Dec. 20, 2013
University of Kansas Medical Center faculty and staff joined School of Nursing Dean Karen Miller earlier this week in a retirement send-off for Helen Connors, RN, Ph.D., associate dean of integrated technologies at the KU School of Nursing and executive director of the KU Center for Health Informatics.
"We are here celebrating a life transition for Helen, after 35 years of dedicated service," Miller told the audience at a crowded retirement reception held Tuesday afternoon in the School of Nursing atrium. Connors' two sons and grandchildren also were in attendance as co-workers presented gifts and speeches.
Connors was honored for her educational innovation in the area of information technologies since joining KU School of Nursing in 1979 as director of the nurse practitioner program.
"She was instrumental in the School's shift from the classroom to web-based teaching," Miller said. "Helen's known not only for the right idea but for an unbelievable stamina to make change."
The School began offering an all-online Ph.D. program in 2006. And, Miller said, Connor's efforts to bring the classroom to nurses and increase the number of nurses in rural areas garnered media attention in Time magazine and CNN's spotlight on the "Heroes of Medicine."
Miller noted Connors was the first E. Jean M. Hill Endowed Professor at the School of Nursing, and pointed to the many academic and business partnerships Connors developed to support and expand the use of health information technologies, including with Kansas Health Institute, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Cerner Corp and HealthGate Corp.