2018 Conference Speakers

Linda Barloon, RN, MSN, PHMNP-BC

Linda Barloon earned a master’s degree in mental health nursing from the University of Kansas in 1992. She has held certifications as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, pediatric nurse practitioner and currently as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Linda has worked directly in clinical care, as a nursing faculty member, in research and even in the prison system with juveniles. For the last five years, Linda has been employed at Houston Methodist Hospital, the largest hospital in Texas. Working closely with psychiatrists, residents and medical students, she provides psychiatric consultation throughout the hospital, on the medical units and ICUs for patients with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, agitation, and other psychiatric concerns.


Steve Branham, Ph.D., ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, FAANP, CCRN

Dr. Branham has made outstanding contributions to the Nurse Practitioner role in many ways including clinician, professor, entrepreneur, and researcher. He was one of the first nationally certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioners trained in Texas, graduating from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1996. Dr. Branham is known as an expert clinician. He used his clinical expertise to develop two nurse practitioner programs and was responsible for training over 260 ACNPs. Dr. Branham is sought after as a local/national presenter and frequently consulted on issues affecting the ACNP role.


Mari T. Galang, MSN, RN, AGACNP

Mari T. Galang, MSN, RN, AGACNP is an Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in one of the busy Infectious Diseases practice group in the Texas Medical Center. She started her nursing career after graduating with an Associate’s Degree from Kingwood Community College in 2007. She then went on to get her Bachelor’s degree and her Master’s Degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Mari has a variety of experience from the General-Surgical Telemetry Unit to Cardiovascular Critical Care. She now collaborates with her physicians in the care of patients in the spectrum of infectious diseases - from cellulitis, HIV/AIDS to post-transplant opportunistic infections.

She has been a member of the Houston Area Nurse Practitioners organization since 2012. After becoming an NP she went on to be an active and involved member and has been at work in the Education Committee. Ms. Galang holds multiple certifications in her areas of practice, including CCRN-CMC-CSC, FCCS and also trained as a post-Master’s Trauma Certificate Program at UTHSC. She is also a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

She is an avid dreamer, an introvert by nature and has a fine appreciation for savory comfort food.


Elaine Hess, Ph.D.

Dr. Elaine Hess is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 7 years of experience specializing in integrating behavioral health in primary care and other medical settings (e.g., palliative care, oncology). She received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin's Counseling Psychology program and completed a fellowship in palliative care at the VA in San Antonio. Dr. Hess currently serves as the Director of Behavioral Health at Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston and has a faculty appointment with Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine. Her clinical work emphasizes brief, evidence-based interventions suitable for the fast-paced setting of primary care. Her clinical passions include providing patient-centered care to aid individuals and their families encountering chronic or life-limiting illness or injury by integrating the biological, social, spiritual and psychological. She has provided behavioral and motivational enhancement therapies for smoking cessation for over 5 years.


Robert Metzger, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Dr. Robert Metzger has been an active leader throughout his nursing career.  He is the current President of the Texas Nurse Practitioners.  Additionally, he served as President of the North Texas Nurse Practitioners twice and currently is the administrator for this organization.  Nationally, he is an elected member of the AANP Nomination Council and sits on the AANP Diversity Committee.   

As a member and leader within professional organizations, he has routinely participated in advocacy efforts to help educate patients, fellow healthcare workers, the general public, and our local, state, and federal legislators regarding the importance of advanced practice nursing.  These advocacy efforts range from visiting his legislators locally or at their state or national offices to attending health policy conferences.  Most importantly, he enjoys educating fellow NPs regarding the importance of advocacy and important legislation that can affect their practice.  

He is employed at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, TX where he serves as the APP Manager for Surgical Services and practices in the Orthopaedic Spine clinic.  He is also adjunct faculty at Texas Woman's University - Dallas where he teaches advanced practice role, guiding young NPs from the beginning on the importance of being a leader, especially in health policy and advocacy.   


Scharlotte Spencer, DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Scharlotte Spencer is a family nurse practitioner currently working in palliative medicine for Symptom Management Consultants in Humble, TX.  She began her nursing career as an associate prepared nurse in infectious disease, specializing in HIV/TB in 2003.  In 2005, she relocated to Houston Texas and began her work on a medical oncology unit. Her duties included administering chemotherapy, educated patients, families, and staff on the care of the oncology patient as well as educating staff members on the administration of chemotherapy.  Returning to school in 2008, Scharlotte received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Prairie View A&M University in 2009.

Scharlotte continued to work on the medical oncology unit participating in cutting-edge chemotherapy administration which included intraperitoneal chemotherapy and chemotherapy desensitization. She held leadership positions on several committees with the emphasis in nursing advocacy and patient care. She also became a staff champion in palliative care where the focus was advocating and educating patients, staff, and families in palliative medicine.  Scharlotte returned to school and graduated in 2013 from Prairie View A&M University with a master’s in nursing specializing in family nurse practitioner. Prior to graduation, she was offered a position as a palliative care nurse practitioner by her current employer.   A strong advocate for advance care planning and palliative medicine, Scharlotte is involved in educations patients, families and medical professions in supportive medicine.  In 2017, Scharlotte received her Doctor of Nursing Practice in Advance Practice Leadership from Chamberlian University.  Her dissertation was focused on diabetes self-management in the minority population.

Scharlotte’ s professional interest includes education, mentorship, and public speaking. She is an ELNEC (End of life Nursing Consortium) trainer and an advance care planning advocate. She also enjoys precepting and mentoring nursing students.  In addition, she serves as a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 

Scharlotte is very passionate about health and wellness, behavioral changes and self-motivation. She is a powerlifter who holds state records in deadlifting and bench-pressing. She enjoys spending time with family, laughing and exercising.


Darlene Trandel, Ph.D., RN/FNP, MSN, CNS, BC-HWC

Darlene Trandel, is a registered nurse, a licensed family nurse practitioner, and has a Ph.D. in nursing science research. She has been a healthcare coach for over 12 years and holds the designation of a Certified Professional Coach from the International Coaching Federation, and the designation of a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach from the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching/National Board of Medical Examiners.

Darlene is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing where she leads and directs the Faculty Mentoring Program as well as the National Leadership in Nursing Mentor Program, the Interprofessional Healthcare Executive Leadership Mentor program. She also trains the nurse executives and nurse managers at the University of Maryland Hospital System in their mentor-coach program.  She serves as a leadership coach to nursing faculty and it has developed and teaches the health coach training classes and health behavior change classes in the graduate nursing program. 

She is also on the faculty at Wellcoaches School of Coaching, a partner with the American College of Sports Medicine, American College of Lifestyle Medicine and associated with Harvard Medical School, where she trains, coaches and mentors healthcare professionals in evidence-driven behavioral change methodologies to help their patients/clients change their lifestyle and self-manage their chronic disease.

She continues with many years of work with the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching/ National Board of Medical Examiners and a team of experienced educators and leaders to develop, implement and promote national standards and certification to health and wellness coaches and coach-training programs to advance consistent training, education, and assessment of the requisite skills and knowledge needed for effective practice in the health and wellness coaching profession. 

She has authored a book, several chapters in texts and written numerous articles in the field and continues collaborating on coaching research projects and writing.