Our Team

The top priority of IHC is its clients. Meet the people who are committed to its initiatives, serving its clients and advancing sustainable healthcare transformation.

President and CEO

Tom Evans, MD, FAAFP
President + CEO

Tom Evans, M.D. has been President and CEO of the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) since 2005.  IHC focuses provider-led initiatives to improve statewide healthcare performance through engagement of stakeholders, rapid deployment of best practice, and public reporting of clinical performance data.  IHC has been recognized as one of 26 national Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) driving to achieve the CMS Partnership for Patients initiative goals. 

Dr. Evans received both BA and MA degrees from Drake University.  He received his MD degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and completed his Family Medicine residency at Broadlawns Medical Center in 1986.  He practiced family medicine for 13 years before serving as Chief Medical Officer for the Iowa Health System from 1999 to 2005.  

Dr. Evans has served as President of both the Iowa Medical Society and the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians.  He has also served on the delegations for both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).  Dr. Evans has served on the Board for the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), and currently serves on the board of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI).  He is the chair of Iowa’s Medical Home System Advisory Council, works with the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Measures Application Partnership and is leading the National Priorities Partnership (NPP) Medication Safety Affinity Group.

Dr. Evans is a faculty member with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the College of Medicine at Des Moines University, and the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Team

Karthik Abbineni, MS-IS
Senior Data Analyst

Karthik Abbineni is a data analyst at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. His focus is on data analytics and visualization to help hospitals, clinicians and communities improve the quality of healthcare while reducing the cost. Abbineni received a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications from Vellore Institute of Technology, India and a master’s degree in information systems from Iowa State University. He has extensive analytics experience and knowledge including requirement analysis, outlier detection and descriptive, prescriptive and predictive analytics to identify the best possible solutions with meaningful information.

Jennifer Brockman, MHA, BSN, RN
Vice President, Health Services

Jennifer Brockman is vice president, health services at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She has more than 15 years of clinical nursing experience including long-term care, medical, surgical and emergency room, home care and hospice, cardiac rehabilitation, oncology, quality management and utilization review and infection prevention. Her areas of expertise include infection prevention, hospital wide process improvement and hospital quality reporting. She received a bachelor’s degree in science and nursing from the University of Iowa and received a master’s in healthcare administration from Walden University.

Nicky Carlson, BSN, RN
Clinical Improvement Consultant

Nicky Carlson is a clinical improvement consultant for the ambulatory quality initiatives team at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She supported clinicians while moving to value-based care and facilitates both the Iowa and Nebraska portion of the Compass PTN. Carlson received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northwestern College and specialized in obstetric nursing prior to becoming a part of the Compass team. 

Kate Carpenter, BHA, CPHQ, RT (R)(M)(CT)
Director, Hospital Quality Initiatives

Kate Carpenter is director of hospital quality initiatives at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and is a NAHQ Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Carpenter leads the Compass Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network and leads the design of innovative quality, patient safety and performance improvement projects to drive sustainable and transformational improvement efforts across the care continuum. She serves as the co-lead to the PfP Readmissions Affinity Group and on the Iowa Care Coordination Statewide Strategy committee. Carpenter has 12 years of clinical experience in the medical imaging field and holds board certifications in general radiography, mammography and computed tomography.

Kathy Collins, BSN, RN, CPHQ
Clinical Improvement Consultant
Kathy Collins, a clinical improvement consultant at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, is responsible for the coordination and implementation of quality improvement initiatives. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Iowa and is a NAHQ certified professional in Healthcare Quality and a TeamSTEPPS master trainer. Collins has 15 years’ experience as a quality director with clinical experience in labor and delivery, medical-surgical, long-term care, home care and ambulatory care. She has led and facilitated quality improvement and patient safety initiatives in several Iowa hospitals.
Lana Comstock, MSN, RN, CPHQ
Clinical Improvement Consultant

Lana Comstock is a clinical improvement consultant for the hospital quality initiatives team at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She received her master’s degree in science of nursing education and has primary nursing experience in home care, long-term care and paralegal nursing. Comstock is an experienced nurse administrator with focus in nursing management, nursing education and organizational quality in various clinical settings. Her responsibilities within the HIIN included facilitation of the Falls Prevention Community of Practice and the Opioid Guardianship Project, as well as serving as a consultant to hospitals in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota promoting all quality measures to improve safety across the board.

Ellyn Cottingham, MHA, MLS, (ASPC)CM
Director, Ambulatory Quality Initiatives

Ellyn Cottingham is the director of ambulatory quality initiatives at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. Prior to this she was a medical laboratory scientist and shift supervisor in the Core Laboratory at MercyOne Des Moines.  She received a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Des Moines University and a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from the University of Iowa. 

Chris Evans, MHA, FACHE
Vice President, Administrative Services

Chris Evans is vice president, administrative services at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. In this role he oversees IHC internal operations and support processes. Prior to his role at IHC he held various positions in healthcare administration for CHI Health, including division director – emergency medicine and security service lines, vice president-operations, operations director – ancillary and support services and assistant administrator – retail and corporate clinics. Evans received a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Bethel University. He is board-certified by the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Lauren Fidler, BBA
Data Analyst

Lauren Fidler is a data analyst at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. In this role she assists with daily analytical programmatic tasks that support the mission, vision and cornerstones of IHC. Fidler depicts analytical results in ways that are easily understood in a presentable manner and contributes to the successful achievement of program objectives through effective team involvement and proactive communication and collaboration. She acts as the Compass database manager and is skilled in Tableau, R and SQL.  

Linda Firkins, CPA
CFO

Linda Firkins is division director, administrative services at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She received her CPA designation in 1993 and has served in various accounting and human resource management positions since that time.  Firkins has recently served as the director of finance at Disability Rights Iowa where she managed multiple federal grants for the agency.  She was responsible for all financial activities of the agency including working with and reporting to the Board of Directors.  She also worked as chief financial officer for ISED Ventures where she managed multiple federal grants and was responsible for all financial accounting and human resource functions.

Norma Haskins, BS
Education Coordinator

Norma Haskins is education coordinator at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and her teaching certification from the Northern Ireland Ministry of Education. She brings to her position more than 20 years’ experience teaching in higher education institutions and 15 years’ experience developing, planning and implementing education programs and webinars.

Lexie Hudachek, MA
Project Support Specialist

Lexie Hudachek is the project support specialist for the hospital services division at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. In this role she supported hospitals in the Compass HIIN by providing user support and network communications to hospitals. Prior to her role at IHC she worked remotely as a marketing intern for Brand and Bash in Buena Vista, CO, a graduate assistant STEM Festival coordinator for the NE Iowa STEM Hub at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and she currently serves as a photographer for Lexie Shannon Photography. Hudachek received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a master’s degree in general communication from the University of Northern Iowa.

Ashley Johnson, MSA, BA
Accountant

Ashley Johnson is as an accountant at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She has more than six years’ experience in various accounting positions. Johnson holds bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and business administration and a master’s degree in accounting.

Brenda Johnson, MSN, RN, CPPS, CNOR
Clinical Improvement Consultant
Brenda Johnson is a clinical improvement consultant for the hospital quality initiatives team at the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety. Johnson has a clinical leadership and program delivery background and has led many successful collaborative hospital training projects to enhance quality and patient safety across improvement networks.
Venisha Lambert, BS, MPH, BCS, CHC
Clinical Improvement Consultant
Venisha Lambert is a clinical improvement consultant at the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. In this role she is responsible for the coordination and implementation of quality improvement initiatives. Lambert received a bachelor’s degree in science and community health/exercise science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She is a Certified Behavioral Change Specialist and a Certified Health Coach. Lambert has prior experience as a public health advisor, wellness program manager and QIN/QIO improvement consultant managing and implementing evidenced-based practices and providing technical assistance to providers and stakeholders
Damon Morrison, BS, BA
Director, Information Systems
Biography coming soon.
Stephanie Muller, MSML, BA, PHR, SHRM-CP, IPMA-HR
Director, Human Resources

Stephanie Muller is Iowa Healthcare Collaborative’s director of human resources. She is responsible for the overall development and management of IHC’s growing human resources department, including implementing HR practices that support IHC’s long-term strategic objectives and enhancing the corporate culture. With more than 18 years of extensive hands-on experience leading HR initiatives, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, Muller brings expertise in employee engagement, rewards and recognition, talent acquisition and retention and compensation and benefits administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in public agency administration from Northern Arizona University and holds certifications as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) (from the Human Resources Certification Institute), a Certified Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-CP) (from the Society for Human Resource Management) and a Certified Professional in Human Resources (IPMA-CP) (from the International Public Management Association for Human Resources).

Lori Paulson, MS
Data Analyst

Lori Paulson is a data analyst at the Iowa Healthcare collaborative where she is responsible for facilitating, assisting, designing and performing data management and analytical programming tasks. She received a bachelor’s degree in family environment and zoology and a master’s degree in family environment with a minor in gerontology and statistics from Iowa State University. Paulson has extensive knowledge and experience in the healthcare and research industries with prior experience as a senior data analyst developing Tableau reports for use across systems to monitor risk scores, utilization and quality metrics. She is a Certified Culture of Continuous Improvement facilitator.

Betsy Peiffer, BSN, RN, CHC, CPHQ
Clinical Improvement Consultant
Biography coming soon.
Melissa Perry, MSW, LCSW
Project Coordinator
Melissa Perry is the project coordinator at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). In this role she supports the development and execution of hospital quality initiatives including Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (HQIC) network. Perry, a licensed clinical social worker, received bachelor and master’s degrees in social work from the University of South Florida. She is an experienced engagement professional with quality improvement and clinical experience working with patients and caregivers in ventricular assist devices (VAD), heart transplant, end stage renal disease, dialysis, mental health and substance abuse facilities and settings.
Sharmie Russell, ACEA
Office Coordinator + Executive Assistant

Sharmie Russell serves as the operations coordinator and executive assistant at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. She joined the IHC team as the receptionist and executive support. She was promoted to office manager, and now handles the day to day operations of IHC, assists with human resources, IT and many other various duties. She is a retired cosmetologist.

Cari Seddon, MA, RDN, LD, CDCES
Director, Community Quality Initiatives

Cari Seddon is the director of community quality initiatives at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. In this role she supports collaborative clinical and community partnerships driving sustainable healthcare quality improvements with focused attention on providing person-centered care throughout Iowa. Seddon received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s degree in family and consumer science from Western Michigan University. Seddon is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist. She is six sigma lean certified and has over 19 years of experience in patient care and population health management.

Tony Troester, MS, MPH, MBA, PMP, CSSBB
Performance Improvement Lead

Tony Troester is the process improvement lead at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication and master’s degrees in healthcare operations management, public health and business administration. He is a certified project management professional and is certified Six Sigma Black Belt by the American Society for Quality. Prior to his role at IHC Troester worked as a cardiology clinic manager and has experience with quality initiatives, Lean/Six Sigma, data analysis, project management and healthcare policy.

Adewale Tychus, MPH, CPHQ, CHES
Project Coordinator
Adewale Tychus is a project coordinator at Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). In this role he supports the development and execution of quality initiatives projects for the IHC opioid network. Tychus holds a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University and a master’s degree in biology from Howard University in Washington, DC. He is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and a Certified Health Education Specialist. Tychus has experience as a quality improvement consultant and project manager generating and implementing evidence-based healthcare education programs, managing projects and in root cause analysis for quality improvement.