Speaker Bios

Plenary Speakers


Patricia Fitch-Guthrie, MS, PhD
Assistant Professor/Director for Interprofessional Education, Research, and Practice/DNP Advisor, St. Catherine University

Patricia has worked in a variety of staff nurse and leadership positions in nursing ranging from a nurse manager of a progressive cardiovascular unit to the director of education, practice and research at a large acute care organization. Currently, she is working as the Co-Director of Interprofessional Practice, Education, and Research at St. Catherine University. Her scholarship focus is in gerontology and interprofessional teamwork, education, and practice.

Patricia is one of the co-founders and coordinators of the Interprofessional Evidence-based practice Clinical Scholar Program, a partnership with practice sites within the Twin Cities. The goal is to address vexing clinical problems by bringing together interprofessional teams of practitioners, students, and faculty to solve the problem using best evidence. Patricia also serves as an advisor to nursing students completing their DNP degrees at St. Catherine University.


Penelope Moyers, EdD, OT, FAOTA
Dean, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and Graduate College, St. Catherine’s University

Penelope Moyers, EdD, OT, FAOTA, is the founding dean of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. Moyers has influenced the profession of occupational therapy for over 30 years as a practitioner, innovator, influential scholar, educator and leader, including serving as president of the American Occupational Therapy Association from 2007 to 2010. She received the AOTA’s top honor of the Award of Merit in 2013.

In leadership roles as a faculty member, program chair, and dean at three institutions of higher learning, including St. Kate’s, Moyers has made a significant impact on the professional lives of students, faculty and staff in over 30 health profession programs in a broad range of disciplines at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and clinical doctorate levels. She has led the launch of new programs at St. Catherine, including master’s degrees in physician assistant studies and public health and doctorates in nursing and occupational therapy, as well as the first online occupational therapy assistant program.

Moyers is leading St. Catherine University through a time of change in health professions education, which is a strong component of healthcare innovation where healthcare organizations, senior living providers, and key social service agencies are strong co-creators of groundbreaking curricula and clinical education.

Moyers is spearheading the transformative work of the recently received $18 million grant from the GHR foundation. The purpose of the funding is to address the workforce challenges and the need for new models of health-focused services in the areas of global health, primary care and senior living.


Michelle Barber, MSW, DC
Associate Dean for Life Sciences & Foundations, Palmer College
Associate Professor, Palmer College
Advisory Committee Member, Palmer R25 Grant

Dr. Barber earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, a master of social work degree from the Ohio State University, and a doctor of chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. After being in private practice for many years, she started her career at Palmer College and has had faculty appointments as both a clinician and in the Life Sciences department teaching microbiology, biomechanics, public health, toxicology, and gross anatomy labs. In 2016 she was named Associate Dean for Life Sciences and Foundations and continues teaching microbiology. Dr. Barber has been involved with the R25-funded initiative to bring evidence-based practice to Palmer since 2008, attending numerous workshops both on and off-campus as a learner, tutor-trainer, and tutor, and attending the McMaster University Evidence-Based Clinical Practice workshop. In addition to her teaching and administrative service, Dr. Barber regularly presents continuing education seminars and also has been published in peer-reviewed journals.


Virginia A. Barber, DC
Faculty Clinician, Palmer Chiropractic Clinics
Professor, Palmer College

Dr. Barber earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, graduated summa cum laude with a doctor of chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic, and has practiced chiropractic in New York and Iowa. She joined the Palmer College clinic faculty in November 1994. Dr. Barber was honored with the PCIAA Lifetime Teaching Award in 2001, and has won several Student Council Faculty of the Year awards during her years at Palmer. She was named Palmer College’s Outstanding Faculty of the Year in 2013 and serves as the faculty advisor to the Campus Guides organization. She has published in several peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Barber served as a tutor-trainee at the 2015 Palmer College EBCP workshop at the University of Iowa, and completed the McMaster University Evidence-Based Clinical Practice workshop in June 2016. In addition, Dr. Barber attended the Columbia University workshop intensive on narrative medicine in October 2016. She is currently working toward a masters in health care ethics through Creighton University and will receive her degree in May 2018.


Jeff Schiff, MD, MBA
Medical Director, Minnesota Health Care Programs, Department of Human Services

Dr. Schiff’s work focuses on evidence-based benefit policy, improved care delivery models, and improvement of clinical quality.  Interests include the role of social and family risk factors on health outcomes, integrated delivery systems and mechanisms to improve quality measurement.  He is committed to interweaving input from diverse communities to address heath equity directly at all levels.

Dr. Schiff is the past chair of the Medicaid Medical Directors network.  He has served on and chaired numerous state and local policy and quality advisory committees for the CMS, the PCORI, and the AHRQ.

He practices clinical pediatric emergency medicine and is committed to creating a patient- and family-centered learning heath care system.

Breakout Speakers


Brent Leininger DC, MS
Assistant Professor
Integrative Health & Wellbeing Research Program
Center for Spirituality & Healing
University of Minnesota

I am clinically trained as a chiropractor and maintained a private practice in a small community for over 10 years. My research career began with a unique bridge fellowship program at Northwestern Health Sciences University which was funded in part by the R25 collaborative education grant between NWHSU and the University of Minnesota. My fellowship experience allowed me the opportunity for hands-on clinical research training as I worked on several clinical trials and systematic reviews while completing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research at the UMN. I recently completed a F32 post-doctoral training fellowship and am currently in the second year of a K01 career development award, both funded by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. My training and associated research projects for my fellowship and career development awards focus on evaluating the value of conservative treatments for spinal pain through cost-effectiveness analyses.


Barry Taylor, DC
Chiropractic Physician, HealthPartners
Former Co-Investigator, Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) R25 Grant
Former Instructor, Evidence-based courses, NWHSU
Faculty, McMaster University EBCP Workshop

I am a chiropractor practicing full-time in an integrated clinical setting at HealthPartners in Arden Hills, MN. From 2004-2014, I was a faculty member at Northwestern Health Sciences University. My teaching responsibilities at Northwestern included being the lead instructor for the CAM Research Education Partnership Project, funded by The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. As lead instructor for this project I was fortunate to work closely with instructional designers from the University of Minnesota to develop and refine active and collaborative teaching strategies, which I was able to personally test in the classroom. My current academic interest is the pragmatic application of research evidence in clinical practice.