Nursing Leadership

Patricia B Howard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN 

Interim Dean 
University of Kentucky College of Nursing 

Dr. Howard became the Interim Dean in the College of Nursing in November 2012. She has spent her career in academic and healthcare leadership positions including her previous position as the Associate Dean for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Masters (MSN) programs in the College of Nursing. She has taught in undergraduate, DNP and PhD programs, serves as a consultant on development of DNP programs regionally and nationally, and led recent College of Nursing efforts in establishing an academic partnership with Norton Healthcare Institute for Nursing in Louisville. Her specialty focus is psychiatric mental health nursing and her program of research focused on mental health services research including patient satisfaction with services and evaluation of evidence based practices in the treatment of schizophrenia.  

Her honors include distinguished alumnus awards from the University of Louisville School of Nursing where she earned her baccalaureate degree and the University of Kentucky College of Nursing where she earned her master's and doctoral degrees. Dr. Howard is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. She is a founding board member and past officer of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses where she was honored as a recipient of the Melva Jo Hendrix award given to individuals who have contributed to improvement in services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.


Colleen H. Swartz, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC

Chief nurse executive
UK HealthCare

Colleen Swartz became chief nurse executive at UK HealthCare in December 2008. Her prior experience includes serving as chief nursing officer at a regional community hospital, as director of emergency and trauma services flight nursing and as director of the Capacity Command Center for UK HealthCare. 

Swartz holds a DNP degree, master’s degree in nursing as a clinical nurse specialist in trauma/critical care and an MBA. She has completed the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellows Program in management for nurse executives. 

The integration of production systems strategies to optimize the care delivery model is of primary interest to Swartz. Her research interests include study around clinical deterioration and early warning systems deployment in adult and pediatric populations. 


Darlene Spalding, MSN, RN 

Senior nurse administrator
Good Samaritan Hospital

Darlene Spalding is the senior nurse administrator for UK HealthCare’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Prior to joining the Good Samaritan Hospital team in 2009, she held several leadership positions within UK HealthCare such as patient care manager of Markey Cancer Center, patient care manager of the Per Diem Pool, hospital operations administrator, divisional charge nurse and staff nurse. 

Spalding earned her BSN at Berea College and her MSN at the University of Kentucky. She serves as a member of the UKHC Senior Nursing Leadership Team, Emergency Executive Leadership Team, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Staff Operation Subcommittee, BSN Residency Advisory Board and Good Samaritan Executive Team.


Diana J. Weaver, RN, PhD, FAAN 

Senior nursing advisor
UK HealthCare

Diana Weaver has spent her career in positions of patient care leadership, serving as the senior patient care executive at UK HealthCare and Yale New-Haven Hospital and as a clinical consultant focusing on patient care models, leadership development and organizational effectiveness. She has served as a faculty member in multiple settings, teaching leadership and management content at the undergraduate and graduate levels of nursing education. From 2004 through 2009, Dr. Weaver served as a trustee at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center where she chaired the regional clinical strategy task force. 

Her honors include distinguished alumnus awards from Indiana University School of Nursing, where she earned her baccalaureate and doctoral degrees, and Ball State University, her diploma program. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, an International Honor Society of Nursing, and the American Nurses Association. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a past president of the American Organization of Nursing Executives, the professional association for nursing leaders. Dr. Weaver was recently named the recipient of the Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award by Sigma Theta Tau International.


Kathleen Kopser, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Senior nurse administrator
Albert B. Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital

Kathleen Giauque Kopser is the senior nurse administrator for UK HealthCare’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Prior to accepting this position in 2009, she served as the interim chief nursing officer for the A.B. Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and as director for acute care services, inpatient cancer services and renal dialysis. She began her career in a small 80-bed hospital in Ohio but then returned to her alma mater, the University of Kentucky, in September, 1976 and has been employed by UK HealthCare since that time. 

Raised in Fredericktown, Ohio, Kosper earned her BSN and MSN degrees at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. Most recently, her clinical focus has been in oncology nursing, specifically the care of bone marrow transplant patients. She is the recipient of both the MJ Dixon Quality Nursing Award and the Diana Weaver Leadership Award, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and the American Organization of Nurse Executives. She is also certified in nursing administration through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Page last updated: 4/9/2015 9:47:43 AM