Faculty Information

Jerald Abrams, PhD, Philosophy

A philosophy professor and former HAP Program Director, J. J. Abrams teaches Bioethics (HAP 457 and HAP 404).

James Ault, MA, Sociology


James Ault is collaborating with Dr. Stephanie Wernig in analyzing variables that predict academic success for undergraduates at Creighton. His work with faculty and administrators in the School of Dentistry to analyze variables that predict satisfaction with professional practice patterns of alumni have resulted in four conference presentations and two articles submitted for publication in 2008. He is also in the seventh year of a project to evaluate the relative reliability of surveys of student opinion about faculty effectiveness in classroom settings. He is now completing the first year of what is expected to be a three year project working with St. Francis Mission in St. Francis, SD to describe burial plot locations in the St. Charles cemetery at St. Francis, and to make those descriptions available to members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe as a resource to identify the probable burial plots of deceased family members. He regularly teaches HAP 312 and HAP 314.

Joe Carnazzo, MBA, Healthcare Administration


Joseph S. Carnazzo is a nearly lifelong Omahan.  He has a BA and MA in History from Creighton University and an MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Mr. Carnazzo began his career as a teacher but soon entered the field of health care administration in the areas of planning and marketing at several hospitals both in and outside of Omaha.  Mr. Carnazzo also served as an administrator for a number of physician practices in the Omaha area.  Retiring from the health care administration in 2000, Mr. Carnazzo organized one of the Academy of Finance programs in the Omaha Public Schools and became an adjunct teacher at Metro Community College, where he teaches Business and Economics, and at Creighton University, where he teaches Health Care Administration.  Mr. Carnazzo and his wife Regina have 6 children and 9 grandchildren. He teaches HAP 200, HAP 410, and HAP 411.

Sue Crawford, PhD, Political Science


Dr. Sue Crawford is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Creighton University.  She also teaches courses in the Health Administration and Policy Program and is on faculty for the Creighton Doctor of Education in Leadership (EdD) program.  Her Ph.D. training at Indiana University focused on American Government and Public Policy with a concentration in Public Management. Dr. Crawford’s research interests include: the roles of religious institutions in public policy, tools for analyzing the impact of rules and norms on behavior, and the roles of government and other community institutions in facilitating health information access in rural communities.  Dr. Crawford is also a Nebraska state senator. She regularly teaches HAP 331, HAP 334, and HAP 420.

Michael Demman, JD, Health Law (Simply Well LLC)


I received my Bachelor in Business, with an emphasis in Marketing, from Loyola Marymount University in 1992 and my Juris Doctorate from Creighton University in 1996. I am licensed to practice law in Nebraska and Nevada. I practiced law in Las Vegas from 1996 – 2000, before moving back to Omaha. From 2001 – 2008, I served as Vice President-Corporate Counsel for Private Practice Associates, LLC, (“PPA”) a physician owned Group Purchasing and Practice Management Organization. While at PPA, we developed a population health management company called SimplyWell, which I have served as the CEO since 2006. I also serve on the Boards of the Nebraska Komen Affiliate and Community Health Charities. I have taught HAP 515: Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration since 2012.

Nelson Fong, PhD, Mathematics

A mathematics professor, Dr. Fong teaches HAP 355: Epidemiology.

Laura Heinemann, PhD, MSW


In her research and teaching, Dr. Heinemann explores her central interests in medical anthropology, kin relationships, and informal, home-based caregiving in the context of high-tech biomedical health care in the United States. Her background also includes hospital-based social work. Here she became inspired to conduct ethnographic fieldwork which bridges clinical settings and private home spaces in the U.S. Midwest. She currently is preparing a manuscript with a working title, "Transplanting Kinship, Transforming Care: Daily Life on the Transplant Journey," in which she examines everyday life and kin relationships among organ transplant patients and caregivers throughout the transplant process. She teaches HAP 315.

Amanda Holman, PhD


Dr. Amanda Holman is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies department. Her PhD is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MA from the University of Montana-Missoula, and BA from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN).

Dr. Holman’s research and teaching focuses on interpersonal, family, and health communication. She teaches classes on the connection of family communication and health/well-being (COM/HAP 477), as well as courses on interpersonal communication, family communication, and the dark side of personal relationships. Her current research focuses on difficult communication within family and peer relationships with the goal of discovering new approaches to guide individuals and families through the difficulty and discomfort of these conversations. Specially, she is working with high school adolescents in Nebraska to gain their perspectives on the parent-adolescent  ‘sex talk’ to better inform future parent-child sex talk interventions

Ellen Houston, MAMA, Healthcare Administration (Omaha OB-GYN Associates)


Ellen Houston earned her BS in Computer Science from Western Oregon University and her MA in Management (with Distinction) from Bellevue University. Currently she is a healthcare administrator at Omaha OB/GYN Associates, P.C. She teaches HAP 310 and HAP 412.

Dawn Irlbeck, PhD


Dr. Irlbeck is collaborating with Dr. Murray on several projects. They are part of an evaluation team for a Federal "Bryne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant," assessing recidivism and community effects of high risk probationers returning to high risk areas. In addition, they continue to facilitate a grant form the Office for Victims of Crime which enables Nebraska  Victim Assistance Academy and just finished their fourth academy. Finally, they are collaborating with a variety of agencies to evaluate strengths and gaps in the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives. She teaches HAP 312.

Shavonna Lausterer, MPH, Public Health (Douglas County Health Department)


Shavonna Lausterer, MPH, CPH, MT (ASCP) was recently hired as the new Health Director for the Sarpy/Cass Department of Health and Wellness. She is responsible for the overall management and supervision of all Department activities and personnel. As well as, planning, directing, and evaluating Health Department programs and services for Cass and Sarpy counties, Nebraska.
Prior to this, Shavonna was employed by the Douglas County Health Department for 7 years. During this time she held the following positions:  Community Health Planner for Minority Health, Lead Program Specialist, and Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator.
In addition, she was employed for 6 years as a Medical Technologist in the area of transfusion services. She has worked in both private hospitals labs and in a Department of Defense, Naval Hospital Laboratory.
A native of Hampton, Va., Shavonna has a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from Old Dominion University and Master of Public Health Degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She is a licensed Medical Technologist, and in 2008, Shavonna was recognized by the National Board of Public Health Examiners as a Certified Public Health Professional.  She teaches HAP 350: Essentials of Public Health regularly.

Rebecca Murray, PhD


Dr. Murray recently published a book "Using Statistics in Criminal Justice" published by Aspen Publishing in Spring 2016. She currently is updating manuscripts with other students, including the effect of community empowerment on crime and disorder, and the effect of liquor serving establishments on crime. Additionally, she and Dr. Irlbeck are collaborating on several projects. They are part of an evaluation team for a Federal "Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant," assessing recidivism and community effects of high risk probationers returning to high risk areas. Also, they continue to facilitate a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime which enables Nebraska Victim's Assistance Academy and just completed its fourth academy. She teaches HAP 312 and HAP 314.

Stephen Peters, MS, Healthcare Administration (Private Practice Associates)

Steve Peters earned his BA in Interpersonal and Public Communication from Central Michigan University and his MA in Organizational Communication from Central Michigan University. Currently he is the Participant Services Manager at Private Practice Associates. He teaches HAP 200, 390, 410, and 412.

Alexander Roedlach, SVD, PhD, Anthropology


Dr. Roedlach is involved in interdisciplinary research exploring how access to integrated medical services for HIV/AIDS and TB in Zimbabwe is influenced by cultural perceptions of both diseases. Further, he collaborates with others studying the health needs of a growing refugee population in the American Midwest. He currently is preparing a long-term study on the impact of faith community nursing on the health of clients receiving services provided by this specialty nursing. He teaches HAP 315: Healthcare, Society, and Culture regularly.

Sandi Sawyer, MBA

MBA, Creighton University
Specialties - Healthcare Finance and Strategy

Susan Walsh, RN, MHA, Interim HAP Director


Susan Walsh proudly followed in her mother’s footsteps as a nursing student at Creighton University.  Building on experience as an Emergency Department nurse and House Supervisor, she began her career in healthcare administration at Creighton University’s Cardiac Center.  Walsh directed operational change including a significant move from the hospital to a freestanding ambulatory center.  She also led Joint Commission Accreditation, implementation of a service excellence culture, and the formation of full-time, rural cardiology offices in Iowa and Nebraska.  Walsh then moved onto direct Cardiac Services at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center where she guided the development of Nebraska’s first pediatric Heart Transplant Program.  She has served as a preceptor for Health Administration and Policy interns since 2000 and as an adjunct instructor since 2006.  In 2014, Walsh returned to her beloved Creighton as the first full-time faculty member in the Health Administration and Policy Program.  Her passions include watching students light up when they apply textbook knowledge to real-world healthcare administration situations and one-on-one advising.  Walsh is married to Creighton alumnus and has three children (a son who is a Creighton alumnus and two daughters; one attends Creighton and the other attends a fellow Jesuit University).  She enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren and going to the beach. Prof. Walsh teaches HAP 200, HAP 413, HAP 414, HAP 485, and HAP 493.     




For more information contact:

Susan Walsh, RN, MHSA
Interim Director, Health Administration and Policy Program
Department of Cultural and Social Studies
Office Hours:  Fall 2016, MW 11:00am - 3:00pm, TR 10:00am - 12:00pm