UCSD Nurse Practitioner Clinical Training Program Alumni
Class of 2018



Katherine Kilkenny, DNP, RN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Katherine is a graduate from the University of San Diego. Katherine recently completed her evidence-based doctoral project titled A Common Goal: Primary Care and Psychiatry Improve Depression Detection and Outcomes which she presented at the Graduate Nursing Student Association national convention in Atlanta. Katherine obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Gonzaga University. After graduation Katherine completed two nurse residency programs in cardiac and medical-surgical care and currently works at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Her professional nursing roles include staff nurse, charge nurse, and is a certified preceptor. Katherine is a member of CANP, APNA, HIMSS, and Sigma Theta Tau. Outside of nursing Katherine sits on the advisory board of the Lucky Duck Foundation, a local nonprofit with a mission of providing aid and relief for individuals and families living on the streets of San Diego County.



Elena Burpee, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Elena earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI and Master of Science degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of San Diego. While working as a registered nurse at Maxey Boys Training School in Michigan, a maximum security prison for youth ages 12-21, she found her passion for mental health by seeing the need for improvement in quality and access to mental health care.  In this setting, she treated convicted youths with physical and mental health needs and later worked at County Mental Health in the adult MI program where she treated patients with severe and persistent mental illness in the outpatient setting. In 2014, she transitioned over to the Assertive Community Treatment Team where she continued to work with vulnerable populations with mental illness.  Having the privilege of serving under a number distinguished mental health providers, Elena wishes to emulate, learn, and continue to provide quality, safe, and compassionate care to patients in her community by learning from many different disciplines in a collaborative care health setting while also continuing to be an advocate for those most vulnerable.




Irene Nevarez, MSN, PCCN, APRN, PMHNP

Irene graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her curiosity, love for travel and culture lead her to New York City where she spent 10 years pursuing a wide variety of interest from shoemaking to bookkeeping and finally discovering her passion for holistic/integrative healthcare, graduating from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. Since 2011, she has worked as an inpatient critical care nurse specializing in telemetry and cardiac abnormalities. Rounding out her work, education and experience in mental and physical health, she earned her Master of Science as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of San Diego. Irene is bilingual in both English and Spanish, with the intent to specialize in women's mental health and to de-stigmatize psychiatry/psychology within the Latin community.

Class of 2017



Rachel Liebman, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Rachel graduated from the University of San Diego’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. Prior to USD, she earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. Shortly after attaining this degree, she attended the University of Miami and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her interest in Psychiatry within the Criminal Justice System brought her to Oregon State Hospital’s Maximum Security Forensic Behavioral Stabilization Unit, where she later worked as a Charge Nurse and where she currently works as a PMHNP. Her interests continue to focus on applying her psychiatric experience to the law where in this setting she cares for individuals classified as "Guilty with the Exception of Insanity Offenders." 



Elizabeth Sears-Wiley, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Ms. Sears-Wiley is board certified PMHNP graduate of the University of San Diego, School of Nursing, having completed her training at the University of California, San Diego Outpatient Services-Hillcrest. Previously she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego as well as a Bachelor of Nursing degree from California State University, San Marcos. Her BSN led her to Sharp Grossmont’s Behavioral Health Services, where she fulfilled various roles within that unit, including charge nurse, night shift council and contributor to patient and employee improvement projects. She is a current member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Psychiatric Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau International. 

Erin Suhir, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology from Rutgers University, followed by her Associates of Science degree from Bergen Community College, and Bachelor of Science from Thomas Edison State College. Her Master of Science as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from California State University San Marcos was achieved along with her clinical training at UCSD OPS-H in 2017.

Zsa Zsa Sweeney, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Zsa Zsa graduated UCSD’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Residency program in 2017, and California State University, San Marcos, Ms. Sweeney achieved her MSN as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. As a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2013, she found her passion to work with patients with severe and persistent mental illnesses. Her past clinical experiences include serving in the California Army National Guard as a Medic for eight years; a clinician for the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT); and working for an Assertive Community Treatment program in San Diego County. She currently is a PHMNP at Community Research Foundation, Inc. 

Class of 2016


Diana Borrego, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Diana was born in Sevilla, Spain, and moved to the U.S. where she obtained her ADN from the College of the Sequoias, Visalia, California in May 2005. In 2014, she completed her BSN at the University of Phoenix in and graduated from the University of San Diego, Hahn School of Nursing in 2016. Currently, she works at Family Health Centers, San Diego. She has dedicated her career to providing evidence-based care and utilizing the nursing care process to care for the mental health patient population. Her fluency in both English and Spanish has provided her the opportunity to provide individualized and efficient care to a wide range of patients throughout their continuum of care.


Sadie Kane, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

|Hailing from New Prague, Minnesota, Sadie earned her Associates in Applied Science in Nursing from Normandale Community College and went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Crown College. In 2016, she graduated from the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of San Diego and currently works at San Diego Health Care serving patients with various psychiatric needs and ranging in age from children to adults.



Molly Willis, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Molly Willis is a nationally board certified and has been practicing since 2016. She completed her undergraduate work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds dual Masters of Science in Nursing degrees: one in Nursing Education (East Carolina University) and the other in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (University of San Diego. Ms. Willis worked in multiple inpatient psychiatric settings as a Registered Nurse. Her professional areas of interest include community mental health, telemedicine for mental health, pre-licensure nurse practitioner clinical training programs, and interprofessional development. Currently, she is a member of several professional organizations including the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, as well as Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Post the nurse practitioner training program, Molly joined the program staff as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at UCSD’s Outpatient Adult Psychiatric Services.


Elaine O'campo, MSN, APRN, PMHNP- BC

Prior to graduating from California State University, San Marcos with her MSN as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Elaine received her B.S. in Nursing and B.A. in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. Her nursing background was in the ER, where she found her passion working with patients who have mental illness. She is currently a PMHNP at Mid-City Community Clinic.

Class of 2015

Alexandra Sietsma, MSN, APRN, PMHNP- BC

Ms.Sietsma is the Director of the Nurse Practitioner Clinical Training Program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She is an advanced practice registered nurse and board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, who specializes in assessing and treating adults with varied psychiatric disorders. Ms. Sietsma is a member of the first graduating class of the Clinical Training Program at UCSD.