Chandana Banerjee, First Vice ChairChandana Banerjee, M.D., M.P.A., is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine, specializing in hospice and palliative care. She developed the City of Hope Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship. She also established the Cancer Pain Rotation for Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship, which is now part of the core curriculum for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Hospice & Palliative Medicine fellowship program. Dr. Banerjee also developed and directed the End of Life Symposium which was held at City of Hope in September 2019 and has now been endowed for multiple years. She is the physician lead for Schwartz Rounds at City of Hope and serves as chair on the End of Life Option Act Subcommittee. She also serves on the Continuing Medical Education and the Ethics and Quality of Life committees.
Leslie Rowley, Second Vice Chair
Leslie Jennings Rowley is a respected organizational engagement leader and content producer with a background in building new programs and sustaining key initiatives for mission-driven organizations. She began her career in the creative arts world – supporting the mission of San Francisco Opera by creating immersive experiences for established donors and the culturally curious alike. She then spent nearly twenty years in the educational travel industry, where she created and managed experiential learning programs for the likes of National Geographic, Lindblad Expeditions and the Smithsonian Institution, causing Princeton university to ask her to build Princeton Journeys, which became one of the preeminent alumni travel programs in the U.S. under her tenure. Upon the creation of the University’s Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy she became its inaugural administrative director, linking academic insights in the behavioral sciences to real world issues. She continues to provide high-level communications and engagement strategy to the university and other organizations. Leslie holds an A.B. in Economics and Geography from Dartmouth College, an M.B.A in international business and a Ph.D. in media psychology and launched an organization, Hereafter Partners, that aims to make conversations about death, dying, and aging more normalized and accessible for younger cohorts of society.
Elaine Charney, Secretary
Elaine Charney, J.D., is an attorney who worked as an Administrative Law judge and Director of the Bureau of Driver Safety for the Michigan Department of State. She was also employed by the Department of Homeland Security as Program Manager of Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, and as Assistant Federal Security Director for the Southwest Florida International Airport. Charney spent 25 years working with the Michigan Legislature to pass many traffic safety laws including major drunk driving reforms. Governors of both parties appointed her to serve on several Michigan boards and commissions. Elaine was also a volunteer professor and Chair of the Faculty Council at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.. She served as the first woman President of the Ingham County Bar Association, Vice President of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, President of Mid-Michigan Women’s Lawyers Association and Chair of the Michigan Bar Association Annual Convention for years
In retirement, Elaine has become a watercolor and mixed media artist. She teaches art at the local college and her work can be seen at www.elainecharney.com.
Dan Grossman, TreasurerDan was the founder and owner of a chain of office supply stores in Washington, D.C., and New York City. He has been actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations in the United States and internationally that promote individual freedom. He is past chairman of the board and a continuing board member of the Atlas Network and Foundation for Economic Education. He is also a current board member of a number of other non-profits. Additionally, he serves as an advisor to a number of private companies. He is a graduate in economics from Miami University (Ohio) and has an MBA in finance from Columbia University in New York.
David N. CookDavid brings extensive experience in nonprofit governance and organizational finance, as well as expertise in guiding coalitions of diverse stakeholders in pursuit of common legislative and policy initiatives. Formerly General Counsel of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. and Deputy General Counsel of the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, he has practiced law for more than 40 years. David and his wife Ann Thompson Cook are longtime supporters of the movement for end-of-life options. He was elected to the board in 2014.
Jill GordonJill Gordon is the CEO and co-founder of KidSnips, Chicagoland’s leading children’s hair salon chain with $4.5 million in sales and more than 90 employees. Gordon has served as a board member of Planned Parenthood of Illinois since 2017, and she currently serves as chair of its Investment Committee and a member of its Finance and Strategies committees. She formerly served on the board for 20 years and was board treasurer for 10 years of Tuesday’s Child, a local, behavioral intervention program for at-risk, highly-stressed families from all income levels. She has been co-chair of CARE Chicago Women’s Initiative since 2005, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds, advocacy, and creating awareness for the large international, humanitarian organization CARE. Gordon graduated with a B.S. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1979 and received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School in 1980.
Satheesh Gunaga, DOSatheesh Gunaga, DO, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician, administrator, and educator. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and received his Osteopathic medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing. He has spent the last 14 years practicing and teaching Emergency Medicine (EM) as part of Envision Healthcare within the Henry Ford Health System in the Detroit Metropolitan area. Ten of those years he spent as the associate EM residency director, training the next generation of EM physicians, before transitioning in 2019 to his current roles as Vice Chair of the Department of EM, EM Research Director, and Division Head of EMS at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. He serves as the ED Medical Director at Henry Ford Health Center Brownstown and actively leads research around sepsis resuscitation, stroke care innovations, and acute coronary syndrome biomarkers. Throughout his medical career he has had a passion for palliative care and serves on the City of Hope: End of Life Symposium’s Steering Committee. In 2021, Dr. Gunaga joined our Healthcare Advisory Commitee and is one of the physician leaders for Compassion and Choices’ National Emergency and Palliative Medicine Initiative which is proactively exploring collaborations, research, and outreach opportunities to improve earlier access to palliative care options in EDs across our country.
Steve HutSteve has been as an assistant public defender in Maryland since 2012, defending the indigent criminally accused and serving as general counsel for the office. From 1980 until 2012, he was a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where he handled a variety of complex business-litigation cases. He served for 15 years as chair of the firm’s pro bono program, which The American Lawyer consistently ranked among the top five in the country. He was recognized by The Baltimore Sun as its “person of the week” for his work in a case that brought a halt to Maryland’s death penalty. He has also served on a number of nonprofit boards.
Irene V. Jackson-Brown, Ph.D., CSA, CMC, CDP
Irene founded Jackson-Brown Associates, LLC in 2005, doing business as The Art of Eldercare, an applied gerontology practice, based in Washington, D.C. As the company principal, she provides consultative services from a holistic, client-centered approach.
Her book, Eldercare as Art and Ministry (2020), embodies her thinking about caregiving and recognizes caregiving‘s creative dimension that requires imagination, perseverance, and knowledge. A life-long learner, Irene has enhanced her professional capacity through study, learning, and training, including through the Washington School of Psychiatry where she is a faculty member; the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Herbert B. Herscowitz Mini-Medical School Program.
Her career is intentionally hybrid. Mid-career, she was a senior consultant at NTL Institute for Applied Behavior Science and a staff officer at the national headquarters of the Episcopal Church. Her early career was in academia, as an assistant professor at Yale and Howard University.
A third-generation Washingtonian, she earned an undergraduate degree with honors from Howard University, which included a junior year exchange at the University of Rochester. Her graduate degrees are from Smith College (MAT) and Wesleyan University (Ph.D.).
Joél Simone Maldonado
Joél Simone Maldonado is a licensed funeral director, insurance agent and sacred grief practitioner. She specializes in helping individuals, families, businesses and governmental agencies navigate uncomfortable and difficult conversations about death, dying, end of life and funeral and burial planning. She was born in Europe and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, the heart of Gullah and Geechee culture. Spirituality, the sacredness of death, caring for those in transition, the deceased and supporting her community through grief have always been a huge part of her life. Her professional approach is deeply rooted in ancient and ancestral wisdom passed down from generation to generation.
During her decade of service in the funeral service industry, her unique background and professional experiences are reflected in her style of care and comfort that guides those that she serves toward healing through journeys with grief. Her life’s work is to educate everyone – regardless of faith, race, age or status – that death, dying and grief are sacred and transformative to our journeys as human beings.
Samantha SandlerSamantha’s wide range of interests have found expression in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. She spent many years developing rental housing in New Jersey. She developed an art print business while raising her family in London. She did clinical social work at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and Beth Israel in Newark, NJ. In the not-for-profit area, she has served on various boards supporting disabled young adults in a residential facility, supporting a local YMCA and contributing to the goals of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Her interest in Compassion & Choices began initially with a Compassion & Choices lecture on living wills and quickly extended to attending and then sponsoring events to introduce others to the organization.
Madison T Shockley IIThe Rev. Madison T. Shockley II is the pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA. He brings to Pilgrim Church a wealth of experience from his work in the religious, political, non-profit, and media environments. Originally ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1979, he joined the United Church of Christ in 1990 when he accepted the call to the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, UCC, in Los Angeles. Madison was called to Pilgrim Church (as the first African American pastor of this predominantly Anglo congregation) in 2004. Beyond the pulpit, Madison was a grassroots candidate for the Los Angeles City Council in 1999 and 2003. In 1998 he began writing commentary for the Los Angeles Times and in 2005 became a contributor to the award winning website, Truthdig.com on a wide range of topics including religion, race, politics, reproductive choice and popular culture. A native of Los Angeles he was educated at Harvard College and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He holds the Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and has done advanced graduate work at Claremont Graduate University in New Testament Studies.
Mark WeidemanMark Weideman is Founder and Principal of the Weideman Group, a California-based legislative, strategy and public affairs consulting firm. Weideman is Compassion and Choices’ chief lobbyist in California and spearheaded the strategy that led to enactment of California’s End of Life Option Act. Weideman received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his law degree with honors in written and oral advocacy from the University of California Hastings College of Law. He is a registered lobbyist with the State of California and a licensed attorney with the State Bar of California.
Kim Callinan is the President and CEO of Compassion & Choices, where she has had a leadership role in realizing patient directed end of life care for the past seven years. She launched the Finish Strong initiative, designed to empower patients to take charge of the final chapter of their lives; played a leadership role in the authorization and implementation of medical aid in dying into six new jurisdictions; and launched an initiative to address the inequities in end of life care and planning for historically underserved communities. Kim is frequently invited to speak at conferences, testify before state legislatures, conduct policy briefings and serve on committees as an expert on end-of-life care options. Read more.