AAHPM Leadership Forum: Ascend Facilitators
Meet the 2016 Ascend Facilitators and Host
Dan Handel, MD FAAFP FASCHDan Handel, MD FAAFP FASCH, a Professor at University of Colorado School of Medicine and Chief of Palliative Medicine at Denver Medical Center, is a graduate of Kenyon College and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Family Medicine Residency at University of Minnesota. He is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, family medicine, and a diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management.
Dr. Handel has served as hospice medical director, founding president of a non-profit clinical and research center for pain management, and founding director of a palliative medicine hospital program in Texas. In 2002 Dr. Handel accepted a position at the NIH in Maryland where he founded its hospice and palliative medicine fellowship. During his eleven year tenure, Dr. Handel provided palliative medicine in- and out-patient consultation service in the NIH’s Clinical Center, developed its fellowship training program, participated in pain and palliative research, and served in multiple leadership roles in education, pain task force, and research committees. Dr. Handel founded Denver Health Medical Center’s Division of Palliative Medicine in 2013, which has grown to include inpatient and outpatient services, clinical research, and participation in the University of Colorado’s HPM fellowship program. Dr. Handel has also served an active member of AAHPM, including service on Program Chiefs SIG, Safety Net SIG, Pediatric SIG, Fellowship Grant Task Force, Education Committee, and HPM Pass Development Committee. He is the author of more than twenty-five peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and has recently co-authored an electronic book on hypnotic approaches in cancer and palliative medicine.
Suzana Makowski, MD MMM FACP FAAHPMSuzana Makowski, MD MMM FACP FAAHPM, is a fellowship-trained; board certified palliative medicine physician, medical educator, and Co-Chief of Palliative Medicine at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (UMMS) and UMass Memorial Healthcare (UMMHC).
Her experience includes her formal roles as a palliative care consultant (inpatient and outpatient settings), hospice medical director, medical director of a primary care practice, as well as her positions as leader of quality committees on Pain at UMMHC, Chair of the Quality and Practice Standards Committee for AAHPM, member of the hospital ethics committee, and as a Board Member to Compassionate Care ALS. Dr. Makowski graduated from Bowdoin College, received her medical degree from University of Rochester, and masters in medical management from University of Southern California. She completed fellowships in integrative medicine at University of Michigan, and in Palliative Care at San Diego Hospice & Palliative Care. Her work as a palliative care clinician and physician leader have been recognized regionally and internationally, being an invited lecturer in the Azores and China on topics about palliative care, communication skills, inter-professional development, leadership and quality. She has integrated the “destructive technology” of web-based systems into innovative education initiatives and currently is collaborating on a patient—driven, cloud-based technology regarding advance care planning. As a 2010 recipient of the Arnold Gold Foundation’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, she was recognized for her commitment to compassion in the care of the patient, their family, and towards colleagues.
James Mittelberger, MD MPHJames Mittelberger, MD MPH,is Chief Medical Officer of Optum Palliative Care and Supportive Care, a unit of Optum dedicated to transformative improvement in care for those facing serious illness.
Previously he was the Chief Medical Officer of the Optum Hospice and Palliative and West Region Chief Medical Officer for UnitedHealth Medicare and Medicaid operations in Ovations. He currently also serves as Chair of the California State POLST Task Force and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine Quality Care Committee for Patients facing Serious Illness. Other prior professional health care leadership roles have included chair of the Department of Geriatrics (with Palliative Care) at the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) in Oakland CA for 20 years, founding board member of a Public-private health maintenance organization, the Alameda Alliance for Health, president of a multi-specialty medical group, OakCare Medical Group, interim CEO of the ACMC, President of the Medical Staff of the ACMC, medical director of a community clinic and President of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine (AMDA chapter). Dr. Mittelberger is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and speaks nationally on topics related to geriatrics, ethics, health care innovation, long term care, palliative care and hospice. He obtained his MD at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Internal Medicine training and MPH at the University of Washington with additional fellowship training in clinical ethics and quality improvement and health care leadership.
Katie Neuendorf, MDKatie Neuendorf, MD, earned her medical degree from The Medical College of Ohio and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She then pursued hospice and palliative medicine fellowship training at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
She joined the Cleveland Clinic’s Palliative Medicine and Supportive Oncology Section directly out of fellowship and is appointed as Assistant Professor of Medicine through the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. In her first year at Cleveland Clinic, she played a key role in fostering relationships with the MICU team that ultimately led to a palliative consult service dedicated to the ICU. In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Neuendorf is currently the Medical Director for Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication through the Office of Patient Experience. She has been a part of the creation of multiple communication courses for clinicians and has facilitated communication skills training to attending physicians, residents, fellows and advanced clinical care providers and applies those techniques to also facilitate Train the Trainer workshops. In total, the Center has delivered content to more than 5,000 clinicians. Dr. Neuendorf has given numerous presentations and seminars to both a national and international audience on relationship-centered communication. It is her continued work in this field that led AAHPM to name her an Inspiring Leader Under 40.
Alen Voskanian, MDAlen Voskanian, MD, is the Regional Medical Director for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care in California, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. He is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, family medicine, and an HIV specialist certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
His primary interest is increasing awareness regarding end-of-life care and addressing the barriers that prevent timely access to hospice and palliative care programs. His work focuses on educating and training physicians to improve the quality of end-of-life care. He has taught end-of-life care in HIV-infected patients and has been involved in numerous research studies in the field of HIV, both as primary investigator and sub-investigator. He co-wrote the chapter titled “End-of-Life-Care for Patients with AIDS” in End-Of-Life Care: A Practical Guide by Barry M. Kinzbrunner and Joel S. Policzer (2011). He also authored a chapter on palliative care and healthcare reform in Readmission Prevention by Josh D. Luke (2015), and a chapter on pain management at the end of life in patients with AIDS in HIV/Chronic Pain. Dr. Voskanian is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Irvine Medical School. He completed his residency at UCLA, followed by a fellowship in HIV at AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He earned his Business of Medicine MBA from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business. In recognition of his high scholastic achievement, he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in medical school, and Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society in business school. Dr. Voskanian was selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants to be an innovation advisor by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). His project at CMS/CMMI is based on providing outpatient palliative care in order to provide better end-of-life care. Dr. Voskanian is the recipient of Cunniff-Dixon/Hasting Center’s physician award in 2013 for excellence in end-of-life care.
Rodney O. Tucker, MD MMM
AAHPM Leadership Development Committee Chair and AAHPM Ascend Host
Rodney O. Tucker, MD MMM, is a native Alabamian, graduated from medical school at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1989 and is board certified in internal medicine, as well as hospice and palliative medicine. After a career in private practice as well as home care and hospice services, Dr. Tucker returned to his alma mater in 2002.
Since that time he has been active in the development of a comprehensive clinical, educational and research program in palliative care. Currently serving as the Director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, Dr. Tucker also completed his Masters in Medical Management at the University of Southern California in 2009. At UAB, Dr. Tucker has provided leadership in the opening of a 12-bed inpatient palliative care unit in 2006 as well as development of an ambulatory HIV palliative care clinic. The UAB Center provides care for over 2500 new patients annually and is currently a Palliative Care Leadership CenterTM. Dr. Tucker has been an active member of AAHPM and CAPC for over a decade having served in several leadership roles in the Academy. He has participated in the education and mentorship of over 300 fellow learners and 85 health care systems over the past decade. In 2013 Dr. Tucker also began in the role of Chief Experience Officer for UAB Medicine. In this role Dr. Tucker works with stakeholders numbering over 14,000 at Alabama’s largest employer in the practice of evidence-based leadership and enhancing the patient experience in the setting of a changing healthcare environment. Most recently, Dr. Tucker was named the inaugural holder of the Christine S. Ritchie M.D. Endowed Chair in Palliative Leadership at UAB.