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Teri Kennedy invested as Ida Johnson Feaster Professor in Interprofessional Practice and Education

June 13, 2019

By Kristi Birch

Robert D. Simari, Teri Kennedy, and Sally Maliski
Robert D. Simari, M.D.; Teri Kennedy, Ph.D.; and Sally Maliski, Ph.D. Photo: Elissa Monroe, KU Medical Center.

At a ceremony attended by colleagues, family, and friends, Teri Kennedy, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, ACSW, FGSA, FNAP, has been invested as the Ida Johnson Feaster Professor in Interprofessional Practice and Education with the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

"We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kennedy in this professorship," said Sally L. Maliski, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the KU School of Nursing. "She is an internationally recognized scholar in interprofessional education, practice, research and policy."

The investiture ceremony was held on April 23 in a fitting location: the Health Education Building, where students from all three schools at the University of Kansas Medical Center-Health Professions, Nursing and Medicine-train together. Faculty from each school, as well as KU Social Welfare, Pharmacy and Gerontology, were in the audience.

"Tonight is a great opportunity to discuss and celebrate a professorship focused on interprofessional practice and education in an interprofessional manner," observed Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center.

Kennedy joined the KU School of Nursing faculty in October 2018 and was subsequently appointed associate dean of interprofessional practice, education, policy and research. Before coming to KU, she spent over two decades at Arizona State University, where she served as director of the office of gerontological and interprofessional initiatives with the School of Social Work and faculty lead for interprofessional clinical partnerships for the center for advancing interprofessional practice, education and research with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Kennedy's role at the KU School of Nursing is to elevate, advance, and sustain interprofessional practice and education (IPE), in which students from different disciplines learn about, from, and with each other, across KU Medical Center and KU. "IPE is famously called the new 40-year-old field," she said. "We keep doing this pendulum swing and rediscovering it and realizing how important it is."

Eighty years ago, Gene Feaster, Ph.D., the KU alumnus whose $2 million gift funded this professorship as well as scholarships in nursing and in physics, left his hometown of Winfield, Kansas, and headed to Lawrence in the hopes of finding work so that he could attend KU. He got three part-time jobs on campus, and graduated in 1940 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and in 1953 with a doctorate in physics. He spent 66 years researching radiation physics in industry, taught radiation therapy at KU, and invented Superflab, a synthetic gel used in clinics to control the radiation dose delivered to patients.

Feaster created the professorship to honor of his late wife, Ida Johnson Feaster, and the nurses who cared for her during her illness. He decided to focus the professorship on interprofessional education after discussions with Karen Miller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, who was dean of the KU School of Nursing until 2015.

"It was Dr. Miller's vision that led to the awareness that interprofessional education was important and the way of the future," said Maliski, gesturing to Miller, who was in the audience at the ceremony. "We thank you for that."

Kennedy noted that KU is already nationally known for IPE, but said that there is still progress to be made and that it's important not to take for granted the work done since the 1970s to establish national competencies, harmonized accreditation standards, and a renewed focus on IPE nationally.

"We have a tremendous opportunity here to advance the science of interprofessional team science," said Kennedy. "I have the pleasure every day to work with people who are doing work in informatics and data science, and we have opportunities to demonstrate that, because we are working interprofessionally, we can begin showing that this does make a difference for patients, this does make a difference for populations, and this does lower the price and improve the quality of care."

Last modified: Jul 18, 2019