Alumni Spotlight

We are pleased to shine a spotlight on our outstanding alumni.

Rodney Poling, MD'83

Rodney Poling, MD'83,was appointed to the Maury Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees in Columbia, Tenn.  Dr. Poling joined the MRMC medical staff in 1990 and is board certified in psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry. He received his medical degree from the University of Kansas in Kansas City and completed his residency at San Diego Naval Hospital Department of Psychiatry. His has served the hospital’s chief of staff, vice chief of staff, chair of medicine and psychiatry divisions and chair of the Credentials Committee and Education and Library Committee. Read more.

Stacey Dimitt, MD'11, and Hannah Haack, MD’11

Stacey Dimitt, MD'11, and Hannah Haack, MD’11, are close friends and family physicians from the KU School of Medicine-Wichita. They relocated their practices and families together to Smith Center, Kansas. Read more.

Debra Romberger, MD'83

Debra Romberger, MD'83, has been selected as the Henry J. Lenhoff Professor and Chairperson for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Romberger has been a UNMC faculty member since 1990, and has been serving as interim chair since July 2014. The department of internal medicine is the largest department in the College of Medicine, and its chair plays a major leadership role at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. The department has more than 180 physicians and scientists and is organized by disease specialty into 10 divisions. Read more.

Louanne Hudgins, MD'84, FACMG

Louanne Hudgins, MD'84, FACMG,is the new President-Elect for the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Dr. Hudgins is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Stanford University Medical Center. Her specialties include prenatal screening and diagnosis, dysmorphology, and general clinical genetics. Read more.

Sarah Thompson, MSN'92, PhD'97,

Sarah Thompson, MSN'92, PhD'97, was named one of the 30 most influential deans of nursing in the country. She's the Dean at the University of Colorado College of Nursing and focuses her research on gerontology and end-of-life care. Read more.

Donna E. Sweet, MD'79, MACP,

Donna E. Sweet, MD'79, MACP, has been awarded the Alfred Stengel Memorial Award for Outstanding Service by the American College of Physicians. Dr. Sweet is professor of internal medicine at the KU School of Medicine–Wichita, director of internal medicine education at Via Christi Regional Medical Center–St. Francis, director and principal investigator of the Kansas AIDS Education and Training Center, and member of the KU Medical Alumni Board.

Dr. Sweet, HIV/AIDS expert, is well known for her outstanding work and her willingness to treat HIV-infected individuals without regard to their ability to pay. She continues to lecture both locally and nationally to educate other health care providers regarding HIV. Read more.

Jean Giddens, N'81, PhD, FAAN

Jean Giddens, N'81, PhD, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University was elected by the AACN membership to the Nominating Committee for a two-year term. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Professional Nursing (JPN) and was recently a member of the Leadership Advisory Board for the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium. In addition to her work with JPN, Dr. Giddens’ contributions to AACN include service on the Program Planning Committees for the Master’s Conference, Executive Development Series, and Faculty Development Conference. Read more.

Rick Kellerman, MD'78,

Rick Kellerman, MD'78, was named the 2015 Physician of the Year by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians.  Kellerman, who is the chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, will be recognized during the academy’s annual meeting June 12 in Wichita. Read more.

Cassi Birnbaum, HIM'79

Cassi Birnbaum, HIM'79, president of the American Health Information Management Association, was the featured speaker at the student recognition luncheon for the University of Kansas Department of Health Information Management. She is currently the senior vice president of health information management and consulting at Peak Health Solutions.  During her visit, Birnbaum talked about the future of HIM, the implementation of ICD-10 and other topics.  Read more.

Brian L. Hollenbeck, MD'08

Brian L. Hollenbeck, MD'08, has been appointed Chief of Infectious Disease at New England Baptist Hospital, a Boston-based premier regional provider for orthopedic surgery and the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and disorders. In this role, Dr. Hollenbeck will be responsible for infection control, epidemiology, continual improvement in reducing risk of surgical site infections, clinical research as it relates to bone and joint infections and overseeing the infectious disease consultation service. Dr. Hollenbeck earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. After finishing his Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency at Brown University, he completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He has clinical interest in general infectious diseases, bone and joint infections, and prevention of health-care associated infections. Dr. Hollenbeck is a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 

Mark Larson, MD' 90

Mark Larson, MD' 90, was named the 2015 Family Physician of the Year by the Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP).  The prestigious award is given annually by WAFP to a family physician who exemplifies a compassionate commitment to improving the health and well-being of people and communities throughout Washington. Dr. Larson is an exceptional family physician who places high priority on family, friends, and his community. He exudes profound integrity, a continued sense of curiosity and caring for others above self. He works as a full spectrum family physician in Ellensburg, Washington, doing hospital work, operative obstetrics, medical education, and volunteer work at the local free clinic while also serving as a Kittitas County Public Health officer. Read more.

Debbie Pennington, N’85

Debbie Pennington, N’85, is the Clinical Program Coordinator for the Neonatal Medical Home at the KU Hospital and was recently awarded “Magnet Nurse of the Year” in the category of Transformational Leadership by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Deborah's 25 years of experience as a neonatal intensive care nurse helped transform the way care is provided to premature and other infants who are discharged to home from the neonatal intensive care unit. As a passionate and dedicated neonatal intensive care nurse, she understood the vulnerability and complex needs of these special infants and envisioned a way to provide both primary and specialized care to those who were discharged to home from the neonatal intensive care unit. Read more.

Nathan Granger, MD’86

Nathan Granger, MD’86, was selected by Ingram’s as one of Kansas City Top Doctors for 2014. Dr. Granger is a family practitioner at Clay Platte Family Medicine Clinic where they use the patient-centered medical home business model. “It makes health-care delivery safer, more coordinated,” Dr. Granger said. “It’s improving the quality of health care and it’s lowering costs in Kansas City and around the country. It’s working, but it’s like any project or change: it’s an evolving process. It’s not an end-all.” Read more.

Randall Goering, MD’84&Rrsquo;87

Randall Goering, MD’84, R’87, family physician at Via Christi Clinic in Newton, Kan., is the recipient of the 2014 AAFP Exemplary Teaching Award in the volunteer category. He has served the community of Newton for the last 20 years and has been in practice for 25 years. He is a volunteer clinical assistant professor at in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. Read more.

Courtney Schwartz, N’98

Courtney Schwartz, N’98, from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has been selected as the 2014 Nurse of the Year by the Wilmette, Illinois-based Leukemia Research Foundation Ms. Schwartz, a resident of Chicago, has been a nursing professional for 16 years. She is an Inpatient Staff Nurse in the Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Unit at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She was nominated by a patient, the mother of a patient and a colleague.

Helen Connors, PhD’87, RN

Helen Connors, PhD’87, RN, was officially inducted as a 2014 Honorary Fellow to the National League of Nursing (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Connors received the honor during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 19, at the NLN Education Summit in Phoenix. She was among 22 nurse educators who were inducted this year. Read More.

Jaynee Handelsman, Audiology’80, PhD’83

Jaynee Handelsman, Audiology’80, PhD’83, has been elected president of the American Speech and Hearing Association for 2016. She will begin serving as president-elect in 2015. ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association that empowers and supports audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language & hearing scientists. Dr. Handelsman is also the Director of Pediatric Audiology and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology in the University of Michigan Health System.

Jim Moffitt, MD’98, R’01

Jim Moffitt, MD'98, R'01, operates the Family Care Clinic of Western Kansas with his wife in Dodge City, KS. Dr. Moffitt sees an average of 33 patients a day at the clinic. He delivers 70 to 80 babies a year. He works eight night shifts a month at the hospital and, as a director of emergency medical services, is always on call for any EMT who needs to call him on his cell phone. Some call him the "busiest doctor in southwest Kansas." Read More.

Roland McGrath, MD’72

Roland McGrath, MD'72, is a retired physician.  His training, certification, and practice were academic Internal Medicine, Critical Care, and Emergency Medicine. He and his wife are also guardians to their 27-year old autistic son. He has written an book, Rain Boy, about conversations with his son. It is a refreshing point of view and serves as a celebration of the gifts yet challenges of a child and young man with autism. View more information about the book or the author.

Sean Dow, MD’86

Sean Dow, MD’86, currently works as a pulmonologist and critical care physician in the Las Vegas area. He has also published his first novel, Debridement. This "what-if" thriller tells the tale of a doctor who is unjustly served with a medical malpractice suit by a greedy, unethical lawyer who will go to any lengths to win his case. The doctor decides that the only way out is murder the lawyer! More info available at

Sharyn N. Lewin, MD'01, FACS

Sharyn N. Lewin, MD'01, FACS, is now the Medical Director of the Regional Cancer Center's Gynecologic Oncology Division at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J. Dr. Lewin's expertise includes complex surgical procedures for gynecological cancers, and she has extensive training in robotics and other minimally invasive techniques. She is a national educator on the condition known as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, the author of more than 100 publications, and an advocate for quality improvement in female-focused health care. Read more.

Aimee Riegel, DPT'07

Aimee Riegel, DPT'07, is a physical therapist at the Progressive Physical Therapy Center in Hays, Kansas. She was recently interviewed by the Hays Daily News about her advice, her goals and why she loves being a physical therapist. Read more.

Kevin Hoppock, MD’89, FAAFP

Kevin Hoppock, MD'89, FAAFP, was selected as the 2014 Kansas Family Physician of the Year. Dr. Hoppock is a family physician at Via Christi Clinic in Wichita, Kan., and has been in practice for 22 years. Read more about his work, motivation and words of wisdom for medical students. Congratulations Dr. Hoppock!

Jean Giddens, N'81, PhD, FAAN

Jean Giddens, N'81, PhD, FAAN, is the Dean of the VCU School of Nursing and created the nationally known web-based program, "The Neighborhood." Read more about her career and accomplishments in the VCU Connections magazine. Read more...

Robert Gish, MD’80

Robert Gish, MD'80, has been named the new medical director of the Hepatitis B Foundation, the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B. An internationally renowned medical researcher in the field of viral hepatitis, Dr. Gish has made invaluable contributions to the understanding and treatment of hepatitis B, which is the world's leading cause of liver cancer.  Read more...

Muhammed Al-Jarrah

Muhammed Al-Jarrah, PT'04, PhD'06, is changing the face of a health care in a country halfway around the world. He is leading Fatima College of Health Sciences' effort to establish the principles of physical therapy education and clinical practice in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Read more...

Valerie Creswell

Valerie Creswell, MD'86, is at the Wesley Medical Center, where she serves as the hospital's infectious-disease medical director. Creswell describes her job as detective work, looking at patients' symptoms, histories and lab work to determine what sort of disease they have. She's also a globetrotter- She's been to all 50 states and 26 foreign countries. Read more...

Barney S. Graham, MD’79, PhD

Barney S. Graham, MD'79, PhD, is chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory and Clinical Trials Core at the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases. Dr. Graham supervised the trial of a malaria vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center in collaboration with investigators at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Naval Medical Research Center. CNN reported that it was "first time any vaccine trial has shown 100% success in protecting subjects from the mosquito-borne tropical disease, which sickens more than 200 million a year and killed about 660,000 in 2010." Read more…

Glen Ihde, MD’93

Glen Ihde, MD’93, performed his 400th Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). He has performed more TIF procedures than any other surgeon in the world.

“The TIF procedure, performed completely without incisions, can significantly improve quality of life,” said Dr. Ihde. “Before the TIF procedure, patients were facing a lifetime of medication or an invasive procedure. After the TIF procedure, clinical trials show that most patients can eat and drink foods they avoided for many years, and that reflux no longer impacts their life like it did prior to the procedure.” Read more…

Winnie Dunn, PhD'84, OTR, FAOTA

Winnie Dunn, PhD'84, OTR, FAOTA, was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arizona School of Health Sciences. "You have taken my breath away," Dr. Dunn said upon learning about the honor. Dr. Dunn, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy Education at KUMC, is an internationally-known expert for her studies about sensory processing in everyday life. Read more…

Alan Reeves, MD’97

Alan Reeves, MD’97
, teamed up with Koji Ebersole, MD, to save the life of a 3-week old infant using sterile superglue to stop a brain bleed. First, Dr. Reeves gained access to the baby’s tiny blood vessels near her hip. Once inside, Dr. Ebersole maneuvered a drop of sterile superglue to her brain using instruments the size of a pencil lead and human strand of hair. This is believed to be the first time superglue has been used to repair an aneurysm in a neonate. Watch the video…


Rebecca Morsch, MD, MPH

Rebecca Morsch, MD, MPH was awarded the prestigious Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine at the 2013 Excellence in Medicine Awards ceremony. She is one of three recipients of this prestigious award this year. Dr. Morsch is the Director of the Community Based Health Care program of the Nazarene Health Ministry in Papua New Guinea, which trains community-chosen Community Health Volunteers and Village Birth Attendants in one of the United Nation's designated Least Developed Countries. Read more…

Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a nationally recognized expert in nursing education, curricula and evaluation, has been named dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing effective June 30.

Giddens currently serves as professor and executive dean of the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico. The author of numerous journal articles, nursing textbooks and electronic media in nursing education, she is widely recognized for creating innovative teaching and learning models in nursing sciences, including The Neighborhood, a web-based virtual community used to enhance integrative approaches in nursing education. Read more…

Charles H. Cozean, Jr., MD62

Charles H. Cozean, Jr., MD'62, was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. After graduating from University of Kansas School of Medicine, completing a rotating internship and residency in ophthalmology, he served in the U.S. Air Force in Abilene, Texas. He is an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at St. Louis University Hospital, has published more than 20 articles in numerous ophthalmology periodicals and has served as a faculty member for international courses at the University of Lublin in Poland and Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. In addition to holding U.S. patents for an intraocular lens design and the capsulorhexitome, a surgical instrument, he was the principal investigator for VISX Inc.'s Excimer laser. Dr. Cozean established a learning resource center at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO., where he serves on the directorial board.

Thomas Coppinger, MD62

Thomas Coppinger, MD'62, received the Xavier Medal of Honor from Rockhurst University. This award honors an alumnus who has made a substantial impact through service. His volunteer leadership is extensive, including involvement through a variety of leadership positions at Rockhurst. Dr. Coppinger has been involved with the Rockhurst Century Club, Rockhurst University Alumni Board, Rockhurst Regents, serving as co-chair and chair, and most recently as chairman of the Rockhurst University Leaders Council. Read more...

Marilee Means, PhD'94

Marilee Means, PhD'94, director of the School of Health Professions' cytotechnology program, has been selected to receive the 2012 American Society of Cytopathology's Cytotechnologist Award for Outstanding Achievement. A member of the ASC since 1978, Means serves on the ASC Executive Board and chairs the Cytotechnology Program Review Committee. Means recently organized a volunteer effort to create a core curriculum in molecular technology that's been adopted by the ASC for those taking the Molecular Biology certification test given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The Award for Outstanding Achievement is the highest honor that the ASC bestows.

Jared Grantham, MD'62

Rebecca Reddy, MD'98, opened a solo pediatrics practice in Wichita, bucking the trend of joining large medical groups and hospitals. Dr. Reddy is looking forward to seeing her own patients and developing a relationship with them. Read more...

Jared Grantham, MD'62

Jared Grantham, MD'62, was honored by the American Society of Nephrology with the John P. Peters Award. His research into kidney disease is internationally renowned. Read more...

George Sheldon, MD'61, FACS

George Sheldon, MD'61, FACS, received the second Lifetime Achievement Award of the American College of Surgeons, during the Convocation ceremonies at the 2012 Clinical Congress. Dr. Sheldon is the Zack D. Owens Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and a Past-President of the ACS. Read more about Dr. Sheldon's career and accomplishments that led to receiving this honor...

Jennifer Brull

Jennifer Brull, MD'98, switched her practice to electronic health records and was the first certified "meaningful use" physician in Kansas. She says using electronic health records has greatly benefitted her patients in a number of ways. Read more...

Brad Poss

Brad Poss, MD'87, started July 11 as the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at the KU School of Medicine–Wichita. Dr. Poss will provide the leadership that ensures the academic quality and integrity of the 13 Wichita residency programs while maintaining accreditation. Read more...

Jeffrey A. Robinson

Jeff Robinson, MD'11, is a recent Wichita graduate who's headed to the Mayo Clinic to start his Pediatric Residency. Check out this graduation profile of Dr. Robinson, who has a passion for medicine and music. Read more...

Would you like to be featured or do you know a KUMC alum who would be a great candidate for the Alumni Spotlight? Please email Kristy Gagnon, at

Last modified: Dec 01, 2016