End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Board of Directors

Irene Wurtzel, Chair

Irene WurtzelIrene is a playwright, filmmaker and community activist. Her award winning plays have appeared on and off-Broadway. Ms. Wurtzel chaired the Board of Directors of Enterprise Works/Vita (newly merged in Relief International) for six years until 2008. She is currently Board  chair for Theater J and sits on the executive committee of the Board of Trustees of Shenandoah University. Other boards include the Phoenix Project, a non-profit dedicated to the training of college students for the not -for -profit world, and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. She was appointed by President Clinton to the Commission on the role of Women in American History.

Claire Jacobus, Vice Chair

Claire JacobusClaire has done death and dying work for many years, and has run a discussion group on these issues for over a decade, believing that aid and comfort to the dying is a form of social justice. She owns Jacobus Pharmaceutical Company with her husband, David, marketing drugs for tuberculosis and leprosy worldwide. Her past work includes book reviewing and overseeing clinical papers, grants and contracts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. An active volunteer in Princeton, NJ, she is especially interested in libraries, schools and social service institutions.

Jaren Ducker, Treasurer

Jaren DuckerJaren 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 vice 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.

Karen Pye, MPH, Secretary

Karen PyeKaren is a public health consultant with over 20 years experience providing program planning, management, and evaluation in community-based health care and health education settings. Ms. Pye is active in her community, providing pro bono evaluation mentoring to a homeless shelter and serving on the board of a residential crisis center for women and their children that provides empowerment training and resources. She also served on the board of Compassion in Dying from 2000 to 2004, when CID transitioned to Compassion & Choices.  Ms. Pye and her family have long been active supporters of C&C. She holds a Masters in Public Health and lives in Georgia with her husband.

Charles Hamlin, MD, Executive Committee Member at Large, Development Chair

Charles HamlinCharles served on the Compassion & Choices Colorado Chapter board of directors for three years before joining the national board this April. A retired surgeon, he was a founding member of Hand Surgery Associates and practiced there for over three decades. He holds degrees from Yale College, Dartmouth Medical School and Columbia University. Dr. Hamlin is a fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and received their Humanitarian Award in 2001. He also received the Navajo Indian Health Service Directors Award for his work with the Navajo Indians in Chinle, Arizona, where he still volunteers.

Robert V. Brody, MD

Robert BrodyRobert is a general internist with an interest in hospice and palliative care and medical ethics. For 17 years he was Chair of the Ethics Committee at San Francisco General Hospital, where he attends on the Medicine, Medicine Consultation, Pain, Palliative Care, and Ethics Services and is Chief of the Pain Consultation Clinic. He is also Medical Director of Health at Home for the San Francisco department of Public Health and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Family & Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. He joined the national board of Compassion in Dying in 1996 and the national board of End of Life Choices before the unification into Compassion & Choices, of which he was the first board chairman. He continues as an active member of the Compassion & Choices Advocacy and EOLC committees and the Compassion & Choices Northern California Chapter.

Debbi Gibbs

Debbi GibbsDebbi Gibbs 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.

Nancy Hoyt

Nancy HoytNancy 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.

Matthew Nelson

Matthew NelsonMatthew has supported end-of-life choice and our organization for many years. His passion comes from being close to many people who experienced painful deaths and wanting a “more graceful transition out of this world” for his mother, his loved ones and himself. Mr. Nelson is an ordained United Church of Christ minister and the assistant vice president of member services for the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC. As a board member, he lends his many years of fund-raising experience and nonprofit management to build a solid organization.

Sue D. Porter, MSB

Sue D. PorterSue D. Porter has been a client case manager for Compassion & Choices of Oregon since 2001. Sue helps steward terminally ill patients through the process outlined under Oregon’s unique Death With Dignity Act. She has a business background  including an MBA from St. Mary’s College. She has focused professionally on corporate software sales and market research. Sue lives in Portland, Oregon and is a Master of Science in Bioethics.

Robert Schwartz, JD

Robert SchwartzRob Schwartz has been Professor of Law and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico for over thirty years. During that period he has also taught law, medicine and bioethics in Australia, India, and several other law schools across the United States. He was Chair of the Task Force that resulted in New Mexico becoming the first state to adopt the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act, and he is the coauthor of one of the nation’s leading health law and bioethics texts.

Betsy Van Dorn

Betsy Van Dorn

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.

Thomas J. White

Thomas J. WhiteThomas spent over thirty years working in research and development for a number of biotechnology firms, where he focused in such areas as infectious diseases, genetic diseases and cancer. He received his BA in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. His postdoctoral research was carried out at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He retired in June 2011 and is the currently the Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley for 2012-2013.

Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, President

Barbara Coombs LeeBarbara 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 choices and be full participants in their health care decisions. As President of Compassion and Choices, Barbara oversees advocacy, development, legislative and client support.

Marcia A. Campbell, CPA, CFO/COO, ex officio

Marcia A. CampbellMarcia A. Campbell, CPA, is chief financial officer and chief operating 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.

Mickey MacIntyre, Chief Program Officer, ex officio

Mickey MacIntyreMickey has built nonprofit civil rights organizations and served as an architect of social change movements for years. In the past decade alone, he provided fundraising and development consultation to over 1,000 organizations including Human Rights Campaign, Disability Funders Network, Black AIDS Institute and the American Red Cross. As chief program officer, Mickey integrates core Compassion & Choices services of advocacy, consultation, education and outreach while setting and guiding the strategic direction of the organization.


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