Arizona Nurses Association Executive Director Robin Schaeffer announces retirement


CONTACT: Matthew Benson


Sep. 1, 2020

Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Nurses Association today announced Executive Director Robin Schaeffer is retiring, effective Oct. 30, after a decade leading the organization. Schaeffer will be succeeded by longtime nursing professional Dr. Dawna Cato, PhD., RN, NPD-BC. She will serve as AzNA’s incoming CEO.

“At a time when Arizona patients and families depend on nurses like never before, I can’t think of a better person than Dawna to lead this organization into the future,” said Schaeffer. “It has been my honor to lead the Arizona Nurses Association for the past decade. I step away knowing AzNA is in great hands under Dawna’s leadership.”

Dr. Cato brings to AzNA more than 20 years of nursing experience with industry-leading institutions. Since 2017, she has served as Vice President of Clinical Care Services for PreferUS Healthcare, a leading international hospital consulting, management and investment services company.

“I am both honored and humbled to be chosen as the incoming CEO of the Arizona Nurses Association. I intend to continue the work of my predecessors to further this organization’s mission to Advance the Nursing Profession and Promote a Healthy Arizona,” said Dr. Cato. “We will continue to navigate the current climate of healthcare through collaboration, diversity and a strong membership base that recognizes there is strength in our collective voice. As both a native of Arizona and stout advocate for professional nursing, I will strive to lead with the highest respect, dignity, ethics and moral courage.”

Dr. Cato currently serves as an Adjunct Professor with Aspen University and Visiting Professor for Chamberlain College of Nursing. In addition, she is a Commissioner on Accreditation for the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Additional experiences include serving as President of Transition to Professional Practice Nurse Consulting, LLC; Market Director of Professional Development for Abrazo Community Health Network; Assistant Professor at Grand Canyon University; Regional Director of Nursing Education for Abrazo Health Care; and more.

A Registered Nurse of 25 years, Dr. Cato holds a PhD in Nursing Education from Capella University, a Master’s in Nursing Education and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University, and is board certified as a specialist in Nursing Professional Development.


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