Board of Directors
Chito Belchez is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School Of Nursing. He joined the School of Nursing faculty in 2012.He previously worked in Nursing Education and Staff Development, serving as unit-based clinical educator, clinical coordinator and nursing education specialist. Prior to nursing, he served as the director of the St. James Soup Kitchen and Emergency Assistance Program located in Midtown KC. He received the 2010 Nurse Educator of the Year Award from the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) and the Sigma Theta Tau Delta Chapter Leadership and Academic Excellence Graduate Student Award in 2007. He is an active member of the American Nurses Association, Missouri Nurses Association, National League for Nurses and Sigma The Tau Delta Chapter. He received both his Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Kansas, and is currently in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
Before his retirement in May 2015, Ralph Caro held several executive level positions in the community health arena. For over 37 years he served the community in Administrator, President and CEO, and COO/Chief Informatics Officer positions. In 2013 Mr. Caro traveled to China as a People to People delegate to exchange views on healthcare systems and to share western medical practices. Over the course of his career, Mr. Caro served as President, Missouri Primary Care Association; on the Board of Directors, UMKC-Bloch School of Business; as Treasurer, United Inner Cities Services; Treasurer, KC Care Network; Board of Directors, Full Employment Council; on the Advisory Board, Capper Foundation; Board of Directors, SDA-3 Private Industry Council (1999 gubernatorial appointment); and on the Advisory Board of the Kansas School of Medicine Mini Medical School.
He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri and a B.A. of Arts/Zoology from the University of Kansas. In addition, he is a Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) through the MGMA Executive Fellowship in Practice Management, and a Certified Administrator in Physician Practice Management.
Karin Chang, Ph.D.
Karin Chang served as the Director of Early Childhood Programs for the Achievement and Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas between 2007 and 2012; there she oversaw several state and federal projects including Kansas Project LAUNCH, the Early Reading Frist Project, the Children's Initiative Fund, the Kansas Home Visitation project and the Kansas Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems. In 2013, Dr. Chang became Director of Evaluation for the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs, where she currently manages the evaluation activities of the Center's nine college access and success programs. She is the recipient of the 2012 Leading Light Award at the University of Kansas for her work in the area of early childhood measurement and evaluation.
Dr. Chang received a Master's Degree in Educational Administration and Policy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of Kansas.
Mary Corcoran, Ph.D.
Mary Corcoran is a management consultant in private practice, specializing in a variety of training and consulting services for Fortune 500 companies as well as not-for-profits, small businesses and federal and state agencies. From 1987 to 2010 she wrote a business column for The Kansas City Star. Her research specialties are executive leadership, career pathing and employee development. She is past Trustee of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Past President of the Women's Council at UMKC, which funds scholarship awards for women graduate students. She is an advisory member of the Women's Collective for Gender Studies and Equity at UMKC and a member of the Central Exchange.
Dr. Corcoran's BA, MA and Ph.D. in counseling were granted by the University of Missouri-KC.
Katie Cronin, JD, BSW
Katie Cronin is the Pro Bono Manager at Stinson Leonard Street LLP, where she develops and implements the firm's pro bono program and serves as its external ambassador to the public interest legal community, judiciary, bar associations, in-house law departments, and law schools. She formerly served as Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership ("MLP") Clinic at the University of Kansas School of Law, a program that utilizes law students to integrate free legal services into the comprehensive care received by low-income patients at the University of Kansas Hospital and clinics. Ms. Cronin's career in non-profit legal services began with an AmeriCorps fellowship at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She later joined Legal Aid of Western Missouri, first as Director of the Advocates for Family Health program and then as the founding Director of Medical-Legal Partnerships and Missouri's first MLP.
Ryan Mize is an associate attorney with Polsinelli PC, where he practices in the health care practice group of the firm's business department. He advises health care providers across the continuum of care on transactional and regulatory matters.
Mr. Mize graduated from the University of Kansas with a BA in political science and dual degrees in law and health services administration.
Jim Nunnelly has been an integral part of the developing health care delivery landscape for over forty years. He started his career developing the community health center delivery system. Later, he was involved in the development of the family practice residency program at Trinity Lutheran Hospital. Mr. Nunnelly has had extensive experience in problem solving, particularly in his 20 years as international consultant for the Joint Commission on the Accreditations of Healthcare Organizations. There he inspected and consulted with over 200 different healthcare entities including ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals, Indian and Veterans' hospitals and a number of private delivery systems. Later in his career, Mr. Nunnelly became a framing partner of such government entities as COMBAT, LINC, Drug Court and Fathering Court. His work has been featured in the New York Times, on National Public Radio and in Ebony magazine. Locally he was a major part of a radio show dedicated exclusively to the plight and health care of teenagers - the longest running radio program in the metropolitan area. Currently he is serving as administrative consultant to the Jackson County Executive.
Leo Prieto is the Director of Community Outreach at Truman Medical Centers, responsible for creating and promoting preventive health initiatives for the Community. With over 10 years of experience in political, sports and entertainment world combined with Advocacy arenas, and as a past Public Policy Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, DC, Leo brings national awareness to the issues of Chronic Disease and access to care for the underserved and minority groups in the Kansas City community. He has also served as the Kansas City regional director of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute and currently presides as Advisor to Consulate of Mexico while serving on the Bi-national Health/Wellness & Sports Commission. Leo's undergraduate degree is from the Kansas State University, followed by the University of Kansas School of Law.
Tom Ryan is a partner at the Kansas City law Firm, Lathrop and Gage, where he has practiced law since 1982. He is currently co-team leader of the Environmental Department and serves on the firm's Executive Committee.
Mr. Ryan received a BS degree from Dartmouth College and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Lakshmi Venkitachalam, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Dept. of Biomedical Health Informatics at the School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association. She is a recipient of the American Heart Association’s Predoctoral fellowship (2006-2007), and the Outcomes Research fellowship (2009-11). Dr. Venkitachalam has a strong interest in examining variations in the delivery of healthcare services and the related impact on clinical and patient-centered outcomes to inform clinical practice and health policy guidelines. She has co-authored over 15 peer-reviewed publications, more than 40 abstracts and 4 book chapters in the field.. For the Missouri Million Hearts Initiative, she serves as the implementation leader for the patient engagement team. Through research and advocacy, Dr. Venkitachalam is actively engaged in efforts to identify best approaches and strategies to improve accessibility to and adoption of health resources among under-served and high-risk groups, which are documented exemplars of cardiovascular health disparities. Dr. Venkitachalam trained as a Physician Assistant in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery in India (1997-2002) and received her MPH-PhD (2003-2007) in Cardiovascular Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, PA.
Susan Wilson, Ph.D.
Susan Wilson serves as Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A clinical psychologist, Ms. Wilson has had a multi-faceted career in behavioral healthcare administration, higher education, diversity consulting and media. She has had extensive experience in program development and utilizing cultural competency strategies to improve the clinical and business performance of not-for-profit organization.