Board of Visitors

2022-2023 Board Members

Mary L. Behrens, FNP, FAANP

Mary Behrens, an alumna of the school, is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Fellow in FAANP. She has been an active political force in Wyoming since 1983, serving as mayor of Casper, Wyoming, Natrona County commissioner, and Wyoming state representative. She has promoted the nursing profession in both political and healthcare arenas, testifying at state, national, and international venues on nursing and health care. She has been recognized by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for her international, long-term teaching project in Vietnam through Friendship Bridge, which establishes an education pathway for nurses. Mary also served eight years on the board of directors for the American Nurses Association. Mary received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Nurses Alumni Organization in 2005. She is currently working with the American Nurses Advocacy Institute to prepare Nurses all over the US in Political Advocacy, and the Movement is Life project to improve health disparities.

Laurie S. Benson, BSN

Laurie Benson, an alumna of the school, currently serves as the Executive Director, Nurses on Boards Coalition. The mission of NOBC is to improve the health of communities through the service of nurses on boards and other bodies. Laurie’s career includes roles as an accomplished corporate executive, entrepreneur, and corporate board director. She serves on six corporate and non-profits boards in diverse industry sectors. She combines her expertise with engagement in the healthcare industry through board service, executive leadership, and innovation roles. As the CEO of an information-technology consulting company for twenty-five years, Laurie grew revenues from the startup stage to $80 million with 150-plus employees across three offices. Laurie’s passion is helping organizations and individuals achieve their potential. She lives out her gratitude for her nursing education through her commitment to playing an active role in transforming healthcare and promoting a culture of health in a way that honors nursing and the nursing profession.

Ann E. Brewer, BSN

Ann E. Brewer, an alumna of the school, was the director of the Executive Secretariat in the Immediate Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) prior to her retirement in 2016. After receiving her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, she held administrative and staff positions in hospitals and home health care agencies. Prior to moving to Washington, DC in 2002, Ann worked as the female health coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. She also served on the Wisconsin Board of Nursing for seven years and was the chairperson in 2000 and 2001. Additionally, she held an adjunct faculty position at the UW–Madison School of Nursing from 1995 to 1998. Prior to her retirement, Ann was an active member of the Council of the Federal Executive Secretariats, serving as vice chair in 2009 and chair in 2010. She was a member of the Friends of Patients at the NIH Board of Directors, where she served as its second vice president for several years. Brewer also serves on the Board of Visitors for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s “Initiative to End Alzheimer’s Disease.” Ann is a volunteer for Agrace Hospice Care in Madison. She has been a speaker at national, state, and local health associations, as well as legislative hearings.

Tim Bristol, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN, FAADN

Tim Bristol is a faculty development, NCLEX, and curriculum design specialist. He has taught at all levels of nursing to include LPN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and PhD. Developing new programs, innovations in learning, Next Gen Clinical Judgment preparation, and helping programs internationally, he is an expert in bringing the evidence-base of nursing, healthcare, and education to students and faculty at all levels. Through consultations, writing, and mentoring, Dr. Bristol assists faculty in identifying the competencies needed to effectively enhance programs for optimal student outcomes and practice-readiness. He has certification as a nurse educator, is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, and is internationally known for bringing excitement through success to his colleagues and students. His motto: “Today, we will learn how to learn.”

Nancy Fraser Michalski, RN

Board of Visitors Chair

Nancy Fraser Michalski is Vice President of Med Legal Services at Elevate, a global provider of consulting, managed services and technology solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. As head of Med Legal Services, Nancy provides clients with practical ways to improve efficiency, quality, and outcomes of their bodily injury claims and litigation, including medical bill auditing, comprehensive claim reviews, medical record reviews, and life care planning. Drawing on her extensive experience as a nurse and medical billing expert, Nancy developed a methodology for medical bill audits that has been endorsed by peer review, as well as a patent pending system for medical record analysis. She is widely recognized as an expert in medical billing and frequently testifies as an expert witness. Prior to Elevate, Nancy was Founder and CEO of Med Legal Consulting Source, which she grew into a leading provider of medical litigation support, and brokered the company’s acquisition by Elevate in 2012. As a registered nurse for more than 25 years, Nancy’s experience includes leading business operations, managing a large medical staff and billing department, and assisting in more than 10,000 surgeries. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a certificate from the University of Southern California in healthcare management development.

Mary W. Gulbrandsen, MS, RN, PNP

Mary Gulbrandsen is executive director of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS), a private, not-for-profit foundation providing need-based grants to recent graduates of Wisconsin public high schools who are attending Wisconsin public colleges full time. A pediatric nurse practitioner and former school district administrator, Mary has dedicated her career to benefitting children by combining her interest and expertise in health care, education, and administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and two master’s degrees—one in pediatric nursing and one in administrative medicine—from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Rudy Jackson, DNP, MHA, RN, CENP

Rudy Jackson serves as the Chief Nurse Executive of UW Health. He is an experienced healthcare leader with broad knowledge in large integrated academic health systems and a successful history of improving nursing outcomes and engagement as well as hospital operational performance.

Rudy previously served as Chief Nursing Officer for Buffalo General Hospital and Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, New York, the largest healthcare system in Western New York.  He has previously served in leadership roles at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas along with over 20 years of US Army experience.

Rudy earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from The University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, his master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his doctoral degree of Nursing Practice from Yale, New Haven, Connecticut.  He is also certified in Executive Nursing Practice from the Association of Nurse Leaders.

Jean E. Johnson, PhD, FAAN

Jean E. Johnson, an alumna of the school, is dean emerita and professor of the School of Nursing at George Washington University (GW). Throughout her career, Johnson has been committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people and communities and has designed and launched a range of programs to improve access to nursing education and health care in rural and underserved communities. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement for the GW School of Nursing. Dr. Johnson has co-chaired the National Task Force on Evaluation Criteria for Nurse Practitioner Programs as well as facilitated the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Consensus Group, which established a new regulatory model for advanced practice nursing. She was appointed to the UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Nursing Advancement Advisory Board in 2014. Johnson received a Fulbright Award to teach leadership as a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NONPF and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Melanie R. Krause, PhD, RN

Melanie joined IRS in October 2021 as the Chief Data & Analytics Officer. In this role, in addition to leading the RAAS team, as co-lead of the Data and Analytics Strategic Integration Board, Melanie works across the enterprise to coordinate analytic and research activities to advance areas of strategic importance to the Service. This includes using AI and other advanced analytics to support new or expanded customer service and enforcement initiatives, developing strategies for addressing emerging issues, and better measuring the full impact of IRS budget and actions on compliance. One key area of focus is continuing to make progress on an IRS data strategy that, in coordination with IT, expands the use of data and analytics to drive decision making at all levels of the organization and aligns with the Federal Data Strategy.

Prior to joining the IRS, Melanie served as the Assistant Inspector General for Management and Administration with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG). In this capacity, she was responsible for overseeing the VA OIG business functions, including the technology and data analysis teams. During her tenure as Assistant Inspector General, she significantly enhanced the way her organization used data through the development and deployment of self-service tools; establishment and empowerment of cross-functional teams to identify fraud, waste and abuse proactively; and development of trainings, seminars, and other knowledge sharing forums to celebrate high-impact, data-driven oversight and improve data literacy across the enterprise.

Melanie also has over eight years of experience conducting and leading oversight of Federal programs with the Government Accountability Office, as a detailee to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and in multiple roles with the VA OIG prior to being appointed as Assistant Inspector General.

Prior to joining the Federal service, Melanie worked at the bedside at Badger Prairie Health Care Center in Verona, WI. Despite leaving clinical practice in 2009, Melanie maintains an active license as a registered nurse and holds bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Patricia Lasky, PhD, RN

Patricia “Pat” Lasky, an alumna of the school, retired from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing in 2003. Prior to her retirement, she served as executive associate dean, acting dean and associate dean of undergraduate program and outreach.

Since her retirement, Pat has served on the board of directors and as president of the Retirement Association of UW–Madison. She currently sits on the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County where she serves as vice chair. She also serves on the city of Madison committee on Environment and the Education Committee. Pat is a board member of the Nursing Alumni Organization and a volunteer at Chávez Elementary. She is the recipient of the 2017 Marquette University Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Nursing.

Allison M. Ludwig, RN, MHA, MPH

Allison Ludwig, an alumna of the school, is a Public Health/Health Care Lead at the MITRE Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland, where she supports the federal government in policy development and implementation in the post-acute care sector. Prior to joining MITRE, she held a position at the National Quality Forum (NQF), where she staffed the NQF-convened Measures Application Partnership (MAP), and supported quality measurement and improvement efforts for Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries, the health workforce, and hospital readmission reductions initiatives. Allison also has previous experience in healthcare administration at UPMC and began her career as a staff nurse in oncology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and, later, master’s degrees in public health/health policy (MPH) and health administration (MHA) from the University of Iowa.

Linda L. Procci, PhD

Linda Procci retired after 17 years as Vice President of Service Line Operations at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Prior to that position, she served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, Director of Training in Nursing as the University Affiliated Program at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and Clinical Nurse Specialist at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center.

Linda is an alumna of the School of Nursing (BS 1972, MS 1974) and earned a PhD in Education from the University of Southern California. Linda led the School of Nursing’s capital campaign for Signe Skott Cooper Hall. She currently serves on the University of Wisconsin Foundation Board and Dean’s Advisory Board for the Wisconsin School of Business. Since retiring, she has been very active with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and LA Badger Women.

Patty Shinners, RN, MS

Patty Shinners, an alumna of the School of Nursing, is a retired family nurse practitioner living in Northern Wisconsin. After receiving her baccalaureate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at UW Hospital and Clinics as a staff and charge nurse. She then went on to serve as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Division of Critical Care Nursing. Following this, she completed her master’s degree from UW-Madison. She proceeded to work as both a Faculty Clinical Consultant for UW Hospital and Clinics, and an Assistant Clinical Instructor in the School of Nursing. After moving to Northern Wisconsin, she attended UW-Oshkosh where she received a Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificate.

In addition to her nursing experience, Patty has been a member of the Antigo Common Council, the School Board of the All Saints Catholic School System, the Langlade County Board of Heath, and the Langlade County Social Services Permanency Plan Review Committee. Patty is currently the Vice Chair of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Advisory Council and an active volunteer in many organizations in her hometown.

Peggy Zimdars, RN, PNP

Peggy Zimdars is an alumna of the School of Nursing (BS 1973) and graduated from the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program in 1977. She worked with the University of Wisconsin Hospital Pediatrics ICU, as well as a private practice in allergy and immunology. Peggy has served as a Patient and Family Advisor since 2011, including the UW Health Patient and Family Advisory Council from 2011-2017, serving as co-chair from 2014-2015. She has also served on the MyChart PFAC, the Discharge Collaborative, and the planning group for UW Health at the American Center. She currently serves on the Clinical Knowledge Management Council; the Patient Safety and Quality Council; Health and Safety Committee; the Mobility Work Group; the Breast Cancer Research Advisory Network; PEER, a patient advisory group for a PCORI grant addressing health care acquired infections; and the Wisconsin Hospital Association Patient and Family Advisory Council. Her community leadership and engagement includes serving on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence; training as Orton-Gillingham tutor and tutoring children with dyslexia and reading difficulties; and serving as a member of the School of Nursing capital campaign committee.

2022-2023 Student Representatives

The Board of Visitors composition includes three student members, with one student representing each of the School’s degree programs. Ex-officio student representatives are appointed by the dean for one year, with the opportunity to renew pending good standing with the Board and School.

Duncan Asaka

Duncan is a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student in the School of Nursing who represents the DNP program on the Board of Visitors. Duncan is in his second year of Board membership.

Brian Barrera Falcon

Brian is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) student in the School of Nursing who represents the BSN program on the Board of Visitors. Brian is in his second year of the BSN program and his first year on the Board.

Laura Block, BS, BSN, RN

Laura Block is a PhD Student in Nursing with a research focus on long-term care and cognitive aging among older adults with serious mental illness (SMI), and is advised by Dr. Tonya Roberts. Ms. Block’s pursuit of advanced training in nursing and dementia-focused research is driven by personal and professional experiences caring for people with dementia. Her role as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a Skilled Nursing environment, with added pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, has deepened her commitment to dementia-focused research in post-acute and long-term settings of care, and the cognitive aging experience and associated care needs of people with SMI. Ms. Block also works as a Project Assistant for Dr. Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi of the School of Nursing, supporting a wide array of research studies focused on promoting effective and equitable care and research for persons living with and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

Nurses Alumni Association Representative

Ashley Fielek, BSN, RN, CNOR

Ashley is a recent graduate of the School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in adult/gerontology clinical nurse specialist program. She is also the president of the Nurses Alumni Organization.

Patricia Lasky, PhD, RN

Patricia “Pat” Lasky, an alumna of the school, retired from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing in 2003. Prior to her retirement, she served as executive associate dean, acting dean and associate dean of undergraduate program and outreach.

Since her retirement, Pat has served on the board of directors and as president of the Retirement Association of UW–Madison. She currently sits on the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County where she serves as vice chair. She also serves on the city of Madison committee on Environment and the Education Committee. Pat is a board member of the Nursing Alumni Organization and a volunteer at Chávez Elementary. She is the recipient of the 2017 Marquette University Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Nursing.