David N. Cook
David 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 Corporation 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.
Madison T Shockley II
First Vice Chair
The 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.
Second Vice Chair
Nancy is a counseling psychologist and educator who has worked with adolescents in underserved Chicago schools. She is currently the vice president of the Civic Leadership Foundation’s board, whose program helps students develop the skills and experiences necessary to become engaged civic leaders. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in organizational and counseling psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Nancy has served on many strategic planning committees in both secondary schools and colleges in New York and Chicago. She and her husband, Bob Hoyt, have been involved with Compassion & Choices for more than a decade.
Steve 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.
Dan 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.
Chandana 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.
Elaine is an attorney who enjoyed a career as an Administrative Law Judge in Michigan and Director of the Bureau of Driver Safety for the Michigan Department of State. She also worked for the Department of Homeland Security as Program Manager of TWIC and as Assistant Federal Security Director for the Southwest Florida International Airport, Fort Myers, before turning to art in 2004. She teaches Beginning and Intermediate-Advanced Watercolor for Adult Community Enrichment at the Sarasota Technical College ([email protected]). She is also Workshop Coordinator for Art Center Sarasota, where she brings nationally known artists to conduct workshops. Elaine paints watercolor, mixed media, acrylic, and collage.
Debbi has been actively involved with Compassion & Choices since 2000. Her grandmother spent the last few months of her life distributing copies of Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ book, On Death and Dying, and preparing for a good death from the effects of cancer. Her mother was active in reproductive rights. Debbi is the Director of Just Managing, a music agency, and has worked as an executive director in the broadcasting and entertainment industry for many years. She holds an architecture degree and lives in New York with her son.
Csaba Mera, MD
Csaba is an accomplished, experienced, outcomes-driven healthcare leader with skills built on a foundation of quality, evidence-based medicine, cost efficiency, innovation and performance excellence. Twenty-three years as a clinician, caring for patients, followed by twenty plus years as a physician executive allows him to bring experience and expertise to all aspects of medical management, cost management and healthcare quality. At Cambia Health Solutions, Csaba built the nation’s first palliative care program that got the attention of Capitol Hill and convinced CMS to address a number of issues around reimbursement for end-of-life care. Most recently, Csaba wrote and executive produced a feature film called “Here Awhile.”
Lucille Ridgill, M.D.
Dr. Ridgill is a Site Medical Director at AltaMed, the nation’s largest network of community-based primary care clinics and senior care programs, overseeing clinical patient care. AltaMed is headquartered in Commerce, California. Dr. Ridgill is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine. She is also a visiting physician at VITAS Healthcare in Coastal Cities, California. Dr. Ridgill completed her residency at UCLA-Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a medical degree from Creighton University Medical School, in Omaha, Nebraska.
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, the Smithsonian Institution, and Lindblad Expeditions, before Princeton University asked her to build Princeton Journeys, which became one of the preeminent alumni travel programs in the U.S under her tenure. She was also the Assistant Director of the Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy and now provides high-level communications and engagement strategy to the university. 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 recently launched an organization, Hereafter Partners, that aims to make conversations about death, dying, and aging more normalized and accessible for younger cohorts of society.
Samantha’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.
Jerri is co-founder and president of JBS International, Inc., a consulting firm that works to strengthen health care, social service, and education systems in the United States and internationally. Her career has focused on vulnerable populations, expanding their access to and options for quality health care. Her work engages policy makers and program leaders in strengthening federal, state, and community health care policy and service delivery.
Mark 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, MPP, PMP
President/Chief Executive Officer, ex officio
After almost 3 years as our chief program officer, Kim Callinan took on the position of chief executive officer on February 1, 2018. As the chief program officer for Compassion & Choices, Kim has steered her team through unprecedented programmatic accomplishments. In this capacity, Kim 1) guided the program team through the authorization and implementation of medical aid-in-dying laws in California, Colorado and the District of Columbia; 2) integrated the organization’s successful efforts to persuade medical societies and health systems to accept medical aid in dying and integrate it into the standard of end-of-life care; and 3) launched the new Truth in Treatment initiative to empower patients with life-threatening diseases to get the care that reflects their goals, priorities and values. Read Kim’s full bio here.