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Dedicated Community Leader, Stephanie Kruse Honored by NV Hospital Association for Excellence and Improving Health of Nevada

September 21, 2023

Stephanie Kruse accepting Nevada Hospital Association award

Stephanie Kruse of Reno has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Trustee of the Year Award from the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA). Each year at the association’s annual meeting, the Nevada Hospital Association publicly acknowledges one trustee who exemplifies exceptional leadership professional excellence; outstanding achievements; innovative accomplishments and extraordinary compassion in caring for the community.

“Stephanie’s effectiveness in advocating on behalf of hospitals, patients, and the health care system- as well as her personal connection and passion for improving the community’s overall health are what made her an excellent choice for this year’s award,” said Pat Kelly, NHA’s President & CEO. “Steph Kruse sets an inspiring example of someone who has dedicated her life to promoting public understanding of, and support for, the healthcare systems serving Nevada’s communities. She serves as an advocate for the provision of high quality, affordable and accessible healthcare services, resulting in healthier Nevada communities for all.”

Kruse was nominated by Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President & CEO of Renown Health, who wrote, “The daughter of a nurse and a former nurse herself, Stephanie understands the importance of attracting and retaining nurses within our healthcare systems. This year, in addition to her four years of service on the Renown Health Foundation Board and serving as chair, Stephanie has made a significant and lasting contribution to our community by helping to train and grow the next generation of nurses and pediatricians; and expanding critical care facilities for babies, children and families in northern Nevada.”

“I’m honored by Renown’s nomination and to be part of the mission of such an excellent organization,” said Kruse. “Supporting access to quality healthcare in our region is a top priority of mine and I hope that I can continue to convince others to do so as well.”

Three of the major projects that Kruse has directed and completed on behalf of the Renown Health Foundation include:

  1. The Orvis School of Nursing and Renown Health partnership to provide nursing students with full ride scholarships to assist in building a sustainable nursing workforce in Northern Nevada. The Gerald “Jerry” Smith Academic-Practice Partnership established with the Renown Foundation now provides funding for up to 24 Orvis School of Nursing students each year. Scholarship recipients receive funding for educational expenses including tuition, fees, and books for the nursing program. Students can complete a paid apprenticeship at Renown Health and have a guaranteed job at the hospital following graduation and license obtainment.
  2. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Renown Health new three-year Pediatrics Residency Program. The inaugural cohort of pediatric residents started this summer. The new residency will help shape future pediatric practices – and fill a state and nation-wide physician specialist shortage. Over a three-year period, four newly trained physicians will be selected each year for a total complement of twelve residents. Formerly, UNR Med students interested in becoming pediatricians had to leave the area to complete their residency training elsewhere. The William N. Pennington Foundation, through the Renown Health Foundation, which Kruse leads as Board Chair, paved the way for this program, creating a pipeline of much-needed pediatricians for our state, especially in under-served and rural areas – to serve vulnerable children and families of Nevada with high-quality, affordable care.
  3. New Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Renown Regional Medical Center. To alleviate current capacity constraints and allow for expansion and new services, several aging facilities are being replaced and new patient care areas have been constructed at all Renown hospital campuses. Renown Regional Medical Center has expanded its pediatric critical care services. Women from throughout Nevada and California deliver their babies at Renown Regional Medical Center for the added specialty care and safety of a NICU. Renown also has a Neonatal Transport Team which brings infants with serious illnesses, injuries, or complications from outlying communities to the comfort of Renown's NICU. These spaces provide a nurturing, healing environment for babies and their families. These expansions were made possible through the collaborative efforts of Renown Health, the Renown Health Board, construction partners and the unwavering support of the community.

A lifelong support of health and care and community Kruse graduated from nursing school and became a part-time Registered Nurse in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota nursing home while attending Augustana College to obtain a degree in journalism. As part of her journalism program, she completed an internship in the public relations department of a Sioux Falls hospital, and that led to her accepting a position as director of public relations at a sister hospital in Aberdeen, SD. In 1981, she moved to Reno to be the director of marketing for Saint Mary’s Hospital. Ten years later, Kruse graduated with her master’s in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. With not much in her pocket, she bought a Mac computer that helped launch her journey as a business owner. She called herself- appropriately- Stephanie Kruse and Associates (or SKA) and offered clients a strategic, thoughtful approach to their marketing communications. Since then, Kruse has grown SKA to KPS3, which is now a multi-million-dollar firm with over 50 staff members. KPS3 was named one of Inc's Fastest Growing Companies in the US and has also consistently been voted as a ‘Best Places to Work’ in northern Nevada. Kruse has several clients who have been with her and the company for all or most of the 30-year history.

“Whether it’s for the community, a friend, family, a coworker, or someone in need, giving back has always been a part of Steph’s fabric,” says Greg Walaitis, Chief Development Officer of the Renown Health Foundation. “Stephanie brings strategic vision and is wholly dedicated to our community. Stephanie is a community asset, a compassionate leader and an exemplary Board member that is well deserving of this award. She holds a spot in her heart for organizations that address improved access to better health and human services, and we are fortunate to have her in Nevada.”

In addition to her service at Renown Health Foundation Board, Kruse is active in many community organizations including the boards of High Sierra Industries/WARC, Access to Healthcare Network, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Foundation Board, and the Desert Research Institute.

About Renown Health

Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. In U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings, Renown Regional Medical Center was listed #1 in the State of Nevada. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community.  

About the NHA

The Nevada Hospital Association is a not-for-profit, statewide trade association representing Nevada’s acute care hospitals along with psychiatric, rehabilitation and other specialty hospitals as well as health related agencies and organizations throughout the state. Allied with the American Hospital Association, the NHA is an independent organization headquartered in Reno, Nev.

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