April Kapu Photo courtesy of AANP

By Ashley Benkarski

AUSTIN, TX —  The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the largest professional membership organization representing the nation’s 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners (NPs), announced April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP- BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN  to succeed Sophia Thomas,  DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP as its president on June 29.

Kapu began her two-year term on July 1. 

Thomas has served as AANP’s president since 2019 and guided the association through substantial membership growth and legislative successes, the organization reported.

Thomas will start her one-year term as AANP Immediate Past President as Kapu assumes the role.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Kapu as AANP’s new president and look forward to continuing our work together on the critical issues facing patients and NPs,” said AANP CEO Jon Fanning. “As NPs continue their efforts to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 and combat the pandemic, Dr. Kapu will lead the association’s efforts to strengthen patient access to high-quality, NP-delivered health care in communities nationwide and to foster the continued growth of the NP role. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to outgoing president, Dr. Sophia Thomas, who has fearlessly led the profession’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been an unwavering champion for the needs of NPs and patients throughout the crisis.”

Kapu is a certified acute care nurse practitioner with master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing where she is a professor of clinical nursing and Associate Dean for Community and Clinical Partnerships.

She has also served as associate chief nursing officer for advanced practice nursing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and was named the center’s Transformational Nurse Leader of the Year. She has also received the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Nurse of Clinical Distinction honor and has authored chapters in advanced practice nursing textbooks, published in various peer-reviewed nursing, administrative and medical journals and presented at national conferences.

As a nursing executive for the health system, she worked to establish innovative, high-quality, value-driven health care services and provide resources and professional practice support for more than 1,400 advanced practice nurses, the AANP said.

“Our top priority as NPs is to make sure that every American has adequate access to health care,” said Kapu. “Today, more than 80 million Americans live in primary care shortage areas, a number that is far too high. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented health care challenges and obstacles to health care access and delivery. Therefore, I am pleased and proud to represent the voices of more than 325,000 licensed NPs and the countless patients they serve. I look forward to leading AANP’s efforts to ensure that every patient has access to high-quality health care delivered by the provider of their choice.”

Kapu is an active member of the Tennessee Nurses Association and has chaired its Government Affairs and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Committees. She has also represented her cohorts on the Tennessee governor’s special commission targeting pain and addiction treatment education.

She previously served on the AANP Board of Directors as regional director for five years. She is an AANP Fellow, a Fellow for the Society of Critical Care Medicine and a Fellow for the American Academy of Nursing. 

AANP represents the interests of the more than 325,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs’ patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org. For COVID-19 information from AANP, visit aanp.org/COVID19.