Spring 2020: New faculty, staff and promotions

Department of Nursing

Sarah Pirani head shotSarah Pirani, DNP, APRN-Rx, FNP-BC, PHC-NP Assistant Professor

Prior to joining NAWSON as Assistant Professor, Dr. Sarah Pirani was an Assistant Clinical Professor and Nurse Practitioner Preceptor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Her areas of expertise include family health, psychiatry and mental health, internal medicine and virtual healthcare in telehealth platform. Pirani is a foreign-educated doctor from the Tongji University in Shanghai, China and served as a resident physician in internal medicine for the Shanghai East Hospital in China. She later pursued a profession in nursing, and earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Chatham University in Pennsylvania.

Rick Ramirez head shotRichard (Rick) Ramirez, DNP, APRN-Rx, AG-ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, ENP-C, CEN, CPEN, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor

Joining us from Tennessee is Dr. Rick Ramirez. Before joining NAWSON, Ramirez was an advanced practice nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Medical Center while concurrently serving as a faculty member of the Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Hermitage, Tennessee. He espouses the philosophy of how to best serve others through academic collaborations, providing evidenced-based education to practicing nurses and nursing scholars. Ramirez earned both his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Emergency Medicine & Global Health, and Master of Science in Nursing degree from the Vanderbilt University, School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee; and received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, TN.

Lina Monfort head shotDeidamia (Lina) Monfort, MSN, MBA, APRN-Rx, FNP-BC, Instructor

Lina Monfort, a registered nurse for 20 years, has been serving NAWSON as lecturer/clinical instructor since September 2011. With her new position as instructor, she continues to bring her vast knowledge of comprehensive interdisciplinary team education and direct patient care to both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her specialization includes OB-GYN, Medical-Surgical and Community Nursing and patient education, among others. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee; completed two master degrees in Business Administration and Nursing from the University of Phoenix in Honolulu, HI, and is currently pursuing a DNP with the UH Manoa Nursing. It is noteworthy to mention that Monfort served as an army nurse for the United States Army.

Melanie Leong, MBA, Administrative Officer

Melanie Leong joins NAWSON as the AO for the Department of Nursing. She has a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance & International Business, and Master of Business Administration degree, both completed from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Prior to NAWSON, Melanie was with the UH Office of Research Services overseeing the administrative affairs of the Executive Office as the Assistant to the Director. Bringing with her knowledge and experience, she hopes to make a lasting contribution to the School.

abbie nevesAbbie Neves, PhD, APRN-Rx, PHMCNS-BC, Assistant Professor

Dr. Abbie Neves joined NAWSON in November 2007 as a faculty member, initially serving as junior specialist, then as instructor in 2009. She was recently appointed as an assistant professor. Her teaching expertise includes Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, Behavioral Health Nursing, Psychopharmacology, Veteran Healthcare, Education & Cultural Needs, Simulation, and Multi-User Virtual Environments. Neves is a proud alum of the UH Manoa, having earned her degrees in Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from NAWSON.

maureen o'brienMaureen O’Brien, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN, Assistant Professor

Dr. Maureen O’Brien initially joined NAWSON as instructor for the Graduate Entry Program in Nursing in July 2018. Prior to NAWSON, she was a clinical nurse specialist at the Hackensack Meridian Health while concurrently serving as an adjunct clinical instructor at the Georgian Court University, both in the State of New Jersey. With more than 36 years of clinical and teaching experience, O’Brien now serves as a newly appointed assistant professor. O’Brien completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Walden University, Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Department of Dental Hygiene

Victoria Moore, Administrative Officer

Victoria Moore joins NAWSON as the AO for the Department of Dental Hygiene. Victoria brings with her experience in administrative and fiscal support having worked with the UHM Intercollegiate Athletics, and the UH System Office of Human Resources. She has a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Enthusiastic about her new position, she hopes to apply her knowledge and skills, honed and tested through her stay with the University, to her new Ohana, the NAWSON.

Translational Health Science Simulation Center

maggie hoMaggie Ho, Simulation Technician

Fresh from college, Maggie Ho takes on a new adventure in becoming THSSC’s latest addition to the world of high-tech education. She graduated with honors from the UHM Shidler College of Business with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration major in Management Information System. She joins NAWSON with experience in educating young minds on IT-related subjects. With simulation as a strategy for nursing education, Maggie will be in her element with THSSC for teaching (not to forget technology, which is her strong suit) is close to her heart.

For information about available positions at NAWSON visit the NeoGov website at or contact Corie Fulgencio-Arre, human resources specialist at or (808) 956-5429.

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