About Us

KNN Tree IconIn collaboration with medical schools nationally and other stakeholders in the health ecosystem, the KNN is working to create the conditions for flourishing within the profession of medicine.

Learn about our impact so far: Latest Progress Report >>


Who We Are

The Kern National Network for Flourishing in Medicine (KNN) is a national movement whose work is focused on the integration of four foundational elements within the profession of medicine: character, caring, practical wisdom and flourishing. We advance this work in the following ways: connecting and convening stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, catalyzing transformative initiatives, and influencing policy and systems change.

When clinical learning environments, practice settings and health systems cultivate wholeness of being and purpose—along with competence and continuous improvement—then those within can truly flourish. That’s the aspirational goal of the KNN: Advancing character, caring and practical wisdom in medicine to ignite a positive culture change that helps individuals, community and society flourish.

The KNN partners with medical schools and other stakeholders nationwide to transform healthcare’s educational and practice settings and create the conditions of possibility for flourishing.



The KNN aspires to promote flourishing through the profession of medicine.



The KNN will foster character, caring and practical wisdom in the profession of medicine through efforts with health professions education, healthcare systems, network partners and society.


Core Values

  • We strive to ensure that those who work, learn, care and discover in our institutions flourish
  • We seek to cultivate deep listening, open inquiry and respectful dialogue across a variety of viewpoints
  • We support principled innovation, scholarship and lifelong learning to create communities of excellence that drive future advances
  • We recognize the importance of personal responsibility and conduct our work with respect, integrity and authenticity
  • We embrace creating cultures of belonging and constructive engagement that recognize the dignity and full potential of all individuals


Framework for Flourishing

The KNN's framework is the north star for all we do and shows how character, caring and practical wisdom offer a potential path to flourishing.

Access framework


Progress Reporting

The KNN produces regular progress reports covering the network's governance, program office, initiative activities and other highlights. 

View latest report

Our History

Kern National Network members attending a lecture.

In partnership, and with support from the Kern Family Foundation, seven medical schools from across the United States formed the KNN in 2017 to build on shared strengths, speed innovation and collaboration, and drive national impact. Faculty, students, leadership, and staff at these schools have worked diligently to advance character, caring and practical wisdom in medicine.

The Kern National Network founding medical schools are:

  • Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
  • Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
  • MCW Medical School
  • University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  • Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Through its initial years, the KNN identified innovations that could be beta-tested and then integrated into educational practice.

In 2018, the KNN Board decided to expand the focus of the Network from medical education to the profession of medicine, with the ultimate goal to advance flourishing.

Today, the KNN continues its work in advancing innovations in medical education while beginning to shift focus more broadly from the role of training future physicians to re-examining the profession of medicine to emphasize character, caring and practical wisdom, as well as cultivating healthy, flourishing communities.

The Kern Family Foundation

KNN Program Office

Lamya Augusthy

Digital Community Coordinator

Nicole J. Borges, PhD

Director, Evaluation and Assessment

Ellie Bradish

Administrative Associate
(414) 955-8075

Elena Burke, MBA

Program Manager
Partner Development and Relations

Christine K. Cassel, MD

Professor of Medicine
Senior Advisor for Strategy and Policy
University of California, San Francisco

Susan Cox, MD

Senior Director for Strategic Engagement

Jessica Cunningham, MEd

Grants Operations Coordinator
(414) 955-0964

Alverno Devine, DDiv

Program Manager
(414) 955-4149

Kimara Ellefson, MBA

National Director of Strategy and Partnerships

Tara Fikejs, BSBM

Program Coordinator III
(414) 955-4745

Jeff Fritz, PhD

Associate Director

Brianna Johnson

Communications Associate

Marissa Kalkman, MS

Program Manager, Learning Consortium
(414) 955-2305

Cheryl A. Maurana, PhD

MCW Eminent Scholar
Senior Vice President for Strategic Academic Partnerships
Professor, Bioethics and Medical Humanities
KNN Founding Director
(414) 955-8075

Jean Moreland

Program Director
(414) 955-4907

Kari Reynolds

Administrative Assistant Sr.

Georgina Selenica

Communications Consultant

Maria Steinert, MBA

Program Coordinator III
Learning and Engagement

Suzette Svoboda-Newman, MS

Program Director
(414) 955-4952

Christine Van Hulle

Project Coordinator
(414) 955-4997

Sarah Williams

Senior Communications Consultant
(414) 955-4927

Alicia Witten

Program Director
(414) 955-7407

Joëlle Worm, MPA

Director of the Student Network
(414) 955-4152

  • Dartmouth Logo
  • Dell Logo
  • Mayo Clinic Logo
  • MCW Kern Institute
  • UCSF Logo
  • UW Madison Logo
  • Vanderbilt Logo