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Xavier Magazine | March 26, 2017

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Profile: Kathy Mueller

Profile: Kathy Mueller
Xavier University

KATHY MUELLER
Master of Business Administration, 1981
Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Radiology Mammography International
Fort Mitchell, Ky.

The Dream Job | When Mueller graduated with a nursing degree from Ohio State University, she worked for a short time in public health before taking time off to raise her four children. At 40, she pursued her MBA and later landed a job at Bethesda hospitals working in government relations. “It was a dream job for me, because I was a real extrovert, and I have a way with people.”

Field Work | After a large-scale layoff, Mueller worked with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. “I was a field representative for 20 counties in Kentucky, so I was on the road. I was his proxy when he wasn’t around.” Four years later, she parlayed her legislative experience into a management position at Mercy Health Partners, a hospital system in Cincinnati. “I developed a women’s center at Mercy Hospital-Anderson and I was the manager.” She retired after seven years, but now does consulting work with the Himwich Group, which helps hospitals build women’s centers.

Mission Trips | In addition to consulting, Mueller travels to underserved—and often unregulated—countries on two-week mission trips to teach people about breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart health through a group called Radiology Mammography International, founded by Dr. Richard Hirsch. Mueller travels with two radiologists, including Hirsch, and three mammography technologists. They often bring their own mammography machines.

The First Journey | Mueller first traveled to Bulgaria. “We educated more than 600 women and we went all over the country giving talks to the Roma women, which would be the gypsy women. We mostly did breast self-exam. I gave a talk, and I would give statistics, like the number of women diagnosed and how to reduce your risk. Then we get the models out, and then I have each person in the audience demonstrate that they know how to do breast self-exam.”

Nursing Education | Mueller also received a request to discuss the tenets of compassionate care in diagnosing breast cancer with a group of Bulgarian nurses—a topic usually covered in the early stages of nursing school. “When women are diagnosed in Bulgaria, they are told to report for surgery and to bring their own sheets, medicine and food with them. And that’s it. None of these countries have a screening program, either. So the only people who get mammograms are people who have found a lump. And usually it’s pretty large at that time.”

Giving Back | So far, Mueller has traveled to Macedonia, China, Bulgaria and Serbia, and is planning a trip to Kenya. “Dr. Hirsch is Jewish, and he calls this his ‘mitzvah’ and it’s like a ‘giving back’ for a good life. And he says it’s my ‘mitzvah,’ too, even though I’m Catholic. But it’s been a wonderful culmination of my career. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

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