Salina KU Nursing School Welcomes Salina Area Native

A Salina area native is joining the staff at Salina’s KU School of Nursing.

According to the University of Kansas, Karen Weis, Ph.D., has been appointed the Christine A. Hartley Rural Health Nursing Endowed Professor at the University of Kansas School of Nursing-Salina. She also will be the director of research at the newly created Kansas Center for Rural Health.

Weis, a graduate of Saline County schools, was raised outside of Salina on a farm and ranch, and her family still farms in the area.

“The stars have truly aligned to bring me back to my hometown in Kansas,” Weis said. “It is a joy to work with the KU Medical Center team. I am excited to be home again and help build and sustain accessible, quality health care for all Kansans.”

In her role at the KU School of Nursing campus in Salina, Weis will work with groups and individuals in Salina and the surrounding communities to establish rural health-focused research and evidence-based practices. She also will mentor and support students in rural-focused research.

Rural areas face many challenges, including higher percentages of uninsured people, aging populations with more
chronic conditions and shortages of health care providers. At the Kansas Center for Rural Health, which is housed on the Salina campus shared by the KU schools of Medicine and Nursing, Weis will oversee the center’s research efforts in order to address health disparities in rural parts of the state.

The KU School of Medicine announced Feb. 10 the formation of the center, which was created with support from the
Patterson Family Foundation and the Salina Regional Health Foundation. The center will provide the infrastructure
needed so that researchers, educators and rural health stakeholders can work together to find ways to reduce or
eliminate health disparities in rural Kansas.

“We are so pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Weis to our faculty. Nursing research is novel in this area, especially with a
nurse researcher of Dr. Weis’ caliber,” said Lisa Larson, Ph.D., dean, University of Kansas School of Nursing-Salina. “She will no doubt be an invaluable resource and mentor to our students, while also contributing to our goal of innovatively addressing the challenges of enhancing rural health care.”

Weis comes to KU after spending six years as a professor and the Brigadier General Lillian Dunlap Endowed Chair in
Nursing Research at Incarnate Word University. Prior to arriving at Incarnate Word, she was a decorated 29-year veteran of the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, where she held multiple clinical and leadership positions in maternal child/high-risk obstetrical nursing. Her primary research interest is in maternal perinatal mental health and its effect on maternal and fetal/infant health.

“We were thrilled and grateful to receive the funds to endow the Hartley Professorship in Rural Health Nursing. Dr.
Karen Weis is the perfect person for that professorship with her impressive military service, research and her roots in the Salina area,” said Sally L. Maliski, Ph.D., dean and Beverly Gaines Tipton Endowed Professor in Oncology Nursing, KU School of Nursing. “We are excitedly looking forward to growing rural health nursing with Dr. Weis’ leadership and the contributions she will bring to the KU School of Nursing-Salina.”