University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus William “Bill” Lecher ’87, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has taken his nursing degree to a new level as he strives to make a difference in the healthcare industry and in the lives of other nurses across the nation.
His career and civic accomplishments have earned him one of five UW Oshkosh Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards in 2014.
During his time at UW Oshkosh, Lecher was involved in University life and activities. While pursuing a nursing degree, he was served with the College of Nursing Student Council as a class representative, the vice president and the president. He also took part in the Academic Advisory Committee and the Smoking Advisory Committee through the College of Nursing. He received the College of Nursing Student Service Award in 1986 and the Outstanding Senior Award in 1987.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, Lecher attended the University of Illinois- Chicago to pursue master’s degrees in business administration and nursing administration. He graduated in 1991 and is currently pursuing his doctorate in nursing practice.
Lecher has put his degrees to work and has 25 years of healthcare experience. He works as the senior clinical director for Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, where he is responsible for more than 380 employees, managing a $12-million budget and hospital-wide staffing.
Lecher also is the engaged employee representative and an executive committee member of Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, an employer-led workforce development organization that provides healthcare career opportunities to low-income or unemployed workers and first-generation, college-bound students to lessen healthcare workforce shortages and increase workplace diversity.
“I have had the opportunity to effectively address and improve opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged individuals of all ages to obtain and retain living wage employment, and have an opportunity for a career pathway for advancement in healthcare,” Lecher said.
According to Ross Meyer, vice president of community impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Lecher’s leadership with the Health Careers Collaborative helped them award more than 3,000 post-secondary healthcare credentials for job-seekers in their community.
“One of the most meaningful efforts Bill created was a niche career pathway for at-risk, inner-city Cincinnati Public School students that supported them through graduation, post-secondary education and hospital employment,” Meyer said. “The job retention for this group has been 91 percent—amazing for this population of job-seekers. These young people’s lives have been transformed thanks to Bill’s vision and leadership.”
In addition to helping community members advance their careers in the medical field, Lecher also has a passion for encouraging other male nurses.
Lecher is the president and the Chapters and Membership chair of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN). This organization encourages men to become nurses, discusses issues and topics regarding men in the field and supports men in the field to grow professionally.
“I have had the opportunity to be a part of raising the importance of gender diversity, inclusion and balance in the nursing profession,” Lecher said. “Working with others, I have been able to re-position the AAMN as a visible, respected, acknowledged and growing professional nursing organization.”
Lecher has helped develop this nursing association by collaborating with some of the country’s most prominent healthcare organizations like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and more.
He also teamed up with diversifying nursing groups, such as the National Black Nurses Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association and the Philippine Nurses of America.
Lecher serves nationally on the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action Diversity Steering Committee, the National Summit Planning Team and the National Nursing Leadership Strategy group. He is the treasurer of the Nursing Organization Alliance, a group of more than 60 nursing professionals.
“Mr. William Lecher is a seasoned professional nurse and leader,” AAMN chair Edward Halloran said. “His leadership practice with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and his enrollment in the doctor of nursing practice program at the College of Mount Saint Joseph and his MSN and MBA degrees from the University of Illinois were built on his BSN from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.”
Lecher remembers that UW Oshkosh is where it all started.
“It is a fantastic university and campus in a great Midwestern city with a strong Wisconsin heritage,” Lecher said.
Lecher and nine other award winners will be recognized at the Alumni Awards Celebration during Homecoming on Friday, Oct.1 7.
For more information about the alumni awards dinner, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.