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Alumni Spotlight

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

Do you know of a KUMC alumnus who would be a great candidate for the Alumni Spotlight? Please email us at

Kaitlyn Brown portrait Kaitlyn Brown, MHSA'18, HIM'16, was selected to lead the Kansas City Health Information Management Association. Her 3-year term started July 1, 2019, and includes one year each as president elect, president, and past president.

Merlynn Colip portrait Merlynn "Lynn" Colip, MD'61, was honored in May by the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers with its 2019 Jasper G. Chen See, MD, Volunteer Leadership Award. Each year, NAATP recognizes someone who has provided exceptional volunteer leadership in addiction treatment through board membership and philanthropy. Read more.

Laverne Manos portrait E. LaVerne Manos, DNP'12, MSN'09, BSN'06, has been inducted into the inaugural class of American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Fellows. The AMIA recently established this program to recognize members who apply informatics skills and knowledge within their professional setting, who have demonstrated professional achievement and leadership, and who have a sustained commitment to the betterment of AMIA.

Jeannine Goetz portrait Jeannine R. Goetz, PhD'08, MS'03, was honored by the Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and named the 2019 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year. Congratulations, Dr. Goetz!

Bob Moser Bob Moser, MD'85, began his new role as dean for KU School of Medicine-Salina in May, 2019. "I'm extremely honored for this opportunity and look forward to serving in this role, back in the community that shaped me as a physician," Moser said.

Jean Giddens Jean Giddens, N'81, dean of the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University, was elected to serve a two-year term as board member at-large for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Read more.

Karen Schell Karen Schell, RC'92, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science in the KU School of Health Professions, was installed as president of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) during its Annual Business Meeting Dec. 4. She will serve a two-year term. Congratulations, Dr. Schell!

Paul Camarata Paul Camarata, MD'86, has been elected a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, effective July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2025. The ABNS conducts examinations and certifies candidates who seek to become neurosurgeons in the United States. In his role, Dr. Camarata will write the primary inservice examination questions, perform oral examinations of candidates twice a year, and help develop continuing certification requirements. Congratulations, Dr. Camarata!

Leslie Dye headshot 2018 has been an exciting year for Leslie Dye, MD'86. In November she was promoted to VP and Editor-in-Chief for Medical and Drug Content for Elsevier. And from November 5 to 16, she hosted an Expert Takeover about medical toxicology on the Crimecon website.

Connie Stopper Connie Stopper, PhD'13, will join the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, as chair of its Department of Nursing. "Dr. Stopper's experience, appreciation for grounding nursing education in the liberal arts and her collaborative nature will make her a true fit for the University of Mount Union community," said Dr. Jeffrey Breese, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the University at Mount Union.

Richard Weinshilboum Richard Weinshilboum, MD'67, was honored during KU's 146th Commencement ceremony on May 13, 2018. Dr. Weinshilboum is a Mayo Clinic scientist and a pioneer in the field of pharmacogenomics - the study of how drugs respond to a person's genetics. Read more

Nicholas Tejeda Nicholas R. Tejeda, MHSA'07, was named Market CEO for The Hospitals of Providence, Tenet Healthcare, in El Paso, Texas. Nico brings a wealth of experience to his new role, with a strong focus on the patient experience and delivering high-quality care to every patient. As Market CEO, Nico will continue to expand healthcare services and quality of care for the El Paso region. Read more.

Sherri Kirkpatrick Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD'88, is President and Co-Founder of HealthEd Connect, a not-for-profit organization. She co-founded HeathEd Connect in 2006 and it is active in four countries: Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nepal. They train and support volunteer health workers in these countries who provide invaluable services within their communities. In 2017, these women monitored over 20,000 babies in Malawi, provided safe deliveries for more than 2,500 moms in DR Congo, supported 1,300+ orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia, and provided emergency services during the floods in Nepal. Details are available at

Amy Mize Amy Mize, PhD'00, was recently named the Vice President of Business Development at KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services. Dr. Mize brings to KCAS critical skills in process development and implementation as well as sales and operation planning. She has built systems and processes around demand generation, capacity utilization and forecasting. Read more

Wendy Hildenbrand Wendy Hildenbrand, PhD'16, MPH'02, OT'89, was chosen to be president elect of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Presidents of AOTA hold special reverence for their work and commitment to the profession. Her three-year term will begin July 1, 2018. Congratulations, Dr. Hildenbrand!

Dan Conyers Dan Conyers, MS, RRT, RC'77, has received The University of Kansas Health System's Award for Excellence in Leadership, an annual recognition of an extraordinary leader.  Health system executives credit Dan, Director of Respiratory Care, for his lifelong commitment to the organization, education, his profession and the community. "Dan is one of those individuals who is passionate about patient care and the staff who deliver that care," says Bob Page, president and CEO.  

Mark Wiegand Mark Wiegand, PhD, PT'81, was appointed Vice Provost at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a professor of Physical Therapy. His research interests are in the role of service and experiential learning and professional development in health sciences education. His scholarly activity includes over 70 presentations, publications and reviews in journals, books and at national and international meetings. Read more

Judy Bielby Judy Bielby, MBA'95, HIM'87, received the 2017 Making Dreams Come True Distinguished Educator Award from the American Health Information Management Association. Recognized for her creativity and innovation in teaching, Bielby received the prestigious award at the group's Assembly on Education Symposium/Faculty Development Institute in Anaheim, California. Congratulations!

Thad Wilson Thad Wilson, PhD'96, recently joined Research College of Nursing as the new president after a 40-plus year career in nursing. Dr. Wilson has plans to grow the school's 400-student population to meet the need for more nurses in the Kansas City area. Previously, Dr. Wilson was executive associate dean at the University of Iowa's nursing school, before opting to return home to Kansas City for a new challenge. "I see it as a wonderful challenge and opportunity. (The college) is nimble enough to try some things that larger one might not be able to," he said. 

Timbi West Timbi West, MSN'94, was named the Outstanding Alumna at Fort Scott Community College. She's currently an advanced practice registered nurse at Schmitz Family Practice in Charleston, Arkansas. She's described as a "role model and mentor to less experienced nurses." Read more

Tom Geraghty

Mission, Kansas, resident and city councilman Tom Geraghty, MD'72, started Medical Aid for Children of Latin America (MACLA) after a trip to the Dominican Republic in 1985. Every February since then, Dr. Geraghty has taken medical/surgical personnel for two to three weeks to the Dominican Republic to see as many patients as they can. Dr. Geraghty recruited colleagues from all over the country to go on these trips and over the years, more than 800 physicians, nurse anesthetist and nurses have volunteered. Dr. Geraghty with his surgical team has performed over 8,000 operations with MACLA. "The surgeries have been the most challenging I have ever done, and the most interesting," Dr. Geraghty explains. "I love the fact that I get to perform these operations. I only wish we could stay longer."

robert freelove Robert Freelove, MD'00, R'04, was selected as the 2017 Kansas Humanitarian Award recipient by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. He serves as the chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Salina Family Healthcare Center where patients are seen regardless of their ability to pay and serves as the residency program director training future physicians at Smoky Hill Family Medicine. Dr. Freelove said his work provides "an awful lot of reward that's not financial. I've been given an opportunity to do something that I love to do that is meaningful and has impact on a large scale."

louann Louann Hudgins, MD'84, is the new president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. "This is an amazing time for the diagnosis and treatment of genetic conditions," said Dr. Hudgins. "A great opportunity now and in the future comes from the improved ability to identify the underlying molecular causes for genetic disorders."

Luther Fry Luther Fry, MD'67, was named as one of three Humanitarians of the Year by Governor Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Colyer. Dr. Fry of Garden City is an ophthalmologist who has provided extensive charity care, ensuring none of his patients have been denied eye care because of their inability to pay. Congratulations, Dr. Fry!

julie larson Julie Larson, MD, R'16, has a passion for working with children with disabilities. She recently wrote a book titled I Have A Doll Just Like You that helps explain amputation and limb deficiency to children. In addition to the fictional story, it contains a "letter to parents/teachers" about how to react in situations when children point, stare and/or ask about someone who looks different than they do. Proceeds from Dr. Larson's book will be donated to send children with limb differences to amputee camps. 

Tammy Kielian Tammy Kielian, PhD'98, professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Pathology and Microbiology, has been named the 11th UNMC Scientist Laureate. This is the highest honor UNMC bestows to researchers and Dr. Kielian is described as a "spark" who is passionate about research. Read more

Oneita Taylor Oneita Taylor, MD'81, was granted the designation of Fellow of the American College of Radiology during the Convocation ceremony held in Washington DC on May 15, 2016. According to the American College of Radiology, one of the highest honors the ACR can bestow on a member is recognition as a fellow of the ACR.  Fellows demonstrate a history of service to the College, organized medicine, teaching or research.  Approximately 10% of ACR members achieve this distinction. Congratulations, Dr. Taylor!

Barbara Holcomb Maj. Gen. Barbara Holcomb, MSN'00, took the reins at Fort Detrick in Maryland as the first female installation commander this summer. Holcomb comes to Fort Detrick as the first nurse to serve as commander of the medical command, according to spokeswoman Chelsea Bauckman. Holcomb previously served as a deputy commanding general at the U.S. Army Medical Command at Joint Base San Antonio.

Donna Sweet Donna Sweet, MD'79, received the first honorary doctorate that Wichita State University has given in 27 years. She also received the university's President's Medal and delivered the fall commencement address. "It is not overstating the matter to say that Dr. Sweet has changed the world with her scholarship and her heart," WSU President John Bardo said in announcing the honors. "Her outstanding achievements and visionary leadership in the battle against AIDS make her an excellent recipient of this award."

Robert Gibbs Robert C. Gibbs, MD'98, has been selected as president-elect of the Kansas Medical Society (KMS), a two-year pathway to becoming the organization's president. Dr. Gibbs is the medical director of radiology at Labette Health.  Dr. Gibbs has been a member of the KMS since 1994.

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