Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.

School of Nursing & Health Sciences Advisory Board

Collaboration for Success: Health Care Leaders & Faculty


The advisory board serves as a brain trust for leaders and key decision makers within the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Composed of leading health care strategists and influencers, the board provides insight into current and emerging trends, market needs, decision-making evidence, and workforce competencies.

Our mission

The mission of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences is to educate health care and nursing leaders to address increasingly complex needs in their sector. To accomplish this, the school provides competency-based educational offerings delivered by expert faculty using advanced learning technologies. Our goal is to enable our graduates to collaborate interprofessionally to improve patient, system, and population outcomes.

Capella University is also a founding strategic partner of the Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC), which is committed to building healthier communities through the service of nurses on boards throughout the country.

Capella faculty working with the advisory board

The advisory board provides industry and practice-relevant insight to school leaders and faculty to enact on the mission of the school to meet the needs found within the health care sector. Capella leaders and faculty, collaborate with board members to ensure curricula effectively build the competencies needed in today’s complex health care environment.

In addition, the interactions between the board and Capella leadership and faculty ensure Capella’s programs are professionally relevant and provide the flexibility needed for learners to succeed in their educational programs, and have a positive impact on both patient outcomes and the health of their communities at large.

Board Members

Michael Becker, PhD, RN

Michael Becker serves as the chief nursing executive/vice president of nursing at Masimo, a publicly traded global medical technology company that develops and manufactures innovative noninvasive patient monitoring technologies, including medical devices and a wide array of sensors. The company focuses on improving patient safety, reducing the cost of care, and improving nursing workflow. In this role, Dr. Becker connects the Masimo Technology platform to the clinical indications, quality, regulatory requirements, and nursing workflow.

Prior to joining Masimo, Dr. Becker held senior management positions, including chief nursing officer at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he led the medical center to its first Magnet designation. His experience also includes serving as director of in-patient clinical services for Temple Physicians Inc. and senior clinical consultant for CareScience, a quality and safety consulting firm. Dr. Becker has extensive clinical operating, patient quality, and safety experience. He has presented nationally and internationally on topics of patient safety and quality, as well as shared governance and service-line development. Dr. Becker is a member of the National Alarm Coalition, co-lead for the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, and a member of the Forum on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care sponsored by ACOG. Dr. Becker holds a BSN and MSN from LaSalle University, and a PhD in Health Administration from Capella University.

Kathy Chappell, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

Kathy Chappell is the senior vice president of Accreditation, Certification, Measurement, and the Institute for Credentialing Research at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is responsible for certification of individual registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses and for the development of certification examinations. Dr. Chappell is responsible for the accreditation of organizations that provide continuing nursing education and interprofessional continuing education and accreditation of residency and fellowship programs for nurses. She also directs the Institute for Credentialing Research, analyzing outcomes related to credentialing, and the quality management department. She holds a baccalaureate in nursing with distinction from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science in Advanced Clinical Nursing, and a doctorate in nursing from George Mason University. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a distinguished scholar & fellow in the National Academies of Practice.

Beth Houlahan, DNP, RN, CENP

Beth Houlahan is senior vice president, chief nurse executive at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin. Her nursing career has been focused on creating high-quality, reliable systems of care and developing the next generation of nurses and health care professionals to lead in changing times.

In her current role, Dr. Houlahan is accountable for all nursing practice across UW Health, which includes inpatient, ambulatory and procedural settings, as well as advanced practice providers, home health care, and patient care services for respiratory therapy, pastoral services, clinical nutrition, social work, and nursing quality. Prior to joining the UW Health system, Beth served as senior vice president of patient care services at Mercy Medical Center, a 455-bed facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

She was responsible for clinical, operational and financial leadership for nursing and clinical inpatient and outpatient services for Mercy Medical at five campuses in Cedar Rapids, including an acute care facility, medical plaza, alcohol and drug outpatient treatment center, and an inpatient hospice house. Dr. Houlahan served for 13 years in a variety of administrative roles at the University of Iowa hospitals and clinics. She codirected a service leadership initiative for more than 7,000 employees and served as clinical director of a primary care center staffed by 300 physicians and 100 staff, and as nurse manager, was responsible for the daily clinical operations in the department of medicine.

Dr. Houlahan received her doctorate in nursing practice at Rush University, Chicago, and completed the Johnson and Johnson Wharton Nurse Executive Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania. She is certified in executive nursing practice.

She has received several honors throughout her nursing career, such as the IONL, Outstanding Nurse Leader Award; Alumni Professional Achievement Award, Mt. Mercy College; and AAACN, Excellence in Administrative Ambulatory Nursing Practice Award.

Susan Jeska, EdD, MBA, BAN, RN

With 40 years of experience in the health care industry, Susan Jeska successfully blends a unique background in nursing, business administration, and educational leadership to promote talent development, expand workforce capability, and drive change across the enterprise.

She began her career at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and assumed progressive leadership roles and operational accountability for orthopedic surgery, rehabilitation, general surgery, recovery room, kidney and peritoneal dialysis, and organ and bone marrow transplant before moving into the field of leadership and organizational development.

Dr. Jeska’s career has evolved through three leading health care delivery systems in the Twin Cities to her current role as vice president, Center for Clinician Advancement at UnitedHealth Group. In this capacity, she leads initiatives in support of the company’s nearly 35,000 clinicians located in all 50 states and seven countries around the world.

Dr. Jeska holds a bachelor of arts in nursing from St. Catherine’s University, and a MBA and a doctorate in education from the University of St. Thomas. Her research and dissertation focused on a qualitative study of leadership in nursing.

Joan M. Kavanagh, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Joan M. Kavanagh is the associate chief nursing officer for clinical education and professional development in the Nursing Institute at the Cleveland Clinic (CC), where she facilitates the enterprisewide work of nurse professional development specialists and oversees all American Heart Association classes for the enterprise. Kavanagh is a member of the editorial board for the award-winning Nursing Institute publication, Notable Nursing. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Association of Nurse Executives, the National League for Nursing, the Ohio League for Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau. She holds a Master of Nursing Science with a specialty in education from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the PhD in Nursing Education program at NOVA Southeastern University. In addition, she received a BSN with distinction from the Catholic University of America and a diploma with distinction from the Helene Fuld School of Nursing in Camden, New Jersey.

Before joining the Clinic in 2005, Kavanagh held diabetes research and clinical positions at University Hospitals of Cleveland and undergraduate and graduate faculty positions at Ursuline College, and the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at CWRU.

Kavanagh is responsible for the creation and development of CC’s state-of-the-art nursing skills and simulation lab designed to replicate the practice settings of the intensive care, operating room, and medical-surgical unit. The lab features advanced human patient simulators incorporating the full trajectory of fidelity. She also serves as the CC liaison for school of nursing programs in Northeast Ohio and has served as the chief operating officer for the deans’ roundtable, a consortium of deans, directors, and educators from service and academia working together to address the nursing and nursing faculty shortage and the preparation-to-practice gap of new graduate registered nurses.

Most recently, Kavanagh launched CC’s inaugural simulation and competency-based New Graduate Registered Nurse residency program and led the work to obtain the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence Award in 2017, making Cleveland Clinic one of only four health care institutions in the United States with this unique distinction.

Elisabeth A. Klar, CPLP, PhD

Elisabeth A. Klar recognized a passion for workforce learning and development early in her career as a retail banking center manager. She has since performed numerous learning and development roles spanning financial services, higher education, and health care, including classroom/online facilitator, adjunct faculty member, instructional designer, and training leader.

Dr. Klar joined the Office of Learning & Performance Development (presently the Global Leadership & Learning Institute) at Cleveland Clinic in September 2013 as director of employee development. Her primary area of responsibility was to foster competency development and career growth for a frontline health care audience.

In June 2015, Dr. Klar accepted the role of director of onboarding and leadership transitions within the Global Leadership & Learning Institute. In this role, she oversaw the enterprisewide onboarding strategy for all new Cleveland Clinic caregivers and leaders ranging from front line to C-suite. She assumed the role of executive director of workforce development with Allegheny Health Network (an integrated health care system within Highmark Health) in November 2016. She was responsible for the strategic planning and execution of professional development across the multidisciplinary network of 17,000 employees. In June 2017, Dr. Klar accepted the role of director, talent management at Highmark Health, where she is responsible for the design and deployment of the talent strategy for all affiliated business units of the Highmark Health enterprise, including Allegheny Health Network.

Dr. Klar enjoys collaborating with others to identify innovative methods and best practices for growing and developing today’s diverse workforce. She is a certified professional in learning and performance with the Association for Talent Development. She holds a PhD in Organization and Management from Capella University with an emphasis in management education. She conducted doctoral research on learning style differences among today’s multigenerational workforce.

Cynthia Latney, PhDc, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Cynthia Latney has 30 years of nursing leadership with Centura Health, Hospital Corporation of America and The Methodist Hospital in Houston. A strong transformational leader, she influences the hospital’s strategic direction and ensures that nursing goals and initiatives are aligned to advance patient care and organizational success.

She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders, American Nurses Association, and American College of Healthcare Executives. She serves as a board member for both the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders for Southern Colorado.

Latney has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Care Administration. In addition, she is board certified in nursing executive practice.

Her nursing career has been dedicated to creating high-quality, reliable systems of care and developing nurses and health care professionals to lead in the ever-changing health care dynamics.

Holly Lorenz, MSN, RN

Holly Lorenz is the chief nurse executive of UPMC with responsibility for establishing and leading the strategic vision for nearly 15,000 nurses. Lorenz has oversight for nursing practice for more than 39 academic, community, specialty, and international hospitals as well as the 600 outpatient sites, rehabilitation, and long–term care facilities. She has several leadership roles within the service line management at UPMC.

Lorenz shares her vast knowledge and expertise in nursing leadership as a member on several influential boards. Being an inaugural member of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition State Steering Committee and Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Action Coalition allows her to advance nursing education and practice in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Lorenz is active on the Duquesne University School of Nursing, Robert Morris College School of Nursing, and Capella University Advisory Boards, Family House Executive Board, Carlow University Trustee, as well as numerous UPMC Boards. Lorenz is past president of the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Executives.


Honor Martin has more than 25 years of experience as a nurse executive and educator. She has worked in a variety of health care settings, including managed care organizations (commercial and Medicaid), the medical practice industry, and hospital-based organizational and staff development. Most recently, Martin served several years as vice president of clinical services for Aspire of Western New York, a health care operation serving the developmentally challenged and complex disabled.

Martin received her bachelor’s degree in English from Daemen College, Amherst, New York, and her BSN and master’s degree in education from Niagara University. She is board certified as a nurse executive through the ANCC and is also board certified in quality health care and management with a subspecialty in managed care through the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (ABQAURP). In 2008, she was awarded the status of Fellow in ABQAURP. She is a former member of the executive board of the Safety Net Association of Primary Care-Affiliated Providers, an organization providing integrated health care delivery and services to over 163,000 patients in Western New York. She is also a former member of the workforce development committee and training subcommittee for Millennium Collaborative Care, a New York State Performing Provider System, charged with developing a workforce strategy to support the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program for the eight counties of Western New York.

Raymond E. Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN

Raymond E. Phillips is currently a corporate chief nursing officer for Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group (HMG) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, globally distinguished as one of the leading health care providers in the Middle East due to their expertise in the Medical Projects Development Field and their escalated growth within the last few years. HMG currently operates 14 medical facilities across Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, including seven hospitals and six medical centers, and is developing one of the largest private medical cities in Saudi Arabia.

Formerly a chief nurse within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Dr. Phillips provided strategic leadership for nursing and other designated patient care functions and services with an integrated health-care delivery system that served more than 377,700 veterans across 17 counties in northern California. He sustained and transformed organizational values into daily operations, yielding an efficient, effective, and caring organization within the VA Northern California Health Care System in two fundamental ways: (1) convened and aligned all system-wide elements of nursing and the patient experience at the macro-system level; and (2) promoted standardization and assisted in the reduction of variation by the dissemination of evidence-based practice while maintaining innovative practices.

Dr. Phillips is a graduate of St. John’s University in Minnesota (BA in Nursing, 1986), University of California, San Francisco (MS, 1993), and University of California, San Francisco (PhD, 2009). As a predoctoral fellow, he was selected for the prestigious National Institutes of Health/Fogarty International Center scholarship, and completed a year of teaching and research at the Y. R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, India.

Dr. Phillips has been recognized with several prestigious honors for his leadership and accomplishments. He was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, executive nurse fellow in 2013. In 2012, he was selected to participate in the International Council of Nurses-Burdett Foundation’s Global Nursing Leadership Institute, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. He was the first nurse within the VHA to receive such a global honor. Moreover, his leadership ability has been further demonstrated by outstanding performance in progressively responsible positions for over 20 years in the U.S. military, prior to commencing his career with the VHA.

Sheila S. Stern, EdDc, MSP/I-O

With almost 20 years of operational and human performance improvement experience, Sheila Stern is passionate about developing people. As vice president for Ascension Care Excellence Clinical Professional Development, she is responsible for optimizing workforce strategies and developing care providers to meet the needs of our national health care ministry across 141 sites of care and more than 160,000 clinicians and associates.

Responsibilities include cultivating thought leadership in the design and delivery of executive clinical development; implementing the learning, technology, and communication strategies for clinical professional development programs; and fostering collaboration to build trustful relationships with health care teams to enable comprehensive clinical professional development and change management solutions.

As a U.S. Air Force First Sergeant and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm war veteran, Stern holds a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Commendation for Valor. In addition, she serves as a board member for the Jobs for America’s Graduates for Missouri, is an advisory board member for Capella University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and mentors for the American Corporate Partners military veteran program.

Stern often serves as a guest lecturer and speaker for various workforce development professional organizations as well as university graduate school programs focused on health care careers, workforce development and planning, military veteran recruitment, and military preparation for civilian careers.

Stern is a candidate for a doctorate in education, performance improvement leadership, and she holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. For joyful fun, Stern spends time traveling with her husband Adam and two daughters, Autrianna and Presley.

Cathleen A. Wheatley, DNP, RN, CENP

Cathleen Wheatley currently serves as the system chief nurse executive and senior vice president of clinical operations at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston Salem, North Carolina. She joined WFBH in September of 2014. In this role, Dr. Wheatley is responsible for nursing practice and operations throughout the health system for patient experience, clinical compliance, nursing education, and clinical information systems training. Dr. Wheatley has extensive experience as a health care executive, both nationally and internationally.

Prior to joining WFBH, she served as the first corporate nurse executive of SEHA, Abu Dhabi Health Services, in the United Arab Emirates. During her tenure with SEHA, she was responsible for the professional practice and development of more than 9,000 nursing and allied health professionals and coordination of care in the advancement of patient outcomes throughout SEHA’s 12 hospitals and 62 ambulatory care clinics. Dr. Wheatley previously held senior leadership positions at Dekalb Regional Health System in Atlanta, serving in various roles, including senior vice president, chief clinical operating officer, chief nurse executive, and chief quality officer. Dr. Wheatley earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at Georgia State University and her doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Central Florida. She is board certified with the American Organization of Nurse Executives as a Certified Executive in Nursing Practice and has completed the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Nurse Leader Program.

Dr. Wheatley has professional affiliations with the American Nurses Association, NC Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, North Carolina Organization of Nurse Leaders, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is a board member of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research and a CNO Council member for both the Beryl Institute and the HealthLeaders CNO Exchange. Dr. Wheatley serves on the advisory board of several schools of nursing including Capella University, the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, and Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Wheatley’s philanthropic interests include the economic independence of women in developing countries and educational preparatory programs with a global focus. She is a current sponsor of Women for Women International and a past member of the board of trustees of the Atlanta International School.

Capella School of Nursing and Health Sciences Leadership

Christy Davidson, DNP, RN

Christy Davidson, DNP, RN, has been a nursing professional for over 20 years, beginning as a staff nurse in labor and delivery, then growing in leadership as a women’s health clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager of a pediatric/medical surgical unit, and as nursing faculty. Dr. Davidson received her BSN and MSN from the University of Mobile, in Mobile, Alabama. She received her DNP from the University of South Alabama. After several years as a core nursing faculty member, Dr. Davidson is currently the associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and director of nursing at Capella. Dr. Davidson holds several scholarly presentations to her credit, is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, was a 2012 DAISY Faculty Award winner, a 2016 Leadership for Academic Nursing Program fellow, and currently serves as a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education site evaluator and team leader.

Jennifer Hoff, MS

Jennifer Hoff currently serves as the vice president and general manager of the College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Sciences at Capella University, where she provides executive direction over the execution and growth of a spectrum of academic programs spanning five professional disciplines. She joined Capella in 2011. In 2014, she led the development and launch of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and served as its vice president and general manager. In 2017, the Schools of Nursing and Health Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences were aligned into a single business unit forming the College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Sciences under Hoff’s leadership.

Her prior work experience includes management positions at, Coach Leatherware, and Dayton Hudson Corporation. She holds a BA in Business Administration, Financial Management and graduated with distinction with an MS in Leadership, from Capella University.

Hoff is passionate about developing a new generation of leaders. She is a member of the Women’s Health Leadership Trust, an organization committed to supporting and advancing the careers of women in health care. In 2016, she was selected by the Trust to mentor high-potential women leaders within the Twin Cities health care community. In addition, she is a member of the board of Bloom Early Learning, which focuses on closing the access and disparity gap in learning for underprivileged children; she assumed the chair role for this board in 2018.

In May 2017, Hoff was named as one of 50 honorees for the Women in Business award by the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal. She has been invited to speak to nationally regarding her insights and research in the area of work force development and education. Most recently, Hoff was selected as first author on a presentation at the AACN Baccalaureate Conference titled “Transforming Nursing Education through Adaptation to Millennial Learners.”

Adele Webb, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP

Over the last 25 years, Adele Webb has worked worldwide to build nurse capacity for treatment of communicable and noncommunicable diseases. She has received extensive funding for her international work and has published her findings in several refereed journals. She’s also contributed to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, testified to the Institute of Medicine and given testimony to the White House on nursing workforce issues. A much-sought-after speaker on international nursing care, Adele continues to collaborate with the WHO, as well as the World NCD Congress.

For her work, Adele has received the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Lifetime Achievement Award, the Nicholas Andrew Cummings Award for Excellence in Interprofessional Practice from the National Academies of Practice and fellowships from the International Council of Nurses, the Global Health National Academies of Practice, and the American Academy of Nursing.

After waiting until she was 29 to pursue her undergraduate degree, Adele went on to earn a BSN from the University of Akron, an MSN from Ohio State University, and a PhD in nursing from Wayne State University.

Learn More About Capella's Nursing Programs

Enhance your skills, improve patient care, and grow your career potential  with a flexible and affordable online nursing degree. At Capella, you’ll find  nursing degrees and certificate programs that are based on best academic and clinical practices—so you’ll be prepared to meet the needs of employers and transform patient care in today’s rapidly evolving systems of health.

Take the next step

Picture yourself in a cap and gown, ready to take on what’s ahead. Get started on your journey now by connecting with an enrollment counselor. See how Capella may be a good fit for you, and start the application process.