Honoring Choices® Virginia - Who We Are
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Honoring Choices® Virginia - Advisory Board


  Richard Szucs, MD is the chair of the Honoring Choices Virginia Advisory Board, and formerly served as the chair of the Richmond Academy of Medicine Core Group on Palliative and Hospice Care. As president of the Academy he formed this committee to begin the community discussion regarding how health systems can be leaders in improving advance care planning. Recently, he completed training at Gundersen on First Steps facilitation.

Richard graduated from the Jefferson Medical College and completed a rotating internship at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and a diagnostic radiology residency at the Medical College of Virginia. He is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and a fellow of the American College of Radiology. He remained on the faculty at VCU as Assistant Professor of radiology in the abdominal imaging section and director of genitourinary radiology for 10 years before joining Commonwealth Radiology. He has an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of radiology at VCU.

He is presently the Vice President of Commonwealth Radiology and President of the Medical Staff of St. Mary’s Hospital.

Egidio del Fabbro, MD is the program director of palliative care at VCU Massey Cancer Center. He is a nationally recognized expert in palliative care. He also serves as an associate professor of internal medicine within the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care of the Department of Internal Medicine. His clinical research interest is in cancer-related fatigue and cachexia. He directs a robust research program with a history of peer-reviewed funding, and he is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Research Committee. He has been a champion for advance care planning at VCU. Egidio has been involved with our advance care planning core group since its inception.

Ken Faulkner is an assistant professor and Director of Pastoral Care for the VCU Health System. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Averett College and his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Additionally he holds a graduate certificate in patient counseling from VCU and a Master of Arts in Clinical Ethics from the University of Virginia. He is a trained POST facilitator and is a board member of the Virginia POST collaborative. Ken is a committed champion for advance care planning.

Mary Ann Hager, R.N., M.S. is on the Leadership Team of the Massey Cancer Center. She also is the Associate Director for clinical services and Administrator for the oncology business unit, VCU Medical Center. During her long career with VCU, Mary Ann has been instrumental in advancing programs for Cancer Care and Recovery. She is involved in the Richmond Cancer Advocacy Team, represents VCU with the Association of Community Cancer Centers, and serves on the board of LINC.
  Barbra Headen, RN, MBA serves as Administrative Director of Clinical Operations at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. Prior HCA leadership positions include Associate Chief Nursing Officer of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital and Parham Doctors’ Hospital. Before joining HCA in 2003 Barbra served as Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Richmond Community Hospital. Additional leadership positions held prior to relocating to Richmond, Virginia in 1988 includes Director of Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and Cardiac Perfusions Manager at Montefiore/Albert Einstein Hospital in Bronx, New York. Barbra received her Bachelors in Business Administration and Nursing degrees at St. John’s University, her MBA at Strayer University

Nathan Kottkamp is the Founder and Chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day and Partner with McGuire Woods. His interest in advance care planning is both personal and professional. “I serve on several hospital ethics committees as part of my health law practice, and I am repeatedly confronted with a very disturbing issue. Time and time again, families, providers, and hospital administrators struggle to interpret the wishes of patients who never made their healthcare wishes known (or failed to complete an advance directive to record their stated wishes). These families and professionals do their best to advocate for what they believe their loved ones or the patient would want or is in their best interests, but they are inherently doing so without any guidance, and it is agonizing. I founded National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16) because I know that we—both potential patients and healthcare providers—can do a much better job of making our wishes known and then honoring those wishes to avoid these very sad situations.” Nathan has been involved with our advance care planning core group from its inception.

Ritsu Kuno, MD, CPI is in independent practice with Pulmonary Associates of Richmond. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, and Critical Care Medicine. His medical interests include Critical Care Medicine, COPD and Bronchiectasis. As a practicing physician in critical care, he frequently encounters patients and their families who are not prepared to make choices regarding end- of- life care. Ritsu is a leader within the Academy. He is the co-chair of the Legislative Committee, and he serves as the Treasurer of the Board. Ritsu has been involved with our advance care planning core group from its inception.

Bill Nelson, MD, MPH is a retired public health physician, having served at the Virginia Department of Health for thirty years. During that time he performed as a Health Director for Chesterfield County, and in temporary capacity as the acting State Health Commissioner and Deputy State Health Commissioner(s). He is a past president of the Virginia Public Health Association, the Virginia Academy of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and has been the Board Chair for Planned Parenthood of Central Virginia. Dr. Nelson graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor's Degree in American History, attended the VCU School of Medicine, and earned a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. He is Board certified in General Public Health and Preventive Medicine. As a Board member of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, he enjoys being involved with groups working to improve the health of communities.

Dr. Dianne Reynolds-Cane is a primary care physician with the Central Area Health Network, a federally qualified health center serving metro Richmond. Previously, she served as Director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP), and as Medical Director of the Henrico County Sheriff's Office, and Medical Director of the Daily Planet Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic. Additionally, while Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, she developed a fourth year medical school elective course, Health Care for the Homeless.

Dianne is a Williamson Institute Health Law Fellow, a Claude Moore Physician Leadership Institute Health Policy Fellow, and a past Fellow of the U.S. Federation of State Medical Boards. She has held appointments to several state committees and boards including the Virginia Board of Medicine where she served as its first African-American woman President. She also served on the Virginia State Bar Third District Committee.

Dianne has been honored locally and nationally for her professional achievements, including her designation as a Virginia Hero by tennis pro Arthur Ashe's organization and as a recipient of the Richmond YWCA's Outstanding Woman Award in Health and Science. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Jenkins Foundation, The Community Foundation, Randolph-Macon College, and Drive to Work.

Karen Roesser, RN, MSN, AOCNS is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital. She received her training and graduate degree from Russell Sage College with an emphasis on medical-surgical nursing and a subspecialty in Oncology. In 2013, Karen was recognized by the March of Dimes for her research, exceptional patient care, compassion and service. Karen has been involved with our advance care planning core group from its inception.

Barbara Rose is a retired Virginia local government attorney. She was Deputy County Attorney in Hanover County for fourteen years until her retirement in 2005. Prior to her service with Hanover County she worked in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office from 1982 to 1991. After her retirement from Hanover County, Barbara served as Interim County Attorney in Gloucester (2008) and Goochland (2009-10) counties. She currently serves as volunteer Parliamentarian for the MCV Hospital Auxiliary Board of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.

Her other community activities have included: chair, Local Government Section of the Virginia State Bar (2005-06/member 2004-07); member, Advisory Board of Legal Information Network for Cancer (1997-2000); Member, Hanover Domestic Violence Task Force (2000-2004); Chair, Virginia Public Building Authority (2000) (member 1992-2000).

Barbara received her law degree from T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. Her interest in advance care planning has been informed by her volunteer work as well as experiencing how end- of- life care can be other than what a family member desired.

Steve Rosenthal is a former Virginia Attorney General and a partner at Troutman Sanders. He represents clients in a broad spectrum of industries, including financial services, health care, pharmaceutical and insurance, and represents clients nationally before State Attorneys General in matters including individual and multi-state enforcement actions in the areas of health care, pharmaceuticals, consumer protection and financial services.

Additionally, Steve is a member of the firm’s Healthcare practice. He represents clients in professional licensing and administrative litigation matters before the Health Regulatory Boards, as well as representing applicants for Certificates of Public Need. He represents providers and insurers in regulatory matters before the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, and individuals and organizations in regulatory and reimbursement matters before the Virginia Departments of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid) and Health. Steve has been involved with our advance care planning core group from its inception.

Anthony “Tony” Spensieri, MD, MBA, FHM, CHCQM, is the Chief Medical Officer representative of HCA Virginia. Currently he is the CMO of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital where he spearheads the hospital’s initiatives relating to quality improvement, patient safety and clinical effectiveness, and works closely not only with hospital personnel, but also with the hospital’s medical staff.

Tony is board certified in Internal Medicine and by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. A graduate of Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, he received his medical degree from the Ross University School of Medicine and completed his residency at St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond in New York. He received his MBA from VCU.

Tony has held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including serving as Managing Partner and Laboratory Director for Commonwealth Primary Care. He is a fellow in the Society of Hospital Medicine and of the American Institute for Healthcare Quality. In addition, he received HCA’s Frist Humanitarian Award in honor of his patient advocacy and commitment to quality improvement.
  Kelly Stuart, MD, MPH, MTS, is Medical Director of Clinical Ethics and the Center for Health Beginnings at Bon Secours Richmond Health System. A neonatologist by training, she also studies how the religious and cultural values of patients and their families can infuse regimens of care. Kelly grew up in Virginia Beach and graduated from Norfolk Academy in 1982. She then received a BS, Nutrition from Texas A&M; an MD, from Eastern Virginia Medical School; an MPH from Uniformed Services University; and most recently an MTS from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond. She spent 15 years as a neonatologist for the U.S. Army and with Commonwealth Neonatology in Richmond. Kelly is presently the Healthcare Ethicist for Bon Secours Richmond Health System. Kelly’s professional interests are medical ethics as applied to beginning-of-life care (including reproduction), end-of-life care, health care reform and pluralistic world faith traditions.

Thelma Bland Watson, PhD has served as Executive Director of Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging, since 2002. She is a former Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Aging for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department for the Aging (now a part of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services). She also served as Executive Director of Field Services for the National Committee on Social Security and Medicare. She currently serves on leadership Boards for the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Capital Area Workforce Investment Board, the Dean’s Committee for Humanities at Virginia State University and Bon Secours Community Hospital.

Dr. Watson received her undergraduate degree from Virginia State University (VSU) in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work. Dr. Watson received a graduate degree in Gerontology and a Doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She also received certifications from the Virginia Executive Institute and the National Long-Term Care Institute. In 2015, Dr. Watson received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center on Inclusive Communities.

  Leanne Yanni, MD attended medical school at SUNY Syracuse and completed her training in internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she remained on faculty for 10 years. During that time she developed special expertise in pain and palliative care. In October 2011, she became the Medical Director of Palliative Medicine for Bon Secours Virginia. Leanne has a special interest in pain education and has developed an online curriculum, published several papers, spoken at national meetings, and received several awards for her work. In her role as medical director, she is focused on building a collaborative practice “without walls” to deliver the best possible care to patients and families facing serious illness. Leanne has been involved with our advance care planning core group from its inception.
J. Brian Cassel is Assistant Professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care, and Director of Analytic Services at Massey Cancer Center, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. His research interests include cancer informatics, and health services research on specialist palliative care services in the US and the UK, specifically the costs and financing of cancer care and palliative care. As a faculty member of VCU’s “Palliative Care Leadership Center” he has helped to train more than 150 palliative care teams from all over the US. In 2012 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London, UK.
  Robin Clair Cummings is the director of Honoring Choices Virginia. Prior to joining Honoring Choices Virginia, Ms. Cummings served as Director of Health Policy for the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV). During her twelve years with MSV and its foundation, Ms. Cummings established strategies aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of health care, working closely with physicians and other health care leaders to develop solutions around public health promotion and disease prevention, health insurance coverage, medication access, clinical quality improvement, and health information technology. In addition to her time with MSV, Ms. Cummings has also worked in both the hospital and private practice settings.

Ms. Cummings is a graduate of James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University, earning undergraduate and master’s degrees in health administration.


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