EXECUTIVE BOARD 2023-24

Suja Thomas
AGPCNP-BC, MSN. Ed., RN, CWCN, CCCN, COCN
President
Email: president@nainausa.org

Suja Thomas is currently working as Nurse Administrator at Stratton VA Medical Center and as Patient Care Administrator at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, New York. She brings over 23 years of leadership experience in hospital administration & education and more than 30 years of practice as a registered professional nurse. She worked as a Nurse Executive at St. Peter’s Health Partners, responsible for various different departments (Women & Children, Medical Surgical, Hemodialysis, Cardio Pulmonary, Pharmacy, Radiology, Nursing Administration, Laboratory, Education, Wound Care, Dietary & Respiratory).  She taught undergraduate nursing students for eight years at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE University), Manipal, Karnataka, India. Additionally, she has worked as an Adjunct Faculty at Maria College, Albany, NY. She also works as CWOCN consultant in Acute Care Hospital.

Deepthy Varghese
MSN, AGACNP-BC, FNP-C
Executive Vice President
Email: nainaexecutivevicepresident@gmail.com

Deepthy Varghese has been an active member of NAINA and most recently served on Carita’s project. Deepthy served in various roles in Georgia Indian Nurses Association (GINA), most recently as the chapter president. She is a recipient of the GINA Nurse of the Year award 2022. Deepthy currently serves as a Cardiology-Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioner at Northside Hospital System in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.  She received a master’s degree in nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner certification from Mercer University and a post-master’s certification in Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from Emory University. As a nurse with over 19 years of experience, including the last 6 years as a nurse practitioner, Deepthy is well versed in her profession and takes a patient-centric approach to care. She has taken on leadership roles including Nurse Supervisor and Lead Cardiology Nurse Practitioner.

Sandra Emmanuel
MA, RN, NPD-BC
Vice President
Email: nainavicepresident@gmail.com

Sandra Emmanuel is a long-standing member of the American Association of Indian Nurses, New Jersey chapter 2 (AAIN-NJ2). She was the President of American Association of Indian Nurses of New Jersey, Chapter 2 (AAIN NJ2) from 2019 – 2020. One of her accomplishments as the president was hosting NAINA 6th Clinical Excellence Conference. She was able to pull together a capable team, motivate them to use their strength; together they executed a well-attended, profit-making event for NAINA. More recently as NAINA Chair of Professional Development/Education, Sandra was able to maintain one of NAINA’s initiatives to get
re-accreditation as an ANCC provider. Maintaining the continuing education credits involved working with the 22 chapters from 15 different states.

Umamaheswari Venugopal
MSN, RN, CCRN-K
Secretary
Email: secretary@nainausa.org

Mrs. Umamaheswari (Uma) Venugopal, the past president (2021-2022) of the American Association of Indian Nurses of New Jersey Chapter 2 (AAIN-NJ2) is a versatile leader, mentor, and an inspiring role-model with about twenty plus years of experience in many leadership roles. The foundational nursing education from India provided the strength to pursue her passion and talent to lead and teach in the United States.

Tara Shajan
RN, MSN, MBA, PMH-BC, PhDH
Treasurer
Email: nainatreasurer@gmail.com

Tara Shajan was born and raised in Pondicherry, India. She obtained her Bachelors in Nursing from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune and was later commissioned into the Army as Lieutenant and went on to serve the country for 4 years. Ms. Shajan migrated to America in 2004 and worked as Registered Nurse. She graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Masters in Nursing Leadership and a MBA with a concentration in Hospital Administration in 2017. Ms. Shajan currently works as Director of Nursing at NYCHHC Lincoln Hospital and Assistant Professor at Long Island University Post.

Suja Thomas
AGPCNP-BC, MSN. Ed., RN, CWCN, CCCN, COCN
President

Suja Thomas is currently working as Nurse Administrator at Stratton VA Medical Center and as Patient Care Administrator at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, New York. She brings over 23 years of leadership experience in hospital administration & education and more than 30 years of practice as a registered professional nurse. She worked as a Nurse Executive at St. Peter’s Health Partners, responsible for various different departments (Women & Children, Medical Surgical, Hemodialysis, Cardio Pulmonary, Pharmacy, Radiology, Nursing Administration, Laboratory, Education, Wound Care, Dietary & Respiratory).  She taught undergraduate nursing students for eight years at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE University), Manipal, Karnataka, India. Additionally, she has worked as an Adjunct Faculty at Maria College, Albany, NY. She also works as CWOCN consultant in Acute Care Hospital.

She is a Board Certified Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Suja has been a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Delta Pi chapter since 2020 In 2016, she was honored with the Robert Scholar Award for Clinical Excellence. She also received the Transformational Leadership Award in 2014 for a research study conducted with the goal of reducing rates of back injury for health care workers through minimal lift program.

She is currently serving as Treasurer and founding President of Indian American Nurses Association of Albany (IANA-A).  On the national level, she also serves as Secretary of the National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) and has held various positions in the past 6 years.

Suja graduated from Father Muller College of Nursing (Kankanady, Mangalore), with Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and from Russell Sage College (Troy, NY), receiving her Master’s in Nursing Education. She graduated as Certified Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse from Minnesota Metropolitan University through WEB WOC Nursing Education Program.  Currently she is pursuing her Post-Master’s in Nursing in Adult Health Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program at Russell Sage College,  Troy, NY.

Volunteering is her passion. She takes such responsibilities with utmost priority within any type of work and strives for the best quality and efficiency. As a community volunteer, she consistently goes above and beyond to reach out to whomever is in need and is willing to take on challenging roles with determination and confidence.

Deepthy Varghese
MSN, AGACNP-BC, FNP-C
Executive Vice president

Deepthy Varghese has been an active member of NAINA and most recently served on Carita’s project. Deepthy served in various roles in Georgia Indian Nurses Association (GINA), most recently as the chapter president. She is a recipient of the GINA Nurse of the Year award 2022.

Deepthy currently serves as a Cardiology-Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioner at Northside Hospital System in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. She received a master’s degree in nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner certification from Mercer University and a post-master’s certification in Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from Emory University. As a nurse with over 19 years of experience, including the last 6 years as a nurse practitioner, Deepthy is well versed in her profession and takes a patient-centric approach to care. She has taken on leadership roles including Nurse Supervisor and Lead Cardiology Nurse Practitioner. She has assisted and developed Cardiac-Electrophysiology programs at HCA Eastside Medical Center, Snellville, Georgia and Northside Hospital, Georgia (multiple campuses). Deepthy is one of the few Advanced Practice Providers in Georgia that assists with invasive electrophysiology, including femoral arterial and venous access, EP catheter placement and temporary RV pacing. Deepthy was featured in EP Digest, October 2018. She is currently involved in Cardiology-EP research at Northside Hospital.

Deepthy is an active member of the Heart Rhythm Society and serves on the Allied Health Professional and Digital Education Committees. Deepthy is also an active member of the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) Georgia ACC Cardiovascular Team.

Deepthy has received multiple awards including department honors in nursing, Mercy College, induction into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Nurses’ Choice Clinical Excellence Award and Witnessing Outstanding Work Award at Northside Hospital Gwinnett.

With the support of GINA, Deepthy has led the medical camp at St Mary’s Orthodox church, Roswell, Georgia. Deepthy also serves an anchor for Pravasi Georgia Indian network channel.

Deepthy believes her upbringing has helped shape her principal beliefs of compassion, integrity, work ethics, family and community. She also believes that her generation of nurses owe it to their forerunners who have paved the way, to continue the legacy created by Indian nurses in the United States.

Sandra Emmanuel
MA, RN, NPD-BC
Vice President

Sandra Emmanuel is a long-standing member of the American Association of Indian Nurses,
New Jersey chapter 2 (AAIN-NJ2). She was the President of American Association of Indian
Nurses of New Jersey, Chapter 2 (AAIN NJ2) from 2019 – 2020. One of her accomplishments as
the president was hosting NAINA 6th Clinical Excellence Conference. She was able to pull
together a capable team, motivate them to use their strength; together they executed a
well-attended, profit-making event for NAINA. More recently as NAINA Chair of Professional
Development/Education, Sandra was able to maintain one of NAINA’s initiatives to get re-
accreditation as an ANCC provider. Maintaining the continuing education credits involved
working with the 22 chapters from 15 different states.

Sandra currently works as an Education Specialist in Hackensack University Medical Center. She
brings in three decades of experience in Nursing Education. Her role includes improving
education among healthcare providers, designing curriculum for continuing education programs
for the health professional and maintaining regulatory standards. She was a nominee of the
New Jersey Institute for Nursing Clinical, Administration, Research, Education, and Support
(C.A.R.E.S.) Award and received the NAINA Clinical Excellence Award– Nurse Educator in 2022.

Being a member of NAINA has given her the opportunity to network with nurses from all over the country that are in different levels of their career and make relationships with nurses who share the same values, traditions, and culture.

Umamaheswari Venugopal
MSN, RN, CCRN-K
Secretary

Mrs. Umamaheswari (Uma) Venugopal, the past president (2021-2022) of the American Association of Indian Nurses of New Jersey Chapter 2 (AAIN-NJ2) is a versatile leader, mentor, and an inspiring role-model with about twenty plus years of experience in many leadership roles. The foundational nursing education from India provided the strength to pursue her passion and talent to lead and teach in the United States. She exemplifies nursing excellence by incorporating transformational and situational leadership into her practice, modeling the way to transform the health of our nation by inspiring and encouraging the fellow nurses to be the change agent. Mrs. Uma Venugopal currently practices as a full time non-tenure track professor and an Administrative Supervisor/Diversion Lead – Nursing. 

“I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse. – Florence Nightingale”

Tara Shajan
RN, MSN, MBA, PMH-BC, PhDH
Treasurer

Tara Shajan was born and raised in Pondicherry, India. She obtained her Bachelors in Nursing from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune and was later commissioned into the Army as Lieutenant and went on to serve the country for 4 years. Ms. Shajan migrated to America in 2004 and worked as Registered Nurse. She graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Masters in Nursing Leadership and a MBA with a concentration in Hospital Administration in 2017. Ms. Shajan currently works as Director of Nursing at NYCHHC Lincoln Hospital and Assistant Professor at Long Island University Post.

Ms. Shajan has completed her term as President of Indian Nurses Association of New York (2019-20) and now serves as the chapter’s Advisory Chair (2021-24). She was recently elected to the position of Treasurer for NAINA (2023-2024). While in Abu Dhabi, for six years, Ms. Shajan was a flight dispatcher for the 777 Boeing at the Abu Dhabi airport. She has found that her nursing and flying training have taught her the true meaning of humility and distinguishing one’s self as an extraordinary leader. Some of Ms. Shajan’s core values are maintaining a positive attitude, remaining courageous and focused, and always holding others and yourself accountable.

A fun fact about Ms. Shajan is that she is a certified Private Pilot!