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.
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.
Dr. 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.
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 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.
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 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.
Diane Gallagher develops content and value-add programs for clients and is also a spokesperson on retirement investing.
Diane originally joined American Century Investments in 1995 and developed communication programs for clients of J.P. Morgan/American Century Retirement Plan Services. Before returning to American Century in 2012, she was vice president, Retirement Insights for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Previously, she led product marketing for J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services and directed the participant communications and education department. Prior to 1995, Diane served as media relations manager for the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA). She also worked in Corporate Communications and Marketing for Sinai Health Care System in Detroit, Michigan.
Diane earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, magna cum laude, from the University of Detroit. She is accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and has earned many awards for her communications programs. She is a board member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Hands & Hearts Auxiliary for Children for Children’s Mercy Hospital. A 2019 graduate of the Greater KC Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program, she is past-president of the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City and currently serves on its Advisory Board. In 2007, Diane was named one of Kansas City’s “40 Under 40” leaders by Ingram’s magazine. A frequent financial services industry speaker, she holds FINRA Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses.
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.
Dr. 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.