Leadership & Advisory Board

To support the IPAL-OP project, a group of nationally respected palliative care clinicians and administrators was brought together, including adult and pediatric clinicians from academic and community settings. This multidisciplinary group of individuals is recognized for their clinical excellence, educational and research scholarship and broad-based efforts to improve systems of care through quality improvement activities.

Lynn Hill Spragens, MBA


Lynn H. Spragens is president of Spragens & Associates, LLC, based in Durham, North Carolina. Since 1998 Ms. Spragens has provided strategic planning, business, and operations consultation to non-profit and health care organizations across the nation. This has included extensive work ... READ MORE with the Center to Advance Palliative Care to promote increased access to Palliative Care in acute care hospitals from 2000 to the present. Ms. Spragens works individually with palliative care programs at various stages of implementation and development and presents widely on the business case for palliative care. Other areas of focus include work with geriatrics initiatives and innovators in the long term care field. Ms. Spragens has executive-level skills in strategic planning and specializes in bridging the goals of clinical innovation and business strategy. READ LESS

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J. Brian Cassel, PhD


J. Brian Cassel, PhD, is an assistant professor in Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care in the School of Medicine of Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also director of analytic services at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Following his doctoral degree in psychology from the City ... READ MORE University of New York, he worked at GMHC, Inc., conducting program evaluations on HIV/AIDS services there. He joined VCU Health System in 1999, focusing on financial evaluation and business development for oncology services including palliative care. Dr. Cassel is a member of the Palliative Care Leadership Center at VCU, training more than 150 teams from hospitals across the country in establishing and sustaining palliative care programs. Dr. Cassel was the King’s College London Fulbright Scholar in 2011-2012, during which he studied the financial and economic aspects of palliative care in the UK. READ LESS

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Susan E. Cohen, MD


Susan E. Cohen graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed residency training in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She joined the staff at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in 2000 as a primary care physician with an interest in Palliative Care. She went on ... READ MORE to complete board certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2005. While at the VA, she developed a formal outpatient palliative care clinic for veterans, was Co-Director of the accredited Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Fellowship Program, and Director of the Palliative Care Program. Dr. Cohen joined the Bellevue Hospital Center Palliative Care Program in 2008 as the Director and joined the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine as Assistant Clinical Professor. Since joining Bellevue/NYU Dr. Cohen has served on the Health and Hospitals Corporation Palliative Care Council and is now the co-chair of that committee. In addition she serves on the Bellevue Ethics Committee, Greater NY Hospital Association Palliative Care Leadership Network. She is one of the co-founders of the new Safety Net special interest group within the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Since joining Bellevue Hospital, she has led the programs development of a robust and growing consultation service, thriving outpatient palliative care service and a new accredited hospice and palliative medicine fellowship. Her areas of interest are program development, safety net issues, education, and outpatient palliative medicine services. READ LESS

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Vicki Jackson, MD


Vicki Jackson is Chief of Palliative Care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and previously served as the director of the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship from 2005-2010. She completed residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at The Cambridge Hospital. She pursued ... READ MORE training in research methods through the Harvard General Medicine Fellowship and completed a Masters in Public Health at The Harvard School of Public Health. She completed training in palliative care at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Womens Hospital and joined the staff at MGH in 2002. She pursued further research training in the Program for Cancer Outcomes Training and completed the End of Life Counselor Training program at the Zen Hospice in San Francisco. She was selected in 2003 for the Harvard Academy Education Fellowship where her work focused on the development of end of life medical and communication curriculum for medical trainees. She also completed the Rabkin Medical Education Fellowship at BIDMC studying the impact of advanced communication curriculum for palliative medicine trainees. Nationally she serves as Co-Chair for an innovative 3 year academic leadership training program for junior palliative medicine faculty. She serves as an educator locally at MGH and HMS and nationally through continuing medical education programs and lectures. READ LESS

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Elizabeth Kvale, MD


Elizabeth Kvale attended Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri, where she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Kvale completed a 2-year research fellowship in palliative medicine at the ... READ MORE University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Kvale is board certified in Family Practice and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Her clinical interests include the supportive care of cancer patients, survivorship, and the care of palliative patients in intensive settings. She is the Director of Outpatient Palliative Care at UAB, including the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic, the HIV Palliative Clinic, and community-based programs. Her research interests include Health Services Research focused on cancer survivorship, symptom assessment and management, and implementation research. Her research is currently supported by the American Cancer Society, the NIH, and the Veterans Administration. READ LESS

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Glen A. Medellin, MD


Glen A. Medellin graduated from Rice University with a BA in biochemistry/Biology and received his MD from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He pursued pediatric training at The Childrens Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Medellin entered... READ MORE private practice in an underserved area of San Antonio, TX. In order to better pursue his passions of teaching and patient care, he joined the faculty of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Medellin is the Director of Medical Student Education for the Department of Pediatrics, where he oversees over 200 medical students as they rotate through pediatrics. Awards received by Dr. Medellin include 2008, 2009, 2010 Outstanding Faculty, UTHSCSA School of Medicine; 2008 UTHSCSA Presidential Teaching Award; 2010, Best Role Model, Department of Pediatrics; 2007 Best Patient Advocate, Department of Pediatrics; 2006 Best Outpatient Attending, Department of Pediatrics; and 2005 Best Teacher, Department of Pediatrics. He was elected to the University of Texas System Academy of Health Science Education in 2012. Clinically, Dr. Medellin is passionate about caring for children with complex chronic conditions that alter their life trajectories. He holds the Greehey Distinguished Chair in Palliative Care for Children at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Childrens Hospital. He leads a multidisciplinary team that provides comprehensive coordinated care for children in the hospital, clinic and community. He also serves as the medical director for CHRISTUS Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care. READ LESS

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Vincent D. Nguyen, DO, CMD


Vincent D. Nguyen is a Board Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Specialist with Board Certifications in Geriatrics and Family Medicine. He earned his Medical Degree from Western University of Health Sciences in 1992. He is the Director of the HOAG CARES Palliative Care Program ... READ MORE and in this role provides professional and administrative services in the inpatient setting as well as developing HOAGs outpatient palliative clinical program. Prior to his current role, he was the Medical Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care Services at MONARCH HealthCare for over 5 years. During his tenure, he built a nationally recognized post-acute service in the Skilled Nursing Facility settings, implemented a training program for mid-career Physicians the art of Hospice and Palliative Medicine through UC Irvine, and developed an outpatient palliative care services. He is also currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCI and co-chairs the Orange County POLST Coalition since 2009. READ LESS

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Michael W. Rabow, MD


Michael W. Rabow is a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Board-certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative care, he founded and directs the Symptom Management Service at the UCSF ... READ MORE Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is the Associate Director of the UCSF Palliative Care Leadership Center (PCLC) and a member of the curriculum development committee for the PCLC Initiative nationally. In addition to his clinical palliative care work, Dr. Rabow has an active outpatient primary care medicine practice. He completed fellowships at UCSF in general medicine, as well as in medical education research. His research work is in palliative care, family care giving, and end-of-life care education. Dr. Rabow was Assistant Editor for the recently-completed bimonthly section in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life. He serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of the Healers Art at the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonwealth in California. READ LESS

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Simone Rinaldi, ANP-BC, ACHPN


Simone Rinaldi is a Nurse Practitioner, board-certified in Adult Primary Care and Hospice and Palliative Care. She has devoted much of her near twenty year nursing career to the development of palliative care programs in acute, correctional, and home-care settings. Simone is the ... READ MORE Co-Director of the MGH Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic, where in addition to her clinical responsibilities, she manages the operational and administrative functions, activities, and projects of the clinic. READ LESS

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Donna Stevens, BS


Donna Stevens is the Program Director of OACIS (Optimizing Advanced Complex Illness Supports) at Lehigh Valley Health Network. OACIS is the Palliative Medicine service which includes an inpatient consult service, a robust home-based palliative medicine service, and the beginnings of ... READ MORE clinics/office-based palliative medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College. Her background includes skilled nursing facility occupational therapy administration and inpatient psychiatry program administration. Her skills lie in building effective teams and leadership. READ LESS

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David E. Weissman, MD, FACP


David E. Weissman, MD, FACP, is a Professor Emeritus and founder of the Medical College of Wisconsin Palliative Care Center. He is board certified in Medical Oncology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In 1991 he began one of the first academic palliative care programs in the United States. ... READ MORE In 2003, the Medical College of Wisconsin′s Palliative Care Program was designated as one of six United States Palliative Care Leadership Centers by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Dr. Weissman is Director of the End-of-Life Palliative Education Resource Center (EPERC), and he was the founding editor of the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Currently he directs the Medical School Palliative Care Education Project, and runs a consulting practice, Palliative Care Education, LLC. READ LESS

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Leanne Yanni, MD


Leanne Yanni completed her training in Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and remained on faculty for 10 years. During that time she developed special expertise in pain and palliative care. In October 2011, she took the role of Medical Director of Palliative Medicine ... READ MORE at Bon Secours Richmond. She has a special interest in pain education and has developed an online curriculum, published several papers, and spoken on the topic at national meetings. She has received several awards for her work in this area; in 2010 and 2011 her peers voted her as a “Top Doc” for Pain Management in Richmond Magazine and she received the 2011 American College of Physicians’ Virginia Chapter Young Internist of the Year Award. In her role as Medical Director, she is focused on interdisciplinary team delivery of quality care to patients facing serious illness, both in the inpatient and outpatient setting. READ LESS

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