Our Leadership

  • Charlie Shields

    Charlie Shields

    President and Chief Executive Officer, Truman Medical Centers

    Charlie Shields serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Truman Medical Centers (TMC). Charlie joined TMC in July 2010 as Chief Operating Officer of TMC Lakewood in Kansas City, Mo. He assumed his current role in July, 2014.

    Charlie’s vision for TMC is to lead the way to a healthier Kansas City. His priorities include improving organizational performance; enhancing communication among staff, medical providers and patients; and working with physicians and leaders to develop innovative ways to meet the growing health needs of our community.

    During his tenure at TMC Lakewood, Charlie oversaw significant change and growth. His accomplishments included: opening the Lakewood Family Birthplace, a 19-bed labor/delivery/recovery/post-partum unit completed in October 2011, which accommodates 1,800 births a year; developing an integrated program of behavioral health services for older adults, including opening an innovative 14-bed inpatient acute care geriatric psychiatric unit and establishing an intensive outpatient program for older adults at Lakewood Counseling Service; acquiring, Medical Imaging Eastland, a successful diagnostic imaging center in Independence; creating the Eastland Breast Center within Medical Imaging Eastland, a community-focused center to treat breast cancer and care for the patient from detection to remission; completing construction on Fairmount Family Medicine, a new outpatient primary care center located in underserved northwestern Independence; establishing an elementary school-based mobile dental care program in conjunction with the Independence School District; and opening a full-service Walgreens Pharmacy onsite.

    Prior to coming to TMC, Charlie spent 20 years in the Missouri General Assembly and served as President Pro-Tem of the Missouri Senate from 2009-2011. He began his career in healthcare and spent 17 years with Heartland Health (now Mosaic Life Care) in St. Joseph, Missouri where he served in a variety of leadership roles, including Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

    Charlie is actively engaged in leadership roles with several community partnerships. These include the Missouri Hospital Association, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Civic Council, Metropolitan Community College Foundation Board of Directors, Urban Neighborhood Initiative Kansas City, Truman Heartland Community Foundation and Starlight Board of Directors. He was appointed to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – State Board of Education by Governor Jay Nixon in August, 2012. He was elected board president, effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.
  • Mitzi Cardenas

    Executive Chief Administrative Officer

    Mitzi Cardenas is an information technology and healthcare executive with more than 19 years in the healthcare industry, serves as Sr. Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and Technology at Truman Medical Centers (TMC).

    In her current role, Cardenas provides leadership to the organization in developing leading clinical and administrative information systems and technology. She also recently led a comprehensive three-year strategic planning process that resulted in the development of a three-year strategic plan. In addition, Cardenas has worked with TMC’s organizational leadership to implement an electronic health record that followed a 13-month quality-focused plan. From this effort, TMC recently earned a fourth consecutive Healthcare's Most Wired designation from Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine as well as the prestigious Stage 7 designation for both acute care and ambulatory from HIMSS Analytics. In addition, the AHIMA Grace Award recognizing excellence in use of technology was recently awarded. She has been instrumental in developing healthcare information exchanges at both the State and regional levels, serving in key board positions over the last several years.

    Cardenas was Co-chair of the Technology and Operations Workgroup for the Missouri Health Connection for two years and also served as the Chair of the Missouri Hospital Association’s HIT Committee. She currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Lewis and Clark Health Information Exchange as well as several national advisory and vendor committees. Cardenas has been invited to speak across the country on a number of important topics related to healthcare IT.

    Prior to joining TMC, Cardenas held leadership roles in a pediatric academic medical center, the military health system, and a multi-hospital healthcare delivery system. She received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master's of science degree from Troy State University.
  • William H. Colby, JD

    General Counsel

    Bill Colby began his law practice in 1982 in Washington, D.C., as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then in the D.C. office of Davis Polk & Wardwell. In 1985 he moved to Kansas City and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Over the years, he has represented large corporate clients as well as individuals in a wide variety of matters in courts across the U.S.

    From the late 1980s into the 1990s, he represented several Missouri families in disputes over an issue that is popularly known as the "right to die." Most well-known was the case of Nancy Cruzan, in which Colby argued before the Missouri and U.S. Supreme Courts, ultimately establishing the federal constitutional right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.

    He has spoken extensively on these medical/legal issues in both the national broadcast and print media and has been the featured speaker at a variety of meetings, including the American Bar Association and the Aspen Institute. He has also published two critically acclaimed books, Long Goodbye: The Deaths of Nancy Cruzan (Carlsbad, CA, Hay House Inc. 2002), and Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America (New York, AMACOM 2006).

    Bill has a BA in creative writing from Knox College ('77), and graduated as valedictorian from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1982.
  • Niki Lee Donawa

    Chief Community Relations Officer

    Niki Lee Donawa is Chief Community Relations Officer for Truman Medical Centers. In this role, she is responsible for leading TMC’s community outreach efforts as well as volunteer and retail services. She also has responsibility for TMC’s fresh produce markets and the Mobile Market.

    With more than two decades of sales and retail experience, Niki has worked in both creative and corporate environments. She has extensive experience in training, marketing, and sales. She has participated on numerous organizational design teams and facilitated countless sales training sessions during her nearly 13-year tenure at Hallmark Cards. 
Prior to joining TMC is 2010, Niki served as the Community/Physician Relations Manager for KU Pediatrics, providing management for external community relations, and volunteer functions.

    Niki earned her MBA at Baker University and her undergraduate degree in Business and Fashion at the University of Central Missouri.

    She is actively involved in the community as a member of Friends of the Urban League, Leadership Intern on the Central Exchange, the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals, Colorado Technical University Advisory Board, the KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, the National Black MBA Association, Non-Profit Connect and various other non-profit committees.
  • Sharon Freese

    Chief Operating Officer, Behavioral Health

    Sharon Freese provides leadership in the areas of TMC Behavioral Health clinical services, staff competence, financial viability, customer satisfaction and client safety for hospital and community-based services.

    Freese has more than 25 years of nursing, mental health and healthcare leadership experience. She has served the last 19 years with TMC Behavioral Health in a variety of roles including as a clinical nurse manager, director of nursing, associate administrator of inpatient services and most recently, associate administrator for behavioral health quality, patient safety and risk management.

    Prior to her service with TMC, she served as a registered nurse at two hospitals in Indiana. She later worked as a nurse and Community Mental Health Supervisor with Central Kansas City Mental Health Services, which merged with TMC Behavioral Health in 1997.

    She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and went on to earn her Master of Social Work from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Sharon is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, as well as a Crisis Prevention Institute instructor.
  • Gerard J. Grimaldi

    Vice President, Health Policy and Government Relations

    Gerard J. Grimaldi, Kansas City, is Vice President of Health Policy & Government Relations for Truman Medical Centers. In this capacity, he leads policy development and government strategies at the federal, state, and local level, and also is responsible for government grants.

    Grimaldi currently serves on the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee. He is an active leader in local, state, and national hospital and healthcare organizations and is a past chair of the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Public Hospitals. In 2005, Grimaldi was a key strategist in the successful campaign for Kansas City, Missouri funding for healthcare and emergency services and its 2013 renewal, which achieved a 76 percent YES vote.

    His civic and community leadership includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Council. Grimaldi is a past chair of the Jackson County Community Mental Health Levy Board of Trustees and the Bannister Federal Complex Community Advisory Panel.

    Previously, Grimaldi was Kaiser Permanente’s Vice President, Strategy and Human Resources in the Kansas City market. Early in his career, Grimaldi was a U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives staffer; in that role he helped achieve numerous economic development, healthcare, and other projects, including Blue River flood control, Bruce R. Watkins Drive, and establishment of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site.

    A Kansas City native, Grimaldi graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Journalism. Grimaldi and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of four children.
  • Jeffrey Hackman, MD, FACEP

    Chief Medical Information Officer
    Corporate Medical Director - Quality

    Jeffrey Hackman, MD, FACEP, serves as Chief Medical Information Officer for Truman Medical Centers (TMC). Dr. Hackman is the liaison between the medical staff and Information Technology. In this role he provided clinical leadership to TMC's 18-month electronic medical record roll-out project, helps set priorities for upcoming projects, and is the primary “translator” between physicians and IT professionals.

    The Medical Director for Quality has corporate responsibility for such varied areas as patient safety, accreditation, case management, performance improvement, and utilization management. Hackman has been in this role since November 2015.

    Hackman also serves as the Director of Clinical Operations for the Emergency Department at TMC Health Sciences District, a level 1 trauma center in Kansas City’s urban core that serves approximately 65,000 patients per year.

    He received his bachelor and medical degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He then completed a residency in emergency medicine before joining the faculty at TMC. He is board certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics.
  • Marga Hoelscher

    Chief Financial Officer

    Marga Hoelscher is responsible for corporate financial accounting, third party reimbursement and managed care. Also, she assists with government relations activities at the State Capital advocating for TMC and our patients in the ever changing world of healthcare reform.

    Hoelscher comes to TMC with over thirty years of state government experience. She most recently served as Administrator of the Missouri Senate where she provided guidance and direction to Senate staff departments while working daily with state Senators to address their business needs. Hoelscher is extremely proud of being selected as the first woman Senate Administrator in the history of the Missouri Senate.

    In addition to legislative administrative work, Hoelscher’s career also included serving as a budget analyst for both the Missouri House and Senate. In 2002, she became the Director of House Appropriations where she guided a team of analysts developing recommendations for the $20+ billion state budget. Throughout her legislative budget experience, Hoelscher primarily focused on Missouri’s health, mental health and social service programs.

    In 2008, Hoelscher became the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Missouri’s Medicaid program and was later promoted to Deputy Director. As CFO, she was responsible for managing MO HealthNet’s $7 billion budget and worked with the Missouri Hospital Association to enhance hospital revenues by developing financing opportunities and strategies for Missouri’s hospitals.

    Hoelscher graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Business Administration and graduated from the University of Missouri with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Hoelscher is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
  • Nancy Lewis

    Chief Marketing Officer

    Nancy Lewis, is Chief Marketing Officer for Truman Medical Centers. In this role, she provides leadership and strategic direction in the areas of strategic communications, branding, marketing and public relations.

    Nancy has more than 20 years of public relations, marketing and media experience. Prior to joining TMC, she most recently served as Director of Public Relations and Communication for the Independence School District. In that role, she worked hand-in-hand with the superintendent to achieve strategic goals for district improvement. She oversaw all internal and external communication and worked on community-wide projects including a dental program with TMC Lakewood.

    Prior to service with the Independence School District, Lewis worked for 14 years as a special projects reporter/anchor with WDAF-TV in Kansas City. She was part of the special projects team that launched the award-winning “Problem Solvers” unit.

    She is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. She has served as a board member of the Shared Care Free Health Clinic and volunteers regularly with the Kansas City Rescue Mission and the Independence Rotary Club. She lives in Kansas City with her husband Brent.
  • Willy F. Pegues IV

    Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

    Willy F. Pegues IV, MBA, serves as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. He is responsible for promoting a culturally inclusive environment where all patients, guest and workforce members are welcomed. He partners with the HR Leadership Team in developing goals and objectives in support of growth in diversity of the talent pool and pipeline while supporting the overall mission of the organization.

    Pegues leadership roles at TMC include Associate Administrator for Women’s Health (2014-2016), Director of Primary Medicine (2011-2014), and Manager of I.T. (2006-2011).

    Pegues graduated from University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Computer Information Systems, graduated from the United States Army War College with a Master’s in Strategic Studies, and graduated from University Missouri Kansas-City Executive Bloch School of Business with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He also serves in the Army National Guard at the rank of Colonel.

  • Amy Peters

    Chief Nursing Officer

    Amy Peters, RN, BSN, MBA is Truman Medical Centers’ (TMC) Corporate Chief Nursing Officer. Peters began her career at TMC- Health Sciences District in the Laboratory in 1994. After completing nursing school, she worked as a staff nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit before serving in a variety of nursing leadership positions. In 2008, Amy moved to TMC Lakewood where she served as the Associate Chief Nursing Officer followed by the role of Interim Chief Operating Office. Peters returned to TMC Health Sciences District when she was promoted to Corporate Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) in 2015.

    As CNO, Peters has focused on enhancing the patient experience for those receiving care at TMC; introduced Pathways to Nursing, a program to mentor high school students with career aspirations in nursing; developed a strong partnership with the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Nursing; and a variety of other initiatives designed to improve safety and quality as well as the enhancement of the practice of nursing at TMC.

    Peters graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Biology, from Mid-America Nazarene with a degree in Nursing, and from Baker University with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She serves on the board of the Missouri Organization of Nurse Leaders (region 2) and Zebra Technologies’ Healthcare Customer Advisory Board. Peters recently completed a tenure as the President of the Kansas City Association of Nurse Executives. She also is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • Ruth Stricklen Pullins

    Chief Human Resources Officer

    Ruth Stricklen Pullins, MA, SPHR, CLRP, is TMC Chief Human Resources Officer. As Chief Human Resources Officer, Pullins provides leadership in developing and executing employee enrichment strategy especially in the areas of staff management, recruitment, organization and performance management, training and development and compensation.

    Pullins served in the same role with The University of Kansas Physicians (UKP) since 2006. The UKP, affiliated with the University of Kansas Hospital and University of Kansas Medical Center, is the largest multi-specialty practice in the region with more than 600 physicians and 1,000 staff. In this role, she led strategic planning process, organizational culture change and served as the internal consultant to 18 clinical practices for all human resources issues.

    Pullins’ professional accomplishments include creating and executing a plan to centralize communication and creating a common culture and identity at UKP. These plans helped to significantly reduce staff turnover. She also led restructuring of the organization’s retirement plan, established a paid time off program, and completed a redesign of employee benefits.

    Pullins earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Development from Friends University. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of Kansas. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Certified Labor Relation Professional certification from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association. She is a member of Medical Group Managers Association, the National Society of Human Resource Management and the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association. Pullins serves on the governance structure committee for the National Parkinson Foundation, Heartland. She previously held a director role for the Society for Human Resource Management - Kansas City Chapter.
  • Mark T. Steele, M.D.

    Executive Chief Clinical Officer

    University Physicians Associates
    Executive Medical Director

    UMKC School of Medicine
    Associate Dean for TMC Programs

    Truman Medical Centers
    Executive Medical Director

    University Physician Associates
    Associate Dean for TMC Programs

    UMKC School of Medicine

    As Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Steele, M.D., is responsible for oversight and leadership for all hospital functions.

    Dr. Steele attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine's combined six-year medical program where he received his BA/MD degrees. His emergency medicine residency was under the tutelage of W. Kendall McNabney, M.D. at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City.

    Dr. Steele has served on the faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine/Truman Medical Center since his graduation from residency in 1983. In 1987 he was named Vice Chairman, Program Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine in 1990, and in 1997 as Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine. He has risen through the ranks to his current positions as Chief Medical Officer at Truman Medical Center (TMC) and Executive Medical Director for the University Physician Associates (UPA). Dr. Steele also holds the position of Associate Dean for TMC Programs at the UMKC School of Medicine where he also is a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    In 2002, Dr. Steele was named as one of Ingram's Top Doctors of Kansas City and he also was the recipient of the UMKC School of Medicine E. Grey Dimond Take Wing Aware, an award established in the name of the school's founder and awarded to alumni for outstanding achievements in medicine. Other honors and awards include becoming a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians in 1988, the UMKC Alumni Achievement Award in 1990, induction as a faculty member into Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society at the UMKC School of Medicine in 1992, and receiving the UMKC School of Medicine Excellence in Medical Education award in 1992.

    Academically, Dr. Steele has more than 60 publications. His interests have been in the areas of infectious disease, wound care, circadian rhythms, shift work, emergency medicine practice and workforce issues.

    Dr. Steele's professional memberships include the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, the Missouri State Medical Association, and the American Medical Association. In 2003, Dr. Steele was selected as a member of the Board of Directors, for the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) where he also served as President. He also serves as an ABEM item writer, chief examiner for the oral examination, chair of the Test Administration Committee, and chair of the Emergency Medicine Continuous Certification Task Force.
  • Lynette Wheeler

    TMC Lakewood, Chief Operating Officer

    Lynette M. Wheeler, DNP, RN, FABC, is Truman Medical Center Lakewood Chief Operating Officer. Previously she served as TMC Chief Nursing Officer.

    As Chief Nursing Officer, Lynette Wheeler was responsible for all aspects of nursing service programs, standards of nursing practice including competencies and compliance with all applicable accrediting and regulatory requirements regarding inpatient, ambulatory and specialty programs.

    Wheeler has more than 30 years of combined clinical and management experience. She began her career as a staff nurse in the Coronary Care Unit at Clarkson Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Cardiopulmonary Vascular Services at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo. In that role, she provided senior administrative leadership and coordination of the development of the Heartland Regional Medical Center Cardiopulmonary Vascular Services Department. She was also instrumental in leading a performance improvement project that saved the health system $4.5 Million over three and half years in multiple practice areas.

    Prior to her work with the Heartland, she worked as Division Director of Cardiovascular Services at the Prairie Heart Institute/St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill, and Director of Cardiology and Vascular Services for the Nebraska Health System in Omaha, Ne.

    Wheeler will graduate with her DNP in Organizational Leadership from Kansas University Medical Center in May 2016. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and the Missouri Organization of Nurse Leaders.
  • Barbara Zubeck

    Director, Internal Audit and Compliance

    As Director of Audit & Compliance for Truman Medical Centers, Barbara Zubeck is responsible for reviewing the financial statements, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations and analyzing operating processes for effectiveness and efficiencies.

    Zubeck has more than 20 years of financial and auditing experience with healthcare organizations.

    Prior to joining Truman in 2004, Zubeck served as Internal Audit Manager for CHAN Healthcare Auditors, where she was responsible for the establishment of the audit function for Carondelet Health System, which includes St. Joseph Health Center and St. Mary's Hospital of Blue Springs.

    Zubeck also worked as Director of Internal Audit for Health Midwest for 15 years, where she trained and supervised audit staff for the 13-hospital system; managed multiple audits at various locations; and ensured the accuracy of financial data and the efficiency and effectiveness of departmental operations. Zubeck also was a senior auditor for KPMG, LLP, one of the big four accounting firms.

    She graduated with honors from University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Zubeck is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor.

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