Board of Visitors – 2014

The Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing provides strategic guidance to the School of Nursing. Twenty-four leaders from the health care and business communities serve on the board.

Linda H. Aiken

Linda H. Aiken is the director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She conducts research on the health care workforce and quality of health care in the United States and globally. Her NIH-funded research has received numerous awards, including the Individual Codman Award from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which honors leadership through performance measures to demonstrate relationships between nursing care and patient outcomes. Aiken completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in medical sociology.

David Anderson

David Anderson served as CEO of American Family Insurance from 2007 until his retirement in 2011. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing and an MBA. He joined American Family in 1975 as budget director and later served as financial planning director and accounting director. In 1996, Anderson was elected vice president of information services, where his major responsibilities included research, development, implementation of information systems, and use of technology to meet business needs. He continues to serve on the American Family’s board of directors. Anderson is a native of Plymouth, Wisconsin. His wife, Mary, was an alumna of the School of Nursing.

Dennis Barnum

Dennis Barnum has over thirty years’ experience in the high-technology and services industries, primarily in computer software and services. He holds a master’s in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and participated in the MBA program at the University of Minnesota. He began his career at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. He subsequently spent several years with Control Data Corporation in Minneapolis in a variety of management positions in the domestic and international software and services divisions. Since 1986, Barnum has been involved in either high-tech startups or recovery of high-tech companies. He founded several technology companies and has led turnarounds of several others. He is active in the Merlin Mentors program and currently director of operations for Thalchemy, a UW–Madison-inspired startup.

Mary Behrens

Mary Behrens, an alumna of the school, is a family nurse practitioner and an American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Fellow. She has been an active political force in Wyoming since 1983, serving as mayor of Casper, Wyoming, Natrona County commissioner, and Wyoming state representative. She has promoted the nursing profession in both political and health care arenas, testifying at state, national, and international venues on nursing and health care. The AANP recognized Behrens for her international, long-term teaching project in Vietnam through Friendship Bridge, which establishes an education pathway for nurses. She also served eight years on the board of directors for the American Nurses Association. Behrens received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Nurses’ Alumni Organization in 2005.

Laurie Benson – Board Chair

Laurie Benson, an alumna of the school, is CEO of LSB Unlimited and is an accomplished corporate executive, entrepreneur, and corporate board director. She serves as an advisor to CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs regarding complex business issues, including board governance, strategy, business growth, innovation, high-performance teams, human resources, and succession planning. She combines her expertise with engagement in the health care industry through board service, executive leadership, and innovation roles. As the CEO of an information-technology consulting company for twenty-five years, Benson grew revenues from the startup stage to $80 million with 150-plus employees across three offices.

Louis C. Bernhardt

Louis C. Bernhardt, a 1963 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Medical School (currently the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, or UWSMPH), has been a Madison-area surgeon since completing his residency at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in 1970. As an adjunct clinical professor of surgery, he received the Dean’s Teaching Award in 2013. He has served as president or chairman of numerous boards during his career, including those of Dean Clinic, the Madison Surgical Society, the Wisconsin Surgical Society, the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and the Agrace HospiceCare Foundation. He recently coauthored a book on the history of the UW Department of Surgery, “Promoting Excellence.” He continues to teach at the UWSMPH and volunteers at the Benevolent Specialist Project free clinic.

Ann E. Brewer

Ann E. Brewer, an alumna of the school, is the director of the Executive Secretariat in the Immediate Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). After graduating from the UW–Madison, she held administrative and staff positions in hospitals and home health care agencies. Prior to moving to Washington in 2002, Brewer worked as the female health coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. She also served on the Wisconsin Board of Nursing for seven years and was the chairperson in 2000 and 2001. Additionally, she held an adjunct faculty position at the UW–Madison School of Nursing from 1995 to 1998. Over the past several years, Brewer has been an active member of the Council of the Federal Executive Secretariats, serving as vice chair in 2009 and chair in 2010. She is a member of the Friends of the Clinical Center Board, where she currently serves as its second vice president. A speaker at national, state, and local health associations, Brewer has also participated in legislative hearings.

Joanne M. Disch

Joanne M. Disch is professor ad honorem at the University of Minnesota (U of M) School of Nursing. She began her nursing career in the cardiovascular surgery ICU at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Disch’s distinguished roles throughout her career have included chief nurse executive at two major medical centers, interim dean at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and chair of the national board of AARP. Currently, she is a member of the board of Aurora Health Care, chair of the board of Chamberlain College of Nursing, and immediate past president of the American Academy of Nursing. Disch received the Outstanding Service Award from the Nurses’ Alumni Organization in 1998.

Barbara J. Greundemann

Barbara J. Gruendemann, a nationally recognized educator, author, and professional speaker, is an alumna of the school. She began her career as a staff nurse in obstetrics in a rural Wisconsin hospital, where she learned to scrub and circulate on caesarean sections and care for both mothers and their babies. The experience drew her to perioperative, or operating room (OR), nursing care. She went on to become a clinical specialist in the area and an international expert on prevention of surgical infections. She established one of the first educational departments within a major medical products company, Johnson and Johnson Medical, Inc. Greundemann has authored numerous papers and books in the field, and served as president of AORN-the Association for Perioperative Registered Nurses. She received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Nurses’ Alumni Organization in 1986.

Mary Gulbrandsen

Mary Gulbrandsen is executive director of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS), a private, not-for-profit foundation providing need-based grants to recent graduates of Wisconsin public high schools who are attending Wisconsin public colleges full-time. A pediatric nurse practitioner and former school district administrator, Gulbrandsen has dedicated her career to benefitting children by combining her interest and expertise in health care, education, and administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and two master’s degrees—one in pediatric nursing and one in administrative medicine—from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Jean E. Johnson

Jean E. Johnson, an alumna of the school, is dean and professor of the School of Nursing at George Washington University (GW). Throughout her career, Johnson has been committed to improving the health and well-being of people and communities and has designed and launched a range of programs to improve access to nursing education and health care in rural and underserved communities. She serves on the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry. She also is chairperson of the American Red Cross Nursing and Caregiving Sub-Council of the Scientific Advisory Council. Johnson has co-chaired the National Task Force on Evaluation Criteria for Nurse Practitioner Programs as well as facilitated the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Consensus Group, which established a new regulatory model for advanced practice nursing. She was appointed to the UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Nursing Advancement Advisory Board in 2014.

Nancy Kaufman

Nancy Kaufman, an alumna of the school, is founding president of the Strategic Vision Group, a health consulting firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was the first nurse to receive her graduate degree in administrative medicine from the UW School of Medicine (currently, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health). She served for twelve years as vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kaufman held positions in Wisconsin’s government from 1971 to 1991 and, in her last post, was deputy director of public health for governors Thompson, Earl, and Dreyfus. She served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Infectious Diseases. She was also a member of the national advisory councils for the Agency for Health Care Policy Research (AHRQ), the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Council on Smoking.

Sarah Kruger

Sarah Kruger, an alumna of the school, is a clinical professor with the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing. With a background in social work, health policy, and nursing, Kruger examines ways to promote and maintain teams of providers to manage complex health problems, especially for those with health disparities. With teaching interests in the areas of health assessment, she focuses on communication and building skills among students who will be called upon to find creative approaches to care coordination. As a nurse practitioner, Kruger dedicates her clinical practice to diabetes prevention and management in both youth and adults in a local community health center. In addition, she has actively provided diabetes outreach and education to a variety of organizations, including long-term care providers, associations on aging, and community groups, and has volunteered at a state camp for children with type 1 diabetes.

Patricia Lasky

Patricia “Pat” Lasky, an alumna of the school, retired from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing in 2003. Prior to her retirement, she served as executive associate dean, acting dean, and associate dean of the undergraduate program and outreach. Since her retirement, Lasky has served on the board of directors and as president of the Retirement Association of the UW–Madison. She currently sits on the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County and serves three City of Madison positions: vice chair of the Early Childhood Care and Education Committee, vice chair of the Board of Health, and member of the Community Services Committee. Lasky is the registered agent for the Nurses Alumni Organization and a volunteer at Chávez Elementary School in Madison.

Alison Ludwig

Allison Ludwig, an alumna of the school, is a senior project manager for strategic partnerships at the National Quality Forum (NQF). She staffs the NQF-convened Measures Application Partnership (MAP), leading an expert group of stakeholders on the overarching Coordinating Committee in addition to supporting efforts for quality measurement for Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries and the health work force. She received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and, later, master’s degrees in public health/ health policy (MPH) and health administration (MHA) from the University of Iowa.

Nancy Fraser Michalski

Nancy Fraser Michalski, an alumna of the school, is a nationally-recognized expert in medical billing and bodily injury litigation support services. As vice president of Elevate Services, Inc., based in Los Angeles, she is responsible for leadership across a range of services that improve outcomes, reduce costs, and expedite settlements in bodily injury claims and litigation. In her role, Michalski also testifies in state and federal courts on issues involving the reasonable value of medical care. She served as a member of the School of Nursing’s capital campaign committee.

Karen Pridham

Karen Pridham is Helen Denne Schulte Professor Emerita in pediatric nursing at the School of Nursing. An alumna of the school, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the UW–Madison in 1957 and 1966, respectively, and earned her doctorate in instructional theory and research from the UW’s School of Education in 1972. Pridham was a student in the first class of graduate students in pediatric nursing taught by the renowned faculty member Florence Blake. Pridham’s extensive program of research has influenced two generations of nurse scientists focused on supporting parents in the daily care of children with chronic health problems, including very prematurely born infants and infants with complex congenital heart disease. Pridham received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Nurses’ Alumni Organization in 1998 and the Midwest Nursing Research Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. She gives consultation to investigators who are developing studies concerning parenting and infant feeding and mentors undergraduate honors students in research projects.

Linda Procci

Linda Procci recently retired after seventeen years as vice president of service line operations at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Prior to this position, she served as vice president and chief operating officer at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, director of training in nursing of the University Affiliated Program at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and clinical nurse specialist at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. Procci is an alumna of the School of Nursing, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the UW–Madison. She earned a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California. Procci led the School of Nursing’s capital campaign for Signe Skott Cooper Hall. She currently serves on the University of Wisconsin Foundation Board. Since retiring, she has been active as an adjunct professor in the School of Nursing.

Jane Quinn

Jane Quinn, an alumna of the school, is the chief compliance officer at Agrace HospiceCare in Madison. She has more than twenty years of experience in hospice and palliative care, with progressively increasing leadership responsibilities. In addition to her nursing education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, she earned her graduate certificate in Healthcare Corporate Compliance from George Washington University. Quinn is currently certified in hospice and palliative nursing, health care compliance, and health care privacy compliance.

Richard Sinaiko

Richard Sinaiko retired as CEO of Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Nursing. He graduated in 1966 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A Madison native, Sinaiko spent thirty-eight years in health care management before retiring in December of 2013. He spent eleven years at the UCLA Medical Center, the last five years serving as the chief financial officer. In 1991, he formed his own health care management consulting firm, Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, which built a national client base and, in 2002, added a medical coding company. Sinaiko is an adjunct associate professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a member of the Board of Governors of the Cedars Sinai Health System in Los Angeles. Sinaiko’s mother was a registered nurse, prompting his interest in serving as a member of the school’s capital campaign committee. He has established a professorship in health care leadership within the School of Nursing.

Kelley Starr

Kelley Starr, a seasoned executive, serial entrepreneur, partner, and business leader in technology and professional services, is founder and CEO of Sales Pivot, a resource and forum to explore best practices in customer development and acquisition, social sales, demand generation, and business model innovation based in Milwaukee. He served in roles as CEO, president, CSO, and business development leader in rapidly growing technology-focused businesses from start-up stage to Fortune 500 environments. He has selectively served as an advisor to CEOs, founders, and sales/marketing executives in interim roles focused on equity capital, M&A, customer acquisition, digital marketing, product strategy, and "go to market" launches. Starr graduated with distinction from the UW–Madison, earning a BBA in finance and marketing in the School of Business.

Stephanie L. Swartz

Stephanie Swartz, an alumna of the school, is a senior nursing consultant in organizational development at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After practicing in ICU and ER environments in Minneapolis, Colorado, and Virginia, Swartz joined Gundersen in 1978. She held directorship roles in clinical care, medical-surgical care, emergency services, and neurosciences and was the chief nursing officer from 2005 to 2009. She earned a master’s degree in servant leadership from Viterbo University. Swartz has served on the Board of Visitors of the School of Nursing since 1997; she served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Alumni Association from 2008 to 2013. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the UW Foundation and Wisconsin Alumni Association. Membership on other boards include Gunderson Lutheran Medical Foundation, La Crosse Franciscan Spirituality Center Board, Viterbo University Advisory Board, Viterbo University Nursing Advisory Board and, currently, the Dresbach, Minnesota, Town Sewer Committee. In 2010, she developed a program to deliver foot care to homeless guests at the La Crosse Winter Warming Shelter, where she has volunteered for four years.

Barbara Weikel

Barbara Weikel, a staff nurse in the 1960s, began her career in the newborn-to-one unit at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and, later, moved to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Madison. Wisconsin and its quality of nursing will always be close to her heart, she says, because she and her husband, Keith, spent the first four years of their marriage in Madison while he pursued graduate education at UW–Madison. She deeply understands the need for nursing education and its future role in meeting the challenges of under-staffed health care systems. Weikel volunteers her time on a number of nonprofit boards, bringing keen observations on leadership and effective management in the business world to assist organizations and causes that are important to her.

Peggy Zimdars

Peggy Zimdars is an alumna of the School of Nursing, earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the UW–Madison. She graduated from the University of Michigan’s pediatric nurse practitioner program in 1977. She currently is the co-chair on the Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC). Zimdars practiced in the UWHC’s Department of Allergy and Immunology. Her community leadership and engagement includes serving on the Governor's Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, training as an Orton-Gillingham tutor to teach children with dyslexia and reading difficulties, and serving as a member of the School of Nursing’s capital campaign committee.