Our Nurse Practitioners


A nurse practitioner is a nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing, able to perform a broad range of patient care services typically associated with doctors, including:

  • Performing a physical examination
  • Ordering laboratory tests, radiology exams and procedures
  • Diagnosing, treating and managing diseases
  • Writing prescriptions for medications
  • Coordinating referrals for patients to see specialists
  • Performing certain invasive procedures

Of the seven nurse practitioners on our staff, five are credentialed as Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioners, one is credentialed as a Perinatal Nurse Practitioner, and one is credentialed as a family nurse practitioner. They bring valuable insight and knowledge to WHCCH, and principled patient care to a great number of our OB/GYN patients.


Mary Helen Tolentino, APRN, WHNP-BC

Joined WHCCH in 1994

Mary Helen joined the staff of WHCCH in 1994. Prior to moving to Houston, she practiced in the Rio Grande Valley, at Los Ebanos Women’s Clinic in Brownsville from 1992 to 1994.

She received her Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas in 1991 and her Associate in Nursing degree from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1982. She speaks fluent Spanish as well as English, which is a great asset in Texas.

Her professional interests cover the whole range of gynecology and obstetrics including hormonal imbalance, teenager and post-menopausal concerns, as well as routine OB/GYN care. She is married and has three children. She enjoys fishing, gardening, and crochet.


Joni L. Pheigaru, APRN, MSN, PNNP

Joined WHCCH in 1996

Joni joined WHCCH in 1996; for the ten years prior, she was Director of Women’s Services, Coordinator of Women’s Services-MHCS Women’s Health Services Council, Perinatal Nurse Specialist at Memorial Hospital Memorial City in Houston.

From 1980 to 1986, she worked and taught at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb., St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Park Plaza Hospital in Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and the American Healthcare Institute in Silver Springs, Md.

She received her Perinatal Nurse Practitioner degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston in 1996, her Master of Science in Nursing (High Risk Perinatal-Administration) from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston in 1988, and her Bachelor of Science of Nursing in 1980 from University of Nebraska College of Nursing in Lincoln, Nebraska. Joni’s field of expertise is perinatal and obstetrical care.

Joni is married with two sons and a grandson. She enjoys sports, cooking and bridge.


Patricia Bruha, APRN, BSN, WHNP-BC

Joined WHCCH in 2003

Patricia joined WHCCH in 2003; her professional interest and career in OB/GYN began in 1978 while employed at The Duluth Clinic in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in her hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. She received her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from the College of St. Scholastica there in 1980, graduating summa cum laude.

Her certification as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner followed in 1985 from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. She was in practice at Kaiser Permanente in downtown Denver until her family transferred to Houston in 1988. She enjoyed life as a stay-at-home mom throughout the 1990s until re-entering the profession with WHCCH.

She sees adolescent and adult obstetrical and gynecological patients for routine and urgent care. Her professional interests encompass the areas of wellness, infertility and reproductive endocrinology, nutrition, and mental health. Due in part to the large aging female population, she also enjoys meeting the needs of the pre-menopausal and menopausal patient.

She has a son and daughter and enjoys raising Shelties, listening to music, boating and spending time at the lake, and travelling “up north” to spend time with relatives and friends.


Lisa Elliott, APRN, MSN, WHNP-BC

Joined WHCCH in 2011

Lisa joined WHCCH in 2011, bringing more than 17 years of OB/GYN experience as nurse and a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner with her. In addition to her many years in community-based clinical practice, she brought experience in both Nursing and Research through her work at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.

Lisa graduated for the University of Texas School of Nursing in 1994 with her BSN. She received her MSN in 1998 from the UT school of nursing. She also has a BSN in pre-med from Houston Baptist University. Lisa has been recognized with several awards, including the Dum Laude Patient Satisfaction Award.

Lisa specializes in a wide spectrum of women’s health care needs, and trained in high-risk obstetrical care and the needs of the menopausal woman. She also has training in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Her Master’s thesis focused on teen pregnancy and education for young women. Her ultimate goal as a health care provider is to help women with their health care needs across the spectrum of their lives.

Lisa is married and has three daughters.


Regina Ney, APRN, MSN, WHNP-BC

Joined WHCCH in 2013

Regina, who joined WHCCH in 2013, is a native Houstonian and received her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston in 1985, graduating magna cum laude. She received her Master’s Degree in Nursing as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from the same university in 2005.

She has over 25 years experience as a Labor and Delivery nurse, beginning her career at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. In 1988, she joined the staff at Memorial Hermann Memorial City as the nurse manager of Labor and Delivery. In 1996, she transferred to Memorial Hermann Northwest where she was employed as both a staff nurse and Clinical Manager. After obtaining her nurse practitioner license she worked in the Baylor Teen Clinic system and with a private OB-GYN practice in northwest Houston prior to joining our staff. She has also had numerous educational responsibilities throughout her career, having taught fetal monitoring, neonatal resuscitation, as well as childbirth education.

Her professional interests include obstetrical care, infertility, and gynecological endocrinology. She has three children and five grandchildren. She enjoys listening to music, reading books, movies, and college football.


Marlene Cornelius, APRN

Joined WHCCH in 2013

Marlene received her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas in June 2012. She is board-certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is licensed by the state of Texas. Her training includes over 780 clinical hours with emphasis on pediatrics, acute & chronic care and women’s health. After obtaining her family nurse practitioner license, she was employed by a private OB-GYN office in Houston, Texas.

Marlene has over 14 years of nursing experience in Women’s Health specializing in labor & delivery. Her professional interests include obstetrical care, women’s health & wellness, adolescent healthcare and the management of common healthcare issues.

Marlene is married and has four children. Besides spending time with her family, she enjoys running, swimming, reading and teaching Junior Achievement at local Katy ISD schools.

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