Meet Our Board


Abiodun Akinwuntan, PhD, MPH, MBA

Abiodun Akinwuntan Dr. Abiodun Akinwuntan is the Dean of the School of Health Professions at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Abiodun received doctoral and master’s degrees in neuromotor rehabilitation from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) in Belgium. He holds master’s degrees in public health and business administration from Augusta University and a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

Andrew Billingsley, CFA

Drew Billingsley Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair

Drew Billingsley is responsible for product management, competitive analysis and product content for American Century Investments. He has worked in the investment industry since joining American Century in 1999. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas. Drew is a CFA charter holder and a member of the CFA Institute.

Drew is committed to the Kansas City community. He is an alumnus of the Kansas City Tomorrow leadership program and has been involved with a number of not-for-profits.

Mary Beth Blake, JD

Mary Beth BlakeCo-Founder

In the early 1980s, a patient would be on a ventilator and the hospital would want a court order to permit removal. Mary Beth Blake, then an attorney for KU Medical Center, would call the judge, who would come to the hospital with his court reporter and all go into the patient’s room with the doctor.

“There might be some assessment of the patient’s wishes,” recalls Mary Beth, who told her friend Karen Ritchie, a psychiatrist, “There’s got to be a better way of doing it.” There was. In 1984, Mary Beth, together with Karen and the late philosopher Hans Uffelmann, co-founded the Center for Practical Bioethics.

Mary Beth recently retired from the Polsinelli law firm in Kansas City, where she was a senior partner focused on healthcare, life sciences, senior housing and long-term care. She has received numerous honors, including inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 1993-2015, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2005-2013, and Kansas City Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mary Beth earned her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1973 and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1976.

Brian Carter, MD

Karen Cox Dr. Carter is an academic neonatologist and clinician-educator who has practiced for 30 years. He graduated with honors from David Lipscomb College in Nashville, TN in 1979 and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis with honors in 1983. Having received a Health Professions Scholarship from the US Army to attend medical school, he subsequently took his pediatric residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center outside of Denver, CO and practiced general pediatrics for one year at Fort Bragg, NC before returning to Denver to take his fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine from the University of Colorado, graduating in 1990. He is board certified in both General Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

Dr. Carter’s scholarly pursuits have long included bioethics and palliative care. He served as a Medical Company Commander in the 1991 Gulf War and received the Bronze Star for meritorious service. He has served on Ethics Committees and conducted ethics consults at every duty station. After leaving the Army, Dr. Carter served on the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia, where he directed activities in regionalized neonatal-perinatal outreach education and contributed to a four-year longitudinal ethics curriculum. In 1999, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and continued his clinical practice focused on providing intensive care to critically ill newborns, consulting in the NICU Follow-up Clinics, and initiating a new service in Pediatric Palliative Care. He continues to study NICU outcomes, participating as a Site-Principal Investigator for the NICHD-funded Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes – Neurobehavioral Outcomes of Very Preterm Infants study. His work in neonatology and bioethics brought him to initiate efforts in neonatal-perinatal palliative care over 18 years ago. With Dr. Marcia Levetown, he co-edited and contributed to the first textbook on pediatric palliative care, Palliative Care for Infants, Children & Adolescents in 2004. In 2003 he received the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization’s Research Award, and in 2008 he gave the William A. Silverman Lecture in Ethics at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.

Dr. Carter continues to lecture, teach and publish (over 100 articles and 35 book chapters), advocate for pediatric palliative care, and mentor graduate students, residents and fellows. He enjoys serving as Co-Director for the Children’s Mercy’s Certificate in Pediatric Bioethics and working with medical students as the Sirridge Endowed Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Medicine.

Nancy Cohn

Nancy Cohn Nancy Cohn currently lives in Kansas City with her husband, Allan J. Katz. Previously, they lived in Lisbon, Portugal, where Allan was the US Ambassador to Portugal from 2010 until 2013. During that time, Nancy was active in establishing the Tuberous Sclerosis Association of Portugal. Nancy currently volunteers as a Classroom Assistant at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired. Before moving to Portugal, she and her husband lived in Tallahassee, Florida, where Nancy was an administrative volunteer with the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. Previously, she worked for Maternal and Child Health and Children’s Medical Services which were part of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. She also worked as a Budget Analyst for the Medicaid Budget Office.

Nancy graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a BA and from the University of Michigan with an MLIS. After college, she served in the United States Peace Corps in Brazil.

Karen Cox, RN, PhD, FACHE, FAAN

Karen CoxDr. Karen Cox was appointed President of Chamberlain University in 2018. She is responsible for managing all undergraduate and graduate programs, which includes 21 physical campuses, as well as online programs.

Prior to joining Chamberlain, Dr. Cox served as Executive Vice President and CEO of Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City. Dr. Cox led the organization to receive Magnet designation by The American Nurses Credentialing Center, becoming the first so designated hospital in Missouri and the region in 2003 when she was Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

Previously, she was elected to the American Hospital Association, Section on Maternal and Child Health Governing Council (2013-2016) and was appointed to the Children’s Hospital Association, Child Health Committee (2013-2017). Dr. Cox was named a Fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellowship Program (1999-2002) and was appointed to a term on the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, U.S. Health and Human Services (2006-2011). She also served as board chair of the National Initiative for Children’s Health Quality, as board member and chair of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (2009-2015), and was an inaugural member of the National League of Nursing Foundation Advisory Council.

Dr. Cox has published numerous articles in nursing publications. She is the current President of the American Academy of Nursing (2017-2019) and a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives. Dr. Cox started her healthcare career as a licensed practical nurse. She holds an associate degree in nursing from Excelsior College, a bachelor’s in nursing degree from the University of Kansas, and a master’s and PhD in nursing from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Darrin D’Agostino, DO, MPH, MBA

Darrin D’Agostino Dr. Darrin D’Agostino is the Executive Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU). His primary responsibilities at KCU include oversight of curriculum, increased development of graduate medical education, enhanced clinical outreach, and expansion of research within the College of Osteopathic Medicine for both the Kansas City and Joplin campuses.

Prior to joining KCU in 2017, Darrin held positions as program director for the Osteopathic Internal Medicine Residency and Director of Osteopathic Medical Education for both the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, Conn., and Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

He earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from New York Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of Texas, Dallas, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and a BS in Psychology from Union College. He has served in leadership and committee positions on the local, regional and national levels and has led a number of community health and clinical outreach initiatives. His research has focused on issues of health equity within minority populations.

Alan Edelman

Darrin D’Agostino Alan Edelman is a native of Kansas City. He received his bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Education from the University of Kansas, spending his junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Alan attended the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City, where he received his master’s degree in Jewish Education. He also holds a master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Kansas, where his research focused on restructuring the congregational religious school by integrating informal and family activities into the educational program. From 1977-1980 he served as Educational Director with the Congregation Beth Shalom in Kansas City.

Alan then spent two years as Regional Director of Central States/Provinces Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, consulting with congregations as well as coordinating regional youth activities.

He began serving as Executive Director of the Central Agency for Jewish Education of Greater Kansas City (CAJE), a committee of the Jewish Federation, in July 1982. In October 1994, his responsibilities with the Jewish Federation were expanded to include community planning, human resource development, identity and engagement, and Israel/Overseas, assuming the role of Associate Executive Director until his retirement in June 2017.

Alan has served on a number of local, regional and continental advisory committees. His volunteer efforts are focused on inter-faith and multi-cultural programming. He has served as guest theologian in many churches, universities and seminaries. He has also served on the board of directors for the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and Notre Dame de Sion School of Kansas City and currently serves as the Jewish Director of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. Alan is also active in the pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Sukumar Ethirajan, MD

Sukumar Ethirajan Resource Development Chair

A community oncologist specializing in cancer genetics in the Kansas City area since 1993, Dr. Kumar Ethirajan recently established his practice at Dr. E.T.’s Concierge Care. He was Vice Chair of Midwest IRB at HCA Midwest Health from 2009-2016.

Kumar was the President of the Medical Staff at Menorah Medical Center in 2014 and President of the Kansas Society of Clinical Oncology from 2011-2014. As President of MetroMed (now known as Kansas City Medical Society) in 2004, he initiated MetroCare, which was subsequently researched and incubated by the Center for Practical Bioethics. He also served on the Board of the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City and was Secretary/Treasurer of MetroCare. Nationally, Kumar served on the Clinical Practice Committee of ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology), and continues to serve on the State Oncology Society Forum of NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network), and the Carrier Advisory Committee (CMS).

After his undergraduate medical education at Stanley Medical College in Madras, India, he completed graduate medical education in Clinical Pathology at Boston University Medical Center, followed by an Internal Medicine residency at North Shore Medical Center/Massachusetts General Hospital and subsequent Hematology Oncology Fellowship at UCLA-affiliated hospitals followed by a Medical Oncology fellowship at University of Minnesota before moving to the Kansas City area in 1993.

Tresia Franklin, CEBS, CFA, CCP

Tresia Franklin Tresia is the Human Resources Director, Total Rewards and Employee Relations, for Hallmark Cards, which includes responsibility for compensation, benefit programs, human resource information systems and employee relations. Tresia has also held positions at Hallmark in a variety of human resource areas. Previously, she founded a web-based human resources communication business and served as a benefits and human resources consultant for Mercer. Earlier in her career, she worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Services Administration.

Tresia is a member of the Executive Board of the American Benefits Council (ABC) and serves on the board of a local safety net organization. She was previously a member of the Employer Advisory Council of NCQA and several healthcare related community organizations and served as board chair for several benefits organizations, including the Employee Benefits Institute and various Certified Employee Benefits (CEBS) and compensation groups. She also served on the board of a Kansas City hospital and on the Executive Committee and as chair of the Hospital’s Quality Committee.

Tresia holds the CEBS, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designations.


Eva Karp Vice Chair and Governance Committee Co-Chair

As the senior vice president and chief clinical and patient safety officer, Eva Karp focuses on Cerner’s clinical and regulatory strategies and market direction. She also drives strategies for the tenets of patient safety.

Eva makes an impact by engaging with client organizations to understand and address their needs and optimize clinical workflows in order to achieve increased patient safety. She also provides bi-directional partnership to help organizations navigate changes and trends in the health care landscape while integrating Cerner’s strategies and vision to achieve organization satisfaction.

Eva joined Cerner in 2001 as an enterprise practice leader and has held roles within the company including Vice President of strategic clinical solutions within the Intellectual Property (IP) organization, where she was responsible for defining the strategic direction and objectives for patient safety, clinical workflow, financial viability, regulatory standards and optimal outcomes across the continuum of care. Prior to joining Cerner, Eva had more than sixteen years of experience in health care informatics and twelve years of neurological and surgical ICU clinical experience.

During her time at Cerner, Eva received two patents related to clinical workflow and innovations and contributed to the development of CareAware Infusion Management™. She continues to drive intelligence within clinical workflows and support clinical reasoning utilizing data and analytics from Cerner’s Lights On Network® to optimize clinical workflows across health care organizations.

Eva has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Dowling College, a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix and associate’s degree in nursing from Miami Dade Community College. Eva earned a doctorate in health administration from Medical University of South Carolina in May 2018.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Center of Practical Bioethics, Eva is on the board of the Alliance for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (AQUIPS), she is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), a Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference peer reviewer and co-chair of the HIMSS HIT user experience committee. She also serves as an executive sponsor and chair for the Pediatric Leadership Council, CNO Forum, Patient Safety Council and Patient Care Executive Council.

Jane Lombard, MD, MBA

Jane Lombard r. Jane Lombard is a clinical cardiologist with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a large multispecialty practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the Medical Director of the Heart Failure program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, and Associate Medical Director of Managed Care for the medical group. She obtained her BS from Duke University in 1977, MD from Stanford University in 1983, and MBA from Santa Clara University in 2005.

Jan Murray, JD, MSSA

Jan Murray Jan Murray is the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, with a B.A. in 1974, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, with an MSSA in 1978, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, also in 1978.

Prior to joining Saint Luke’s Health System, Jan was a partner with Foley & Lardner. Other positions she has held include K&L Gates LLP, Partner (2011-2013); Cleveland Clinic, Deputy Chief Legal Officer (2007-2011); Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP, Partner, April (1999-2007); Southwest Community Health System, Vice President and General Counsel (1989-1999); Cleveland State University, College of Law, Interim Director, Law, Politics & Policy Program (1983-1989); and Institute for Child Advocacy, General Counsel and Deputy Director (1978-1983).

She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, American Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. Jan has been selected for inclusion in industry directories such as The Best Lawyer’s in America, Legal 500, Super Lawyers in Massachusetts and Ohio. She has lectured and written on a wide variety of legal issues on health care and life sciences.

Stephen Salanski, MD

Stephen SalanskiGovernance Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Steve Salanski obtained his medical degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Medicine, with his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas. He completed his residency at the Baptist Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program where he formerly served as the Program Director (renamed Research Family Medicine Residency Program). He was also formerly affiliated with Research Medical Center, where he chaired the Bylaws Committee and served on the Medical Executive, Ethics, Code Blue, and IT/Patient Care committees.

Steve’s interests include quality improvement projects in areas including chronic illness care as well as medical ethics. Steve was the President of the Kansas City Medical Society in 2016. He serves as co-chair of the Center for Practical Bioethics Ethics Committee Consortium, which includes representatives of ethics committees from most Kansas City area hospitals, and he has been co-chair of Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium which has written several chronic illness guidelines for use throughout the Kansas City medical community. He serves as co-chair of the Lee's Summit Health Education Advisory Board and serves on the Baptist-Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation Board of Directors which oversees the Kansas City Medicine Cabinet Program that provides emergency medical funding assistance to underserved individuals in the Kansas City metro area. Steve is currently Medical Director, Partners in Primary Care Clinics and Transcend Population Health Manager at Transcend PHM.

Sandra Stites, MD

Sandra Stites Board Chair

Dr. Sandra Stites spent her first three years as an undergraduate at Princeton University studying to be a chemical engineer. During that time, she performed research in the mechanics of artificial limbs and causes of genetic diseases, ultimately changing her major to biochemistry to allow for the opportunity to do further research in genetics. She completed her medical degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia and her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester, New York. Sandra returned to her hometown in 1990 to begin practicing with Kansas City Women’s Clinic, where she continues to enjoy helping women reach their goals for healthy living through her gynecology practice.

Sarah (Liza) R. Townsend, JD, MSW

Sarah TownsendSecretary

Liza Townsend completed her MSW degree at the University of Kansas in 2017. Since earning her law degree from the University of Kansas in 1992 and a BA in Art History from Smith College, she has held numerous nonprofit board leadership positions. Among them are Turning Point Center for Hope and Healing, Child Protection Center, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, ACLU, Lead Bank, Pembroke Hill Alumni Executive Board, Harriman-Jewell Series, American Royal, Voter Protection Project, Kansas City Ballet, St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, and Smith College Club of Kansas.

Peter Wilkinson

Peter WilkinsonPeter Wilkinson joined Rx Savings Solutions as Vice President of Product Development in 2017. He was formerly Director of Operations, ExamOne, a Quest Diagnostics Company. He joined Quest Diagnostics (then LabOne, Inc.) in December 1995 and served the company in a variety of marketing related roles, including Director, until 2013, when he became Director of Operations. He earned his BA in Communications from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.

John Yeast, MD, MSPH

John Yeast Past Board Chair

Dr. John Yeast is Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He also served as staff perinatologist in the Women’s Care Clinic at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Formerly, he was Vice President of Medical Affairs and subsequently, Vice President of Medical Education and Research at Saint Luke’s Hospital. He serves as Missouri and Kansas state representative for the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Task Force in Maternal and Infant Mortality.

John is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Maternal-Fetal Medicine. From 1986 until 2001, he was director of Saint Luke’s Perinatal Center in Kansas City. He also has served as an oral examiner for the American Board of OBGYN, a reviewer for both the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBG). He was a board member of Horizon Academy, and a former Trustee of the Saint Luke’s Hospital Foundation. He has served three different times over many years as a board member and chair of the Center for Practical Bioethics.