Board of Directors

Meet Our Board


  • Abiodun AkinwuntanAbiodun Akinwuntan, PhD, MPH, MBA

    Abiodun Akinwuntan is the Dean of the School of Health Professions at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Akinwuntan 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.

  • Drew BillingsleyDrew Billingsley, CFA

    Drew is responsible for product management, competitive analysis and product content for American Century Investments. Drew 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
    Co-Founder and Vice Chair

    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 is now a senior partner with the Polsinelli law firm in Kansas City, where she focuses her practice on healthcare, life sciences and 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.

  • Nancy CohnNancy 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 of Ohio with a BA and from the University of Michigan with an MLIS.  After college, Nancy served in the United States Peace Corps in Brazil.
  • Sukumar Ethirajan, MDSukumar Ethirajan, MD

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

    He 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 funded by the Center for Practical Bioethics. He also serves on the Board of the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is Secretary/Treasurer of MetroCare. Nationally, Dr. Ethirajan serves on the Clinical Practice Committee of ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology), 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.

  • Jane LombardJane Lombard, MD

    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, CA, and Associate Medical Director of Managed Care for the medical group. She obtained her BS from Duke University in 1977, MD from Stanford University in1983, and MBA from Santa Clara University in 2005.  

  • Karen MillerKaren L. Miller, PhD, RN, FAAN

    Dr. Miller is Professor and former Dean and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She held the position of Dean and Professor of the University of Kansas Schools of Nursing and Health Professions for 19 years. Prior to her academic appointment at the University of Kansas, Dr. Miller was Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at The Children’s Hospital, Denver, and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. 

    She completed her baccalaureate degree at Case Western Reserve University and earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado. Her research has been in the areas of health systems, finance and patient care outcomes in healthcare. Throughout her career, she has published and presented on organizational leadership in healthcare, financial management of clinical services and nursing workforce issues. Dr. Miller holds many past national appointments. She is currently the President of KU HealthPartners, Inc., a faculty practice plan and direct clinical services corporation for nursing and allied health professionals. She serves on the Board of the University of Kansas Research Institute and the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. She has been a member of the Watson Caring Science Institute Board of Directors, Boulder, Colorado for the past five years.

  • Jan MurrayJan Murray, JD, MSSA

    Jan Murray, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City, Missouri.  Education:  University of Vermont, Burlington, VA, B.A., 1970-1974; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH,  M.S.S.A., 1976-1978; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, Juris Doctor, 1975-1978.  Experience:  Institute for Child Advocacy , General Counsel and Deputy Director, May 1978-July 1983; Cleveland State University, College of Law, Interim Director, Law, Politics & Policy Program, July 1983-August 1989;  Southwest Community Health System, Vice President & General Counsel, August 1989-April 1999; Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP , Partner, April 1999-October 2007; Cleveland Clinic, Deputy Chief Legal Officer, October 2007-May 2011; K& L Gates LLP, Partner, May 2011-April 2013; Foley & Lardner, Partner, April 2013-January 2016.  Memberships and Professional Distinctions:  Member, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cleveland, OH; Member, American Bar Association, Chicago, IL; Member, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbia, OH; Ms. Murray 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 SalanskiStephen Salanski, MD


    Doctor Stephen 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 now serves as the Program Director (renamed Research Family Medicine Residency Program). Dr. Salanski's interests include quality improvement projects in areas including chronic illness care as well as medical ethics. Dr. Salanski was the President of the Kansas City Medical Society for 2016 and is currently serving as past president. 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 also 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. At Research Medical Center, Dr. Salanski chairs the Bylaws Committee and serves on the Medical Executive, Ethics, Code Blue, and IT/Patient Care. Dr. Salanski is affiliated with Research Medical Center.

  • Edward StevensEdward S. Stevens

    Ed joined Pulse NeedleFree Systems in 2006 and was named president and chief operating officer in 2007. Previously, Ed practiced law with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, representing companies in the medical and other fields. He also served as in-house counsel to a $6 billion diagnostic services company with facilities across North America. In 2004, the Governor of Missouri appointed him to the Missouri Life Sciences Research Board, which promotes and funds area life sciences research and technology commercialization projects. He serves on the boards of the Atterbury Family Foundation and Probioetic Holdings, LLC. A diplomate of the American College of Healthcare Executives, he earned his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his law degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

  • Sandra StitesSandra R. Stites, MD

    Sandra 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.

  • Peter WilkinsonPeter M. Wilkinson

    Mr. Wilkinson is the Director of Operations, ExamOne, a Quest Diagnostics Company. He joined Quest Diagnostics (then LabOne, Inc.) in December 1995 and has served the company in a variety of marketing related roles, including Director, until 2013, when he took on his current role. Mr. Wilkinson leads ExamOne’s MediCheck Program, which markets in home health visits for government-sponsored health plans. He earned is BA in Communications from Graceland University in Lamoni Iowa. 

  • John YeastJohn Yeast, MD, MSPH

    John Yeast, M.D., M.S.P.H is  Professor and Vice-Chairman in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. He also serves a staff perinatologist in the Women’s Care Clinic at Saint Luke’s Hospital.  Formerly, he was Vice President of Medical Education and Research at Saint Luke’s Hospital.

    Dr. Yeast 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 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 is a board member of Horizon Academy, and a former Trustee of the Saint Luke’s Hospital Foundation. He is a board member and past president of the Center for Practical Bioethics.