Board of Directors



Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW

is Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa School of Social Work with a joint appointment in the Aging Studies Program, where she develops and teaches undergraduate interdisciplinary courses (Introduction to Nursing Homes; Older Adulthood: Cultural Comparisons; and Basic Aspects of Aging). In the School of Social Work she teaches research methods and advises students interested in social gerontology and palliative care.

Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW

is Director of Oncology Integration at St. Michael's Hospital, where she also served as the Professional Practice Leader for Social Work and practiced in the hospital's Hematology/ Oncology and Palliative Care Programs. Previously she was a member of the Department of Oncology Social Work at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. In addition to her clinical and supervisory role, she was the Director of the Continuing Education Program in Psychosocial Cancer Care and the Co-Coordinator of the Living with Cancer Resource Program. She provided leadership to the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Palliative Care Steering Committee and spearheaded a number of education initiatives related to palliative care within the hospital. In January 2000, she received a Social Work Leadership Development Award from the Open Society Institute's Project on Death in America for her project, Social Work & End-of-Life Care: An Education Initiative.

Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW

is an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and a Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work, with professional interests in health care disparities; cultural competence in the delivery of mental health service and clinical practice with individuals, couples, and families. She holds an appointment as a senior research scientist at the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital and has conducted a number of studies that focused specifically on Latino and African Americans' health and mental health issues. Dr. Bullock serves on a number of community boards including the North Central Area Agency on Aging and the Connecticut Coalition to Improve Care at End of Life.

Grace H. Christ, DSW

is Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and has clinical and research interests in the fields of psychosocial oncology, end-of-life and palliative care, and interventions in childhood bereavement and traumatic loss.

Among other publications, she is the author of Healing Children's Grief: Surviving a parent's death from cancer, published in 2000 by Oxford University Press and author of a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on "Adolescent Grief". These publications identify through systematic analysis of 157 bereaved children, clinically relevant patterns of experience and expression of grief to parent loss at 5 different developmental levels. In 2004 Healing Children's Grief was recognized by the International Association of Palliative Care leadership as one of 12 books providing critical new directions to the field for the 21st century.

Daniel S. Gardner, PhD, LCSW

is an Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Social Work and a Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work, with professional interests in social gerontology; oncology, end-of-life and palliative care; health care practice and policy; clinical practice with individuals, couples, and families; and program evaluation and social work research.

Barbara L. Jones, PhD, LMSW

is President of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers (APOSW) and Assistant Professor at the UT Austin School of Social Work where she is also Co-Director of The Institute for Grief, Loss and Family Survival.

Dr. Jones was a Social Work Leader in the Open Society Institute's Project on Death in America and principal investigator on a study of the role of social work in pediatric palliative care. Dr. Jones serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life Care (Haworth Press) and has written articles on the needs of children and families at the end-of-life. She is a member of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.

Sanford Klein, DDS, MD

was founding professor and Chairman of the department of Anesthesia at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, a position he served for 16 years. The author of many articles and a popular textbook, he remains a professor at the Medical School, teaching, counseling and lecturing.

A product of the New York City School System through the Bronx High School of Science, Dr. Klein received a Dentistry degree from NYU and an MD degree from Albany Medical College. He became a board certified Anesthesiologist in 1975 and joined the faculty at the University of Iowa.

Stacy Orloff, EdD, LCSW

is the Vice President of Palliative Care and Community Programs for the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast in Clearwater, Florida and has over 17 years of experience in pediatric hospice and palliative care. Dr. Orloff serves on several task forces through the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, including the social work steering committee. She serves as chair of the organization's Social Work Outcomes Workgroup and is also co-chair of the Children's Project on Palliative/Hospice Services. Dr. Orloff has presented at many national conferences. She also serves as Florida's hospice representative on the state steering committee for the Partners in Care: Together for Kids, a palliative care waiver program in partnership with the Department of Health, Children's Medical Services and the Agency for Health Care Administration. She has published in several peer reviewed books and journals and has co-edited two books. Dr. Orloff holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership.

Judith R. Peres, LCSW-C

was the Vice President for Policy & Advocacy of the former Last Acts Partnership which dissolved in September, 2004. Prior to the formation of Last Acts Partnership, she was the Deputy Director of the Last Acts, National Program Office, funded by Robert Wood Johnson to improve care and caring near the end of life. In those roles she developed major policy pieces speaking to the need to improve end-of-life care in this country. Her career spans over three decades in both Medicare health policy and direct clinical work. Prior to her appointment at Last Acts, Ms. Peres served as Director of Health Policy for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, specializing in quality, reimbursement, and workforce issues.

Tracy Schroepfer, PhD, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

is Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Co-Director of the Cancer Health Disparities Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Schroepfer is currently working on several areas of research, the first of which is focused on gaining knowledge of the psychosocial and physical factors that motivate terminally ill elders to either consider or not consider a hastened death. Over the past two years, she has interviewed 200 terminally ill elders regarding the psychosocial and physical factors that motivated them to either consider or not consider a hastened death. The quantitative and qualitative results will be used to inform policy makers and practitioners working to improve the palliative care offered to terminally ill elders.

Gary L. Stein, JD, MSW

is faculty in the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at New York City's Yeshiva University, bringing more ethics curriculum and discussion to the university. His courses include Social Welfare Organization, Social Work in Health Care, and Social Policy, a doctoral class. Stein has been commissioned to write a paper for the RAND Corporation, on behalf of the US Department of Health and Human Services, regarding advance care planning as it applies to people with disabilities.

Katherine Walsh, PhD, MSW

as a Professor at the Springfield College School of Social Work, designs and teaches courses in social work practice with vulnerable and resilient populations, family therapy, therapeutic applications of adventure and loss and grief. During her 27 years as an oncology social worker in a variety of settings, she was a senior social worker and student supervisor at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Director of Psychosocial Services at Hospice/VNA Alliance of Hampshire County, and private practitioner of individual, group and family therapy.


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