Our Team

The National Center OICPD team includes professional CE coordinators with extensive experience designing, implementing and evaluating continuing education programs for the healthcare team.

Cheryl Ekegren-Kirby, MEd, has more than 20 years of experience in education and training design, development, implementation, assessment and evaluation. She has managed the College of Pharmacy CE program since 2012. Her MEd in Instructional Systems and Technology is focused on instructional design, and she holds a Graduate Certificate in Technology Enhanced Learning: Multimedia Design and Development. She is an expert in the Canvas learning management system. She has significant experience with Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accreditation and Joint Accreditation.

Taylor-James Gilard, MEd, brings more than 10 years of continuing education experience to the team. Mr. Gilard’s Master’s degree is in instructional design learning technologies, and he is an expert in Canvas and Moodle learning management systems and DestinyOne registration management. He has planned and implemented many large-scale conferences and events that have received American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) and Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education. He holds a post-baccalaureate certificate in online distance learning. 

Laura N. Kirk, PhD, RN is a nursing faculty member and content expert to the National Center OICPD. Dr. Kirk is a clinical associate professor in the University’s School of Nursing’s Adult and Gerontological Health Cooperative and is an active researcher in nursing education, aging and caregiving, as well as vascular and cognitive science. Dr. Kirk advises on the development of continuing professional development programs.

Angela Willson, MPH, has led the National Center’s CE Program for more than six years, bringing more than 10 years of experience in community services and education, including supportive services and adult education programs for veterans and families experiencing homelessness. Ms. Willson leads large-scale conference planning and manages the National Center’s Education and Training portfolio. Her MPH is in public health administration and policy, focusing on the public health professions workforce. She has significant experience in Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education processes.

Jennifer Kertz, MPP, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Center, has more than 20 years of experience initiating, designing, and managing IPE programs, including grant writing, grants administration, project management and leadership development. In her current role, she oversees the National Center OICPD team and supports business development across the organization. 


National Center OICPD Leadership Team

Christine Arenson, MD. Dr. Christine Arenson, Director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, is a board-certified family physician and geriatrician. She brings extensive experience in interprofessional practice transformation.  Previous to her role at the National Center, Dr. Arenson served as the Alumni Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 2013 to 2020. In this role, Dr. Arenson implemented a new Advanced Primary Care Model, including integrated behavioral health, across the Jefferson Health Primary Care Service Line, comprised of nearly 100 academic and community primary care practices. Dr. Arenson was the founding co-director of the Jefferson Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and served as founding Director of the Jefferson Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care. Under her leadership, the Division launched interprofessional community-based programs including an interprofessional practice located in Philadelphia’s largest senior center. 

Barbara F. Brandt, PhD, EdM, FNAP.  Dr. Brandt, founding director of the National Center and tenured professor in the College of Pharmacy, has extensive experience teaching in and directing continuing education programs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Minnesota. Dr. Brandt’s doctoral degree (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) and academic expertise are in the area of continuing education for health professionals. In 1991, she co-authored one of the first books on CE operations and has published extensively on the topic throughout her career. Dr. Brandt is an internationally recognized leader in the field of IPE. In her administrative leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, including Associate Vice President for Education, Dr. Brandt established and supported interprofessional programs such as an interprofessional skills and simulation center, a health careers center, community outreach, Minnesota’s Area Health Education Center, and the University’s interprofessional education program, 1Health.

National Center Office of Interprofessional Continuing Professional Development Leadership Team,
from left to right, Lynda Welage, Christine Arenson, Barbara Brandt, Connie Delaney

Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP. Dr. Delaney is Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing and is the Knowledge Generation Lead for the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. Dr. Delaney served as Associate Director of the Clinical Translational Science Institute – Biomedical Informatics and Acting Director of the Institute for Health Informatics at the University. Dr. Delaney is the first Fellow in the College of Medical Informatics to serve as a Dean of Nursing. She is an active researcher and has published extensively in data and information standards for nursing, healthcare, and interprofessional practice and education, big data science, and integrative informatics. Dr. Delaney has been active with the National Center since its founding and was instrumental in shaping the National Center Interprofessional Information Exchange and big data approach to interprofessional Knowledge Generation. 

Lynda Welage, PharmD, FCCP. Dr. Welage is the Dean of the University’s College of Pharmacy and is a nationally known expert on critical care and drug absorption. She is a collaborative academic leader and an accomplished translational researcher, educator, and pharmacy practitioner. She has overseen the development of innovative practice and education models and strategic initiatives to improve the health of local and global communities. Previous to the University of Minnesota, Dr. Welage served as Dean at the University of New Mexico, associate dean for academic affairs and continuing education administrator at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and associate director of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Welage has expanded initiatives to enhance faculty mentoring at the University of Minnesota, including initiatives for faculty of color in the health sciences.