Meet the Board
Board of Directors' Officers:
Vice Chair-Bill Jolley
Immediate Past Chair-Debbi Honey
Secretary/Treasurer-Carole R. Myers
Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN (Nashville) is Professor of Nursing and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies for the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As a nurse and healthcare economist, Peter is well-known for his studies on nursing and physician workforces; and he was appointed Chair of the National Health Care Workforce Commission (Sept 2010), created under the Affordable Care Act, to advise Congress and the Administration on health workforce policy and serves as a resource for the states and localities.
Wendy Nehring, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAIDD (Johnson City) is Dean and Professor at the College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University. Prior to her deanship, she served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of the Graduate Program, and Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, Rutgers University. Dr. Nehring is nationally and internationally known in the fields of intellectual disabilities and high-fidelity nursing simulation. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Kelly A. Wolgast, DNP, MSS, RN, FACHE (Nashville) is an Assistant Professor and Director of the MSN in Healthcare Leadership program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN.Kelly has many years of executive nursing and healthcare leadership experience and has a strong background in Medical-Surgical Nursing. Kelly earned her Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from Penn State University, a Masters of Science in Nursing (Administration and Education) from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (Executive Nurse Leadership) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kelly is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Tony Garr, MAT (Nashville): is currently the Southeast State Assistance Manager for Enroll America. He was the founder and former executive director of the consumer health-care advocacy organization, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, Inc. (THCC). Prior to founding the THCC, Tony was the state director for the American Diabetes Association, Tennessee Affiliate and the Director for the Cumberland Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation. He is also a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award.
Susan Jacob, PhD, RN (Memphis) is Professor Emeritus from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where she served as Executive Associate Dean and Interim Dean in the College of Nursing. Prior to that she served as Dean of the School of Nursing at Union University. She currently serves as an accreditation consultant for Schools of Nursing and an education consultant for Faith Community Nursing through the Church Health Center. She co-authors Contemporary Nursing: Issues, trends, and management. Dr. Jacob has consistently served in leadership roles in Sigma Theta Tau International and the Tennessee Nurses Association. Susan served as a board member for the Nursing Institute of the Mid-South and has been a strong supporter of the Action Coalition and efforts to advance nursing.
Mona Wicks, PhD, RN (Memphis) is Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis, Tennessee. She directed the UTHSC PhD Nursing Program from 2000 until 2006 and the Office of Research and Grant Support (ORGS), the college's nursing research center that supports faculty and student scholarship from 2005 until 2007. She currently represents the college's research interest on campus and in the community and collaborates with the Dean to develop and lead the college's research-focused strategic initiatives. Dr. Wicks' research focuses on cultural diversity/cultural competence and conducting research to eliminate health disparities, particularly among black women who are family caregivers.
Helen Lane, MBA (Nashville) is Executive Vice President and Partner for c3/consulting, a management consulting firm based in Nashville. She leverages more than 25 years management experience to help healthcare companies through design and execution of critical business processes. Prior to joining c3, Ms. Lane was Vice President and Chief Information Officer for a healthcare solutions company where she improved clinical and administrative workflow and reduced costs in multiple physician practices. She is a board member of the Tennessee Health Information and Management Systems Society and the Nashville Ronald McDonald House.
Cristie Upshaw Travis, MSHA (Memphis) is Chief Executive Officer of the Memphis Business Group on Health, a business coalition with 15 employer members and affiliates providing health care benefits to approximately 350,000+ residents of the Mid-South and Tennessee, which focuses on sharing solutions and providing tools to manage health benefits in. Ms. Travis is a former Chair of the Board of Governors of the National Business Coalition on Health; she is former Chair of the Board of Directors for The Leapfrog Group and currently serves as Chair of the Business Development Committee of their Board of Directors; and she serves on the Purchaser Advisory Committee for NCQA.
Rebecca Kelly, MPA (Franklin) has served as Senior State Director for AARP in Tennessee since 2005, overseeing the work of 7 staff and more than 1,000 volunteers, in support of a membership of more than 650,000. Prior to that, she worked for 9 years as Associate State Director, focusing on volunteer management and community development throughout the state. Rebecca has served on numerous national committees within AARP and is a frequent spokesperson for issues of concern to people over 50 and their families. Rebecca has 29 years of experience in the field of aging.
Vickie Niederhauser, DrPH, RN (Knoxville) is currently Dean and Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Nursing. Prior to her current position, Vickie held various leadership roles at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene including Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Department Chair. The focus of Dr. Niederhauser’s scholarly activities is in the area of child and adolescent Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, with an emphasis on immunizations and childhood obesity. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow Program and is a board member of the Beryl Institute and The RWJ Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Association.
Sharon Adkins, MSN, RN (Nashville) is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA). She has been active in both the state and national levels in the promotion of the nursing profession and its varied roles. In her 20 plus years at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, she developed and directed the Center for Parish Nursing and Health Ministries. During her presidency of the Health Ministries Association, that organization jointly developed the Scope and Standards of Faith Community Nursing with the American Nurses Association (ANA). In her current role she works as an advocate for the 83,000 nurses in Tennessee in the legislative, community and educational arenas to advocate for the profession and for accessible, quality patient care for the citizens of Tennessee.
Beverly Jordan, MSN, RN, CENP (Memphis), Vice-President and Chief Clinical Transformation Officer for the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee is responsible for the corporate strategy and full implementation of the new integrated electronic medical record. This project, branded Baptist OneCare and powered by the Epic vendor, is the largest project in the 101- year history of Baptist and involves all 14 Baptist hospitals along with its Baptist Medical Group clinics and patient financial systems. All 14,000 Baptist employees and greater than 4,000 affiliated physicians will utilize the new EMR while continuing the support of the mission of Healing, Preaching and Teaching and contributing to the system goals of quality, safety, satisfaction, and fiscal stewardship.
Debbi Honey, MHA (Chattanooga) is President of Honey Consulting, Inc. and provides comprehensive consulting and operations support to healthcare organizations. She specializes in quality and patient safety, clinical leadership and staff development, nursing services and operations, and service line development and optimization. She is the former Vice President, Clinical Operations for Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow Program and currently serves on the board of Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation.
Bill Jolley, MPA (Nashville) is Vice President for Rural Health Issues and Executive Director of the Tennessee Rural Partnership (TRP) at the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA). He is responsible for establishing rural health networks, performance improvement and expanding services for hospitals. Through TRP he is working to enhance statewide collaboration on workforce planning to better serve underserved communities and health providers by assisting in recruitment, placement and retention of physicians and other health professionals. He also works to achieve an abundant, competent and motivated healthcare workforce through THA’s Center for Health Workforce Development. Bill is representing THA on the board.
Marty Smith, MBA (Nashville) is currently a Division President for Community Health Systems (CHS), one of the nation's leading operators of general acute care hospitals. Marty is primarily responsible for 28 of the company’s facilities which are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Tennessee. The division currently has annual Net Revenue of approximately $3 billion and is supported by more than fourteen thousand employees. He joined CHS in 1998 as a hospital CEO in Cleveland, Tennessee. In 2003, he was promoted to CEO of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in Pennsylvania and in of 2005 was named Vice President of Operations before moving to a Division President position in 2008.