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About Compassion & Choices

Our Mission Statement

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding options for the end of life.


About Our Mission

iStock_000020026407_LargeCompassion & Choices improves care and expands options for the end of life. We support, educate and advocate. Across the nation, we work to ensure healthcare providers honor and enable patients’ decisions about their care. To make this vision a reality, Compassion & Choices works nationwide in state legislatures, Congress, courts, medical settings and communities to:

  • empower people with information and tools, including our free consultation program, to receive healthcare that is consistent with their values and priorities as they approach the end of life.
  • advance policies that allow people to make fully informed decisions about their healthcare, such as improving hospice and palliative care and ending unwanted medical treatment.
  • authorize and implement medical aid in dying to allow mentally capable adults in their final weeks or months of a terminal disease to advance the time of death and end unbearable suffering.

It’s our belief — and our experience for the past 30 years — that the path to change starts with the individual, which is why patient-centered care stands at the core of all we do.

Learn more. Read or download About Compassion & Choices, a concise overview of our mission and current areas of work. Learn more about the challenges in end-of-life care facing many Americans by reading End-of-Life Care and Choice: The Looming Crisis of Suffering in the U.S.


Our Programs

Legal

Compassion & Choices’ innovative legal advocacy program helps people achieve better medical care and gain equal access to the full range of end-of-life options. Our litigation is widely acknowledged to have brought much-needed attention to end-of-life care and to have established important legal precedents, including a federal constitutional right to aggressive pain management.

Direct Service

Candid conversation is crucial to ensuring we get the care we want at the end of life, and so is reliable information. Our End-of-Life Information Center offers resources on end-of-life options and to help guide these important discussions with loved ones, healthcare providers and others close to us.

Access

We firmly believe — and experience demonstrates — that working within healthcare systems to normalize medical aid in dying will ensure fewer people suffer at the end of their life. Our access program supports hospitals and healthcare systems in states where laws have been passed so that all terminally ill people who are eligible will have access to medical aid in dying.

Advocacy

We advocate for policies that empower people to control their own healthcare decisions. At the state level, we work to pass and then implement aid-in-dying laws so that mentally capable, terminally ill adults have access to all end-of-life options, no matter where they live.

Federal

At the federal level, we are driving a robust policy agenda and supporting bipartisan legislation in Congress to improve end-of-life care overall. We are also a founding collaborator on the Campaign to End Unwanted Medical Treatment, an initiative to ensure that patients get the exact treatment they want – nothing more and nothing less – at the end of life.


Our Accomplishments

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For more than 30 years, by using a comprehensive strategy including legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, media outreach and litigation, Compassion & Choices, our affiliates, and our predecessor organizations have led most of the significant advances in the movement to expand end-of-life-options and improve care. This includes:

Advanced Care Planning and End-of-Life Support

  • Developed the first national end-of-life consultancy program in 1993, which offers patients and their families tools, information and emotional support on the full range of available end-of-life options.
  • Pioneered the use of and transformed advance directives from strictly legal documents to a values-based approach for communicating end-of-life priorities. Compassion & Choices  is one of the leading providers of advance directives, developed a dementia provision, and created one of the early and most widely disseminated toolkits to help translate people’s’ values into care preferences.  
  • Advocated for the successful adoption of a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule allowing the agency to reimburse doctors for advance healthcare planning discussions.

Palliative Care and Pain Management

  • Legitimized palliative sedation as a recognized medical practice by advancing the court case that recognized that dying patients have a constitutional right to receive as much pain medication as necessary, even if it advances the time of death, in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Vacco v. Quill (1997).  
  • Established the undertreatment of pain as a form of elder abuse and that caregivers must manage patients’ pain in Bergman v. Eden Medical Center (2001).    
  • Increased physician training in palliative care in California. Passed AB 487: Pain Management and the Appropriate Care and Treatment of the Terminally Ill in California in 2001, collaborating with the California Medical Association. The law requires most California-licensed physicians to take, as a one-time requirement, 12 units of continuing medical education on pain management and “the appropriate care and treatment of the terminally ill.” 
  • Enacted requirements that healthcare providers share information on end-of-life options. Compassion & Choices sponsored and helped pass the Palliative Care Information Act in New York (2010) that requires healthcare workers to provide information and counseling on end-of-life options and the Right to Know law in California designed to ensure that patients can receive information about all of their legal end-of-life options.

Aid in Dying

  • BCL_authoritativeCompassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee co-authored Oregon’s landmark Death With Dignity Act, which went into effect in 1997. Eighteen years later, it is the model for aid-in-dying legislation nationwide.
  • Pioneered the medical model of aid in dying that helps ensure that doctors can ethically practice aid in dying in an open, legitimate and accessible way, and integrates the option into patients’ end-of-life care. The culmination of that work was the publication of clinical criteria in the Journal of Palliative Medicine in December 2015.
  • Advanced Glucksberg v. Washington (1997) to the U.S. Supreme Court. The landmark ruling encouraged individual states to engage in an “earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of” medical aid in dying, setting the stage for the consideration of legislation at the state level.  
  • Secured authorization and implemented medical aid in dying in seven jurisdiction: Oregon (1994, ballot initiative), Washington (2008, ballot initiative), Montana (2009, state Supreme Court decision), Vermont (2013, legislation), California (2015, legislation), Colorado (2016, ballot initiative) Washington, D.C. (2017, legislation), Hawai‘i (2018, legislation).
  • Protected the Oregon Death With Dignity Act in court against two challenges, one from the National Right to Life Group and one from the U.S. Attorney General; protected the authorization of medical aid in dying in Montana against three legislative attempts to overturn the law; and have protected the law in Vermont against repeated legislative attempts to repeal or weaken the law.

A short fact sheet, Our Accomplishments Improving Care and Expanding Options, is available here. While much has been accomplished, Compassion & Choices will continue our work until full end-of-life options are available to all Americans.  

Compassion & Choices receives stellar ratings from the nonprofit world’s major charity evaluators. The experts agree that we use your generous contributions effectively. Read more about our ratings.

charitynavigatorCharity Navigator Rating: 4 Stars

Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating means Compassion & Choices is “Exceptional: Exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its Cause.” Charity Navigator has given this rating to Compassion & Choices for the fifth time in a row. “Only 5% of the charities we rate have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Compassion & Choices outperforms most other charities in America. This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Compassion & Choices from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

guidestarGuideStar Profile: Gold-Level Participant

Compassion & Choices is a “GuideStar Gold” participant, which means we demonstrate our commitment to transparency by providing Guidestar with information on our impact and effectiveness. GuideStar does not rate or rank nonprofits.

bbbBBB Wise Giving Alliance Accreditation: Meets Standards

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s accreditation means that Compassion & Choices meets 20 exacting standards for charity accountability in governance and oversight, effectiveness, finances, solicitations and informational materials, and complaints.

charitywatchCharityWatch Top Rating

Compassion & Choices is included in the organization’s Top-Rated Charities list because we meet CharityWatch’s transparency and governance benchmarks. 

2016-top-rated-awards-badge-hi-resGreatNonprofits’ Top Rated

Compassion & Choices is included in the organization’s Top-Rated Charities list because we’ve amassed several stories submitted by people who know us best — our supporters,  donors, volunteers, and others– all those who have experienced the impact of our work up close.

 


The Seven Principles of Person-Centered Care

1.) FOCUS
End-of-life care should focus on the individual’s comfort.

Too often, death is seen as a failure of treatment, not a natural event. Physicians sometimes withdraw from patients who are in the terminal stage of illness or encourage them to continue invasive therapies that can make their final days miserable. This deprives people of the opportunity to enter what is sometimes called “the final stage of growth.”

You are in charge of your own care. Set your priorities in advance.

2.) SELF-DETERMINATION
Individual tolerance for pain and suffering varies dramatically.

Only you can determine whether you are suffering too much. You should receive appropriate, state-of-the-art comfort care in accordance with your needs.

Providers should generously prescribe medication for pain and breathlessness, and give patients control over the dose and frequency of administration.

Symptoms such as hiccoughs, nausea, diarrhea, itching and fatigue can be oppressive and should be taken seriously. Say something if you feel you are being ignored, or empower your healthcare representative to speak on your behalf.

3.) AUTONOMY
Decisions about end-of-life care begin and end with the individual.

The answer to the question, “Who should decide?” is “YOU.”

Even very ill people usually retain the capacity to make decisions. Loved ones and providers should take care not to usurp that authority when communication becomes difficult.

If you are no longer capable of making decisions, your known wishes (as detailed in your advance directive) still dictate the level of care you receive. Ensure clarity by completing a dementia provision.

4.) PERSONAL VALUES
You have the right to make decisions based on your own deeply held values and beliefs, without fear of moral condemnation or political interference.

Dying patients should not be subject to subtle or overt suggestions that their values are wrong or immoral. A provider’s beliefs should never supersede the patient’s. Providers who withhold vital information about treatment options must be held accountable. Compassion & Choices advocates for laws and policies that protect your rights.

5.) INFORMED CONSENT
You have the right to comprehensive, candid information to enable you to make valid decisions and give informed consent.

Compassion & Choices encourages you to assess your situation using the following “BRAIN” exercise. Before consenting to procedures and treatment, assess the: Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Insight into what these mean to you, and consequences of doing Nothing.

Ask the doctor these crucial questions as you consider disease-specific treatment:What is the chance it will prolong my life? By how much?

  • What are the side effects?
  • How will it affect my quality of life?
  • What are the alternatives?

Providers should never withhold information about legal alternatives. Doing so deprives you of the information you need to give informed consent.

6.) BALANCE
You must be empowered to make decisions based on your own assessment of the balance between quantity and quality of life.

You may reject treatment because of unacceptable side effects. Saying “no” to burdensome treatment may improve your quality of life and give you more opportunities to experience joy in the time you have left.

7.) NOTICE
You as the patient have the right to early, forthright and complete notice of institutional or personal policies or beliefs that could impact your end-of-life wishes.

People who are dying often discover too late that the beliefs and values of their healthcare provider limit their personal end-of-life options.

Health-plan marketing materials and enrollment documents should prominently spell out any such limitations in a clear, forthright manner. Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other healthcare institutions should publicly display information about restrictive policies of a religious or moral nature. Again, you and your representative should verify that your providers will adhere to your wishes.


Our Leadership

Executive Leadership

Kim Callinan, MPP, Chief Executive Officer
Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, President
Trish BernsteinChief Operating Officer 
Marcia Campbell, CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Linda Roth PlattChief Development Officer
Kevin Díaz, Chief Legal Advocacy Officer and Legal Counsel

National Directors

Dr. David Grube, National Medical Director
Bonnie Lawhorn, National Director of Marketing & Communications
Charmaine Manansala, National Director of Political Advocacy
Kimberly Taccini, Managing Director, Office of the CEO
Kat West, JD, National Director of Policy & Programs


Our Board of Directors

David N. Cook, Chair

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 are longtime supporters of the movement for end-of-life options. He was elected to the board in 2014.

Nancy Hoyt, 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 Hut, Secretary

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.

Jaren Ducker, Treasurer

Jaren combines her career in antique jewelry with community service concentrated on civil liberties. She has been board president for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and the Denver Public Library Commission, and the ACLU of Colorado’s treasurer. She is currently president of the Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority board. She received the Margaret Sanger Award for exemplary leadership in furthering reproductive rights and the Carl Whitehead Award for lifetime contributions to civil liberties. She earned her BA in economics, cum laude, from Smith College. Jaren has long been committed to end-of-life choice and brings to Compassion & Choices that passion along with her extensive board experience.

Betsy Van Dorn, Executive Committee Member at Large, Development Chair

Betsy Van Dorn is a retired writer and founding editor of The Family Education Company, a web-based parent education site. She currently serves on the board of Fenway High School, an internationally recognized pilot school in Boston and volunteers as a docent at Discovering Justice, the James St. Clair Education Project at Boston’s Moakley Federal Courthouse. A graduate of Oberlin College and Boston University School of Education, Betsy worked for Houghton Mifflin Company, Harper and Row, Scott Foresman, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and Pearson Education.

Debbi Gibbs

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 Gibbs 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.

Dan Grossman

Dan was the founder and owner of a chain of office supply stores in Washington DC and New York City. He has been actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations in the US 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.

Samantha Sandler

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 NYC and Beth Israel in Newark NJ. In the not for profit area she has served on various board 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 C&C lecture on Living Wills and quickly extended to attending and then sponsoring events to introduce others to the organization.

Jerri Shaw

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 U.S. 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.

Haider Warraich

Dr. Haider Warraich is a physician, writer, researcher and brilliant new voice in the discussion about death and end-of-life care options, which include patient-centered care, hospice and palliative care and medical aid in dying. He authored the book, Modern Death – How Medicine Changed the End of Life (St Martin’s Press), in which he discusses the impact modern medicine has had on the dying experience. He also regularly writes for the New York Times; has contributed to The Guardian, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe; and has made TV appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox, BBC Radio and NPR among others.

Haider is also an avid clinical researcher with articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet amongst others. Currently, he is training in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Previously, he was a staff physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and instructor at Harvard Medical School, where he also received training in internal medicine.

Haider speaks regularly on care at the end of life, has delivered keynote addresses and lectures at conferences around the country include at academic medical centers such as Harvard, Yale, Wake Forest, Duke, UT Southwestern, UCLA and Columbia University amongst others.

Madison T Shockley II, Pastor – Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Carlsbad, CA

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.

Mark Weideman, Principal – Weideman Group, Sacramento, CA

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 at 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.

Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, President, ex officio

Barbara practiced as a nurse and physician assistant for 25 years before beginning a career in law and health policy. Since then she has devoted her professional life to individual choice and empowerment in health care. Barbara’s professional experience includes work as a private attorney, counsel to the Oregon State Senate, a managed care executive, and President of Compassion In Dying from 1996-2004. Barbara was Chief Petitioner for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. She is a champion for enabling individuals with the freedom to consider a complete range of options and be full participants in their health care decisions. As President of Compassion & Choices, Barbara oversees advocacy, development, legislative and client support. Read Barbara’s full bio here.

Kim Callinan, 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.  

Kim regularly authors thought-leadership pieces that detail the stark contrast between what consumers want and existing policies and practices in end-of-life care. Her opinion editorials and blogs include Allow Modern Medicine to Relieve Agonizing End-of-Life ExperiencesLanguage Matters in Medical Aid in Dying Debate; People Should Have Choices as Their Life is EndingCongress, Get It Right for Dying Americans; Truth in Treatment: Take Control of Your Healthcare Today; A Call to the Palliative Care Community for a Patient-Centered Response to Medical Aid in Dying; Medical Aid in Dying: The Hallmark of Patient-Centered Care; Five Questions to Ask About End-of-Life Care; and Advance Directives Are Only the First Step.  

Kim is also frequently invited to speak at conferences, testify before state legislatures, conduct policy briefings and serve on committees as a subject-matter expert on end-of-life care options. She served on the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Quality Care of People with Serious Illness, addressed the American Society of Aging’s National Forum: A Message to the President and spoke at the Center for Medicare Advocacy Voices of Medicare Summit. Kim has been interviewed by top national media outlets such as USA Today, Yahoo News, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and Vox, as well as countless state outlets

Prior to joining Compassion & Choices, Kim spent two decades creating integrated campaigns to engineer social change, including supporting issue campaigns to reduce the number of uninsured Americans and improve children’s health, and political campaigns at the federal, state and local levels. Kim holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate in public health from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in government from Oberlin College. She also holds a certificate in the fundamentals in gerontology through a joint program offered by the American Society on Aging and the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology.

Trish Bernstein, Chief Operating Officer, ex officio

Trish Bernstein serves as the chief operating officer at Compassion & Choices, the leading national nonprofit organization committed to helping everyone have the best death possible. In this capacity, Trish is responsible for human resources, board, IT, support services and facilities.  Trish came to Compassion & Choices with almost two decades of experience running the operations of both national and nonprofit hospice and palliative care organizations. In addition to her work with hospice and palliative care providers, Trish has held regional positions with a nursing home chain, Alzheimer’s care provider, and a pharmaceutical company.  Trish’s interest in the medical field began in Canada, where she was born and raised, and where she obtained a pharmacy technician diploma and a certificate in dental assisting. She later taught dental assisting, dental technology and pharmacy technology at a technical school in Michigan as well as helping train dental students at The University of Michigan dental school clinic. Trish also has a degree from The University of Michigan. She lived with her husband and son in the Washington, D.C. area for nearly 20 years before moving to Portland, Oregon in 2013.  Patricia is dedicated to the cause of ensuring the highest quality of end-of-life care and support for patients and their families.

Marcia A. Campbell, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, ex officio

Marcia A. Campbell, CPA, is chief financial officer of Compassion & Choices. She has worked since 1978 as an accountant to a wide range of clients, ranging from manufacturers to mortgage brokers. She has earned a reputation as a successful CFO, controller, and human resources director for closely held private companies and nonprofit organizations. The Kansas City, Missouri, native is mother of two adult sons and enjoys painting when she puts down her calculator.

 


Our Board of Advisors

Marcia Angell

Marcia is senior lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is author of the book “Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case.”

Ram Dass

Dr. Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) is a ’60s counter-culture icon, author and spiritual teacher. He has authored several books including “Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying.”

Nancy Neveloff Dubler, LL.B.

Nancy is director of the Bioethics Division at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y. Her many published works include “Ethics on Call: Taking Charge of Life and Death Choices in Today’s Health Care System.”

Olympia Dukakis

Olympia is an Academy Award-Winning actress and activist for issues including human rights, civil rights and the environment. Memorable roles include her Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winning performance in “Moonstruck” and her portrayal of a mother of an AIDS-afflicted man who seeks aid in dying in “The Event”

Amitai Etzoni

Dr. Etzioni is one of the most highly regarded public intellectuals. He authored 24 books including The Spirit of Community. He was Professor of Sociology at Columbia University for 20 years and taught at Harvard and Berkeley. He was a guest scholar at the Brookings institute and a Senior Advisor to the White House. He is the first University Professor at The George Washington University, where he is the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies. He served as president of the American Sociological Association in 1994-95 and has held many other esteemed positions and won myriad awards for his work.

Bruce Fein

Bruce is a constitutional and international lawyer and legal scholar. He was associate deputy attorney general under President Reagan and served on the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements in 2006. He is a frequent expert guest for the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and NPR.

Judith Krantz

Judith has captivated millions of readers worldwide with her novels. Her first effort “Scruples” shot to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent work is her memoir “Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl.”

Betty Rollin

Betty is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, author and former correspondent for NBC News. She now contributes reports for PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. She has written seven books, including her best seller, Last Wish, published in 1985, which deals with the assisted suicide of her terminally ill mother and has led to her long involvement with the aid-in-dying movement.

Rev. Dr. Paul Smith

Smith is a pastor with the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. As Board Chairman of the Ethics Committee at Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital, he worked with Doctors and Staff to inform and support regarding difficult patient care decisions. Facing Death, Dr. Smith’s recently published book, chronicles ministering intimately to the dying and their loved ones. Currently, Dr. Smith is Executive Director of Healthy Families Brooklyn, a foundation dedicated to the improvement of access to health care in underserved communities.

Rev. John Shelby Spong

Spong is the retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, N.J., and the leading liberal theologian of our time. He has authored several best-selling books challenging the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, the virgin birth and Christ’s resurrection.

Marilyn Webb

Marilyn is a distinguished professor and co-director of the Journalism Department at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. Her Pulitzer Prize-nominated book “The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life” chronicles the lives of 15 terminally ill patients and explores the social, legal and moral issues surrounding death in America. She is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and a contributing writer and editor for New York Magazine among other publications.

In Memoriam

Rev. Howard Moody

Moody, a self-proclaimed “trustful agnostic” presided over the congregation of Judson Memorial Church in the West Village neighborhood of New York City for 35 years. Moody led a group of peaceful protestors in the March on Washington, helped open a clinic to provide safe, affordable abortions years before Roe v. Wade and created an AIDS task force at Judson.


Strategic Impact Committee

Sal M Anderton Legislative Director – Porzio Governmental Affairs, Trenton, NJ

Sal M. Anderton, Esq. is Legislative Director for Porzio Governmental Affairs. Mr. Anderton’s background includes serving as legislative counsel for Assemblyman John McKeon who currently serves as Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Assembly Environment and Budget Committees. Subsequent to his work for the Assemblyman, Mr. Anderton served as Legislative Counsel for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In each position, he was responsible for drafting and monitoring relevant legislative and regulatory developments. Mr. Anderton is of Counsel at Porzio Bromberg and Newman concentrating on real estate and land use matters as well as Education law. He served as the attorney for the West Orange Planning Board and currently represents clients in all aspects of real estate development.

Mr. Anderton has assisted his community as a member of the West Orange Township Council and the Executive Committee of the Essex County March of Dimes WalkAmerica. He continues to actively participate in the Orange/West Orange Chapter of Unico National and the Montclair State University Alumni Association. He has been an adjunct professor of Law and Political Science at Montclair State University for over ten years.

Mr. Anderton earned a dual degree in philosophy and political science from Montclair State University and his Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. He spends much of his spare time on the ice as a USA Hockey Certified Youth Hockey Coach.

Rabbi Terry Bard, Editor in Chief – Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, Inc., Newton Centre, MA

Terry Bard became the Managing Editor (now Editor in chief) of the Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, Inc. on January 1, 2009 after serving as Associate Managing Editor for 16 months. Dr. Bard continues to develop new publishing opportunities consistent with JPCP Inc’s mission, including the partnership with Sage Publications Inc. in 2015.

Throughout his career, Bard continues to publish on a broad range of topics and lecture nationally and internationally. After retiring from his 24-year responsibilities as chaplain and director of Pastoral Care and Education at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Bard continues his over 40 years of teaching at the Harvard Medical School faculty of psychiatry and serves as a member of its Academy for Medical Education. He is co-founder of the American Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Inc. (also known as the American Bioethics Culture Institute, Inc.) and is a researcher and research consultant, and provides direct care in his counseling practice.

Dr. Bard is a retired Board Certified Chaplain of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Association of Professional Chaplains, of which he is a past president. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Massachusetts.

Assemblyman Paul Baumbach, State Representative, Delaware General Assembly, Newark, Delaware

Paul is State Representative in Delaware’s 23rd District and Founder/Owner of Mallard Financial Partners in Newark. Paul has been part of the Newark community since 1990 when he relocated here with his wife, Pam. They have a son and daughter-in-law who live in the district as well as two rescue Corgi dogs, and a cat named Gizmo.  Paul graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Computer Science and holds another Computer Science degree from Villanova University. He opened his business in 1996 and continues to serve his clients from his office in Newark.

Paul has a commitment to service in the community. He led his faith community’s social justice efforts for many years, which has driven Paul to champion equality and affordable housing issues in Dover. He has been a member of the Progressive Democrats for Delaware for several years, including a few as its president. This helped develop his passion for open and transparent good government. He is also former board member of Equality Delaware and a past member of the Newark Housing Authority. These positions helped to inform and inspire him to run for State Representative in 2012.

As State Representative, Paul uses his expertise and business background in such matters as the annual budget, income tax policy, proposed changes to insurance law, state resource management, best practices for income tax brackets, minimum wages and the earned income tax credit among other issues to insure efficiency and fairness in state matters.

Paul’s real passion is listening to constituents in his community. Through monthly coffees, active Facebook presence, biweekly district email updates, town hall meetings, community meetings, and going door to door in the district, Paul works to make a difference in the community he serves.

David Cook, Chair, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, Chevy Chase, MD

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 holds Master of Theology and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Chicago. David and his wife Ann are longtime supporters of the movement for end-of-life options. He was elected to the board in 2014.

Debbi Gibbs, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, New York, NY

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 Gibbs 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.

Joie Glenn, Advocate Home Care and Hospice, Retired, Volunteer – Advocacy for Home and Hospice Care Services of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Joie Glenn was the Executive Director of the New Mexico Association for Home and Hospice Care for 25 years.  She stepped down from that position in December of 2016. She currently is on contract with the association to lobby for their members.   Joie is also involved as a volunteer and serves on a number of state, regional and national boards and committees. Joie is a nurse and worked in the home health and hospice industry for 15 years prior to accepting the association management position.

Phil Hardy, Senior Vice President – Strategies 360, Washington, DC

A veteran Republican communicator and strategist, Phil offers strategic counsel to and lobbies on behalf of Strategies 360’s clients as senior vice president of federal relations in the firm’s DC practice. Previously, he served on the staff of Freedom Caucus founder Congressman Raúl Labrador (R-ID), based in DC and Boise. Phil served as a floor whip for the Donald Trump campaign during the Republican National Convention, and an informal advisor to President-elect Trump’s Idaho campaign.

Phil was most recently the vice president of government and media relations in S360’s Boise, Idaho office. In Idaho, Phil managed a diverse portfolio of clients, both as a registered state lobbyist and as a communications specialist. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Phil was honored by the Idaho Press Club with first place awards on behalf of his clients for Best Public Affairs Campaign as well as numerous other first place awards during this period.

Prior to joining S360 in 2013, Phil served as both spokesman and district coalitions director for Congressman Raúl Labrador. In these dual roles Phil was responsible for overseeing communications with national and local media, as well as all inter-governmental relations with federal and state agencies in Idaho.

In addition, Phil served as communications director for the Idaho State Senate Majority and as a key aide to Lt. Governor Brad Little, for whom he acted as liaison to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s staff. Before moving to Idaho, Phil spent 12 years in London where he owned and operated a music marketing and promotion agency.  A native New Yorker, Phil holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Seton Hall University.

Nancy Hoyt, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, Chicago, IL & Los Angeles, CA

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.

Gene Hughes, Disability Rights Advocate, Utica, NY

Gene Hughes brings decades of experience working within the disability community. He is serving on the committee on his own volition. He has been employed at the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) for 24 years and the Director of Advocacy Services for the past 10 years. Gene has done numerous outreaches on RCIL’s mission and the independent living philosophy. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) and has spent the last 30 years advocating for individuals with disabilities in our right to make choices in life. He hopes he will not have to spend that much time advocating for end of life choices.

James H. Jones, Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus – University of Houston, Washington, DC

James Jones is a noted author, historian, and bioethicist.  His book, Bad Blood:  The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, was selected by The New York Times as one of the six best books in non-fiction published in 1981 and also won the American Public Health Association’s Arthur Viseltear Award, given annually for the best book on the history of public health. Art Caplan, a noted bioethicist, declared in a retrospective of bioethics written in 2007 that Bad Blood was the most important book in the history of the field.

Jones’s other publications include Alfred Kinsey:  A Public/Private Life, which was a finalist and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1998, and numerous articles, including a feature article in The New Yorker.  He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” and “CNN;” and he has been interviewed on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and “All Things Considered.”  

In 2001, Jones retired as the Alumni Distinguished Professor at the University of Arkansas, the oldest endowed professorship at the university.  Before joining the faculty at Arkansas, he taught for seventeen years at the University of Houston, where he rose to the rank of Distinguished University Professor.

Jones lives in Washington, D.C., where he pursues his interest in bioethics and the social history of American medicine.  

Ann Marchetti, Principal – AW Marchetti Consulting, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

For the past twenty-four years, Ann Marchetti has held leadership roles in several successful nonprofit agencies towards a singular goal– to improve the health and well being of children, youth and families. Drawing upon her unique combination of public policy, business and creative skills, Ann has assisted these nonprofits in optimizing their business models to build organizational capacity and develop sustainable programs. In 2008, Ann was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service to Children and Youth by the National Child Labor Committee. This body remarked, “Ann has been at the forefront of action and has been the voice to improve the health, education, well-being and futures of millions of children.”

Most recently, Ann served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the Cambridge, MA based National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), which specializes in improving the quality of care for children. Since 2004, Ann provided leadership in building the organization’s marketing, finance, human resources and board governance capacity.

Prior to joining NICHQ, Ann served as Program Director for the Southern Institute on Children and Families (SICF), based in Columbia, SC. There she also served as the Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids/Covering Kids and Families National Initiative. Immediately prior, she was Associate Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC). Ann earned her MS degree from Radford University.

Ann founded AW Marchetti Consulting in 2008. Her firm is dedicated to empowering a new generation of leaders to develop effective systems for capacity development and program delivery. Ann believes that collaborative solutions enhance sustainability and build shared and lasting solutions for a brighter and healthier future.

Sean Meloy, Political Director – Victory Fund, Gibsonia, PA

Sean Meloy is the Political Director at Victory Fund. Prior to joining Victory Fund, Sean was the Director of LGBT Engagement at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and worked to ensure LGBTQ support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, including having the largest and most diverse group of LGBTQ Delegates in Democratic National Convention history. Prior to joining the DNC, Sean ran two congressional races, including the reelection of Congressman Mike Doyle (PA-14) in 2010 and Kristin Cabral’s 2012 race for District 10 in Virginia. Sean also served in Congressman Doyle’s Washington, D.C. office and advised the Congressman on LGBTQ affairs, education, campaign reform, and judiciary issues. Additionally, Sean has worked on building coalitions, grassroots and digital engagement, and legislative strategy in the areas of intellectual property, telecommunications access, and community college affordability. Sean is a Pennsylvanian through and through, living in Pittsburgh and graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Secondary Social Studies Education and Political Science.

Charles F Miller, MD, FACP, Medical Oncologist – Doctors for Dignity, Honolulu, HI

Dr Miller earned his MD from the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California. He completed residency training at Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii and fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. He is Board Certified in Medical Oncology, Hematology and Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He served for 30 years in the US Army Medical Department, serving as Commander, 3rd Combat Support Hospital, Nuremberg, Germany and completing his service as the Chief Consultant to the Surgeon General. After retiring from active duty he completed 9 years as Chief of Hematology-Oncology at Kaiser Medical Center, Honolulu Hawaii. He has served on the Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology Board of Directors since 2002 and served as President for seven of those years. He remains actively involved at the national level with the American Society of Clinical Oncology working on various committees and policy groups and holds a clinical appointment to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. He presently serves on the University of Hawaii Cooperative Institutional Review Board as well as the Physicians Advisory Group to the Hawaii Health Information Exchange. He has been an active supporter of Compassion and Choices since 2012 and has worked to support patient choice for end of life care for the people of the state of Hawaii as a member of Doctors for Dignity.

Dr. Robert Olvera, Medical Doctor (Retired), Santa Anna, CA

I am currently a retired physician in Southern California following the death of my 25-year-old daughter in 2014. I was trained as an Air Force Corpsman during the Vietnam era, I attended Harvard Medical School and did my residency at the University of California Irvine in Family Medicine. I have practice over 30 years of clinical medicine. I had a long career as an admitting physician with a surgical background. Watching my daughter die after her 17 year battle with cancer, and her wish to ultimately die from a sleeping aid has inspired me to go on with her wishes that dying people should have a voice, and an personal option.

Maria Otero, Executive Director – Nuestra Salud, Albuquerque, NM

“I believe having medical aid in dying as an option at end of life is a basic human right. A terminally ill adult facing imminent suffering should not be denied a peaceful and dignified death.”

Maria D. Ulloa Otero, is an immigrant, community leader, health educator, and a grassroots activist who is committed to social justice and empowering communities to be active in their own healthcare. She has been a public health professional for more than 20 years and is the co-founder of Nuestra Salud, a community-based organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities affecting Hispanic communities in New Mexico through research, training, and outreach.

Maria works with minority populations to provide health education on maternal child health, reproductive rights, tobacco use prevention, chronic disease risk factors, and end-of-life choices. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and lay media. She has provided numerous interviews, in English and Spanish, addressing the entire trajectory of public health and has received national and international awards for her professional accomplishments.

Maria received a bachelor’s of science degree from New Mexico State University and has dedicated her entire career to dismantling oppression and empowering communities to have a voice.

Dr. David Pratt, Former Medical Director – Care Choices, Rexford, NY

Dr. Pratt is a board certified internist with sub-specialty certification in pulmonary medicine and preventive medicine. He has a medical degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree in public health (from SUNY Albany). Dr. Pratt served in the US Public Health Service from 1973 to 1975 and in that capacity he was part of the successful global Smallpox eradication program run by the World Health Organization. He served in India with the Smallpox effort.

He practiced pulmonary medicine in Cooperstown, New York at Bassett Healthcare for 14 years. He also served as Corporate Medical Director for Hershey Foods and for GE’s Power and Water business. He was The Commissioner of Public Health Services for Schenectady County, New York from 2009-2012. From 2013 to 2016 he was the medical director for Care Choices an out patient palliative care program in Schenectady, NY Currently he is a private consultant in preventive medicine and public health. He is the author and coauthor of more than 50 peer reviewed health care publications.

Susan Rahn, Story Teller – C&C New York Campaign, Rochester, NY

Susan Rahn, a Rochester, New York resident, is a mother, blogger/writer and metastatic research and medical aid-in-dying advocate. In 2013, at the age of 43, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and has been fighting the disease ever since.

“I want to live more than anything. I want to see my son graduate college and medical school. And I want to hold my grandchildren. But eventually, my treatment options will run out. What I don’t want is to suffer and be in uncontrollable pain while my body shuts down for what could be weeks. My terminal illness has taken so much from me already, and ultimately it’s going to take my life. I want to be able to choose how I will die when my time comes. I don’t want my illness to make that choice for me.”

Lucille A Ridgill, MD, Physician, Rancho Palos Verde, CA

Lucille Ridgill is a Medical Director for VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care. Board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Ridgill received a Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a Medical Degree from Creighton University Medical School, both in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Ridgill is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Ridgill holds membership with the National Medical Association, the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine and the American Medical Association.

John F. Rohe, Vice-President, Philanthropy – Colcom Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA

Practiced law in northern Michigan for thirty years before joining Colcom Foundation in 2006. Undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University (1968-1972) and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (1972-1974).

Samantha Sandler, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, New York, NY

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 NYC and Beth Israel in Newark NJ. In the not for profit area she has served on various board 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 C&C lecture on Living Wills and quickly extended to attending and then sponsoring events to introduce others to the organization.

Jerri Shaw, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, Columbia, MD

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 U.S. 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.

Madison T Shockley II, Pastor – Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Carlsbad, CA

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.

Dr. Haider Warraich, Board of Directors – Compassion & Choices, Durham, NC

Dr. Haider Warraich is a physician, writer, researcher and brilliant new voice in the discussion about death and end-of-life care options, which include patient-centered care, hospice and palliative care and medical aid in dying. He authored the book, Modern Death – How Medicine Changed the End of Life (St Martin’s Press), in which he discusses the impact modern medicine has had on the dying experience. He also regularly writes for the New York Times; has contributed to The Guardian, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe; and has made TV appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox, BBC Radio and NPR among others.

Haider is also an avid clinical researcher with articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet amongst others. Currently, he is training in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Previously, he was a staff physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and instructor at Harvard Medical School, where he also received training in internal medicine.

Haider speaks regularly on care at the end of life, has delivered keynote addresses and lectures at conferences around the country include at academic medical centers such as Harvard, Yale, Wake Forest, Duke, UT Southwestern, UCLA and Columbia University amongst others.

Mark Weideman, Principal – Weideman Group, Sacramento, CA

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 at 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.

Thomas J White, Scientific Advisor – Human Rights Center, Univ. of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Dr. White received his B.A. in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley – including graduate studies in the Pharmacology Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  His postdoctoral research on breast cancer was carried out at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and on antibiotic resistance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. From 1978-1988, White was employed at Cetus Corporation where he held the position of Vice President of Research and directed the research and development of products using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for multiple applications in basic research, molecular evolution, forensics and diagnostics. From 1989-2000 he worked for Roche Molecular Systems.

As Senior Vice President of Research and Development he was responsible for PCR-based tests for the medical diagnosis of genetic diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases, tests for bone marrow transplantation and screening the blood supply for HIV, HCV and HBV, and for developing new applications of PCR for basic research, forensics and the human genome project.  From 2001-2011, White was Senior VP of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at Celera Corporation. This involved the development and FDA registration of molecular diagnostic products for cystic fibrosis, Fragile-X, HIV drug resistance, hepatitis C virus genotyping, thrombosis, as well as laboratory developed (CLIA) tests for complex common diseases and cancer. Dr. White retired in June 2011. At the University of California at Berkeley he is a member of the advisory boards of the Human Rights Center, the College of Natural Resources, and a Trustee of the University of California Press Foundation. He is a consulting scientific advisor for two nonprofit organizations: the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND.org), Global Oncology (globalonc.org) and for several biotechnology companies.

Judy Zerzan, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer – Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Denver, CO

As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Zerzan provides directly oversees the Pharmacy, Data Analysis, and Quality & Health Improvement sections for Colorado Medicaid.  Dr. Zerzan has a role in the design and implementation of benefits, Colorado’s Accountable Care Collaborative, quality and health outcome improvement, and cost-containment efforts. She is the Medicaid representative to the Colorado Multi-Payer Collaborative.  She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Zerzan received her MD degree from Oregon Health and Science University in 1998 and her MPH in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina in 1999.  She completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington/Seattle VA in 2007. Dr. Zerzan was a 2008-2010 non-residential Health and Aging Policy Fellow in the office of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia.  During her fellowship, she worked on Medicaid, benefits for those dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and prescription drug policies. Dr. Zerzan was chair of the Medicaid Medical Director’s Network 2012-2013.


African American Leadership Council

Jason Gaulden Communications Director of America Succeeds, Principal, The Gaulden Group

Jason Gaulden is the Communications Director of America Succeeds, responsible for providing communications, fundraising, and operational support to the home office and affiliates in his role. He is also the founder and principal at Gaulden Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, communications and fundraising services to public and private institutions. Jason draws upon fifteen years of professional experience in varying roles: executive leadership, philanthropy, marketing, technical writing, fund development, and nonprofit board service. Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and graduated with honors. He later served two terms as Chair of the University’s Alumni Board.

Shirley Tabb, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker & Host – Social Work Today on BBS Radio

Shirley Tabb is a preeminent Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW – Washington DC and Licensed Clinical Social Worker – Clinical tract (Maryland) advocate who has assessed and helped over 1000 people in the District of Columbia access community resources and home health services under the Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver for the Elderly and Disabled. Shirley has history of hosting her own talk show on DC Cable Television where she discussed pertinent issues facing poor, elderly, and disabled people receiving or in need of Medicaid or private-pay home health care. These shows are available for viewing on YouTube and Vimeo.

Shawn Perry, Executive Producer & Host – The Senior Zone

Shawn Perry executive produces and host of The Senior Zone; a weekly radio program dedicated to serving the needs of the older adult community.  Since 2012, Shawn has worked tirelessly to promote the wellbeing of older adults and champion their causes. He attributes his reverence for the older adults to his late grandmother, Rosa Perry, who instilled a profound sense of empathy for the vulnerable, frail and elderly. Shawn is a retired military officer; serving nearly 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, has a B.S. from the University of Maryland, and has lived in the Washington, D.C., area for the past 32 years.

Sultan Shakir, Executive Director of Supporting & Mentoring Youth Advocates & Leaders (SMYL)

Sultan Shakir is the Executive Director of SMYAL, an organization that works to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Sultan works to expand opportunities for young LGBTQ people through youth empowerment. Prior to joining SMYAL, Sultan worked at the Human Rights Campaign where he served as a director of the D.C. and Maryland marriage equality campaigns, and in his most recent role, led the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Project, working to make campuses safer and more inclusive of LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Omega Silva, Endocrinology & Internal Medicine, Professor emeritus of medicine at the George Washington University.

Dr. Omega Silva is professor emeritus of medicine at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a medical review officer for Employee Health Programs in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a long-standing advocate for universal health care and a committed supporter of the advancement of women in medicine. In 1999 Dr. Silva was appointed President-Elect of the American Medical Women’s Association.

Reverend Madison Shockley, Pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ

Rev. Madison Shockley 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 political, non-profit and media environments. Originally ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1979, he served churches in St. Louis, Denver and Seattle. In 1990, he joined the United Church of Christ when he accepted the call to the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, UCC, in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, he became a leader in the aftermath of the 1992 riots by organizing and hosting an interracial dialogue to heal the broken community.

Dr. Lucille Ridgill, Medical Director – VITAS Healthcare

Lucille Ridgill is a Medical Director for VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care. Dr. Ridgill oversees the medical care and treatment of VITAS patients in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes in Coastal Cities, California. She also consults with patients’ attending physicians, supervises VITAS team physicians, guides staff and volunteers, and serves as a resource to practicing physicians and other healthcare professionals on the benefits of hospice and palliative care for patients and their families. Board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Ridgill received a Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a Medical Degree from Creighton University Medical School, both in Omaha, Nebraska. She completed a residency at UCLA-Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Ridgill is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Channte’ Keith, Director of Programs for National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAAPTPN)

Channte’ Keith, director of programs for National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, received her master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University and has dedicated most of her career to tobacco control. Keith has served in capacities including program development, community outreach and grant management. She is responsible for the My Doc Cares Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program which supports doctors in their efforts to address patient tobacco use. Today, Keith continues in public health with NAATPN by developing the strategic direction for its tobacco, cancer and HIV programs.

Delores Lewis, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Newark, NJ; Volunteer Coordinator and Advocate for senior citizens

Delores Lewis has served in various capacities in Newark’s city government for 33 years, proudly serving in the Kenneth Gibson, Sharpe James and Ras Baraka administrations. Currently she serves as a volunteer Coordinator for the senior community for Mayor Baraka, a role she cherishes.

Reverend Charles W. McNeill, Jr., Senior Pastor

Reverend Charles Winston McNeill, Jr., is a native of Erwin, North Carolina.  He is one of five children and the oldest son born to Charles Winston McNeill, Sr., and Bessie Campbell McNeill.  He has been married to the former Audrey McDonald for 22 wonderful and magnificent years.  From their union, they have a lovely daughter named Jade Noelle.

Ottamissiah “Missy” Moore

Missy Moore was born in Philadelphia, PA, and is a resident of Washington D.C. Her wealth of experience and knowledge in nursing spans over 30 years. She currently is the Staff Development Specialist for the Deanwood Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, a 296 bed long term care facility in Washington, DC. Prior to this position, she was the Director of Staff Development at the Capitol Hill Nursing Center. She is a Master of business development, mentorship, and networking. She owns a consulting agency that provides conference planning and trainings to include leadership, Certified Nursing Assistance training, and other various topics.

Beverly Morgan

Beverly Morgan, BS, LPN, CIC, WCC, GC is a Master of Business Development, mentorship, event planning and networking. She is the owner of two private duty home care agencies which provide comprehensive home care services to seniors by providing caring, compassionate caregivers to seniors with dignity and respect.

 


Latino Leadership Council

Mauricio Ochmann, Actor, California

Mauricio Ochmann is a Mexican actor known as “Chema Venegas” in the popular Telemundo telenovelas El Chema (nickname for “Jose Maria”) and El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord of the Skies). He recently broke records with the international film Hazlo Como Hombre (Do it Like a Man) in which he stars with his actress wife, Aislinn Derbez. In Oct. 2014, Ochmann became the first celebrity in Hollywood to publicly endorse Compassion & Choices’ campaign to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation in California at a time when many Latinos were reluctant to engage in conversations about end-of-life care. In 2016, Mauricio recorded a 15-second public service announcement in Spanish that we released last March to urge Latinos to support the passage of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act.

Reverend Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Minister, California

Reverend Castuera is a minister at the United Methodist Church in Claremont, California. He is a civil and human rights activist who worked on the California campaign to pass the End of Life Option Act. A former Compassion & Choices board member, Rev. Castuera has championed numerous social issues that have grown quickly into wider acceptance. He was the national chaplain for Planned Parenthood for six years, married gay couples on national and international television, and has been a strong voice in the movement to authorize the option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill adults. Rev. Castuera holds a Doctor of Religion degree from Claremont School of Theology and taught Contemporary Theology at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology for 25 years.

Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Activist, California

Dolores Huerta is an iconic civil rights activist, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and cofounder of the United Farm Workers Union. She has won numerous national awards, including the the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her support of the End of Life Option Act in California was critical important to the passage of the law because she encouraged Latino legislators who were hesitant to support the bill in 2015. Dolores’ advocacy was inspired by helping watching her mother’s suffering as she died from terminal breast cancer that had spread throughout her body.

Robert Olvera, M.D., California

Robert Olvera, Medical Doctor, California Dr Olvera is a retired family practice/sports medicine physician from Southern California. He was in practice for over 30 years with Bristol Park Medical Group and Memorial Care Medical Group before retiring in 2014.

Dr. Olvera trained as a Corpsman in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam era. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Irvine, and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Following his graduation from Harvard, he completed his residency back at UC Irvine in Family Medicine.

Dan Diaz, California

Dan Diaz is the husband of Brittany Maynard, who died in November 2014 from a brain tumor. The couple moved from California to Oregon, one of four states at that time that had authorized medical aid in dying so Brittany could get the prescription for aid-in-dying medication to ensure she would have a gentle dying process instead of an agonizing one. As a result of Brittany’s story, in 2015 legislators introduced bills to authorize medical aid in dying in California, 24 other states as well as Washington, D.C. Dan advocates for expanding the availability of end-of-life care options for terminally ill, mentally capable individuals. Dan’s efforts were instrumental in securing the passage of the End of Life Option Act in California, and his efforts to advance similar bills continue in the other states across the country.

Father Luis Barrios, New York

Father Luis Barrios is a priest at Iglesia Episcopal Santa Cruz/Holyrood Episcopal Church and a professor at John Jay College in New York City.

Reverend Sergio Camacho, California

Rev. Sergio Camacho is the Latino ministry pastor at Lancaster United Methodist Church.

Nilsa Centeno, Puerto Rico

Nilsa Centeno is the mother of the late Miguel Carrasquillo, a 35-year-old former chef in Chicago and New York who died in his native Puerto Rico of brain cancer in June 2016. He became Compassion & Choices’ first bilingual advocate when he recorded videos in English and in Spanish to urge his fellow Latinos to support giving terminally ill adults the option of medical aid in dying.

Irisaida ‘Isa’ Mendez, Florida

Irisaida ‘Isa’ Mendez is a seasoned multicultural communications and development consultant for leading corporations looking to penetrate the Latin American and US Hispanic markets. She has held a variety of leadership roles at Make-A-Wish Foundation and San Jorge Children’s Hospital in Puerto Rico, Spirit Airlines and the American Red Cross. Her trademark is to create strategies that promote philanthropic interest for individuals and the corporate world.

Dr. Yanira Cruz

Dr. Yanira Cruz is president and chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Council on Aging in Washington, D.C. She earned a Master’s degree and a Doctorate degree in public health with a specialty in global health from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Maria D. Ulloa Otero, New Mexico

Maria D. Ulloa Otero is an immigrant, community leader, health educator and grassroots activist committed to social justice who empowers communities to be active in their own healthcare. She has been a public health professional for more than 20 years and co-founded Nuestra Salud, a community-based organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities affecting Hispanic communities in New Mexico through research, training and outreach.

Jorge Lambrinos, California

Jorge Lambrinos is a founding director of the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California (USC). Mr. Lambrinos has been actively involved in the field of aging for more than 30 years, developing programs and services that benefit the aging community. 

Maria Lemus, California

Maria Lemus is founding Executive Director of Vision Y Compromiso a 501 C (3) non profit organization since 2000. Visión y Compromiso and its Promotora and Community Health Worker Network is committed to supporting Promotoras and Community Health Workers (P/CHW) towards achieving healthy and dignified lives for Latinos who endure disproportionate rates of health disparities by providing leadership, capacity building and advocacy for over 4000 Promotores and Community Health Workers associated with clinics, hospitals, community based organizations in rural and urban communities.

Guillermo Chacón, New York City

Guillermo Chacón is a native El Salvadoran who lives in New York. He studied education at the National University of El Salvador and attended Fordham University in the Organizational Leadership program.

Daniel Turner-Lloveras, MD

Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras is an assistant professor of medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles at Harbor-UCLA.


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