 21, and chair of the MNA Nominations Committee, as well as various other MNA and MNF committees throughout her career. She has also served as Board member for the Mississippi Board of Nursing, a MNA/MASN Advisor, and is currently Treasurer of STTI Pi Xi Chapter. Debbie was the recipient of the 2013 MNA Nightingale Nursing Faculty of the Year award, H.E.A.D.W.A.E. Faculty of the Year for Delta State, and was awarded the Kossman's Teacher of the Year at Delta State University.

Tonya Moore, PhD, RN
Vice President

Dr. Tonya Moore has 23 years of professional nursing experience, most of which has been in various roles at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).  As Administrator for Community Health Services, Dr. Moore is responsible for advancing the clinical mission of UMMC across the state, while developing business models for community health partnerships.  These partnerships are aligned with a special emphasis on helping rural communities establish sustainable models of community health and wellness.  In this role, she led efforts to establish a comprehensive after-hours outreach clinic in partnership with Humphreys County Board of Supervisors, aided by a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. 


Moore’s talents and commitment to her profession have earned her recognition in several distinguished and respected organizations. Among those, she received national recognition as Best in Nursing - Award of Excellence bestowed in 2017 by the American Health Council.  Dr. Moore was also recognized as a 2011 Up and Comer, one of 12 people in the United States chosen by Modern Healthcare magazine.  In 2009, she was recognized as Nurse of the Year by University of Mississippi Health Care.  

Johnnie Sue Wijewardane, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP

As a nurse for 23 years and an APRN for 17 years, nursing is Dr. Johnnie Sue Wijewardane’s passion! Her experience spans rural health care, tertiary care, occupational health, college health, long term care, expert legal consultation, nursing education and leadership. She is currently a Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Wijewardane became involved in MNA as a student in 1993 when she served on the state MASN board, and she remained involved. She has served previously as MNA District 18 President, and presents extensively at the local, state and national levels on nursing leadership and practice topics. She is actively involved in several national nursing and healthcare organizations as well. 

Carl Mangum

Carl Mangum, PhD, PMHNP-BC, CHS, CHEP

Dr. Carl Mangum is an Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing. Dr. Mangum has taught nursing for 17 years at UMMC following his work at Mississippi State Hospital. He is also a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Team Commander of Delta-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team for the U.S. Department of Human Services. Dr. Mangum has been an active member of MNA for many years, and served as Vice-President of MNA from 2007 to 2011. He has also served on the Professional Advisory Board and the Board of Directors for the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi.

Shonda Phelon, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, GNP-BC
Director, Council on Advanced Practice Nursing

Dr. Shonda Phelon has served passionately in the field of nursing for the past 29 years. Her nursing experience includes veteran’s affairs, nursing home, rural health, corrections, public health, and community mental health. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Mississippi University for Women, and practices as a FNP/Psychiatric NP. Her involvement with MNA began as a student in 1987 when she was elected to state office. She has been a strong nursing advocate her entire career, and serves as a mentor to nurses, as well as other NP’s. Dr. Phelon has presented extensively on geriatric and psychiatric issues at the local, state, and national levels. 

Alena Lester, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, ONP-C
Director, Council on Health Affairs

Dr. Alena Lester has served as a registered nurse for 20 years. Her experience in the field is vast including such areas as intensive care, emergency room, radiology, renal, cardiology, orthopedics, internal medicine, education, and administration within both the hospital and outpatient setting.

She is passionate about educating new and experienced nurse practitioners as Assistant Professor of the graduate nursing program, Mississippi University for Women, where she also earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Her focus as an educator is in improving provider knowledge and practice in regards to technology, informatics and policies that affect and govern practice. She is a strong advocate for strengthening the role of nurses in Mississippi, and for doing her part in guiding competent, confident, and active nurses for our organizations and our state.

She is a certified family nurse practitioner and orthopaedic nurse practitioner currently employed at Columbus Orthopaedic Clinic in Columbus, MS. She has served as a nurse practitioner for 5 years, providing care to patients across the lifespan in both specialty and family practice.

Dr. Lester has served as President of MNA District 18 and has actively recruited members and speakers to offer continuing education for MNA members. She has presented on local, regional, and the national level regarding osteoporosis fracture prevention and musculoskeletal injuries in primary care, and well as published outcomes of role expansion and increasing patient access through the development of an employee-family clinic, which she still manages.

Lisa Deloris Slade, MSN, RN, FNP-BC 
Director Council on Organizational Affairs

Deloris Slade received her BSN from the University of Southern Mississippi in the Fall of 1991, and returned to complete her Master’s Degree in 2006. She has worked in Family Practice since that time. She is currently working in a community health center, Sumrall Family Health Clinic. She provides primary care to patients from Marion, Jefferson Davis, Covington, Lamar and Forrest Counties.  She has been a member of MNA since 2005 and has served on the Provider Unit since 2007. In 2012, she was elected to serve as co-chair of this committee. She does volunteer work in her community and local schools.



Debra Rhinewalt, BSN, CHPN
Director, Council on Nursing Practice

Debra Rhinewalt is a graduate of the Mississippi University for Women where she also serves on the Nursing School Advisory Council. Her career led her to Palliative Care nursing, and she is currently the Palliative Care Clinical Coordinator at Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle. Her extensive work in this field has led her to realize that due to increasingly strict admission and discharge criteria patients are literally “dying” to get into the hospital, and the “baby boomer” generation is living longer with many co-morbid conditions. Debra recognizes that fragmented healthcare has placed nurses in a position of being the ones who “bring it all together” for many patients and families. She is passionate about her obligation to train nurses in the current trends in healthcare which can increase the quality of care for patients and their families. Debra has received numerous honors, awards and certifications. 


Janie Butts, Professor, PhD, RN
Director, Council on Nursing Research

Dr. Janie Butts is Professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, College of Nursing and Health Professions in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and teaches classroom and online nursing courses at the doctoral, master's, and baccalaureate levels. Courses include ethics, legal issues, advanced theory, advanced practice issues, professional development, research and evidence-based practice research. Current specific research interests include death and dying ethical issues, professional nursing ethics, theoretical and philosophical research. Dr. Butts has two co-authored books: Nursing Ethics: Across the Curriculum and Into Practice (5th ed., to be released in Spring 2019) and Philosophies and Theories for Advanced Nursing Practice (3rd ed.). Dr. Butts’ journal articles and book chapters include topics on ethics, research, theory, education, and professionalism. Dr. Butts served as Consultant Editor from 2008-2014 for Nursing Ethics journal. Her Ph.D. is from University of Alabama at Birmingham and her master’s degree is from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

Tomekia Luckett

Tomekia Luckett, PhD, RN
Director, Council on Nursing Education

Dr. Tomekia Luckett is an experienced nurse, and nurse educator. She has served as an educator in a variety of nursing education programs for licensed practical nursing through doctoral. Dr. Luckett is well equipped and knowledgeable of the social, scientific, and educational changes of today and tomorrow. She has been an active member of MNA including service as member at large, district seven executive board member, and council on nursing research.

Dr. Luckett earned an associate's degree from Southwest MS Community College, a bachelor and master's degrees from William Carey University, and a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her present position is as an assistant professor of nursing at William Carey University. Dr. Luckett has been a recipient of a number of awards, and recognitions throughout her tenure in nursing and nursing education. Her illustrious nursing career has mixed clinical practice, education, and administration.

Malone Photo

Teresa Malone
MNA Executive Director