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Learn about our Nurses Alumni Association board members, responsibilities and the history of our alumni association.

Mission of the KU Nurses Alumni Association

To serve as a valuable resource for the Dean of the University of Kansas Medical Center’s School of Nursing and to support and promote a positive image of the School of Nursing and its advancement of professional and academic endeavors.

The Association accomplishes this mission primarily by:

  • Advocating for and promoting networking, fellowship and lifelong learning amongst present and former students from the School of Nursing.
  • Assisting in guiding the activities of the Association, as managed by the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Director of Alumni Relations (“Director of Alumni Relations) or their designee.
  • Assisting the Dean of the School of Nursing by providing key contacts, information, knowledge, skills or expertise on matters relating to alumni relations and the field of health care.
  • Maintaining relationships with the School of Nursing student organizations and supporting their initiatives.

The Association serves the University of Kansas Medical Center graduates, nursing students, the KU School of Nursing and potential students.

History of the KU Nurses Alumni Association

The University of Kansas Nurses Alumni Association was organized October 14, 1919. Donations formed the financial survival of the early years. The first regular dues in the amount of $5 were collected in the early 1950s. The dues were increased to $10 in 1970. Current dues are $35 per year.

The active membership consists of graduates or former students of the University of Kansas School of Nursing, any honorary alumnus award recipients and associate members from the School of Nursing faculty.

The KU Nurses Alumni Association, added statewide and metropolitan members-at-large in 1992 to the board of directors. These individuals reside in various parts of the Kansas City metro or the state of Kansas.They are invited to return for each of the KU Nurses Alumni Board meetings.

Through the support of its members, the KU Nurses Alumni Association plays a key role in supporting student activities and scholarships.

Current Board Members

Cathy Bartholow, BSN'81, RN
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Heidi Boehm, MSN'09, BSN'02, RN, NPD-BC, CPPS
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Heidi Boehm is a Behavioral Health Program Manager at The University of Kansas Health System. She’s been at the health system since 2002 when she completed her BSN from the KU School of Nursing. Boehm received her Master of Science in Nursing in 2009. In 2010, she was named the KUMC Alumna Early Career Achievements in Nursing.

Rita Clifford, PhD’81, BSN’62
Administrative Liaison

Rita Clifford is an Associate Professor Emerita at the KU School of Nursing. Since 1964, she has worn hats at every level in the school, from instructor to acting dean including over 30 years as Associate Dean, Student Affairs. She became fully retired at the end of 2017 when she was granted Emeritus status. In 1992, Rita was awarded the Distinguished Alumni of the KU Nurses Alumni Association, and in 2007, was received the Honorary Recognition from the Kansas State Nurses Association. She has also been recognized by Ingram's Magazine as a Hero of Health Care, in 2011 as an honoree of The Women's Foundation of Kansas City, and, in 2012, as a KU Woman of Distinction.

Barbara Geiger, BSN'83
Vice President

Barb Geiger is Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations at MANA Therapeutics. In this role, she is responsible for the planning and management of all clinical activities related to MANA's drug development programs and works with the research, medical, regulatory, manufacturing and finance teams. Ms. Geiger began her pharmaceutical career at Marion Laboratories, and has over 30 years of experience in the CRO and biopharmaceutical industry where she held roles of increasing responsibility. She began her career as a pediatric oncology nurse and as an early phase research coordinator. Ms. Geiger earned her undergraduate degrees in nursing and human biology from the University of Kansas and completed the Columbia University Senior Executive Program.

Rebecca King, DNP ’21, BSN ’14
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Rebecca King has completed two degrees from KU School of Nursing, most recently her DNP in May 2021. She has worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital for the past 10 years and has bedside nursing experience in the Pediatric Medical and Cardiac ICUs. She will be transitioning into a new role later this spring as an APRN with The University of Kansas Health System with the Outpatient Hepatology department. 

Naomi King, DNP’19, MS’95, BSN’89, RN, CMSRN
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Naomi King is an Education Specialist at the University of Kansas Health System. Starting this summer, she will be starting her new role as Behavioral Health Program Manager, a role created to further expand the behavioral health initiatives throughout the health system. Naomi began my nursing career in 2002 at health system as a bedside nurse on the General Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Renal Unit. In 2004, she became the Unit Educator on the Inpatient Orthopedics and Family Medicine Unit.  In 2014, she joined the Quality and Safety Team as a Quality Outcomes Coordinator. Naomi received her BSN in 1989 from the KU School of Nursing, as well as her MS in 1995 and her doctorate of nursing practice in 2019. 

Jeff Knight, MPH, BSN’11
National Member-at-Large

Jeff Knight is the Chief Operating Officer at Crinetics Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Crinetics, he was responsible for portfolio management and strategy, alliance management, quality and compliance, and corporate operations at Poseida Therapeutics, where he was a member of the executive leadership team. Earlier in his career, he gained valuable clinical development, program management, and regulatory affairs experience at Genentech, Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Sanofi), and PRA International. Jeff earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology followed by a Master of Public Health in biostatistics and epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma.

Chris Mackay, PhD’19, BSN’94, MSA
Immediate Past President

Lynn Murphy, MS'17
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Lynn Murphy is the Quality and Safety RN Supervisor at The University of Kansas Health System and focuses on improving patient safety through process improvement and just culture. She has worked in quality for 10 years after working in cardiac progressive care since 2005. She is also adjunct faculty at KU School of Nursing, working with undergraduate students to teach Quality Improvement. Lynn is also involved at the local and national level with multiple professional organizations and is the co-founder of the KC Metro Healthcare Quality and Safety Consortium.

Fred Neis, MS’97, BSN’93, FACHE, FAEN

Fred Neis is a Vice President for Lumeris. He leads efforts to assess and design large-scale transformational solutions for health systems, payers, and physicians to move from volume-based business to one based on value, including taking downside risk, improving quality measures, and optimizing health system and medical group margin. In his early clinical days, he worked in ICUs, emergency departments, and for an air-medical program. With nearly three decades of experience in health system operations, he has had exposure to nearly the entire suite of health system functions and been in the position to support the design and implementation of system-level strategy. Fred received his BSN in 1993 from the KU School of Nursing, as well as his MS in 1997. 

Heather Nelson-Brantley, PhD'16, BSN'11, RN, NEA-BC

Dr. Heather Nelson-Brantley is Program Director, Leadership and Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. She is a core member of the Center for Healthcare Quality Research and Data Science. Her nursing practice includes medical and pulmonary critical care and cardiothoracic surgery progressive care. Dr. Nelson-Brantley received her PhD in Nursing with a minor in Organizational Leadership from the University of Kansas, BSN from the University of Kansas, and BS in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from Kansas State University. She is a 2019 Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH) scholar, and a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar alumna.

A. Paulsen, MS'99, RN, CPN

Rebecca Paulsen is Senior Director, Medical/Surgical Services at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. She received her BSN from Loyola University Chicago in 1991 and her MS in nursing administration from the KU School of Nursing in 1999.

Rachel Pepper, DNP'11, MS'09, RN, NEA-BC
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Rachel Pepper is the Chief Nursing Officer of Kansas City Division at The University of Kansas Health System, a Magnet designated facility. She has served in the roles of staff nurse, unit coordinator, nurse manager, nursing director, and senior nursing director at the Hospital. In every role, Rachel has been dedicated to supporting the constant pursuit of high quality, safe, high satisfaction patient care, building exceptional work environments for staff, and mentoring aspiring professionals. Rachel is a proud champion of nurses being leaders on the health care team. She completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Kansas.

Damon Phouvanay, BSN'20
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Damon Phouvanay is a cardiac ICU nurse at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, MO. Damon received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Kansas In 2017 and his BSN from the KU School of Nursing in 2020.

Dylan Severson, BSN’17, RN, PCCN-K, CMSRN
Metropolitan Member-at-Large

Dylan Severson obtained their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Kansas School of Nursing in May 2017. They are currently in their fifth and final year of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification program. In addition, they have incorporated coursework for the Health Professions Educator Certificate into their plan of study. They eagerly await their anticipated graduation date of May 2022. Since graduation, they have worked as a clinical nurse in the areas of medical-telemetry, progressive care, and ambulatory care at The University of Kansas Health System (TUKHS). They have achieved nationally accredited certifications as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) and a Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN). Dylan has been a clinical faculty member at KU SON since fall 2018.

Joseph Stroud, BSN'19, RN
Statewide Member-at-Large

Joseph Stroud is a registered nurse in the emergency department at Ascension Via Christi Health System in Wichita, KS. He is a retired Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a Public Health Technician and Specialist. Joseph received his BSN from the KU School of Nursing in 2019 and is in the process of receiving his doctorate of nursing practice degree, with an expected graduation date of May 2023.

Julie Wilhauk, DNP’11, MS’00
Statewide Member-at-Large

Become a Board Member

Interested in becoming a KU Nurses Alumni Board Member? Fill out this form >> 

Board Member Responsibilities

  • Attend meetings of the board annually, at own expense
  • Adhere to the Bylaws of the Association
  • Board members should maintain membership in the Association, as well as actively promote membership in the Association.
  • Participate and represent the Association at various events and activities supported by the KUMC Alumni Association
  • Identify and recruit volunteer leaders and financial support for the Association

Terms of Office

  • Terms begin at first board meeting of the year
  • President: two-year term
  • President-elect: two-year term
  • Immediate Past President: two-year term
  • Vice President: two-year term
  • Treasurer: two-year term, appointed by president
  • Membership and Elections Chair: two-year term
  • Member-at-Large positions: two-year term

Alumni Relations