IBJNews

2012 Health Care Heroes: Michele Kuntz Wood, R.N.

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Health Care HeroesWINNER: Non-Physician

Michele Kuntz Wood, R.N.

Manager of Women’s Health Services, Franciscan St. Francis Health

 

The signature on her email messages includes a quote from Maya Angelou: “Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible and live long lives.” That pretty much sums up Michele Kuntz Wood.

“I think most people, when they first meet me, would see me as pretty tough and maybe even hard-hearted,” Wood said. “I can be pretty single-minded. But there’s no one you’d rather be in battle with, rather than against.”


KuntzWood_Michele_NonPhys.jpg (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Wood, 60, has been an indomitable crusader for women’s health since becoming “hooked” on the power and miracle of birth during her second year of nursing school at Marion County General Hospital (now Wishard Memorial Hospital). After working as a nurse practitioner in women’s health in Utah for several years, she took a management position in obstetrics with St. Francis in 1984. She’s remained there for 27 years.

In 1987 Wood was charged with creating the hospital’s women’s health program and generating community interest in it long before such programs were in vogue.

“One of the gifts my parents instilled in me is the gift of leadership,” she said. “I like to build things. I have great tenacity and I can see how things work. It all comes down to building and creating a network of like-minded people.”

Wood likes to shake things up, fix them and move on. She attributes much of her success to a mantra her dad taught her: Just act like you know what you’re doing. “It’s worked out pretty well for me,” she said.

Many organizations and projects owe their success to Wood’s leadership skills. In 1992 she participated as a sponsor and helped to organize the first Race for the Cure in Indianapolis, an event she co-chaired in 2005.

“Twenty years later, this small event has become the largest single day charity event in the state, raising over $2.6 million,” said Dana Curish, executive director, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Central Indiana.

In 1995, Wood helped form the Breast Health Awareness League. Later she was instrumental in transitioning it into the Indianapolis Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, serving as the organization’s president and a member of the board in 2002.

She also spearheaded legislation that made the breast cancer awareness license plate a reality. Wood was a founding member of Y-Me of Central Indiana, a breast cancer information and survivor support group; served on the board of the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust through 2007; and served as the Indiana Coordinator for the National Breast Cancer Coalition for six years. While serving in that capacity, she visited the White House three times during the Clinton administration.

Wood continues to serve on the board of the Catherine Peachey Fund, which funds breast cancer research programs, including the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, the first tissue bank of its kind in the world.

“Few other women have made such a difference in this community to raise awareness of breast cancer and impact the lives of so many who come face-to-face with this disease,” Curish said.

Wood was a founding member of the Spirit of Women Health Network nearly 15 years ago. “Spirit of Women hospitals offer a mix of health fairs, classes, services and social events that help women make healthy lifestyle changes,” Curish said.

“Michele has a track record as a crusader willing to take on big projects. She wants to know that what she does makes a difference. She takes to heart Komen’s core value—the power of one and the dynamic force of many.”

In 2010 Wood partnered with Denise Johnson Miller, M.D., to establish the Inaugural St. Francis Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. The first fundraiser raised $5,000. “Michele has been generous with her time and talents, contacts and resources—intangibles that are critical to a not-for-profit’s viability,” said Robert Brody, president and CEO, Franciscan St. Francis Health.

Wood’s intense focus on breast cancer might lead people to think that she is a breast cancer survivor, but that isn’t the case. She says her involvement had to do with being in the right place, at the right time, with the right credentials. “The issue of breast cancer became my passion and mission,” she said. “But that was only part of it. It was more the people I met and the stories I heard along the way. That’s what I was fighting for.”

In 2007 Wood received the Distinguished Hoosier Award from Gov. Mitch Daniels. Last year she was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Komen Pink Tie Ball, an honor she calls “humbling.”

After all she’s accomplished in her 38-year nursing career, Wood hopes she hasn’t yet made her biggest contribution to women’s health. “There is still a lot of work to be done,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT