2020 Board Members

President


Daniel Craig

Tammy Walker Cancer Center





Daniel Craig is the Cancer Outreach Coordinator for Tammy Walker Cancer Center.  He has  a strong background in planning and coordinating health promotion and tobacco prevention activities and was chosen as one of WELCOA’s Top 50 Health Promotion Professionals in 2016 Daniel is involved in a number of community coalitions including the Saline County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition and Live Well Saline County.  He currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the Chronic Disease Alliance of Kansas and serves on the Board for Salina Area United Way.  Daniel has participated in Leadership Salina, Kansas Health Foundation Fellows VIII, and was a Project Mentor for the 2019 Leadership Salina.

Daniel Craig earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Pittsburg State University in 2004 and a Master's of Science degree in Health Promotion & Wellness Management at Missouri State University in 2006. Daniel competed in track and field at both Pittsburg State University and Missouri State University and currently competes in a wide range of running events ranging from the 5K to the marathon.

President-Elect

Brandon Skidmore
Sunflower Foundation

 



Brandon Skidmore is a Program Officer at the Sunflower Foundation. Brandon oversees the foundation’s health care programs, including the Integrated Care Initiative. The focus of this program is on attainable and sustainable integration of primary and behavioral health care at the community and statewide levels. Previously, he served as Director of the Bureau of Health Promotion at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, where he worked for more than a decade. He is a Fellow of the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute and a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.




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Immediate Past President

Michelle Simmons
Cerner Corporation




Michelle Simmons is the current President-Elect for the Kansas Public Health 

Association and had served on the board for over six years working on local, state,

and international projects in public health. Her experience in both public and private sector health care, drives unique partnerships for shared interests in health. As the senior population health strategist at Cerner Corporation, Michelle brings extensive understanding of the evolving health system and regulatory advancement of payment models. The healthcare industry has customarily thought about health care data and individual responsibility as primary influencers of a person's health outcomes. Organizations recognize that alternative drivers, such as economic status, social factors and physical environments are also key influencers in health outcomes. Michelle serves as an advisors for health systems, public health, large employers, and city governments for design of these healthier community innovations. She also conducts academic research in partnership with the University of Kansas for advancement of these models. Most recently, Michelle has been working nationally to drive clinical-community linkage for social determinants of health and adoption of standardized instruments and referral networks across clinical settings. Many Kansas communities have also worked with Michelle Peterson (Wishon) in her previous work with ASTHO, NACCHO and HHS, in emergency preparedness and response at KDHE, and during her local public health work as a regional coordinator in western Kansas.

Secretary

Christi Wells

Oral Health Kansas, Inc. 

 

 

With her nearly decade-long of experience in health policy, Christi works at Oral Health Kansas as the Policy Director. Prior to joining the organization, Christi worked as a Policy and Program Specialist utilizing stakeholder engagement and community collaboration to improve the health of Eastern Jackson County, Missouri. In her new role, Christi serves as state representative for DentaQuest Foundation’s Midwest Regional Oral Health Connections Team, as well as, represents Oral Health Kansas at the state house. Christi graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a BS in Business Management and earned a Master in Public Health from the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Treasurer

Cristi Cain

Kansas Department of Health & Environment

 


   Cristi Cain is the director of the Local Public Health Program and the accreditation

  coordinator for the recently accredited Kansas Department of Health and Environment

  where she has worked since 2013.  Her work focuses on providing training and

  technical assistance to public health professionals. In her current position as the director

  of the Local Public Health Program with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,

  Ms. Cain oversees the learning management system, Kansas TRAIN, which provides

  online workforce development for the entire state of Kansas public health system, in

  addition to ensuring the provision of in person training through an annual conference

  and other venues. She has over 22 years of experience in the development of statewide

  initiatives and trainings as well as the delivery of technical assistance to communities. 

  Ms. Cain currently administers a system by which over $25 million is allocated annually

  to all 105 Kansas counties.

  Ms. Cain has significant experience supporting the work of multidisciplinary teams to

  help communities address difficult challenges. She has an extensive background in the

  coordination of state-level public health initiatives focused on children’s health and 

  substance use disorder prevention. She was a founding member of the Kansas Alliance for Drug Endangered

  Children and the   Shawnee County Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. She received her Bachelor of

  Science from Kansas   State University and will complete her Master of Public Health from the University of

  Kansas School of Medicine in 2020.

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APHA Representative

Denise Schuele
Patterson Family Foundation

Denise Schuele is a Program Officer for Patterson Family Foundation.  Denise supports planning and coordination of multiple programs and associated activities; creates and implements operational policies and practices; guides strategy development for new and existing program areas; and builds and manages the relationships with existing and prospective grantee partners.

Denise has prior experience in program management, business development and community events since she joined Cerner in 2012.  She more recently had responsibility overseeing the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) strategies across Cerner (developing advanced strategies for health systems to improve the health of workforce and social determinants of health for their communities).  She coordinated and facilitated third party partnerships (Community Referral Platforms & Non-emergent medical transportation platforms), provided advisory services to health systems and their communities, coordinated and supported Cerner’s Social Determinants Innovation Collaborative, represented Cerner at community, payor sponsored, conference events and managed SDOH workflow/assessment/toolkit projects and development.

Denise served on several internal committees within Cerner, developing fundamental training tools for new associates and acted as a mentor to new administrators.  She served on the Executive Women’s International- KC chapter board, as a Cerner representative for more than two years. She currently serves as a member on the Development Advisory Board for the Benedictine Sisters at Mount St. Scholastica, APHA Representative and 2020 conference co-chair for the Kansas Public Health Association (KPHA) Board of Directors and planning committee member for the Kansas City Community Conversations (sponsored by Humana).

Director-at-Large

Virginia Barnes

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas


Virginia Barnes joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in October of 2015 as director of Blue Health Initiatives. Blue Health Initiatives is a new program for Blue Cross, formalizing the company's long-time efforts to improve the health and quality of life of all Kansans. As director, Barnes is responsible for investing in communities to create sustainable, healthy places where Kansans can live, work, and play in ways that improve the quality of their lives. Barnes brings to her role at Blue Cross a strong background in public health, having spent more than eight years at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in a variety of roles. She earned a bachelor's in biology from Washburn University and a master's in public health from the University of Kansas.  She is a lifelong Kansan and lives in Topeka with her husband and two children.

Director-at-Large

Megan Foreman
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment                      


Megan Foreman is a Program Manager at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, where she runs a grant dedicated to the prevention and management of chronic disease. Megan has been in health policy for ten years, most recently as the Policy Director at Oral Health Kansas. Prior to moving to Kansas City in 2012, Megan was a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). During her six years at NCSL, Megan worked on a variety of state health policy issues, served as the content expert on adolescent health, managed a number of grants, and wrote extensively. She also owns and operates ForemanINK, a freelance writing and consulting company which helps non-profit organizations communicate their concepts to policymakers and other audiences. Megan graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in public policy and journalism studies. She joined the KPHA Board in 2015.

Director-at-Large

Charlie Hunt

Kansas Health Institute





















D. Charles Hunt, M.P.H., is a Senior Analyst with the Kansas Health Institute (KHI). Mr. Hunt works primarily on population health strategies, with a focus on improving public health systems through research, development and dissemination of tools and best practices. Mr. Hunt also works on a variety of projects aimed at improving health at the community level, through technical assistance on project design, implementation and evaluation. 

Mr. Hunt’s expertise in public health surveillance and working with a wide variety of public health data help to advance KHI’s mission through research and policy analysis. Mr. Hunt has an extensive background in public health practice, having served as state epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) before joining KHI in 2017. Prior to his post as state epidemiologist, Mr. Hunt held served as deputy state epidemiologist as well as senior epidemiologist in the Bureau of Health Promotion at KDHE. Mr. Hunt’s local public health experience includes communicable disease epidemiology, health promotion and community health assessment and planning. 

Mr. Hunt holds an adjunct faculty appointment with the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City. Mr. Hunt earned his master's degree in public health from the University of Kansas. 

Environmental Health Section Chair

Jack Brown
University of Kansas
School of Medicine – Wichita


Mr. Brown, Research Instructor - Preventive Medicine and Public Health, earned his undergraduate degree from Friends University of Wichita, KS and graduate degree in public administration from the Hugo Wall School of Public and Urban Affairs at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California's Environmental Management Institute, and has completed the Mini MBA certificate program through the Wichita State University Barton School of Business and the Wichita State University Hugo Wall School's Executive Development Institute. He was one of the first groups of environmental health professionals in Kansas to become a registered sanitarian in the field of environmental health. He has 34 years of experience in the field of public health. During his tenure he served for 16 years as the Environmental Health Director and as the interim Director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health. As director he established and administered local environmental programs in water quality, pollution prevention, environmental remediation, food protection, emergency response and other local environmental programs and projects. Mr. Brown lead the Arkansas River study examining the river's bacterial contamination levels and water quality which lead in part to the development of an advisory system to inform the public about the health implication relating to water conditions in the river and a plan to improve Arkansas River water quality in the future. Mr. Brown has been active in the Department since its inception and has taught the MPH Environmental Health course (PVRM 830) since the beginning of the MPH program. In addition he was involved in the development and teaching of the web version of the Environmental Health course this year and is currently a member of the MPH External Advisory Committee.

  Policy & Advocacy Section


  Sonja Armbruster

  Wichita State University

 

Sonja Armbruster has an insatiable curiosity about how we can improve public

health practice.  She seeks new ways to learn, practice, think and do.

She teaches full time in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Wichita

State University.  Her academic interests include quality improvement, public

health agency performance improvement, health policy, public health workforce development, community health assessment, and health communication. In addition to teaching, Sonja supports the work of the Midwestern Public Health Training Center. 

Prior to joining the faculty, she was the founding director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives at Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute. Her public health career includes ten years of service in various roles at the Sedgwick County Health Department, last serving as the Division Director for Community Health Planning and Performance Improvement. 

Sonja also provides training and technical assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial health departments through her role as a performance improvement consultant for the Public Health Foundation. Sonja was president of KPHA in 2009 and has been a member since 2001. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for Oral Health Kansas and volunteers as a site visitor for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

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 Infectious Disease Section Chair


Sonalli Kurlekar

Sedgewick County Health Department



 Sonalli Kurlekar, MPH, is an Epidemiologist and Surveillance Coordinator at the   Sedgwick County Health Department. In her current role, Sonalli is responsible for   disease investigation of various notifiable diseases to   prevent and control the   spread of them in the community. She also provides a content expertise for various   infectious diseases and epidemiological methods, and design and implementing the studies to prevent diseases in   the community. Sonalli has been working in the field of public health, clinical research, and medicine since last   ten years. Before coming to Wichita in 2011, Sonalli was working in the field of medicine and clinical research in   her home country India. She has a strong interest in preventing infectious diseases, identifying social determinants, risk factors for the disease conditions, and health disparities to improve the health outcomes in   the community. Sonalli holds a degree in Medicine from University of Maharashtra, India and Master's in Public   Health from the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine, Wichita.

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Research & Evaluation Section Chair

Ruaa Hassaballa

University of Kansas



Ruaa Hassaballa, MPH, is a researcher at the KU Center for Community Health and Development, a World Health Organization Collaborating Center. A health justice-oriented individual in the public health and applied behavioral science fields, she's interested in transforming environments and conditions to assure health for all. With over five years of research experience, Ruaa focuses on addressing health disparities through community-based participatory research. She is a trainee of Dr. Michael Marmot's University College London Social Determinants of Health Summer Program in 2015. At KU, she collaborates and provides technical assistance, evaluation, and training for community-based organizations. She also teaches the course, Building Healthy Communities. Ruaa has published research in Bloomsbury Education & Childhood Studies focused on childhood poverty and well-being in Egypt. She received her B.S. in medical laboratory science and her MPH in epidemiology at the University of Kansas. Currently, she's training for a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology to use applied behavioral methodology as a base to approach socially significant problems, with special attention to behavior-environment relationships. She's excited to return to KPHA after serving as an association manager from 2016-2018.

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Preparedness Section Chair

Ron Starbuck
Wyandotte County Public Health Department


Ron Starbuck is the Program Supervisor for Emergency Preparedness at Wyandotte County Public Health. 

He was born in Topeka, raised in Olathe and has accumulated more than thirty years of preparedness experience in the State of Kansas. He has served in mostly law enforcement and corrections positions with the State of Kansas between 1986 and 2007. The experience at KUMC Police Dept led to positions in hospital security. Security had a strong role in Joint Commission’s Environment of Care domain and overlapped with their Emergency Preparedness program. He then went to Wyandotte County as a Training and Exercise Coordinator in the Emergency Preparedness program. 

Ron attended Washburn University and earned a BA in Criminal Justice and has an MPA in Public Affairs from Park University. He also graduated from the Hospital Emergency Response Train the Trainer, Strategic National Stockpile, and Mass Antibiotic Dispensing Train the Trainer courses at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (Anniston). He earned the Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) certification at the Emergency Management Institute (Emmetsburg), the Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional (CHEP) certification and is a Kansas Certified Emergency Manager (KCEM).

Gary is a retired Fire Captain and EMT with 20 years of service in the city of Lenexa. Gary has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Health Emergency Professional (CHEP). 

Student Section Chair

Taylor Mitchell

Wichita State University

                     

Taylor has recently become a Master of Public Health student at the University of Kansas,

Wichita Campus. She is pursuing a concentration in epidemiology. She received a

Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management and Community Development from 

Wichita State University.  During the 2018 – 2019 school year, Taylor worked as an Epidemiology Intern with the Sedgwick County Health Department, where she gained a passion for environmental                 epidemiology and environmental justice. Additionally, Taylor worked with KPHA to                               create a KanCare expansion advocacy campaign in an effort to support underserved and                     vulnerable populations in Kansas. 

Aside from course work, Taylor currently holds a position as an Associate at the Wichita                             State University Community Engagement Institute in the Center for Public Health                                 Initiatives. She is heavily involved in her community and loves being a Wichita resident.                               You can often find her spending weekends and free time volunteering with a variety of non-profit organizations, including Positive Directions and Food Rescue ICT. She loves to spend free time reading books, though most of them are about epidemiology and its historical implications. 

While graduation is a few years away, she is looking forward to becoming very involved with the University of Kansas and KPHA. She is excited to see what the future holds. Until then, she is seeking any and all opportunities to help prepare her for this work.

 Communications Committee Chair

 

 Sara Millburn

 Ascension Via Christi Health, Inc.

 

Sara Millburn is a Market Intelligence Specialist in Talent Acquisition, Promotions and Sourcing for Ascension, using her well-rounded healthcare background and research skills to help address recruitment challenges in healthcare.  Prior to this role, she served at Ascension Via Christi as the Community Benefit Coordinator and as a Strategy Analyst for their Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and on the Sedgwick County Community Health Assessment Committee, Health Alliance, Maternal Infant Health Coalition, and on a United Way of the Plains grant review panel.  She has 20 years of healthcare experience, encompassing direct patient care, health insurance, medical coding, data analysis, sociological and market research, accountable care organizations, and community benefit and outreach. 

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Business from Emporia State University and a Master’s degree in Health Care Leadership from Friends University.   In 2018, she was one of about 200 authors selected worldwide to participate in LinkedIn’s Newsletter pilot project, for which she wrote 10 articles about social determinants of health.  In 2019, she spoke as a panelist at a “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders” panel at Friends University. She is particularly interested in addressing health disparities and social determinants of health issues as upstream as possible to improve health and quality of life for all.    


Community Health Section Chair

Cynthia Snyder



  

 

 


  Ex Officio Member

  Sonja Armbruster

  Wichita State University
 



Sonja Armbruster has an insatiable curiosity about how we can improve

public health practice.  She seeks new ways to learn, practice, think and do.

She teaches full time in the Department of Public Health Sciences at

Wichita State University.  Her academic interests include quality improvement,

public health agency performance improvement, health policy, public health

workforce development, community health assessment, and health communication. In addition to teaching, Sonja supports the work of the Midwestern Public Health Training Center. 

Prior to joining the faculty, she was the founding director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives at Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute. Her public health career includes ten years of service in various roles at the Sedgwick County Health Department, last serving as the Division Director for Community Health Planning and Performance Improvement. 

Sonja also provides training and technical assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial health departments through her role as a performance improvement consultant for the Public Health Foundation. Sonja was president of KPHA in 2009 and has been a member since 2001. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for Oral Health Kansas and volunteers as a site visitor for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

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Ex Officio Member & Annual Conference Chair

Erica Anderson
Humana




Erica Anderson is a Strategic Integration Leader for Humana in the Office of Population Health for the Kansas City Bold Goal.  Humana has a Bold Goal – to make the communities we serve 20% healthier by 2020. Erica drives integration across diverse lines of business, to create a seamless continuum of care while consulting with community stakeholders on strategic policy, systems and environmental interventions that lead to better health outcomes. She is currently engaged with stakeholders across Kansas and Missouri to identify opportunities to improve the health of communities and assist in the development of solutions to address social determinants of health.  Erica has over fifteen years of professional experience engaging community partners through statewide and local efforts focusing on tobacco, chronic conditions, health and wellbeing, and determinants of health with a majority of the experience focused on policy, system, and environmental changes to improve the health of communities. Erica has a Master’s in Public Affairs with a concentration in Health Policy and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health.

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Ex Officio Member

Eldonna Chesnut

Johnson County Health Department  



Eldonna Chesnut, RN, BSN, MSN is employed by Johnson County Department of Health and Environment as Division Director of Child Care Licensing since 2001.  She is a member of the inaugural class of Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute and served on their advisory board after program completion. Eldonna serves as the JCDHE representative to many county and statewide organizations related to child care and to public health. 

Eldonna has served Kansas Public Health Association as past president, president-elect, director at large, Section chair, and Affiliate Representative to APHA Governing Council. Eldonna also served as Conference Committee chair and was on the conference committee member for several years.  Additionally was on Orientation Manual Project committee member, and past Membership Chair. Eldonna received the Samuel Crumbine award, KPHA’s highest honor, in 2012.  She is one of the founding members of MINK – (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas Public Health Associations). Under the mentorship of the Great Lakes Region, MINK started meeting by conference call on a monthly basis and in person at an annual spring meeting. The camaraderie, best practice sharing, and support of each other has helped Region 7 become a recognizable name within APHA and with other affiliates. 

Within APHA, Eldonna is currently serving as Council of Affiliates as immediate past chair.  Additional roles included CoA Chair and Chair Elect, CoA Liaison to Intersectional Section Council Steering Committee ,  and Region 7 Representative to CoA. She was actively involved in the APHA Joint Membership Pilot (JMP) for 6 years.  In 2016, she served on the APHA Executive Board as the CoA representative. During that time she was an active participant in the Committee on Social Responsibly, Executive Board membership committee, and Annual meeting Speaker Vetting subcommittee.  She is currently still serving on the APHA EB membership committee as CoA representative. She has been an APHA member since 2008 and is currently a member of three Sections: Maternal Child Health and the Child Care Committee (under MCH Section), Health Administration, and Public Health Nursing, as well as served on the Opioid Policy workgroup. Eldonna has attended the APHA Annual Meeting and Affiliate Day every year since 2008. 

Administration


Kendra Baldridge

Kansas Department of Health & Environment






















Megan Gottschalk-Hammersmith

Reno County Health Department


Kendra Baldridge, LMSW began working at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on December 31, 2007. She had been the Eastern Region Case Manager and then Lead Case Manager for the Kansas Statewide Farmworker Health Program (KSFHP). Starting in October 2015, she was promoted to be the new Section Chief for Special Population Health which included being the KSFHP Program Director and the State Refugee Health Coordinator. When the Refugee Preventative Health Program transitioned to a private agency in the fall of 2016, Kendra became the state contact for Minority Health as well as the state representative on the Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC). In March of 2017, she became the Director of Special Population Health, Primary Care and Rural Health. This included, among others, the State Office of Primary Care, the State Office of Rural Health, the Flex program, the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP), and the State Loan Repayment Program. And she continued to be the state contact for Health Equity and Minority Health. On July 17, 2017, Kendra was promoted to the Bureau Director of Community Health Systems at KDHE.

Kendra has a BA in Sociology and a Masters of Social Work, both from the University of Kansas. She has completed the Kansas Core Public Health Program, Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute, and the Kansas Local Public Health Leadership Series. She was the 2016 recipient of the Jane Addams Award, which is an award from the Kansas Public Health Association for a social worker who exemplifies the qualities of Jane Addams, including a pioneering spirit, a trailblazer, and one striving to improve the health of the poor and the sanitary conditions of communities. Kendra lived in El Salvador for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, working with a health promoter and on various other community projects and is fluent in Spanish and English.








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Vacant Sections

Oral Health

Membership

Tobacco, Substance Use and Mental Health






2019 Conference Sponsors

Interested in becoming a KPHA Conference Sponsor? Visit www.wichita.edu/conferences/kpha for more information.



                 

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