Executive Leadership

GCHS leadership

Ken Bayles, Ph.D.

Associate vice chancellor for basic science research, and vice chair and professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Bayles is the founding director of the Center for Staphylococcal Research (CSR), the first of its kind in the country to focus on this infectious pathogen and its impact on human health. Dr. Bayles is co-primary investigator of a Department of Defense-affiliated National Strategic Research Institute project to create a “virtual pharmaceutical company” drug-development pipeline at the University of Nebraska. He was UNMC’s Scientist Laureate – its highest honor for research – in 2017. Dr. Bayles serves as the executive director of basic science research for the global center.

Chris Kratochvil, M.D.

Associate vice chancellor for clinical research and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Kratochvil serves as chief medical officer of UNeHealth, which facilitates and streamlines clinical research opportunities between UNMC, its clinical partners and clinicians, and outside research organizations and pharmaceutical companies. He was among the research investigators on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) project that contributed to the design of a multinational study to test the effectiveness of the experimental treatment ZMapp during the Ebola outbreak of 2014-15. Dr. Kratochvil co-leads UNMC’s Global Virus Network Center of Excellence. Dr. Kratochvil serves as executive director of clinical research for the global center.

James Lawler, M.D., M.P.H.

Executive director of international programs and innovation at the Global Center for Health Security and director of clinical and biodefense research at the National Strategic Research Institute. Dr. Lawler came to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2018 following a military career in which he served as a Navy Commander, and was chief of clinical biodefense research at the Naval Medical Research Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland. He was an attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and served White House assignments as Homeland Security Council and National Security Council staff, where he worked on biodefense, pandemic response and health preparedness. Dr. Lawler has field experience treating Ebola patients in sub-Saharan Africa, and served as a subject-matter expert in the training of Department of Defense medical personnel to work with infectious-diseases patients.

John-Martin Lowe, Ph.D.

Assistant vice chancellor for interprofessional health security training and education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he also is associate professor of environmental, agricultural and occupational health at UNMC’s College of Public Health. Dr. Lowe is co-principal investigator of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC), and director of research and development of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Dr. Lowe was an active member of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit during its successful treatment of two Ebola patients in 2014 and has published and presented extensively on lessons learned during the activation of the unit. He serves as executive director of training and education for the global center.

Shelly Schwedhelm, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Executive director of emergency management and biopreparedness  at Nebraska Medicine, which includes the Biocontainment Unit. Schwedhelm had overall accountability for unit operations and logistics during the care of patients with Ebola virus disease in 2014-15. She has previous leadership experience in perioperative services and emergency and trauma services. She is currently a program director and subject matter expert with the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) and oversees the following grants at Nebraska Medicine: Region VII Special Pathogens Treatment Center; Training, Simulation and Quarantine; Infection Prevention; Antibiotic Stewardship; and the Region VII Disaster Health Response Ecosystem. Schwedhelm is one of five executive directors at the UNMC Global Center for Health Security. She also is board chair of the Omaha Metropolitan Healthcare Coalition.