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Program Leadership

Meet our dedicated program leadership team who oversee each of our RN to Bachelor of Nursing, BS to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and DNP programs in the College of Nursing at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Program Leaders by Program/Track

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RN to Bachelor of Science

Joshua Purcell, MS, RN

Welcome to Upstate Medical University College of Nursing where our mission is to leverage the powerful, professional voice of Nursing through outstanding education, clinical expertise, and research to improve health across the communities we serve.

Nursing Trends

As the nurse shortage continues to rise there is a greater need for quality nursing education because of the high demand for nursing professionals.

Upstate Medical University College of Nursing RN-BS Program

Upstate Medical University College of Nursing RN-BS program makes it more accessible for registered nurses currently licensed in New York State with associate degrees or diplomas in nursing to enter into a flexible, upper-division program.

  • Full-time (16 month) and part-time (22 month) tracks
  • Online asynchronous 8-week accelerated format.
  • Two terms in a standard semester.
  • Connecting Theory to Practice
  • Affordable NY state tuition.
  • CCNE Accredited

I look forward to meeting with you and preparing you to advance your academic and career goals.

Joshua Purcell, MSN, RN
RN-BS Program Director
Clinical Assistant Professor
Upstate Medical University, College of Nursing
[email protected]

DNP - Overall Program

Jennifer Vaughn, DNP, RN, NE-BC

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff at Upstate Medical University College of Nursing, we are thrilled to extend a heartfelt welcome to each of you as you embark on your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) journey. It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome a new cohort of dedicated individuals committed to advancing their knowledge and skills in the field of nursing.

The DNP program is designed to challenge and inspire you, pushing the boundaries of your capabilities as aspiring nurse leaders. Throughout this transformative experience, you will engage in rigorous academic pursuits, collaborate with esteemed faculty members, and contribute to a vibrant community of learners.

As the Interim Program Director, my commitment is to support you in achieving your academic and professional goals. Whether you are pursuing this degree to enhance your clinical expertise, influence healthcare policy, or drive innovation in patient care, know that you are part of a community that values your unique contributions and is dedicated to your success.

Please take full advantage of the resources available to you, engage in diverse learning experiences, and forge connections with your fellow students. Your classmates are not just colleagues; they are your future professional network and a source of inspiration and support.

We look forward to witnessing your growth, accomplishments, and the positive impact you will undoubtedly make in the world of healthcare.

Warm regards,

Dr. Jennifer Vaughn DNP, RN, NE-BC, CNE
Interim DNP Program Director
Executive Assistant Dean of Administration and Associate Professor

Upstate Medical University College of Nursing
766 Irving Avenue Syracuse, N.Y. 13210

BS to DNP - FNP Program Track

Caitlin Tomko, NP

Dear Future DNP Student,

I am delighted to extend a warm greeting to you as you consider joining our Bachelor of Science to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BS-DNP) program. At Upstate Medical University College of Nursing, we believe in fostering a sense of community and collaboration, and we are excited about the prospect of welcoming you into our DNP family. The BS-DNP program is a unique opportunity for ambitious individuals like yourself to seamlessly transition from undergraduate studies to doctoral-level nursing education. Our program is designed to empower you with the knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities needed to excel in the dynamic field of healthcare to practice at the full scope of Nurse Practitioner.

As the Program Director, I am dedicated to providing you with the support and resources necessary for your success. Our faculty members are not only experienced educators but also passionate mentors who are committed to helping you achieve your academic and professional aspirations. Joining the BS-DNP family means more than just earning a degree; it means becoming part of a close-knit community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for nursing excellence. Throughout your journey, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with peers, engage in hands-on experiences, and build lasting connections that extend beyond the classroom.

We look forward to the possibility of welcoming you into our BS-DNP family and supporting you on your journey toward becoming a highly skilled and compassionate nurse leader.

Best regards,

Caitlin Tomko, DNP, MS, FNP
BS-DNP FNP Program Director
Clinical Assistant Professor
Upstate Medical University, College of Nursing
[email protected]

BS to DNP - PNP Program Track

Kathryn Holliday, DNP, CPNP, CNE

Thank you for your interest in the BS-DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Program. I am Kate Holliday, the program director, who will serve as a guide and advisor throughout the program. I am a graduate of Upstate’s PNP Program and completed my Doctor of Nursing Practice at SUNY at Buffalo. I have worked as a PNP in various pediatric primary care settings and urgent care. I have taught Registered Nursing and Graduate Nursing students for over a decade. I am passionate about providing child- and family-centered care.

The BS-DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Program is a primary care focus that will prepare graduates to provide primary care services for pediatric patients ages birth through 21 years. Graduates will leave the program prepared to be leaders in their field and have the skillset to identify clinical programs and use evidence-based practice to implement quality improvement initiatives. Many of our graduates find employment in pediatric primary care clinics along with a variety of specialty pediatric settings that focus on management of chronic pediatric conditions. Upon graduation, students will meet the criteria to take the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Board Certification (PNP-PC).

We at Upstate are excited to assist you on your journey toward becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner! Please reach out with any questions!

Kathryn Holliday DNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, CHSE
BS to DNP PNP Program Director
Clinical Assistant Professor
[email protected]

BS to DNP - AGNP Program Track

Justin Waryold, DNP, RN, ANP-C, ACNP-BC, GS-C, CNE, FAANP

Thank you for your interest in Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner in primary care (AGNP-PC) program! My name is Dr. Justin Waryold, and I am a key Faculty member within this program here at Upstate. I have been in the role as an Adult Nurse Practitioner for over 15 years and have seen the increased need for the NP role first hand. As you may already be aware, in today’s rapidly aging society, there is an increased need for NPs certified in adult-gerontology!


AGNP-PCs are highly sought after as it pertains to bridging the gap to care. The Association of American Medical Colleges still projects a shortage of 130,000 physicians by 2025, which is split almost equally between primary and specialty care. Because of this, insurance coverage is rapidly expanding, and growth in the aging population has increased the demand for healthcare services and the personnel who provide them.

This program will prepare you for the role of an advanced practice nurse to care for adults living with multiple complex comorbidities in hopes of increasing the longevity and quality of life in these individuals across the continuum. Your clinical experiences in the outpatient settings will both encompass evaluation and management of persons ranging in age from adolescence to older adulthood. You will learn how to develop treatment plans designed to manage common health conditions, provide prevention of disease, and promote wellness for this population. The program has been created with the working nurse in mind and the foundational courses are provided to you in several delivery methods such as asynchronous online courses, immersive experiences on campus and web-based teleconferencing.

Clinical courses are monthly, on-site immersive experiences and include web-based teleconferencing while you participate in your clinical experience with your preceptor. The college has over 700 clinical affiliations to help you secure appropriate and robust clinical experience- most being around and in Upstate New York. Most of our graduates express further employment before graduation and all program graduates are eligible to take the national certification offered by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) or American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

I encourage you to reach out to us to not only learn more about the program we offer but most importantly, to help you determine whether or not Upstate’s AGNP-PC program is the right fit for you!

Justin Waryold DNP, RN, ANP-C, ACNP-BC, GS-C, CNE, FAANP
BS to DNP AGNP Program Director
Clinical Associate Professor
Upstate Medical University, College of Nursing
[email protected]

BS to DNP - FPMHNP Program Track

Dear Future Student,

We hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. We are thrilled with enthusiasm for your interest in the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) Program at Upstate Medical University College of Nursing. The College of Nursing faculty are deeply committed to fostering excellence in psychiatric mental health nursing. We are excited about the prospect of welcoming dedicated students like yourself to our esteemed program.

The decision to pursue an advanced degree, particularly in a specialized field like psychiatric mental health nursing, is both commendable and profound. It requires not only a strong academic foundation but also a genuine passion for improving the lives of individuals and families grappling with mental health challenges. Your aspiration to embark on this journey speaks volumes about your dedication to making a meaningful difference in the field of healthcare.

At Upstate Medical University, we take pride in offering a comprehensive curriculum that integrates theoretical knowledge with hands-on clinical experience. Our Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program is designed to equip students with the skills, expertise, and compassion necessary to address the complex needs of patients across the lifespan. Through a combination of rigorous coursework, clinical rotations, and interdisciplinary collaboration, we strive to prepare our graduates to excel as leaders in psychiatric mental health care.

As you consider your application to our program, we encourage you to reflect on your personal and professional goals, as well as how they align with our mission and values. We seek students who are not only academically capable but also committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice, cultural competence, and social responsibility. Your unique experiences, perspectives, and aspirations will enrich our learning community and contribute to the collective advancement of psychiatric mental health nursing.

We understand that the application process can be daunting, but please know that our admissions team is here to support you every step of the way. Whether you have questions about program requirements, financial aid opportunities, or any other aspect of the application process, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are dedicated to ensuring that all qualified candidates have the resources and guidance they need to pursue their educational and professional goals.

In closing, we want to commend you once again for your decision to pursue advanced study in psychiatric mental health nursing. The work ahead will undoubtedly be challenging, but it is also profoundly rewarding. We have every confidence that with your passion, dedication, and perseverance, you will thrive in our program and make a lasting impact on the lives of those you serve.

Thank you for considering Upstate Medical University College of Nursing for your doctoral education. We look forward to the possibility of welcoming you to our community and supporting you on your journey to becoming a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.


BS to DNP FPMHNP Program Director

Have Questions

Not sure which track is right for you? Questions about admissions requirements?

Contact the College of Nursing Admissions Counselor:

[email protected]

Request Advisement Prospective Students


College of Nursing degree programs at SUNY Upstate Medical University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.