Karla manages the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center's nationally acclaimed community and family-centered prevention programs, which focus on mitigating high-risk behaviors to reduce the occurrence of trauma and burn injuries and violence. She coordinates the Straight Talk youth firesetting prevention and intervention program and its educational videos "In An Instant" and "Sean's Story," all which have received national accolades. Karla created the "Sean's Story: National Campaign for Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention," which has reached every state in the United States and over 150 countries globally.
A celebrated educator, speaker, and author, Karla received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Distinction Summa Cum Laude and Minor in Psychology degree from Purdue University. Her 30-year distinguished career spans trauma/burn critical care nursing, research, injury prevention, community risk reduction, mentoring, public education, professional development training, policy and process improvement, program development, and Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center Verification management. She has published numerous textbook chapters and articles in medical and advanced practice nursing journals. (For a partial listing, click here.) Karla has also received several competitive grant awards. She is a national reviewer of journal manuscripts and conference abstracts. Karla is a FEMA National Fire Academy Professional Instructor and graduate. She has advanced training in several specialty topics, such as: Drug Endangered Children Response, Forensic Interviewing in Children, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Trauma-Informed Care, Child Abuse Identification, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative on Research, Screening-Brief Intervention-Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Motivational Interviewing, Community Risk Reduction, High Reliability Organizing Universal Skills, Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention, National Incident Management and Incident Command Systems, and others. She has also held specialty certifications in CCRN, ABLS Instructor, ACLS, PALS, BCLS Instructor, ATCN, Stop the Bleed Ambassador and Instructor, CarFit Event Coordinator/Technician, Youth Intervention, MI ACE Community Champion, CCRP, and Certified Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls Prevention Instructor.
Karla has been appointed leadership roles to professional organizations, honor societies, and specialty task forces devoted to research and the reduction of injury, including the: Chair of the Michigan Trauma Coalition Injury Prevention Committee, Chair of the American Burn Association (ABA) Prevention Committee, Executive Board Director of the National Fire Protection Association Education Section, Chair of the State of Michigan Trauma System Strategic Plan Trauma Education and Injury Prevention Experts Group, Safe States Alliance Hospital Injury Prevention and Annual Conference Committees, External Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center, Child Abuse Advisory Committee of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan Child Abuse Training Unit, Executive Board Director of the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee (MAPC), Chair of the MAPC Youth Affairs Committee, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing, Metro Detroit Fire Inspectors Society, American Burn Association (ABA) TRACS Database Committee, Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Public Education Committee, Executive Steering Committee of the International Association of Firefighters National Youth Firesetting Information Repository and Evaluation System (YFIRES), National Scald Burn Prevention Campaign Executive Steering Committee, Paradigm Challenge National Finals Judge, Board of Directors for International Association for Firesetting Intervention Research and Education (IFIRE), Chair of the ABA Burn Prevention SIG, State of Michigan Community Risk Reduction Task Force, Board of Directors National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association, Governor's Task Force on Traffic Safety Sub-Committee, Operating and Healthcare Committees of the State of Michigan Safe Drivers Smart Options, etc.
Karla's work has received numerous accolades, including the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society Public Educator of the Year Award, City of Detroit Community Service Award, Ann Arbor Public Schools Excellence in Mentoring, and the ABA Burn Prevention Award. She speaks throughout the nation on burn/trauma injuries, safety, prevention, and youth firesetting. Audiences commend Karla's ability to dynamically present cutting-edge information with clarity, humor, and insight into everyday application. In her spare time, she volunteers in survivor support programs, mentors at-risk youth, writes children’s books, and enjoys all kinds of outdoor adventures with her family.
A few examples of Karla's work include:
- Injury Prevention Massive Open Online Course
- Sean's Story National Campaign
- Michigan Trauma System Strategic Plan
- Region 2 South Trauma System Injury Prevention Strategic Plan
- Michigan Trauma Coalition Injury Prevention
- Safe Drivers Smart Options Keys to Lifelong Mobility
- It Can Happen In A Flash With a Splash
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Education Section and Children and Fire
- American Burn Association Burn Prevention
- Stop the Bleed and Advocacy
- MI Prevention
- Older Adult Fall Prevention
- Older Adult Injury Prevention Task Force and Safety Summit
- Vision 20/20 Model Performance in Community Risk Reduction and animated burn prevention video
- Understanding Burn Care
- REACH Reintegration and Aftercare
- Straight Talk
- Burn Mass Casualty Incident Surge Plan
- International Fire Service Training Association and Vision 20/20 e-Learning Course "Introduction to Youth Firesetting Programs, Materials and Best Practices”
- FEMA/USFA National Fire Academy Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention Courses Curriculum
- Safe States Alliance - Strengthen the Practice of Injury and Violence Prevention
- Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Board Certified Instructor
- Medication Safety and Opioid Overdose Prevention
- Home Oxygen Burn and Fire Prevention Position Statement
- Partial list of publications and textbook chapters