Foundations of Faith Community Nursing – Faculty

 Lead Faculty

Wanda Alexander, MPH, RN, FCN and Jessica Drecktrah, MHA, MN, RN, FCN are our lead faculty members. The lead faculty are complemented by an interfaith team of Adjunct Faculty comprised of experienced faith community nurses and nursing educators.

Lead faculty, Wanda Alexander and Jessica DrecktrahWanda Alexander, RN, MPH, FCN
Wanda graduated from the University of Iowa with a BSN. She was awarded the Master of Public Health in Maternal Child Health and Public Health Nursing by the University of Minnesota. She has worked as a public health nurse and public health nurse consultant with the City of Milwaukee, State of Indiana, City of St. Louis and Hennepin County. She has extensive nonprofit organization development experience having founded the Girls Clubs of St Louis and the Faith Community Nurse Network of the Greater Twin Cities. She is currently employed by Hennepin County and assigned full time to supporting the work of FCNN.

Jessica Drecktrah, MHA, MN, RN, FCN
Jessica graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Services Administration and English Literature. She obtained her Master of Healthcare Administration and Master of Nursing degrees from the University Of Minnesota. She currently serves as the Program Director of the Faith Community Nurse Network while leading over 50 nurses and professional community volunteers in active health promotion efforts throughout the Greater Twin Cities and Rochester areas. Over the last twenty years, Jessica has championed innovative healthcare initiatives within academia, provider settings, fitness and retail.  She concurrently serves as a consultant with the YMCA to champion the launch of the George Wellbeing Center. In the past, she led the start-up of a wellbeing movement among over 350,000 team members of Target Corporation and the start-up strategy for Target Clinic. She has served as a past consultant to the YMCA and has held leadership positions with the University of Minnesota, Allina Health, and Ecumen, a provider of homes and services. Her areas of expertise include strategy development, program development, and performance management.

Adjunct Faculty

Delores (Dee) Johnson Huanca, RN, BS, MS, FCN
Dee received her B.S.N. from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and her M.S. from the School of Public Health with majors in public health and mental health and minors in education and social psychology. Her work experience includes camp, public health, migrant health, mental health, nursing education, corporate health, home health and faith community nursing. She was one of the FCN’s of First Free Church, Minneapolis from 2005-2017 and served as lead faculty in the FCNN basic preparation course from 2009-2013. Currently she is active in the Stepping On program, Health Care Directives, a support group for those with chronic illness and teaching the Behavioral Health module of the FCNN basic preparation course. While at Metro State and Normandale Community College she incorporated spiritual care into their nursing curricula. Dee serves on the board of Elim Care Faith Community Nursing of the Evangelical Free Church of America.

Cheryl Lanigan Headshot

Cheryl Lanigan, RN, PHN, FCN
Cheryl’s objective is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ incorporating holistic nursing skills. She has a 40+ year career in nursing with a focus in acute and critical care bedside nursing and management/administration in acute care and public health settings. Cheryl currently serves as the Faith Community Nurse at Grace University Lutheran Church.



Bernita Missal, PhD, RN, FCN
Bernita has been a professor at Bethel University in St Paul, Minnesota since 2002. Prior to that time, she practiced nursing in the United Arab Emirates in nursing administration. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate nursing students with a focus on cultural diversity in healthcare, research, and maternity nursing.




Nancy Larson Olen, RN, EdD, FCN
Nancy served as parish nurse at Salem Covenant Church in New Brighton, MN and is Professor Emeriti, Bethel University (Nursing Department), St. Paul, MN. She taught in both undergraduate (basic and degree completion) and graduate nursing programs at Bethel University and there received public recognition for her teaching excellence. Her career spans nearly thirty years in academia and experience in staff nursing, including international postings with World Radio Missionary Fellowship. She received a diploma in nursing from Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, IL., the BSN from North Park College in Chicago and the MSN from the University of MN. She was awarded the EdD from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul in 1993.

Sondra Weinzierl, RN, BA, MA, FCN
Sondra received her Bachelor in Nursing degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and her Masters of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas in Adult Education and Human Resource Development with a Certificate in Training. Her nursing experience includes Medical-Surgical, Neurology, Diabetes Education and Health Promotion and Education. Sondra was the owner of Weinzieri Education Associates for over 25 years and provided workshops, team facilitation, strategic planning and health promotion consultation to a wide variety of organizations in government, health care, education and industry. From 2009-2010 she was a FCN in the Boston, MA area and currently serves as FCN for two churches in Plymouth, MN: Peace Lutheran and Messiah United Methodist. She chairs the FCNN Research Committee.

Joann WessmanJoann Phoebe Wessman, RN, PhD, FCN
Joann is a servant of the Riverdale Church in Andover, MN where she has coordinated Family Health Ministries.  Her undergraduate nursing degree is from Columbia University (New York), her MSN from the University of MN, and her PhD in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin.  She has taught in courses preparing faith community nurses at the College of St. Benedict, Bethel University, and recently through FCNN. Prior to retirement from Bethel University, she was privileged to serve on the nursing faculties of five different Christian institutions of higher learning teaching both at the undergraduate and graduate levels (Lutheran, Catholic, Interdenominational, and Baptist). Scholarly interests have focused on faith-health integration, most recently expressed in a study of faith-health integration in the church-affiliated frail elderly with Nancy Olen.  She and Dr. Olen are currently completing a FCNN heritage project looking at the patterns of Metro-based MN pioneers in the faith community nursing role.

“Incredible. I have never heard nursing and faith put together so profoundly.”