Stakeholder Advisory Board

The Stakeholder Advisory Board meets quarterly and has representation from individuals and organizations throughout the state of Iowa. Our members bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to contribute and improve clinical and translational research at the University of Iowa.

Boeldt HeadshotKara Boeldt

Founder & Director of

After suffering a traumatic first pregnancy in which she developed severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and a silent placental abruption at 31 weeks gestation, followed by a NICU stay and subsequent surgeries for her infant daughter, she began seeking out others who had been through something similar. She realized that there was limited support available where women could share their experiences.

In order for no woman to feel alone, as she did after her preeclampsia experience, Kara and a small group of dedicated volunteers from across the world began operating Preeclampsia, Eclampsia & HELLP Syndrome Survivors Global Support Group. This is an evidence-based online community that has swelled to a membership of nearly 30,000 preeclampsia survivors and it is continually gaining new members. It truly has a group reach with members from over 110 countries. EndPreeclampsia supports the Butterfly Brigade, a group of women with lived experience who visit hospitalized antepartum mothers experiencing complications at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to provide support and essential supplies during long hospital stays.

Kara is a Certified Trauma-Informed Professional, a Patient Advisor for several organizations and research studies, including the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Patient Advisor for the $10 Million HRSA Grant partnership between the University of Iowa Health Care and the Iowa Department of Public Health to improve maternal outcomes for women in Iowa, and is a member of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Science Stakeholder Advisory Board at the University of Iowa. She was the HOPE Award Recipient for Maternal Health Volunteer of the Year in 2009, and the Champions for Change Maternal Health Champion of the Year award recipient in 2019.  She has led charitable giving initiatives raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Maternal Health causes over the last 15 years.

Deann CookDeann Cook, BA, MA

Executive Director, United Way of Iowa

Deann Cook is in her sixth year as executive director of United Way of Iowa where she leads training, public policy and statewide programming. She has over 20 years of experience serving nonprofits as both a staff and board member at the local, state, national, and international levels. Deann currently serves on the board of the Junior League of Des Moines, the Advisory Board of the University of Iowa's Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and on the executive committee of the Iowa Literacy Council and United Way Council of States. Deann is currently completing a Master's degree in Public Policy at the University of Northern Iowa.

Lisa CushattLisa Cushatt, LMSW

Program Manager, Central Iowa ACEs 360

Lisa Cushatt, LMSW, is the Executive Director for Iowa ACEs 360. ACEs 360 seeks to improve the health and well-being of all by empowering communities, organizations and people to take informed actions to prevent and mitigate the lifelong effects of childhood adversity. Lisa is responsible for the management of Iowa ACEs 360, including training, advocacy, and partner collaboration.

In addition to leading systems change efforts, Lisa serves an adjunct instructor in the field of social work. She has her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in Policy, Planning and Administration from University of Missouri-Columbia, and her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Truman State University.

LaTasha DeLoachLaTasha DeLoach, BSW, LMSW

Senior Center Coordinator, Department Head, City of Iowa City, Senior Center - Older Adults

LaTasha DeLoach holds bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa School of Social Work. In her new position as the Director of the City of Iowa City Senior Center she is working to help keep older adults active, connected, and curious to maintain successful aging. She was previously a community projects specialist at Johnson County Social Services and the Johnson County Disproportionate Minority Contact coordinator and the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children coordinator for 10 years.​

She is a 2018-2019 National Juvenile Justice Network Fellow in the Youth Leadership Institute. She is the Vice Chair of the State of Iowa Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee and was recently appointed by the Governor to be a member of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council. DeLoach advocates for families and is a fierce advocate for women and young women of color in Iowa.

 She has been a member of many local and statewide boards and committees including the University of Iowa School of Social Work Professional Advisory Committee, State Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee, Iowa Girls Justice Initiative Taskforce, Juvenile Justice Advisory Council, SMART on Juvenile Justice Leadership Team, City of Iowa City Council’s Ad Hoc Diversity Committee, and City of Iowa City Roundtable Discussions.

DeLoach is the co-founder of several organizations and programs for women and girls of color, including G! World, Sisters in Power, and Sankofa Outreach Connection, an emerging local organization with over 600 women of color members.

DeLoach was vice president of the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors. She is also a committed community volunteer and coordinator of conferences, seminars, workshops, and events.

Kelsey FellerKelsey Feller, MPH

Data Governance Coordinator, Iowa Department of Public Health

Kelsey Feller is the Data Governance Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Public Health in Des Moines, Iowa. In this role she facilitates the Department’s Research and Ethics Review Committee, oversees the Department’s data sharing and confidentiality policies, and serves as a Department-wide and state-wide resource for the use and protection of confidential public health data. Kelsey’s professional passions include the ethics surrounding data collection and sharing, informed consent within research, and maintaining balance between using data to advance the field of public health and protecting the confidentiality of those who provide that data.  She has bachelor’s degrees in biomedical biology and religious studies from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Iowa. Kelsey spends her time away from work maintaining a horse acreage with her husband Adam.

Jennifer GroosJennifer Groos, MD

Pediatrician, Primary Health Care

Dr. Groos earned her medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and completed a pediatrics residency at University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital in Madison, WI. She is a board-certified pediatrician with 16 years of experience.  She founded the Healthy Kids Program at Blank Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Groos practices general pediatrics at Primary Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center,  in Des Moines, Iowa.   She is active in community and legislative advocacy and health eating and active living promotion with many partners within the state. Dr. Groos currently serves as Lead Faculty for the National Childhood Obesity in Primary Care (COPC) Quality Improvement project led by the American Academy of Pediatrics Institute on Healthy Childhood Weight (IHCW). Dr. Groos leads the 5-2-1-0 Health Care Program in Iowa.  She serves as the co-chair for the COACH network (childhood obesity advisor) for the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity.  She is a past-president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, chair of the chapter committee on legislation, and founder and chair of the chapter committee on obesity.  She received the 2018 Iowa Medical Society Physician Community Service Award for her statewide child health promotion work.

Sharon GuthrieSharon Guthrie, PhD, ARNP, CRNP, NCSN, RN-BC

Executive Director, Iowa School Nurse Organization

Director of Graduate Nursing Programs and Associate Professor, Mt. Mercy University




Bruce HansonPastor Bruce Hanson

Lutheran Pastor

Chaplain (certified: police, prison & inland marine)


Rev. Bruce L. Hanson is a retired rural parish pastor who served five rural parishes in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa. He was a caregiver for his late wife (Connie) for more than 47 years. Along with caring for his wife, a diabetic who experienced a kidney transplant, a stroke, breast cancer, and seizures, Pastor Bruce has participated in numerous volunteer opportunities such as being an Emergency Medical Technician for almost thirty years as well as a Hospital, Police and Prison Chaplain.

Pastor Bruce has volunteered and been a representative for various patient-centered organizations, such as the National Patient Advocacy Foundation (NPAF), which provides a patient voice in improving access to and reimbursement for high quality health care through regulatory and legislative reform at the state and federal levels. He has served on the Advisory Panel for Patient Engagement at the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), addressing disparities, patient engagement, improving health care systems, and assessment of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options. Because of his special interest in rural health care issues, Pastor Bruce was a presenter for “The Power of Partnership in Research: Improving Healthcare Outcomes in Rural Settings” for PCORI.

Regionally, Pastor Hanson has been a member of the board at Chicago Partners Patient Engagement Cluster, and is also the Director of the Great River Patient Engagement Cluster (GRPEC), which he founded, and works to develop patient engagement in and through the various clinics and care facilities that are a part of the rural northeast Iowa, rural southwest Minnesota, and rural southwest Wisconsin areas.

On a national level, Pastor Bruce has served as a member with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Committee on Critical Care sub-group, the Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), a technical Expert for the 2018 Impact Assessment of CMS Quality and Efficiency Measures on the Technical Expert Panel (TEP), the Federal Assessment Steering Committee (FASC), among other projects. He has also actively participated in several national conferences such as the CareAlign Project for Hartford Medical School, as well as a conference on “Models of Care for High-Need Patients” at the National Academy of Medicine in Washington DC.

At the University of Iowa, Pastor Bruce serves as a member of the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science stakeholder advisory board and the HIT-PFCA that is working on the development of Open Notes and the Patient Portal.

Rose HedgesRose Hedges, DNP, RN

Nursing Research and Innovation Adjunct Nursing Faculty, Mt. Mercy University

Coordinator, UnityPoint Health, St. Luke’s Hospital

Rose Hedges DNP, RN, began her nursing career on an inpatient surgical unit before transitioning to a cardiac intensive care unit where she discovered her determination to find solutions to optimize patient outcomes. Her passion led her to spend the last seven years in nursing informatics where she utilized her clinical expertise, computer technology, and information science to support innovation and change throughout the hospital.

Rose recently transitioned into a role in nursing research and innovation. In this role she strives to empower nurses to share solutions they have created for identified problems in health care. Rose’s passion for health making and prototyping at the point-of-care continues to influence her daily work.

Nancy HumblesNancy Humbles, BA, MA

President, Cedar Rapids School Board

Nancy Humbles resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has devoted her life to and career to the education of students as well as her community. She began her career as an instructor at the Marion Learning Center. She worked with high school students that had dropped out of school. She assisted them in completing their GED or returned backed to their home school. After leaving the Marion Center, she worked at the Jane Boyd Community House as the Activity Director. This community house served over a thousand children and provided educational and athletic activities.

Nancy joined the UI in 1990 as an academic planning counselor in Special Support Services and then as an advisor in the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business. As the Assistant Director of advising at Tippie, she developed the Student Incentive Program, a summer program for minority and first-generation students. She also served as multicultural affairs coordinator and interim program coordinator for Opportunity at Iowa.

In 2007, Humbles became the director of the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment. In this role, she coordinated outreach opportunities and resources for underserved students from diverse backgrounds, including students of color, first-generation college students, and students from low-income families.

As the founding creator and retired director of the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment, Nancy was instrumental in establishing programs that provide a welcoming climate for students, faculty, and staff from marginalized communities. She also fostered meaningful personal connections with students who were navigating the ins and outs of college for the first time. She helped them succeed, and she took many of them under her wing, without fanfare, to help them maximize their personal potential and keep moving forward each day. Such guidance came naturally to Nancy, who earned a master’s degree in student development in postsecondary education from the UI College of Education while working at Iowa.

Since retiring from the UI in 2014, Humbles has widened her reach as a community volunteer. She was elected as the first African American to serve on the Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Currently, she is the President of the Cedar Rapids Community School Board of Education and President of the African American Museum of Iowa. Through her steady guidance and unwavering belief in personal potential, Nancy has impacted many people in the Cedar Rapids community.

Pietruszka HeadshotClarke Pietruszka

Treasurer and board member, TRIPP Foundation

Clarke Pietruszka moved to Iowa City after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia to work with the Perioperative Services administrative team at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics where he currently serves as a manager. He later earned an MS in business analytics from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. His work across the hospital connected him with Alisha Loy, founder and COO of the TRIPP Foundation- a non-profit organization supporting both children and families impacted by chronic and acute kidney disease. He was eager to dive further into the Iowa community and eventually came to serve as both treasurer and board member with the TRIPP Foundation. Outside of work you can often find Clarke at the gym, riding his bike or working on improving his golf game.

Plautz HeadshotBeth Plautz, BS

Family Navigator, Child Health Specialty Clinics

Beth Plautz is a Family Navigator with Child Health Specialty Clinics located in Fort Dodge. Beth assists families with children with special health care needs navigate the system for resources and provide family to family support. Beth and her husband, Dennis, have a child with Angelman Syndrome who was diagnosed through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics genetics clinic. Beth presently serves on the Autism Society of Iowa Board of Directors and the Fort Dodge Housing Agency Board of Directors. In her free time, she enjoys meditation, yoga and reading.

Jimmy ReyesJimmy S. Reyes, PhD, DNP, AGNP, RN

Associate Director of Practice and Education, Iowa Board of Nursing

Dr. Jimmy A. Reyes is the Associate Director of Practice and Education at the Iowa Board of Nursing. In addition, he has served in the deanship and professorship capacity at Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa College of Nursing. His research interests include the development and evaluation of community-based, family-centered, and collaborative diabetes self-management programs to treat diabetes in community dwelling Latino elders. Furthermore, he has worked on testing the efficacy of innovative training models to promote and foster the use of best practices/evidence-based diabetes practices, knowledge transfer, and sustainability.

He has received a Doctor of Nursing Practice in organizational leadership from the University of Iowa, a Master’s of Science in nursing and adult/gerontological nurse practitioner degrees from the University of Iowa as well as the Bachelor of Science in nursing. Currently, he is completing a PhD in Gerontology at Concordia University Chicago.

Ann RickettsAnn Ricketts

Ex-officio Member

Senior Assistant Vice President for Research, University of Iowa

Ann Ricketts is senior assistant vice president in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa. In addition to overseeing budget, human resource, and communications operations, she is active in research development for the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

She is an ex-officio member of advisory boards for a number of publicly engaged UI centers including the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Public Policy Center, and the Office of the State Archaeologist. She is also the administrative contact for the Pentacrest Museums.

Joe SampleJoe Sample

Director, i4A​

Joe provides policy, advocacy, and operational support for Iowa's Area Agencies on Aging through i4a. He holds an M.P.A. from Drake University and a M.A. from Loyola-Chicago in biomedical ethics and health policy. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in gerontology at Iowa State University. Joe's research interests are primarily in aging and sexuality in the context of non-normative cognitive change. Joe has served on numerous national, state, and local boards and advisory committees in aging, health, and human services. Joe was honored with Drake University's Pi Alpha Alpha Chapter Garry L. Frank Legacy Award for his work in public administration.

Sellars HeadshotDebra Sellers

Director of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach

Associate Dean in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University

Dr. Sellers' primary area of interest is adaptive living for people with aging-related limitations or disabilities and their families and caregivers, with an emphasis on supporting functional abilities through access to services and technology. She has more than 15 years of experience serving adults with disabilities, older adults, and families in a variety of settings, including long-term care facilities, retirement communities and government agencies. She was voted as one of her city’s most admired people in Manhattan, Kansas, and is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence®.

SlessorSteve Slessor, MHA

Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Leadership - Buchanan County Health Center

Steve Slessor currently serves as the CEO for Buchanan County Health Center in Independence, Iowa. He has served in this capacity since 2013. Prior to coming to BCHC, Steve served in senior leadership for UnityPoint Health Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. Outside of the hospital environment, Steve is active in the community with prior service on the Independence Chamber of Commerce, Independence Rotary Club, Cedar Valley Humane Society and Western Home Communities. Steve resides in Independence with his wife Megan and three children, Harper, Kain, and Merrick.