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Robin Bennett Kanarek
Robin has been registered nurse since 1979 and has worked in the clinical areas of cardiology, spinal cord injury and physical rehabilitation, insurance review, as well as diabetes nurse educator. Her life was changed forever when her 10 year old son, David, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He achieved remission for over 3 years but relapsed in 1999 and died in 2000. After David's death, the family moved to London, England where Robin became involved with an organization called the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT). It was her involvement with this foundation that made her acutely aware of the specific needs of teens and young adults suffering from cancer at various TCT inpatient cancer centers throughout the UK. These needs included physical, emotional, developmental and spiritual changes. She presented the "Parents Perspective of Adolescent Oncology" at the International Conference on Adolescent Oncology in 2004 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. This experience was pivotal in her realizing what can be done to honor David's memory. Since that time, Robin has been published in various publications including the American Journal of Nursing and American Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing on the topic of Pediatric Palliative and End of Life Care.
A summa cum laude graduate of Fairfield University's RN to BSN program in 1996, Robin credits her Fairfield education with providing her with the confidence and leadership skills to willingly take on new challenges and opportunities for growth.
Robin serves on the Board of Trustees of Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT and Fairfield University, and as President of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Foundation in Greenwich, CT.
In 2006, Robin and Joe founded the Kanarek Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides grants for projects that would be of interest to David and honor his memory. Fairfield University was the first beneficiary of their family foundation with a $350,000 gift for the establishment of the Robin Kanarek Nursing Learning Resource Center. The Foundation has provided a two-year grant to integrate Pediatric and Adolescent Palliative Care into the Nursing curriculum and is currently funding the new Masters of Science in Nursing Leadership (LEAD) program. Led by Dr. Meredith Kazer and Dr. Sally Gerard, the LEAD program has already been recognized and awarded the Innovation in Professional Nursing Education by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in October 2014.
Robin and Joe live in Greenwich. Their daughter, Sarah, graduated from Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation with a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy in January 2014.
In her free time, Robin loves to do figurative sculpting.
DNP, APRN, PCNS-BS, CHPPN
Eileen O’Shea, DNP, APRN graduated with her BSN from Boston College, and subsequently earned a MSN in pediatric critical care from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Case Western Reserve University, with a dual focus in Practice and Educational Leadership. Eileen has more than 30 years of pediatric nursing experience, and has worked in several of the leading U.S. Children’s Hospitals, including Boston Children’s, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. As a pediatric advanced practice nurse, her expertise has been caring for children with chronic and life limiting conditions and their families. She is board certified as an advanced practice registered nurse, and holds certification as a hospice and palliative pediatric nurse (CHPPN).
For the past 10 years, she has been an ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Education Consortium) trainer, and most recently she completed the Palliative Care Education and Practice Program at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Dr. O’Shea shares her expertise on several state and national organizations, including: President of the CT Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care (CTEOL); Advisory Board Member to Care Decisions Connecticut; and Panel member to the Palliative and Hospice Nursing Professional Issues Panel convened by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA). Her research focuses on enhancing palliative and end of life care for which she has received more than $150,000 in grant awards. In an effort to improve palliative care education for nurses, Dr. O’Shea frequently presents at the national and international levels, and has published in many peer review-nursing journals on this topic.
Advisory Board Members
Amy Berman, BSN, LHD Amy Berman is a Senior Program Officer with the John A. Hartford Foundation. She heads the Foundation’s development and dissemination of innovative, cost-effective Models of Care that improve health outcomes for older adults. Among these efforts, Ms. Berman is responsible for the Foundation’s work to advance palliative care led by Diane Meier and the Center to Advance Palliative Care. She also directs a number of collaborations with federal partners including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and the Administration for Community Living.
Ms. Berman openly shares her experiences living with Stage IV breast cancer. She has presented to the Institute on Medicine and has authored numerous pieces about her health care choices, palliative care and implications for patients, practice and policy. Her piece in Health Affairs, Living Life In My Own Way—And Dying That Way As Well, was among the journal’s most read in 2012. She has been featured in New York Times, Forbes, and on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. She blogs on the Hartford Foundation’s HealthAGEnda site (www.johnahartford.org/blog) and can be followed on Twitter as @johnahartford and @notesonnursing.
Prior to the Foundation, Ms. Berman served as Nursing Education Initiatives Director for the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing. Among her responsibilities at New York University, Ms. Berman developed resources and programs to improve the geriatric expertise of nursing educators and clinicians. She conducted a national survey on gerontological nursing content in baccalaureate programs cited in the Institute on Medicine’s report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce.
Before joining New York University, Ms. Berman worked in home health care administration for twenty years with responsibility for quality improvement, health information technology, accreditation, and regulatory compliance. She served as JCAHO coordinator and as accreditation consultant in performance improvement for a variety of health care institutions. Ms. Berman served on the New York State Department of Health's Emergency Preparedness Task Force and on the professional advisory boards of health care institutions in New York City.
Ms. Berman is an appointed member of CMS’ Partnership for Patients Patient and Family Engagement Network and the Aging Task Force for Healthy People 2020. She is a member of Academy Health, the Gerontological Society of America, and the honor society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau.
Ms. Berman has been the recipient numerous honors and awards for her advocacy on behalf of older adults and those facing serious illness. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from New York University College of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science degree in health care administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Geriatric Scholar Certificate from the Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers.
Gail T. Berardino
In 2010, after a 30-year career in management at the McCall Pattern Company, Gail retired as Vice President Advertising Promotion and Publisher of Vogue Patterns Magazine. Gail pioneered mass-market promotions for Vogue, Butterick, and McCall patterns and products to national multi-channel retailers including Wal-Mart, QVC, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. Because of her fashion, design, and construction expertise and education, Gail brought unique insights to her job; she traveled extensively to merchandise, sell, and license programs, working with buyers, retailers, and their customers. She also authored the Super Sweater Idea Book.
Gail and her husband Joe have actively supported Catholic and Jesuit missions. They have established endowed scholarships at Fairfield University, Boston College, and Georgetown Universities. Gail is a Dame in the American Association of The Knights of Malta, where she co-chaired the Order's 25th annual pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2010. In that effort, over 400 volunteers, including a team of 35 doctors and nurses, volunteered their efforts for the sick and the poor. Gail was elected to the Board for The Order of Malta--American Association in 2013. Currently she serves on the Holy Family Hospital Foundation Board In the Holy Land. She is active in the Order's endowment building initiatives, and furthering their causes for the sick and the poor. Growing up in Miami, Florida, Gail was a 4-H National Scholarship winner, contributing to numerous civic activities as a young woman. Her philanthropic spirit was inspired by her mother, who was a registered nurse during World War II, and later a devoted caregiver in both hospitals and street clinics.
Gail has served on the Governing Board of the National 4-H Association in Chevy Chase, Maryland, The Parents Council for the School of Business at Georgetown University, and presently serves as Secretary for the Connecticut Chapter of the Order of Malta. She is also a member of the Women's Association for St. Michaels, Greenwich, Conn. and serves as a volunteer for Parsonage Cottage, serving the elderly in assisted living. Gail graduated from Florida State University where she majored in Textiles. Residing in Greenwich, Conn., she is married to Joseph F. Berardino, Fairfield University Class of 1972 and Former Trustee of the University. Together they have served as mentors for the Ignatian Residential College for Sophomores at Fairfield.
Rev. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J.
Donna Coletti, MD is the founding Medical Director for Palliative Care Services at Greenwich Hospital responsible for creating and overseeing the inpatient and outpatient models for Palliative and Hospice services as well as the educational curriculum for the Medical Residents and staff. She also holds the position of Medical Director for the Greenwich Hospital Home Hospice Program.
She started her career practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology in Mt. Kisco, New York, having been in Greenwich since 1999 and Assistant Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Greenwich Hospital for seven years. She subsequently practiced Women’s Integrative Health at the Boyd Center for Integrative Medicine where she developed an interest in Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. As Medical Director for Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Southwestern Connecticut she managed medical care at the Rosenthal Hospice facility on the campus of Stamford Hospital in addition to their home hospice patients in Fairfield County. With a very generous donation from local donors, she started the Greenwich Hospital’s Palliative Care Service in 2012. As a lecturer on Women’s Health as well as Palliative and Hospice issues for Mercy College and local community groups, Dr. Coletti has also been featured on WGCH talk radio.
Donna holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Rutgers University and a Medical Degree from Cornell Medical College. She completed Internship and Residency at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York and is Board Certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has been published in several professional journals for contributions to the fields of Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease as well as Leukemia and Myeloproliferative Disorder in Down Syndrome.
Constance Dahlin is co-director of the Palliative APRN Externship, adjunct associate professor for the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Pharmacy, Graduate Certificate, Master of Science, and PhD in Palliative Care, consultant to the Center to Advance Palliative Care and a palliative nurse practitioner for North Shore Medical Center. She serves as national ELNEC faculty and is a member of the American Hospital Association Circle of Life Committee, Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer and Prevention Task Force, and the Massachusetts Serious Illness Nursing Task Force.
Dahlin is a past member of the Massachusetts Quality of Life and Palliative Care Advisory Committee and past Co-chair of the Palliative Care Workgroup for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer and Prevention Control Network. She served on the Measure Applications Partnership Post-Acute Care/Long Term Care Workgroup, and Clinician Workgroup. She wrote the Hospice and Palliative APRN Professional Practice and the Guide Billing and Coding Primer for the Hospice and Palliative APRN. She is co-editor for Advanced Practice Palliative Nursing, now in its 2nd edition. She was editor of National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care 2nd and 3rd editions and referenced the 1st edition. She edited the Palliative Nursing Scope and Standards, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and authored the 6th edition. Dahlin is a fellow of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a 2016 recipient of a Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Leadership Scholar Award. She was named an American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine 2018 Visionary in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has authored peer reviewed articles, chapters, and curricula as well as presented nationally and internationally.
Amy Gabriele DiTeodoro
Amy Gabriele DiTeodoro received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law. Following graduation, Amy practiced litigation in New York State and Federal courts primarily in the areas of insurance defense and coverage for clients including Alitalia Airlines, Generali Insurance and Federal Express. She became the Assistant General Counsel of Dictaphone Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut, from 2000 until 2005.
In 2005, the birth of a third child with medical issues thrust Amy into numerous pediatric hospital settings and life threatening situations. Her young son, Gianni, endured frequent surgeries including a successful kidney transplant in 2007. Gianni’s kidney was donated by his father Jack. Tragically, Gianni died in 2010 after contracting viral pneumonia.
After practicing law for an additional five years as a family lawyer from 2011 - 2016, Amy’s energy is now focused on family and volunteer efforts. Her experiences caring for Gianni and her other children has inspired and shaped her path. Amy serves on the Advisory Board of the Kanarek Center for Palliative Care Nursing Education at Fairfield University. She is a bereavement facilitator at the Den for Grieving Kids, a Stamford schools program. In addition, Amy volunteers with Filling in the Blanks, which addresses food instability for Stamford students.
Amy is married to Jack DiTeodoro, a family physician in Stamford Connecticut. She is mother to Vincent (13) Andrea (12) and Gianni who died at the age of 4.
Karen Guckert Kaiser
Patrick W. Kelley
Patrick W. Kelley, MD, DrPH, was appointed a Distinguished Fellow in Nursing and Health Studies at Fairfield University in September 2016. His focus is on growing the University’s programming in Public Health and Global Health. Immediately prior to his current position he spent 13 years at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the US National Academies where he served as the Director of the Board on Global Health. He also served for ten year as the Director of the Board on African Science Academy Development. Dr. Kelley oversaw a portfolio of IOM expert consensus studies and convening activities on subjects as wide ranging as: the evaluation of the US emergency plan for international AIDS relief (PEPFAR); the US commitment to global health, sustainable surveillance for zoonotic infections; substandard, falsified, and counterfeit drugs; innovations in health professional education; cardiovascular disease prevention in low- and middle- income countries; interpersonal violence prevention in low- and middle-income countries; and microbial threats to health. He also directed a unique capacity-building effort, the African Science Academy Development Initiative, which over eleven years strengthened the capacity of eight African academies to provide independent, evidence-based advice to their governments on scientific matters.
Prior to the National Academies, Dr. Kelley served in the US Army for more than 23 years as a physician, residency director, epidemiologist, and program manager. In his last Department of Defense (DoD) position, Dr. Kelley founded and directed the DoD Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DoD-GEIS). This responsibility entailed managing surveillance and capacity-building partnerships with numerous elements of the federal government and with health ministries in over 45 developing countries. He also founded the DoD Accession Medical Standards Analysis and Research Activity and served as the specialty editor for a landmark two volume textbook entitled: Military Preventive Medicine: Mobilization and Deployment. Dr. Kelley is an experienced communicator having lectured in English or Spanish in over 20 countries. He has authored or co-authored over 70 scholarly papers, book chapters, and monographs and has supervised the completion of over 25 book length IOM consensus reports and workshop summaries. While at the IOM he has obtained grants and contracts for work conducted by his unit from over 50 governmental and non-governmental sources.
Dr. Kelley obtained his MD from the University of Virginia, his DrPH in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and his B.S. from Fairfield University. He is also board certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
Deborah G. List
P'96, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Executive Director-Northwell Health Cancer Institute
Michael Pagano, PhD, PA-C is an Oklahoman transplanted to Connecticut and that geographic diversity is a metaphor for his diverse careers as well. Interdisciplinary and applied approaches to teaching and scholarship mark his professional journey. After serving as an Army corpsman in Vietnam, Michael became a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C). He enjoyed the teaching role of being a PA and detoured to graduate school earning an MA in English and a PhD in Communication with a focus on health communication. Over the past 40 years he practiced as a PA-C and combined patient care with his passion for teaching and his interest in exploring health communication from: provider-patient interaction, provider pedagogy, and organizational communication perspectives. Currently, he teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate: health, organizational, and interpersonal communication courses, including interdisciplinary offerings for health professions students (RN, premed, predental, prePA, psychology, etc.). His most unique course has been offered annually for the past 7 years, CO 341 End-of-Life Communication which provides students with an opportunity to spend 20 hours of service learning at the CT Hospice applying their classroom studies vis-à-vis interactions with dying patients and their families. In addition, he has a wide-ranging health and organizational communication research agenda. His unique background has contributed to a breadth of publications including: six books on health communication, and 3 articles co-authored with Dr. Eileen O’Shea, and others, related to the development of a Health Communication Assessment Tool (HCAT) for patient simulation. He has served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the MA in Communication Program, as well as interim Director for the Health Studies Minor and Masters in Public Administration Program.
Rebecca L LePage
Rebecca L LePage, MD is a primary care pediatrician in Wilton, Connecticut with a clinical focus on children with medically complex diagnoses, developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. She received her medical degree from Georgetown University and completed her pediatric residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Her undergraduate education was completed at Dartmouth College where she graduated cum laude with a BA in Psychology. Through both her professional and personal endeavors, Rebecca has long advocated and cared for vulnerable children, especially those with special needs and chronic illness, in a variety of academic, clinical and community outreach settings. She has participated in clinical research projects at The Koop Institute at Dartmouth Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, and has had multiple publications as a result of her work. She has worked closely with, and volunteered for organizations that provide care to underserved pediatric populations including those with mental illness, special needs, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus. She has also worked within academic and training centers in order to increase awareness of the need for competency in pediatric cultural competency and palliative care. Rebecca has previously served on the Board of Directors of Arts for Healing and Classes4Classes, and has served as both co-chair and chair of the Wilton Special Education Advisory Board. Rebecca’s personal and professional passion and commitment has been profoundly shaped by her experiences as a caregiver, patient, and most significantly, a mother of three uniquely amazing children.
Nursing and Lab Coordinator
Laura is the director of Hospice at Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County and part of the Waveny Lifecare Network. As a therapist and palliative care specialist, Laura also has a thriving private practice, Palliative Turns, LLC. Taets' education and professional journey moved through business, child development and mediation before finally arriving at clinical social work, therapy and palliative care. Her path took many twists and turns as she balanced work and family, but always centered around her passion for connecting with people and her belief that all individuals are worthy of being valued, seen and heard without judgement. Her career as a therapist & palliative specialist began at Family & Children’s Agency, and continued at Stamford Hospital as a member of the inpatient palliative care team. From there she transitioned to an outpatient clinic setting, developing an outpatient palliative care program at the Hospital’s Bennett Cancer Center and serving as an oncology and palliative social worker. During her time at Stamford Health Laura served as a member of a bioethics consult team and the Schwartz Rounds planning committee as well as a Schwartz Rounds Speaker. She formed PalliativeTurns in 2020 after seeing Covid-19’s devastating impacts on individuals, families and healthcare professionals and feeling urgency to bring her skills into the community. In 2021, she joined Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County where she works to ensure the delivery of quality palliative and end of life care.
Taets completed New York University's Zelda Foster Fellowship in Palliative and End of Life Care, and is APHSW-C board certified in palliative and hospice social work.