Harriet Nehring had a good friend named “Petey” Cerf. Petey persuaded Harriet to help improve the conditions in Kansas nursing homes in the 1970s. Their combined efforts and concerns spurred them on to form the new non-profit called Kansans for Improvement of Nursing Homes (KINH). Harriet’s husband Earl was a University of Kansas professor of political science, and Earl was sympathetic to Harriet’s interest in nursing home care.
Petey convinced Harriet to become the first Executive Director of KINH. She held that position for 15 years, until she retired in 1990. The organization continues today as Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC).
In her last years, Harriet benefited from KABC’s work, in a way she never imagined. She began having memory problems in 1995 and was diagnosed as likely having Alzheimer’s Disease in 1997. She resided for several years in a licensed care home which provides total care for persons with memory problems. The quality of care she received is far better than most Kansans received in the 1970s and 80s, thanks to state regulations KINH/KABC helped secure.