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 burn and trauma injuries. 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 40 countries globally.
A celebrated educator, speaker, and author, Karla received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with honors and minor in Psychology degree from Purdue University. Her 28-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, visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1Z_dwkz3SD6AK5/bibliography/56189932/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending ) 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 graduate and Professional Instructor. She has advanced training in several specialty topics, such as: Drug Endangered Children Response, Forensic Interviewing in Children, Child Abuse Identification, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative on Research, Screening-Brief Intervention-Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Motivational Interviewing, Community Risk Reduction, 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 Instructor, CarFit Event Coordinator/Technician, and CCRP.
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, National Fire Protection Association Education Section Executive Board Director, Safe States Alliance Hospital Injury Prevention and Annual Conference Committees, Michigan Arson Prevention Committee (MAPC) Executive Board, 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, International Association of Firefighters National Juvenile Firesetting Database Executive Steering Committee, University of Michigan Injury Center External Advisory Committee, National Scald Burn Prevention Campaign Executive Steering Committee, Paradigm Challenge National Finals Judge, Chair of the ABA Burn Prevention SIG, State of Michigan Community Risk Reduction Task Force, Governors Task Force on Traffic Safety Sub-Committee, 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
- 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
- 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
- Partial list of publications and textbook chapters