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April 29, 2014

UW-Eau Claire Health Care Administration Program names 2014 scholarship and award recipients

Leadership award recipients

Applied leadership practicum project award winners, left to right: Kellie Ahrens, Spencer Beard, Kristin Pingel, Morgan Holien and Richard Mueller

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Health Care Administration (HCAD) Program and the Center for Health Administration and Aging Services Excellence (CHAASE) announced 2014–15 scholarship and distinguished service award recipients at the annual spring banquet held April 24, 2014 at The Florian Gardens in Eau Claire, WI.

Nearly 350 participants attended the annual event which recognizes students, preceptors, alumni and friends of the UW-Eau Claire HCAD program and CHAASE, a partnership of academia, services organizations and professional associations that supports the UW-Eau Claire HCAD program and the health and aging services profession.

Robert G. Kramer, founder and president of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC), delivered the banquet’s keynote address which focused on anticipated changes in the field and the need to invest in future leadership. NIC is a nonprofit, educational forum that provides information about capital formation and business strategy for the senior housing and care industry. 

$15,000 in scholarships were presented to UW-Eau Claire HCAD students. See box below for scholarship recipients.

Five senior health care administration students received awards for their applied leadership practicum projects. These students were as follows:

  • Morgan Holien, from Winona, MN, was the recipient of the 2014 Internal Operations Leadership Project Award. Holien overhauled the medication ordering system at St Therese in New Hope, MN, and improved systems related to pharmacy. This included updating new order, reorder, and medication transporting processes, developing pharmacy policies on both procedures and personnel topics, creating a tighter narcotics protocol, auditing and tracking medication errors, and updating the diversion plan. Holien’s work led to an overall decrease in the usage of antipsychotic medication.

  • Kellie Ahrens, from Marathon, WI, was the recipient of the 2014 External Operations Leadership Project Award. Ahrens implemented a system at the Marshfield Care Center to reduce hospital readmissions by tracking hospital transfers. Her project gave staff a better understanding of hospital transfer trends, increased their awareness of the importance of reducing transfers, and ultimately reduced transfers.

  • Richard Mueller, from Little Suamico, WI, was presented with the 2014 Internal Innovative Leadership Project Award. Mueller implemented an employee influenza vaccination initiative at Alden Estates of Jefferson in Jefferson, WI. His project, which increased awareness of the benefits of vaccination and the costs associated with not getting vaccinated, resulted in the creation of new policies and procedures. Mueller created departmental competitions, which helped the facility achieve an 87% facility vaccination rate.

  • Kristen Pingel, from Clintonville, WI, was the recipient of the 2014 Client Customer Service Leadership Project Award. Pingel’s project, “Kristen’s Sharing Moments,” was a wish granting program for long term care residents at Wynscape Health and Rehabilitation in Arlington, IL. The program was developed, funded and provided by staff and caregivers at Wynscape. Pingel’s unique program was featured in an article published March 28, 2014 in the Daily Herald, suburban Chicago's largest daily newspaper.

  • Spencer Beard, from Hager City, WI, was the recipient of the 2014 Heyde Health Care Entrepreneurial Leadership Project award for his telemonitoring program which he implemented at Mayo Clinic Health System–Oakridge in Osseo, WI. Beard’s project focused on improving chronic disease management and reducing health care costs for both the individual and the organization. The project resulted in a 25% reduction in emergency room and hospital in patient visits, and reduced healthcare charges to the patient.  

Leadership project winners received scholarship and travel money from the Minnesota Geriatric Education Center and Heyde Companies to encourage further dissemination of their projects.

Four individuals were recognized for their contributions to CHAASE and the UW-Eau Claire health care administration program. These individuals were as follows:

  • Ariel Fuller, from Elk Mound, WI, was named the 2014 Distinguished Student in recognition of her exceptional performance and extra contributions to the HCAD program. Fuller is vice president of the UW-Eau Claire student chapter ACHCA where her responsibilities include overseeing the on-campus mentoring program. She also assisted UW-Eau Claire faculty members Dr. Doug Olson and Dr. Scott Lester with the ACHCA national mentoring program.

  • David Eagan, regional director with Real Property Health Facilities Corp, was the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a 1990 UW-Eau Claire graduate. Prior to his present position with Real Property Health Facilities Corp, Eagan worked as an administrator for the organization for over 20 years. Eagan has also served as a Wisconsin representative of the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) and the District 1 president of the Wisconsin Health Care Association.

  • Michael Edwin, director at Wipfli, was the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award for his service to CHAASE and the HCAD program. A CHAASE board member, Edwin assisted the board with its strategic planning efforts. He has also taught strategic planning to UW-Eau Claire HCAD students for over 10 years. Edwin is chair of the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association Board of Directors.

  • Randy Rennock, administrator at Syverson Lutheran Home in Eau Claire, was named the 2014 Preceptor of the Year for his leadership and contribution to the HCAD program both on and off campus. A 2000 graduate of the UW-Eau Claire HCAD program, Rennock has served as an excellent mentor to many HCAD students.

To learn more about CHAASE and the UW-Eau Claire Health Care Administration program, visit the CHAASE website at

2014 Health Care Administration Scholarship Recipients

Health Care Administration Scholarship Recipients

Front row, left to right: Samanta Paider, Lori Bauer, Abigail Kielman, Lori Mahan, Ariel Fuller, Katelyn Morrison, and Briana Weyker. Back row, left to right: Dylan Chambers, Madeline Kurvers, Anna Hanson, Jacob Yaeger, Alissa Iwanski, Emily Feiner, Holly Carfield, Brad Price, and Eric Andersen.

  • Benedictine Health Systems: Jacob Yaeger, a sophomore from Waunakee, WI. $1,000
  • Care Providers of Minnesota: Madeline Kurvers, a freshman from Eden Prairie, MN. $1,000
  • Gene Decker: Dylan Chambers, a junior from Elk River, MN. $500
  • Extendicare Foundation: Abigail Kielman, a sophomore from Suamico, WI; Alissa Iwanski, a sophomore from Mc Farland, WI. $500 each
  • Golden Living: Briana Weyker, a sophomore from Belgium, WI; Samantha Paider, a sophomore from Brussels, WI. $1,000 each
  • Good Samaritan: Kate Morrison, a junior from Crivitz, WI. $500
  • HCR ManorCare: Ellen Larson, a sophomore from Spring Valley, WI. $1,000
  • LeadingAge Wisconsin: Eric Andersen, a junior from Eau Claire, WI. $1,000
  • Life Care Services: Lori Mahan, a junior from Superior, WI. $1,000
  • M3 Insurance: Emily Feiner, a junior from Cross Plains, WI. $1,000
  • Thomas & Michael Schanke Family Civic Engagement: Brad Price, a junior from Chippewa Falls, WI. $1,000
  • Tri-County Medical Alliance: Lori Bauer, a sophomore from Hastings, MN. $300
  • Wisconsin Association of Assisted Living: Anna Hanson, a sophomore from Peterson, MN. $500
  • Wisconsin Health Care Association: Suzanne Crank, a second degree student from Altoona, WI; Holly Carfield, a junior from Eau Claire, WI; Ariel Fuller a senior from Elk Mound, WI. $1,000
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