School of Nursing Alumna of the Year Maileen Ulep (’09 BS Nursing and ’15 MS Nursing-Family Practitioner) is a nationally board-certified family nurse practitioner with both inpatient and outpatient experience. She has been involved with advancing health policy on local, state, and national levels and was appointed to the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in 2016, where she specializes in memory loss, early-onset dementia, frontotemporal degeneration, Lewy body disease, Parkinson’s dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Tell us about a moment when someone showed you unexpected kindness. How do you pay it forward?
I will never forget one of my former professors at UNLV, Patricia Alpert. I was nearing my senior year during my master’s program and knew that I wanted to further my education but didn’t know how to make it happen, as I was interested in integrating nursing, biomedicine, and anthropology. I felt that integrating these would help us better understand both the proximate and ultimate causes of disorders, which could help to better design preventative interventions.
Alpert spent a lot of time listening to my hopes and dreams and research interests and really became a mentor. She provided guidance in making my academic and career goals a reality. That’s a big reason why I am here now, in a doctorate program, working to further this integrative approach.
Another passion of mine is advancing health care and our profession through health policy efforts. UNLV nursing professors Susan VanBeuge and Sheryl Giordano have been highly influential with this. I am truly thankful for their continued support and mentorship.
One of the goals of the Western Regional Advanced Practice Nurses Network — the nonprofit organization I co-founded with four other colleagues (all UNLV alumni) — is to offer mentorship. I hope to offer the same mentorship as my former professors did, one student at a time. WRAPNN’s mission is to bring together a collaboration of advanced practice nurses (certified nurse specialists, midwives, and nurse practitioners) to share health-related medical information, education, collegiality, mentorship, and advance goodwill in all disciplines among the western regions of the United States and Pacific Islands.
Fighting Against Cognitive Disorders
Ulep was the lead author of Alzheimer Disease, which was selected as a continuing education article in the 2018 dementia issue of The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, an official publication of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
She was named a New Face of Healthcare in Southern Nevada by the Las Vegas Medical District in 2018 and was the recipient of the prestigious AANP 2018 Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence for Nevada. In addition to her bachelor's and master's degrees, Ulep has earned a post-master’s certificate in nursing education from UNLV and is currently pursuing a doctorate.