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MNNP Board of Directors
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Dianne Willer-Sly, DNP, APRN, CNP 
  Dianne Willer-Sly is a family nurse practitioner who has been active in nurse practitioner organizations for the past 30 years. She was the secretary for the Task Force to create a state wide nurse practitioner organization in Texas that led to establish of Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP) in 1989. She was the first secretary for the TNP organization as it grew to meet the professional needs of nurse practitioners across the state of Texas. Dianne was also a founding board member and later chair of the local Austin (Texas) Area Nurse Practitioner Alliance from 1986-1999, established to foster NP networking on the local level. Dianne move to Minnesota in 1999 and, along with other Minnesota Nurse Practitioner (MNNP) founders, was active in the movement to create MNNP. Dianne is passionate about the nurse practitioner role. She is an assistant clinical professor at the University Of Minnesota School of Nursing and has a faculty practice in geriatrics and adult primary care with HealthPartners Geriatrics in the Twin Cities. Dianne received her BSN from the University of Rochester (1982), her MS in Public Health Nursing (FNP track) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (1985) and her DNP from the University of Minnesota (2008).

  Nurse Practitioner. You - consider volunteering your time!  This position is currently open to fill immediately. Email if you are interested.
Julie Dahl, APRN, CNP 
Membership Liaison
  Julie Dahl received her master degree at the College of St. Catherine after completing her undergraduate work at the University of MN and is certified by the American Nurse Credentialing Center as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She has specialized in pulmonary and sleep medicine for the bulk of her career as an NP. She currently practices at Respiratory Consultants and works with the North Memorial Sleep Heath Center. She presently sits on the board of directors for the Minnesota Sleep Society and the national Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. She is a member of the team writing website educational content for Nurse Practitioners for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Julie Dahl has published articles in peer reviewed journals and belongs to numerous professional organizations.
Mary Mescher Benbenek Ph.D., R.N., C.P.N.P., C.F.N.P. 
Education Liaison
  Dr. Mary Benbenek is a nurse practitioner with dual certification as a family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner. She has worked as a nurse practitioner for the past 24 years primarily in clinics serving the uninsured and underinsured. She is the coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner area of study at the University of Minnesota and has taught advanced practice nursing students for the past nineteen years. She continues to practice in a community clinic setting 1 day per week. Research areas include health promotion, community participatory research, nursing education, and immigrant health issues.
Courtney Ballina, APRN, FNP-C 
Communications Liaison
  Courtney Ballina graduated from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her family nurse practitioner degree. She is currently a lead nurse practitioner for Target Clinics. In addition to continuing to practice within Target Clinics, Courtney also manages the clinical guidelines and training for all new and existing services. She is also responsible for Target’s nurse practitioner externship program and the Clinical Practice Advisory Council. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of nursing practice degree at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four children at their home in New Richmond, Wisconsin, or visiting her in-laws in Cancun!
Maria Ruud, DNP, APRN, CNP 
Legislative Liaison
  Maria Ruud DNP, APRN, WHNP-C is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in the graduate nursing program. Maria's clinical experience spans over 25 years and she maintains her current clinical practice at a teen sexual and reproductive healthcare clinic. Maria served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for three terms and is the Legislative Liaison for MNNP. She has a special interest in public policy and working with underserved populations.
Pat Peschman DNP, APRN, CNP 
Recording Secretary
  Pat Peschman DNP, APRN, CNP currently holds the position of Manager Palliative Care at Allina Health. In that role she leads a team of APRNs and nurses to deliver palliative care in both the inpatient and community setting. Previously, Pat held the role of Director of Allina Health SeniorCare Transitions and Health Services Director at Evercare MN. Pat has been a geriatric nurse practitioner since 1995 fulfilling direct care roles in hospital, transitional care, long term care, assisted living and community settings. She completed her DNP at St Catherine’s in 2010 and her master’s degree at the University of Minnesota in 1980. In addition to her clinical work, Pat has fulfilled multiple leadership roles throughout her career.
Mary Dierich, Ph.D, APRN, CNP 

Dr. Mary Dierich graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS, MS and Ph.D in Nursing as well as a MS in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the School of Public Health. With her strong interest in geriatrics, she was a MAGEC fellow, a Minnesota Hartford Geriatric Education Scholar, as well as a John A. Hartford pre-doctoral scholar. Her primary research interest has been in medication mismanagement and its effect on readmission of older adults. She also has actively worked with transitions in care and interprofessional education. She has given hundreds of talks and written many articles over the course of her 28 years as an NP. After having her fill of urology (no pun intended), she moved to a generalist practice in geriatrics and was an associate clinical professor at the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing. As the Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program Coordinator, she revamped the entire AGNP curriculum and several core courses. She has taught nurse practitioners in both the doctoral and master’s program over the last 17 years until her retirement from the University School of Nursing this past fall. Currently, she works part-time making home visits for frail patients in the home based medicine program at HealthPartners where she continues to practice what she preaches.

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