Anita Rich, BSN, RN, PCCN
is the President and Founder of Nurses Heart to Heart. She is a graduate of The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and has been a nurse at Emory University Hospital since 1981. The last 28 years she has worked as a Cardiology Nurse and CPR Instructor. She has been a nurse transporter with The Children’s Heart Project bringing children from Kosovo, Uganda, Honduras, and Mongolia to the US for congenital heart surgery.
In 2008 she was part of the medical team screening children for congenital heart defects in villages in northern Mongolia and performing surgical repairs and cardiac catheterizations in Ulaan Bataar. During this trip she assisted in teaching a nursing conference on airway management. While practicing the hands-on skills, a Mongolian nurse gently put her fist on the chest of one of the manikins and through the interpreter asked if Anita would “teach the pumping”. This was her inspiration to start Nurses Heart to Heart. In 2010 she served as a nurse and nursing instructor in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq as part of a medical team screening and surgically repairing children with congenital heart defects. In 2011 she took the first Nurses Heart to Heart team to Mongolia where they taught over 160 Mongolian nurses at Third Hospital in the capital city of Ulaan Bataar. Since then, she has led the NHTH team in teaching over 400 nurses and doctors in the last two years and is very honored and excited to be leading this year’s team.
She and her husband, David, live in Johns Creek, Georgia. They are the proud parents of their daughter, who works in Washington, D.C., and their son, a Captain in the US Air Force, who along with his wife presented them with their first grandchild in 2011.
Jane Thomas, RN, PCCN
graduated from Pensacola Jr. College School of Nursing, Cum Laud in 1970. Cardiology nursing has been her passion for the past 43 years. She has been a cardiology nurse with Emory University Hospital for the last 27 years, where she is a Nurse Scholar. When she first started nursing in 1970, treatment of heart attacks was mainly bed rest, oxygen and a few medications. Even back then though, CPR was a basic that all nurses were taught and she’s excited to be able to go to a country where nurses don’t have this training that we take so much for granted.
She and Joe have been married for 44 years and they have two grown children, Sonja, who is a flight attendant for Delta and a son, Ryan, who is a golf pro in Orlando. She has been the Chapter Leader of the Atlanta Vasculitis Support Group, an arm of the Vasculitis Foundation, for the past 5 years and enjoys being able to support patients and their families who are facing the challenges of living with this serious disease.
Tammy Jones, MSN, RN
has been a nurse for 8 years. She graduated from The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia in 2005. In 2012, Tammy graduated from the University of Alabama – Birmingham with a MSN in Healthcare Administration and Systems. She worked as a Cardiology Nurse at Emory University Hospital and is currently a Clinical Nurse with the Emory University Adult Congenital Heart Clinic.
Tammy loves to travel and experience various cultures. She is excited and honored to be a part of the 2013 Nurses Heart to Heart trip to Mongolia, her first medical mission trip. She considers it a great privilege to share the life saving tool of CPR with other nurses. She currently resides in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Connie Venuso, RN, CPN, CNRN graduated from the University System of Georgia, DeKalb College and She is a nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the Neuroscience/Medical Surgical/General Pediatric Unit. She has traveled with medical teams to India, Tibet, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Ecuador, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Haiti and Nepal. She will be returning to volunteer at a refugee camp near the Congo in March for a month. She has also been a volunteer on the Medical Team for the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race, a volunteer at Camp Independence Kidney Camp for children with renal disease, and a volunteer at Camp Carpe Diem for children with epilepsy. She is the Mother of two grown children, grandmother of two granddaughters and one grandson. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.