About Us

The Rio Bravo Chachalacas is the Rio Grande Valley’s Chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association. Our chapter is comprised of Emergency Nursing Professionals from South Texas. Our geographic area stretches from Port Isabel on the Gulf of Mexico as far west as Laredo.

This chapter represents nurses from the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas including Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr County and stretches as far west as Laredo! We are an official Chapter of the National Emergency Nurses Association! Our Chapter number is 438!

Rio Bravo mark

Welcome our 2023 Officers

President: Chris Chizek RN, BSN, MEd, CCRN, CEN, TCRN
President-elect: Jennifer Volcy, MS, RN, TCRN
Immediate Past president: Molly Jacob RN, MSN, CAISS, CSTR
Secretary: Laurie de Leon-Escobedo MSN, MBA, FNP-C, APRN, CEN
Secretary-elect: Vacant
Treasurer: Sarah Souffrant
Treasurer-elect: Chris Chizek RN, BSN, MEd, CCRN, CEN, TCRN
Upper valley Director: Daniel Ramirez
Lower Valley Director: Marcela Gomez- Martinez

Meet our 2022 Officers

Molly Jacob RN, MSN, CAISS, CSTR


Molly Jacob RN is a registered nurse with over 34 years of nursing experience.  Currently she works as trauma registrar at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville and holds certifications of CAISS and CSTR.  She has been a life-time ENA member and is part of the Rio Bravo Chachalacas Chapter #438 TNCC and ENPC instructor team.

Chris Chizek RN, BSN, MEd, CCRN, CEN, TCRN


Christine A. Chizek, MEd, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN-K, CEN, TCRN is the Market Director of Professional Development for the HCA Gulf Coast Division South Texas Market. Chris is a registered nurse with over 29 years of experience as an educator, leader and clinician specializing in emergency nursing. In addition to her role with HCA, Chris is actively involved with the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and received the 2015 and 2018 Texas ENA Nursing Education Award for her work with training professionals and community members in the Rio Grande Valley.


Immediate past-president

Aaron Salinas is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with over 10 years of experience in Pre-hospital/Emergency Care. His background includes working in EMS, emergency department, and Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Nursing. Currently, Aaron holds the President-Elect Position, Government Affairs Chair, and Newsletter Editor. 

Nelly Vela RN, BSN, CEN, TCRN


Charge Nurse Team leader of the Emergency Department at Valley Baptist Medical Center – Brownsville. I have been a Nurse for 17 years, the last seven as an Emergency Department Nurse. I have found a passion for Emergency Nursing. ENA member for four years. At present, I hold a secretary position for the Rio Grande Chachalacas Chapter. I have learned so much from this professional organization. I continue to pursue growth as a student of the University of Texas at Arlington. I am currently enrolled in the Master’s of Nursing program to become an Adult-Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.  

Laurie de Leon-Escobedo MSN, MBA, FNP-C, APRN, CEN


Family Nurse Practitioner certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and licensed by the Texas Board of Nurses. Professionally trained critical care nurse with 21 years of nursing experience ensuring high standards of culturally competent care for a wide variety of patients with diverse needs. Worked in a lead level III emergency department for 15 years and is a Certified Emergency Nurse. Currently delivering care to pediatric and adult patients in a pediatric and urgent care setting. Serving as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the School of Nursing at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.  Currently a Doctorate of Nursing Practice student at the University of Texas at Austin.  

Sarah Souffrant


Sarah is as a nurse practitioner with the Valley Baptist Medical Center – Harlingen hospitalist team. This year marks her 34th year as a nurse. Her nursing career started as a medical-surgical nurse for three years. She moved to the emergency department, where she stayed for 22 years as a staff nurse then a director. The past seven years were spent as a clinical informaticist. 

Jennifer Volcy, MS, RN, TCRN

Upper Valley Director

Jennifer is a Rio Grande Valley native, who has used her experience to serve her community. She served 4 years as an Aerospace medical Technician in the U.S. Airforce and later transitioned to becoming a nurse and worked at the world renown University of Maryland’s Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Jennifer is one of our TNCC and ENPC instructors, and has been with DHR Health for 5 years, where she is now the Trauma Program Director.

Louis Abanilla

Lower Valley Director

Coming soon

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