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Karen (Kathy) Reno, PhD, MBA, RN, EDAC



  • 40 years of experience in health care

Dr. Reno serves as Practice Leader for Joint Commission Resources’ and Joint Commission International’s consulting service for Safe Health Design™.  She has been one of the key developers of this consulting service that assists organizations designing a new facility to incorporate Joint Commission Standards and best practices for the design of the facility and processes for the facility. She has worked on numerous health care facility building projects, including renovation as well as new construction of hospitals, ambulatory facilities for surgical, diagnostic and clinic services, long term care facilities and medical office buildings.

She served as co-author of the first workbook on evidence-based design for the Center for Health Design and holds EDAC accreditation. She has consulted on facility design with organizations in the Middle East, Europe, China, South America, and Indonesia as well as the United States. Dr. Reno has lectured on numerous topics both domestically and internationally including safe facility design, board relations, hospital finances, safety, and technology. She recently assisted with the revisions for the 3rd edition of the JCR Planning, Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities book.   She served as a contributing author to the recently released (November, 2015) book by the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design, Nurses as Leaders in Healthcare Design: A Resource for Nurses and Interprofessional Partners


Dr. Reno has over 40 years of experience in health care, with the majority of time spent in the administrative role. She retired after serving for 17 years both as Chief Nursing Officer and  Chief Operating Officer of an independent healthcare system  that had a large acute care hospital, regional emergency/urgent care centers, long-term care facility, wellness-fitness center, Ambulatory care facilities, a disperse geographical coverage homecare and hospice service, and medical office buildings. Organizational recognitions received during her administrative tenure include Solucient’s (now known as Thompson-Reuters) and Healthgrades’ top awards for multiple clinical excellence areas, American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet™ certification, Chicago Magazine’s top 25 employers in Chicago, and Fortune Magazine’s recognition as one of America’s top 100 employers for multiple years. 

Dr. Reno also has experience in academia. She served as an assistant clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Nursing from 2007 to 2012.  Dr. Reno developed the Executive Nursing Leadership concentration of the Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP) program and served as faculty for the program. 

She has been active in many state and national boards and advisory groups. She served two terms on the Board of Directors for the American Organization of Nursing Executives (AONE) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) Regional Policy Board for the Midwest region. She was one of the founding board members for Nursing Spectrum, a nursing magazine published by Gannett. She served as president and multiple board and committee roles in the Illinois Organization for Nurse Leaders (IONL). 

Her interest in electronic health records created opportunities to serve on several technology organizational groups such as Zynx Nursing Board, McKesson Nursing Executive Committee, board member for the National Association for Healthcare Information Technology (NAHIT), and served on the first Healthcare Technology Committee for AONE.



  • American Society of Healthcare Engineers 

  • Center for Health Design

  • Evidence Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC)

  • Nursing Institute for Health Design

  • Joint Commission Certified Change Agent

  • Joint Commission Certified Yellow Belt in Process Improvement


  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Organization Development, Benedictine University, Lisle, IL, USA

  • Master of Business Administration in Marketing, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Management, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI, USA

  • St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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Karen (Kathy) Reno


Karen (Kathy) Reno, PhD, MBA, RN, EDAC

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