Meet the SHINE Team
Kathy Karpowicz, BSN, RN, MA
Kathy Karpowicz is the Director of Ethics, Palliative Care, and Human
Research Protection for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. Kathy received
her baccalaureate degree from the University of Iowa. She received her
masters degree in religion, with a focus on biomedical ethics from the
University of Iowa. Kathy’s interest in bioethics grew from her work as
a nurse in critical care. In 2005, Kathy was instrumental in creating
the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines palliative care consultation service
in order to meet the needs of individuals and families that are living
with serious chronic conditions. In 2012, this service expanded to
serve perinatal and pediatric palliative care patients through our SHINE
program. Outside the work place, Kathy enjoys time with her family,
walks with her dog, Rosie, practicing yoga, and gardening.
Christopher Kirschbaum, MSN, RN
Christopher Kirschbaum is the Director of Hospice and Palliative Care for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. He provides leadership oversight for the community portion of Hospice and Palliative Care. Christopher received his associates degree in nursing from North Iowa Area Community College. He received a master’s of science in nursing and leadership from the University of Phoenix. Christopher is experienced in inpatient orthopedics, medical/surgical, and pulmonary. He also has a strong background in patient care coordination and leadership both inpatient and outpatient. Outside of the work workplace Christopher enjoys spending time outdoors especially yard work/gardening, grilling, bonfires, and hanging out in his backyard. He also enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and dog Jasmine.
Rich Robus, MD
Rich Robus is a pediatrician for UnityPoint Clinic—Pediatrics at Methodist Plaza. Rich received his baccalaureate degree from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He returned to Iowa to attend medical school at the University of Iowa. Rich completed his pediatric residency training at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Following residency, Rich served an additional year at Children’s Mercy Hospital as Chief Resident before moving to Des Moines to develop the pediatric hospitalist service at Blank Children’s Hospital. Rich subsequently served as the Pediatric Residency Director for Blank Children’s Hospital. He currently practices general pediatrics with special interest in children with complex and chronic medical conditions and is serving as the Medical Director for the SHINE perinatal and pediatric palliative care program. Outside of the workplace, Rich enjoys spending time with his children and family and boating.
Stephanie Nemmers, MSN, ARNP, CPNP
Stephanie Nemmers is a pediatric nurse practitioner for Blank Children’s Hospital/ UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. Stephanie received her baccalaureate degree from the University of Iowa. She received her masters and post masters degrees as a pediatric nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Stephanie is board certified and has pediatric experience in palliative care, oncology, acute care, intensive care, enteral/parenteral nutrition, bone marrow transplant, organ transplant, and general pediatrics. Currently, Stephanie delivers care to children and families living with complex chronic illnesses throughout Iowa as a member of the SHINE perinatal and pediatric palliative care program. Outside of the workplace, Stephanie enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her husband and cat.
Melissa Lipovac, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC
Melissa Lipovac is a family nurse practitioner for UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. She received her baccalaureate degree from Grinnell College. Melissa received her post-baccalaureate certificate (Master’s Nursing and Healthcare Practice program) from the University of Iowa. She received her doctorate of nursing practice degree as a family nurse practitioner from Creighton University. She is board certified and has experience in palliative care. Currently, Melissa delivers care to children and families living with complex chronic illness throughout central Iowa as a member of the SHINE perinatal and pediatric palliative care program. Outside of the workplace, she enjoys spending time making and sharing memories with her family and friends.