Karen Edlund Fellowship


Karen Edlund Future Nurse Leader Fellowship

Leveraging Power through Leadership Development


NSRH seeks to cultivate a diverse community of nurse leaders in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) who come from the communities they serve and represent the patients that are seeking their care. In order to do this, we know we must address the lack of diversity we see in nursing education and the sector at large. 

In 2021, we launched a Fellowship program to provide targeted resources and support to a cohort of historically excluded nurses in our Network (especially Black, Indigenous and Latinx) to help them fulfill their leadership goals. The Fellowship cohort is comprised of students who:

  • Attend an ADN or LPN program, and/or
  • Attend an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions), or TCU (Tribal Colleges and Universities), and/or
  • Attend a University or program in an underrepresented region, and/or
  • Represent an underrepresented group within the sector, and
  • Are interested in developing themselves as nurse leaders in SRH by either starting NSRH Chapters or leading other relevant efforts on their campuses.

This fellowship is named after the beloved former NSRH Board Member Karen Edlund, RN, an exemplary nurse leader who served as the Director of the SRH Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 23 years, from 1992 until her retirement in May 2015. During her tenure Karen developed and managed several critical initiatives that have been key to ensuring access to comprehensive SRH services for the people of Massachusetts. In addition to her leadership with the MA Dept of Health, she has also played an important leadership role with several other organizations. Karen served on several Boards including: NSRH, the Cambridge Health Alliance Public Health Board, Provide, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.

Meet the 2022 Fellow Cohort


Chloe Kellom  (she/her)

I am looking forward to meeting other individuals who have similar interests with me in terms of my future career goals. I am excited to hopefully but my project plan into motion and start to make a change in my community. I am overall looking forward to the experience. I have never been involved with anything like this before and I am just excited to see what I learn and how this helps me become the leader I have always wanted to be.

Monica Skoko Rodriguez  (she/they)

I am excited to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health in order to improve public policy and help innovate health systems to be more accessible and equitable for everyone seeking services in this area. I approach nursing from a public health and community-oriented point of view and I am honored to join my peers who bring their own unique perspectives on this journey to increase our expertise and passion in SRH for the betterment of our communities.

Christina Torres  (she/they)

My passion and goal of being of service to women, the queer community, POC, and people of low socioeconomic status is what drives me to stay connected and grow as a provider. I’m most excited to learn in an area of healthcare that means a lot to me and where I am limited in exposure.

Torey Sippio-James  (she/her)

My interest in SRH has sparked while working on a class project in nursing school. The project called for creating an awareness campaign for safe sex practices for teens. It was aimed at preventing STDs. After working with this population and topic, I realized that I liked the focus and wanted to ensure that my career included some aspect of SRH. I have since spent time working in women’s health and pediatrics.

Nayelie Benitez Santos  (she/her)

I am excited to join a group of individuals who as just as passionate about reproductive health to help improve the health of our communities. I also look forward to the mentorship as I move forward in my nursing career as a new nurse. Lastly, I cannot wait to become engaged with my community while conducting my community project, and hope to make a difference, even if it is just connecting one individual to reproductive and sexual health services.


The Karen Edlund (KE) Future Nurse Leader Fellowship fuels nursing students to leverage their power and become leaders in SRH, reproductive rights (RR) and Reproductive Justice (RJ). We believe that through intentional support and development of historically excluded nurses, we can shift the power structure of nursing and transform healthcare to not only include but celebrate sexual and reproductive health.

Over the course of six months, Fellows will gain:

  • Understanding of Sexual & Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, and Reproductive Rights
  • Professional and Leadership Skills
  • Skills, tools, and resources  for navigating the healthcare system and challenging white supremacy 

During the six-month period, Fellows commit to 3 hours/week* of study and action. This will include virtual events and webinars, peer-to-peer discussion, professional development coaching sessions, and individualized study through the NSRH Online Institute. 

Applications are closed, check back spring 2024 for the next round of applications! 




Advisory Council


Ana Delgado  (she/her)

I spent years looking for community and like-minded colleagues in nursing, feeling isolated because of my desire to be inclusive of all aspects of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion. As a midwife, I have always considered it “my lane” to view my patient’s lives through a holistic and intersectional lens, acknowledging the full range of their experiences, and above all, viewing their right to access safe, satisfying and high quality health care as a human right. My hope is to share what I have learned and continue to grow as a nurse, midwife, and mentor.

Lodz Joseph-Lemon  (she/her)

I believe in mentorship and professional development. In order to thrive, adult learners must be able to feel vulnerable and have outlets to help push their minds. I want to help others during the formative part of their nursing journey.

Mar Marqusee  (they/them)

As an openly non-binary-lesbian-identified and indigenous nurse, it is my goal to change the landscape of nursing by educating and influencing future nurses. In my nursing education, LGBTQIA+ and reproductive health care were glossed over and only focused on HIV, suicide, and short-acting oral birth control pills. However, at the core of sexual and reproductive health is the importance of bodily autonomy and trauma-informed care that intersects all aspects of health care. With lived experience, it is my job to be the representation in nursing that I was missing as a student, as a professional, and as a patient. Through mentorship, I hope to provide innovative ways for future nurses to advocate for their patient’s needs, to fill in gaps in current curriculum, and to improve health equity by better representing the patients they serve.

Sarah Febres-Cordero  (she/her)

I am inspired to become a Karen Edlund mentor. I find that those who are disenfranchised and come from poverty are often the students who come to me for mentorship. Imposter syndrome is valid, and first-generation minority students need role models who look like us and can understand the barriers to earning nursing degrees and succeeding in settings that privileged people have long dominated.

Meet the 2021 Fellow Cohort


Leslie Chase  (she/her)

Leslie is a nursing student at Brandman University where she is working toward a BSN degree. She also recently received her Masters of Education in Health and Wellness education and hopes to integrate this knowledge with her clinical knowledge as an RN! Her Nurse Leader project focuses on the intersection of sexual health and safety for people working  in the sex and body work industry. Leslie is partnering with local organizations to partnering to spearhead a resource drive that provides wellness packages and services to these folks.

Melina Lopez  (she/they)

Melina is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, working toward her BSN. For their project, Melina seeks to host a bilingual Women’s Gender and Sexual Health Teach-In in their hometown of Dallas, TX. This program will include content about all kinds of SRH topics, including demystifying beliefs about transgender and gender-nonconforming people, education about pronouns, and consent.

Joy Korley  (she/her)

Joy is part of the MSN/DNP program at Columbia University, where she is specializing in Certified Nurse Midwifery. "This fellowship will enable me to make meaningful connections with other healthcare providers of color, and together we can empower each other to have the strength and resilience necessary to challenge white supremacy in our healthcare system." Through her Nurse Leader project, Joy will facilitate opportunities for health educators in the New York public school system to learn how to incorporate gender identity, sexual orientation, and facilitating open dialogue about sex into their curriculum.

Kristin Ploog  (she/her)

Kristin comes to the fellowship from the University of Maryland where is on the accelerated MSN track. She is starting a chapter of NSRH at her campus and host a debut event for recruits as her Nurse Leader Project. "After earning my RN license, I will take what I learned [from this fellowship] into practice so I can help deliver SRH care in a way that will empower my clients to make the best decisions for themselves regarding family planning and sexual health."

Cassandra Durian  (she/they)

Cassandra is a BSN student at the University of Southern Florida - Sarasota. Their passion for SRH started with their love of working with youth, and Cassandra is excited to expand their network with nurses that have similar passions. Her project for the fellowship focuses on curating training for their nurse cohort to provide trauma-informed care for patients who experience sexual and intimate partner violence.