Kelsey RyanKelsey Ryan, Executive Director

Ryan joined AHCJ in September 2022. Previously, she was founder and publisher of The Beacon, a nonprofit news network with newsrooms in Kansas City and Wichita. Before founding The Beacon, Ryan worked at The Kansas City Star as a data and investigative reporter, and was on the investigative team that was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for its series on government secrecy in Kansas. She began her journalism career at The Joplin (Mo.) Globe a day after an EF-5 tornado destroyed one-third of the city, and later worked at The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, covering health care and later city government and investigations. She is a Google News Initiative Fellow in Poynter’s Media Transformation Challenge executive fellowship program and was selected in 2022 for Editor & Publisher’s “25 under 35” list of news publishing leaders. (@Kelsey_Ryan)

Katherine ReedKatherine Reed, Director of Education and Content

Reed was a professor of practice in the Missouri School of Journalism for 17 years and an editor at the Columbia Missourian — the newsroom lab for students learning print and digital journalism — where she taught health and public safety reporting. She also designed and taught a course on covering trauma and a course for STEM field and journalism students on improving science communication. Reed came to the school of journalism from Prague in the Czech Republic where she was the editor of Prague Business Journal and an instructor at the Center for Independent Journalism. She was a reporter and copy editor for several years and taught journalism before moving to the Czech Republic. She was a fellow of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and is a longtime member of AHCJ. Reed has published on the teaching hospital model of journalism education, trauma reporting training and more responsible, ethical coverage of mass shootings. (@reedkath) | Phone: 573-884-5477

Andrea WanerAndrea Waner, Director of Engagement

Waner is the new director of engagement of AHCJ and will work to implement marketing strategies geared towards membership outreach, growth, and retention efforts consistent with the association’s strategic objectives. Waner previously served as director of advancement and operations for Central Methodist University and has held communications positions with the nonprofit Institute of People, Place and Possibility; Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems; and Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. She has a master's degree in public affairs with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership and public policy, as well as a bachelor's degree in English, both from the University of Missouri. (@andreawaner) | 573-884-8103

Erica Tricarico, Managing Editor

Tricarico produces and edits content to support AHCJ’s many member services, including events, core topic materials and other web-based resources as well as news releases, conference programs and newsletters. She is a graduate of Howard University and the master’s program in journalism at CUNY. Tricarico comes to AHCJ from MJH Life Sciences in Cranbury, N.J., where she managed an editorial team producing content on animal care. Before that, she was a freelance health care reporter for Everyday Health.

Kevin Ridder, Web Editor

Ridder will help lead efforts to optimize and grow digital content and educational programming across all AHCJ platforms. He will also play a crucial role in the website redesign project. Ridder comes to AHCJ from the SmartNews app, where he served as the editorial content manager. There he covered breaking news and helped manage the company’s social media on Twitter and Instagram, achieving steady audience growth throughout 2022. He also performed regular quality assurance checks to ensure articles appeared correctly. Ridder previously served as associate editor for The Appalachian Voice where he wrote about protecting endangered bats, the Appalachian pipeline resistance movement among other topics. He also played a key role in the redesign of the publication’s website. 

Tina England, Membership Manager

England provides the first line of service for members and potential members. She also coordinates marketing efforts to inform both AHCJ members and other journalists who would benefit from AHCJ events, resources and support. She previously served in administrative, graphic design and conference planning roles in the University of Missouri’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Department of Student Life. She also teaches fitness and Pilates classes. She is interested in helping members navigate all the association has to offer. | Phone: 573-882-2955

Susan CunninghamSusan Cunningham, Events Coordinator

Cunningham heads up logistics on conferences, workshops and fellowship programs. She collaborates with hotels and other training sites to make sure events are well-planned and executed, and assists speakers, attendees and exhibitors with their training event plans. She also serves as point person for AHCJ's many fellowship programs. She most recently served as a catering sales manager with Marriott and is a former regional director with the Missouri Restaurant Association. | 573-882-2203

Melissa Acton, Fiscal Officer

Acton is responsible for daily accounting, overall budget monitoring and grants reporting for the association and the center. She previously served as chief financial officer for Welcome Home Inc., a local nonprofit that provided housing and other support services to homeless veterans. She has a master’s degree in public affairs with an emphasis in nonprofit management and a bachelor’s degree in human environmental studies. | Phone: 573-882-2868

Len BruzzeseLen Bruzzese, Senior Adviser

Bruzzese is the senior adviser for AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He assumed the consulting role after 15 years as executive director of the organization. Bruzzese, a founding staff member of USA Today, spent 20 years in daily journalism before entering the nonprofit and academic worlds. He served as a Missouri School of Journalism professor for 22 years, while also working as deputy director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and then AHCJ’s executive director. He was recently named professor emeritus to acknowledge his contributions to the university and the journalism profession. He is co-author of "The Investigative Reporter's Handbook," (fourth edition), and has edited 15 reporter beat books focused on different reporting topics of use to daily journalists. He has won several newspaper and magazine editing awards and was named Outstanding Alumnus in Journalism by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. | Phone: 573-884-5606


Pia Christensen
Remembering Pia

Pia Christensen, AHCJ’s longtime website editor, died May 4, 2021, from cancer at her home in Loomis, Calif. Christensen, 50, served as managing editor/online services for the previous 15 years and as part of the Missouri School of Journalism staff for the previous 20 years.