Leadership Board

The governance of the Florida Healthcare Simulation Alliance is entrusted to a board comprised of esteemed regional leaders representing diverse sectors, including business, health services, vocational training and education, and higher education. The board’s central mandate is to develop, implement, and oversee the pivotal strategic operations of the Florida Health Simulation Alliance. With their collective expertise and guidance, the board plays a pivotal role in shaping and directing the activities of the alliance, driving its mission to advance healthcare simulation and foster excellence throughout the state of Florida.

Regional Leaders

  • Meet: Each month a regional leader will lead a FHSA meeting for all members 
  • Educate: Each Leader will be available for networking and Mentorships
  • Mentor: Allow for opportunities to foster individual growth
  • Collaborate: Work in partnership with other simulation centers
Baptist Healthcare Simulation Alliance
previous arrow
next arrow



Miami-Dade, Monroe
Region Leader:
Nelson Peña, BS, RRT

South East

Broward, West Palm Beack
Region Leader:
Gwendolynn Randall, PhD, CRNA, APRN

Sun Coast

Tampa, St. Petersburg
Region Leader:
June Llerena


Orlando, Melbourne
Region Leader:
Nidhi Sahi, MD FRCP

North East

Jacksonville, Gainesville, St. Agustine
Region Leader:
Deisy Mercado, MD

North West

Panama City, Tallahassee
Region Leader:
Deisy Mercado, MD

Regional Leader Expectations

  • 2-year commitment
  • 6 Regional Leaders
  • Mix of academia and institutional professionals
  • Innovator in the simulation field for 1-5 years
  • Each regional leader will hold 1-2 meetings per year
  • Regional leader becomes FHSA voting member
  • Each region will contribute to FHSA newsletter submitted by the regional leader

Florida Regions

  • North West – Panama City, Tallahassee
  • North East – Jacksonville, Gainesville, St. Augustine
  • Central – Orlando, Melbourne
  • Sun Coast – Tampa and St. Petersburg
  • South East – West Palm Beach
  • Southern – Miami-Dade


North West Region

Deisy Mercado

Deisy Mercado, MD, MSMS, CHSE


North East Region

Deisy Mercado

Deisy Mercado, MD, MSMS, CHSE

Dr. Deisy Mercado, a graduate of a U.S. accredited Medical School in Colombia, has over 25 years of clinical experience gained prior to moving to the United States. As part of the evolution in her career Dr. Mercado decided to formalize her Simulation Education. She enrolled in the first Master in Simulation program offered by the Drexel University School of Medicine (2014- 2016). At the same time Dr. Mercado started a new position at Broward College as a Simulation Specialist moving her to another level in her simulation career. She focused on faculty development in simulation and Standardizing clinical simulation events, as part of her duties. Dr. Mercado developed an International Simulation Program for Latin-America consisting of faculty development in Simulation and Student’s training in Simulation. Other accomplish is the develop and implementation of a Virtual Simulation Program (April 2020) to support academic continuity for the nursing program (Covid 19). A Certified Simulation Educator by the Simulation Society in Health Care CHSE since 2019.

Central Region

Nidhi Sahi, MD

Nidhi Sahi, MD, FRCP

Dr. Sahi is currently a simulation fellow at Mayo Clinic in Florida and is concurrently completing a fellowship in the Department of Innovation in Medical Education (DIME) at University of Ottawa. She graduated from McGill University’s FRCP program in Emergency Medicine in 2018, in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Sahi has a special interest in simulation and medical education. She has completed a Certificate in medical education from Dundee University, Scotland, the Healthcare Scholar’s Education Program (HESP) from the University of Ottawa, as well as a fellowship in Emergency Medicine Simulation from the University of Ottawa. In her spare time Dr. Sahi enjoys fitness training and south Indian classical dance, Bharat Natyam.

Sun Coast Region

June Llerena

June Llerena PhD, MSN/Ed., RN. CHSE

June currently serves as the Simulation Curriculum and Development Director for the University of Tampa, Nursing Department. She joined the Nursing Skills and Simulation Lab in 2019. She previously worked at the University of South Florida, College of Nursing, in the Undergraduate Nursing program. She taught various didactic and clinical courses, in addition to teaching in nursing skills and simulation lab since 2012. June has over 30 years of nursing experience, primarily in Trauma, Emergency, and Critical Care areas. Currently, she resources faculty new to simulation and integrates simulation into the Undergraduate and Graduate curriculum at University of Tampa. Additionally, she precepts masters of nursing education students interested in simulation. June is currently a Nursing Science Ph.D. candidate at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.. She received her Master of Science in Nursing Education from the University of South Florida in Tampa; her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania; and her Associate of Science in Nursing from Prince Georges Community College, in Maryland. June received formal simulation training at Drexel University and is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE). June enjoys collaborating with simulation colleagues locally in both clinical and academic programs.

South East Region

Gwendolynn Randall

Gwendolynn Randall, PhD, CRNA, APRN

Dr. Gwenn Randall has been involved with simulation since 2003. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Simulation Laboratory Management at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee. She has lectured nationally and internationally on faculty development simulation topics. She has served on many committees in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and was one of the contributors to the Healthcare Simulation Dictionary. She also serves as an accreditation reviewer. Previously, Dr. Randall was one of the regional co-chairs, Palm Beach County, for the Florida Simulation Alliance.

Southern Region

Nelson Peña

Nelson Peña, BS, RRT

Mr. Nelson Peña worked for over 13 years as Registered Respiratory Therapist at South Miami Hospital and North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida, He worked in the Emergency Department, Critical Care and Newborn Intensive Care units; eventually becoming a Supervisor in the Respiratory Care department. In 1997, he became an Adjunct Faculty member for the Cardio-Respiratory Technology department at Miami Dade College (MDC), becoming the Coordinator of the Human Patient Simulation Laboratory at MDC until the end of 2006. Since 2007 Nelson worked in the Simulation Lab for Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF) in Miami where he is currently the Patient Care Simulation Lab Supervisor for BHSF. He has experience many types of simulation equipment (METI, CAE, Laerdal, and Gaumard). He was a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) from March 2014 until March 2017. He also currently teaches BLS and ACLS for BHSF.



Melisa Colon

Melisa Colon, CHSOS, CHSE

Melisa Colon has been involved in simulation since 2018. Currently she works with AdventHealth as a simulation operation specialist and helps support the Altamonte hospital simulation center. A big advocate for Simulation Operation Specialist career advancement, has helped established a continuing education curriculum for her peers in her department. Certified as a Paramedic with over 10 years of experience in prehospital, trauma, critical & pediatrics care. She holds a bachelor’s in health science with a concentration in Simulation Education, is a Certified Simulation Operation Specialist & Simulation Educator through the Society of Simulation in Healthcare since 2019.

Information Technology Leader

Mariano Loo

Mariano Loo

Mariano has been involved with simulation since 2006. Currently, Mariano works at Ross University School of Medicine as Manager of Simulation. Mariano is responsible for all simulation administration, curriculum deployment and operation at their Miramar campus. Previously, he worked at University of Miami Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education responsible of A/V infrastructure, high fidelity simulation infrastructure and technical logistics, supporting the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center. Mariano also was one of the founding members of the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies International Academy for Clinical Simulation and Research as Assistant Director of Operation on its original infrastructure design, development and operation logistics. Also, Mariano has years’ experience in IT system administration, system integration, programming, media broadcasting, online development, and deployment. Mariano was also leader of the South East region of FHSA from 2019 to 2021.

Newsletter and Marketing Leader

Marrice King


Marrice is a Nursing Professional Development Specialist & Simulationist, RN for 37 years 25 of those years in the operating room both scrubbing and circulating in rural and university settings. She started nursing education in 2009, at Baptist Health South Florida first in Outpatient Services as the Ambulatory Surgery educator, shifting to corporate education in Clinical Learning in 2010 focusing on professional development of nurses and nursing assistants. Marrice transitioned to the Patient Care Simulation lab functioning as Simulation Program Coordinator, focusing on simulation curriculum and staff development, and research. Currently back with Clinical Learning focusing on professional development of other clinical educators creating and providing simulation experiences in the lab, in situ and in the classroom.


  • Business Development Committee
  • Research Committee
  • Finance & Risk Committee
  • Events Committee
  • Marketing & Communications Committee
  • Membership
    1. Nelson Peña


Cindy Price
Chair 2019-2022

Kimberly Beechler
Region Leader 2019-2022

Elisabeth McGee
Former Vice-Chair