Health Services


Kristen Kirwan
Nurse Practitioner

Kris joined the EMU nursing department in fall of 2013. She received her BSN from the University of Virginia in 1998. She worked at the UVA Teen Health Center for several years before returning to school in 2000. She then went on to Vanderbilt University to earn her MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner focus. Kris has worked as a family nurse practitioner since 2001. She has practiced in several different family practices, as well as JMU student health.

While at JMU student health, Kris had the opportunity to precept nurse practitioner students. She enjoyed this role so much she decided to pursue teaching on a more consistent basis. Kris is extremely happy to be part of the nursing department here at EMU. She also enjoys providing convenient and quality primary care to EMU students, faculty, and staff at EMU Health Services.

Kris is married to Daniel, a middle school principal. They have a son and two daughters—Hayden, Kate, and Clare.

Cathy Rittenhouse
Nurse Practitioner


Irene Kniss
Director and Title IX Coordinator

Irene grew up in a rural farming area in Ohio. She was the first in her immediate family to choose higher education. Irene met Philip,her husband of 35 years, in Florida and is the mother of three daughters and grandmother of two.
Irene has worked as a nurse in critical care, pediatrics, general medical/surgical and oncology. Irene has volunteered at the local Free Clinic. Irene worked in a law firm as a legal nurse consultant for almost 14 years, reviewing and analyzing medical records and drafting legal documents. Irene continues to provide these services through her private consulting business, Kniss & Spencer Legal Nurse Solutions, LLC.
Irene is an avid baseball and college basketball fan.

Lillian Barnhart
Health Services Assistant

Lillian was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey but moved to the Shenandoah Valley when she was 13. The Valley has been her home ever since. Lillian graduated from Roanoke Memorial Hospital School of Practical Nursing and has been a Licensed Practical Nurse for 25 years. She has worked in a variety of health care settings. Prior to coming to EMU she was an elementary school nurse with Rockingham County Schools. She is active in the Children’s Ministry at Mt. Olive Brethren Church. She enjoys going to the movies, kayaking and hanging out with her family.

She is married to Chip and they have two sons, Daniel and Ethan.

Vanessa Derrow
Health Info Mgmt Coordinator
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