Promoting and Improving     
     Population Health in Kansas
APHA Positions held by KPHA Members

APHA Council of Affiliates (CoA)

Eldonna Chesnut
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

CoA Chair-Elect:
November 2014 – November 2015

CoA Chair and APHA Executive Board: November 2015 – November 2016

APHA Executive Board Member:
November 2017- November 2020

Eldonna Chesnut, RN, BSN, MSN is employed by Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) as Division Director of Child Care Licensing since 2001. Eldonna graduated from Truman State University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and at the top of her class with a Masters in Nursing Administration (MSN) from University of Kansas. She is currently pursuing a Certificate in Public Health Ethics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a member of the inaugural class of Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute. Eldonna represents JCDHE on many local and statewide committees. Within KPHA she has served as Past-President, President, President-Elect, Director at Large, Section Chair, and Affiliate Representative to APHA Governing Council (ARGC).  Eldonna also served as Conference Committee chair, committee member for several years, Orientation Manual Project committee member, and past Membership Chair. Eldonna received the Samuel Crumbine award from KPHA in 2012.

Eldonna served in APHA Council of Affiliates (CoA) leadership roles from 2014-2016. In 2015 she served as the CoA representative to the Executive Board of APHA. In November 2017 she was elected to a 3 year term on the APHA executive board. Her executive board committees include Membership, Governance and Development and her liaison assignment is MINK – Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas Public Health Associations. Eldonna is an APHA member, Maternal Child Health section member, Child Care Committee Member (under MCH section), Health Administration Section (HAS) member, and Public Health Nursing (PHN) Section member. She serves as the PHN liaison to the HAS.   Eldonna has attended the APHA annual conference every year since 2008.


APHA Action Board

Shirley Orr
Public Health Consultant

APHA Term:
November015 – November 2018

Shirley Orr is a public health consultant and President of SOCO Consulting.  Prior to establishing the consulting practice, she served as Director of Local Health for the Bureau of Local and Rural Health, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  Her primary professional interest is health system development and improvement, with a special focus on governmental public health.   Shirley is a 2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellow.  Her fellowship project focused on advancing public health practice through national standards and accreditation.  To date, she has provided technical assistance to support work underway in approximately 25 states and the US-Associated Pacific Islands. Shirley is a member of the National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development, representing the Association of Public Health Nurses.  She is a past president of that association, as well as the Kansas Public Health Association.  She currently serves as the Kansas Affiliate Representative to the American Public Health Association (APHA) Governing Council and as Region VII Representative to the APHA Council on Affiliates.   She is currently a student in the PhD program in the Health Policy and Management at KU.


APHA Science Board

Dr. Ellen Averett
University of Kansas Medical Center

APHA Term:
November 2014 – November 2018

Dr. Ellen Averett is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the University of Kansas School of Medicine where she is the Program Director for the Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) and the Community Health Center Executive Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duke University and subsequently an MHSA from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the Health Policy and Management faculty in 2004, Dr. Averett practiced clinical psychology consultation and supervision for over 20 years in various settings including private practice, a managed care group model HMO, state and private hospitals, and a college counseling center and psychology internship training site. In the Department of Health Policy and Management, Dr. Averett has taught Health Systems, Health Services Ethics, Research Inquiry to Support Evidence-Based Practice, Health and Social Behavior, Instructional Methods in Health Services Education, and Health Care and Social Policies in Sweden and Finland. Dr. Averett’s consulting and research interests include health communications, public health education and disease prevention, health-related behavior change, health system ethics, the impact of hospital ethics committees, training long-term care workers in communication and leadership skills, quality improvement methods in health care organizations and public health systems, and evaluation and survey research. Her publications have appeared in Emerging Infectious Diseases, American Journal of Health Behavior, Cancer Control, Journal of Environmental Health and the Journal of Disability Policy Studies. She has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Health Administration Education. Dr. Averett is a Past President of the Kansas Public Health Association, and a member of the Science Board of the American Public Health Association.  She is past chair of the Ethics Faculty Network in the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, a former member of the KU Hospital Ethics Committee, and a former Menorah Legacy Foundation board member. She has served as an examiner with the Kansas Award for Excellence, the Malcolm Baldrige-based quality award program for the State of Kansas. Her other memberships include Academy Health, KUMC’s Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS), the American Society for Quality and the American Public Health Association.


APHA Science Board

Dr. John Neuberger
University of Kansas Medical Center

APHA Term:
November 2015 – November 2018

John received his degree in engineering from Cornell University, his degree in business administration from Columbia University, and his master’s and doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University. He has taught a variety of courses in public health and epidemiology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine for over thirty-five years. He teaches the core MPH course in Environmental Health on the Kansas City campus.As an environmental epidemiologist he has had principal research interests in brain and lung cancer, multiple sclerosis, indoor air quality, lead, hazardous waste sites, chronic diseases, and, more generally, environmental and occupational health hazards. He has, for example, been an investigator in Iowa concerning radon and lung cancer, heavy metal exposures at a Superfund site in Kansas and Oklahoma, and brain cancer near a closed oil refinery in Missouri. Currently he is an investigator on a project evaluating the relationship between substandard housing conditions and childhood asthma in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He has served on, and been consultant to, many boards, advisory committees, and expert panels, and presented to many professional, lay, and legislative audiences. John has been a peer reviewer for many journal submissions and possible presentations for APHA, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and others. He has also long been an advocate for indoor smoking laws and ordinances throughout Kansas and the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan areas, recognizing the diverse health problems stemming from exposure to the numerous agents in tobacco smoke. He has also been involved in several legislative hearings regarding the importance of the fluoridation of drinking water in Kansas City, MO, Lawrence, KS, and at the state level.

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