2023-2024 AAHPM Board of Directors
As the governing body, the AAHPM Board of Directors is comprised of 20 individuals who are responsible for the ultimate direction of the management of the Academy's affairs.
Holly Yang, MD MSHPEd HMDC FACP FAAHPM (2023-2024)
San Diego, CA
Holly Yang, MD MSHPEd HMDC FACP FAAHPM has practiced Hospice and Palliative Medicine since 2005. She is board-certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine and did her fellowship training at San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine. She has provided care in hospice, community-based palliative care, and inpatient palliative care. She is the Co-Director of the UCSD/Scripps Health Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship program. She served on the Board of Directors for AAHPM from 2013-2019 and was Secretary from 2019-2021. She has served on the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board of Directors and is part of their Alternate Assessment Taskforce. She has held a variety of roles at AAHPM mostly focused on education and workforce, and currently serves as Co-Chair of Assessments Workgroup. She is a past recipient of the AAHPM Inspiring Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leader Under 40 and the AAHPM Gerald H. Holman Distinguished Service Award.
Holly is a past president of the San Diego County Medical Society, Vice-Chair of the California Medical Association’s (CMA) Council of Membership, Governance, and Bylaws, Chair of the CMA Governance Technical Advisory Committee, and is a Delegate from the CMA to the American Medical Association House of Delegates. She is a VitalTalk Strategic Partner and faculty at Upaya’s Being with Dying program. She loves to teach, garden, travel, and surf.
Vicki Jackson, MD MPH FAAHPM (2023-2024)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Jackson has been practicing Palliative Care for 20 years and serves as the Blum Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Care and the Chief of the Division of Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. She also serves as the Co-Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. She was the founding Director of the Harvard Palliative Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Jackson’s scholarship has focused on the development and study of outpatient palliative care models in oncology. She is the Palliative Care lead investigator and mentor on numerous studies investigating the effect of early, integrated palliative care for patients with advanced cancer. She is originally from the Midwest and is very proud of this heritage. She is married to a very nice endocrinologist who really likes the adrenal gland. She has two, mostly, lovely teenage children and lives with a rambunctious golden retriever and an extremely large cat.
Arif Kamal, MD MBA MHS FAAHPM (2023-2024)
American Cancer Society
Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Kamal is the inaugural Chief Patient Officer of the American Cancer Society and Consulting Associate Professor at Duke University. He leads all patient and caregiver-facing initiatives for the ACS worldwide, including programs for transportation, education, navigation, lodging, and engagement. As a dual-trained medical oncologist and palliative care physician, he maintains an outpatient palliative care practice at the Duke Cancer Institute. He has published more than 200 original research articles, clinical reviews, and editorials and is received the AAHPM 40 Under 40 award (2015).
Donna Zhukovsky, MD FACP, FAAHPM (2023-2024)
MD Anderson Cancer Center
An academic palliative care physician at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Zhukovsky is board-certified in Medical Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM), a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and a lifetime member of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care. With over 35 years of experience in HPM, Donna maintains a strong focus on the provision of adult and pediatric clinical care, while conducting clinical trials and promoting evidence-based care in the field of Palliative Medicine through research, education and advocacy. First and foremost a clinician, Donna’s academic efforts to promote the integration of palliative care into patient-centered care are grounded by her clinical experience working with patients, families and clinicians from diverse backgrounds. She has served the AAHPM in multiple capacities and works in her community to further palliative care for the underserved.
Tara Friedman, MD FAAHPM (2023-2024)
Chapters Health System
Temple Terrace, FL
Dr. Friedman is the President of the AAHPM. She is HPM fellowship-trained and board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She recently joined Chapters Health System (Temple Terrace, FL) as Chief Medical Officer, providing leadership and oversight of medical service functions across the entire enterprise. She previously worked at Aspire Health, where she progressed through various promotions, rising to VP and National Medical Officer. In that role, she provided executive clinical leadership for Aspire's innovative community-based palliative care delivery models. Before joining Aspire, Dr. Friedman spent 10 years at Vitas Healthcare, serving as Senior Medical Director for a large urban hospice program and five years as the medical director of hospice-based national palliative care practice, developing hospital-based interdisciplinary palliative care consultative services. Dr. Friedman's Academy service includes numerous volunteer positions, including six years serving the Academy Board as a Director-at-Large, three years on the AAHPM Executive Committee as the Academy’s Treasurer, President-Elect, and President.
Chief Medical Officer
Joe Rotella, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Joe Rotella served as Chief Medical Officer for Hosparus, a community-based hospice in Louisville, KY for 15 years. During his tenure, he helped establish hospice inpatient units, palliative care consultation services, and a palliative medicine fellowship. Heeding a call to leadership and innovation, Rotella earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville. His work with the Academy includes serving on the Quality and Practice Standards Committee, Choosing Wisely Task Force and co-chairing the AAHPM and HPNA Measuring What Matters initiative and the AAHPM Hospice Medical Director Conference.
Joe knew he was bound for medicine when he entered college, but majored in English because he believed medicine belongs as much to the humanities as to the sciences. During his 12 years practicing primary care internal medicine in rural New Hampshire, he witnessed significant suffering in his sickest patients and their families and dedicated himself to finding ways to make their healthcare more human and compassionate. Rotella also founded an oncology support clinic at his local hospital and attended a seminar in England where he was inspired by the work of Dame Cicely Saunders.
Disclosures: Employed by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Directors At Large
Michael Barnett, MD MS FAAP FAAHPM (2021-2024)
Four Seasons Hospice
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Barnett was program director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship for nearly 10 years and continues to serve as associate director of education for the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. He has been a communication consultant for the United States Medical Licensing Exam and is a distinguished faculty member for VitalTalk. Barnett has served as chair of the AAHPM Fellowship Directors SIG, as a member of the AAHPM EPAs/milestones workgroup, and most recently as co-chair of the AAHPM pediatric curriculum workgroup.
Rachelle Bernacki, MD MS FAAHPM (2023-2026)
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Bernacki is the director of quality initiatives in the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She combines clinical practice in palliative care, training initiatives, and quality improvement research in serious illness that has broad impact. She also is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, where she teaches medical students, residents, fellows, and other faculty both clinically and through the HMS Center for Palliative Care. She is a founder of the Serious Illness Care Program at Ariadne Labs.
Gary Buckholz, MD HMDC FAAHPM (2022-2025)
University of California, San Diego
San Diego, CA
Dr. Gary Buckholz has worked as a Hospice and Palliative Care physician since 2003 and is now a Clinical Professor at UC San Diego (UCSD). He received his MD from the University of Kansas and completed his Family Medicine residency at Brown University. He completed fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative Care at the Institute for Palliative Medicine in San Diego. He has served on several AAHPM committees focusing on workforce and education. Dr. Buckholz currently serves as Co-Director for the UCS and Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. He has assisted in training over 120 Palliative Care physicians and routinely teaches other primary and subspecialty clinicians. He values showing compassion and communicating in ways that improve patients’ experiences. Early in his career, he never thought of himself as a teacher but has grown to love teaching communication skills after witnessing the ripple effects it can create. He continues to learn as a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Compassionate Communication within the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion. Dr. Buckholz is a past recipient of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Gerald H. Holman Distinguished Service Award as well as the Cal State San Marcos Doris Howell Award for Advancing Palliative Care. He enjoys spending time with his family and mountain biking through Los Peñasquitos Canyon trails.
Elise C. Carey, MD FACP FAAHPM (2021-2024)
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Dr. Elise Carey is Associate Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Education & Faculty Development Chair for the enterprise-wide Center for Palliative Medicine, and Vice-Chair for Faculty Development for the Division of Community Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care. She has held multiple national leadership roles, including currently serving as a Strategic Partner and Distinguished Faculty of VitalTalk (vitaltalk.org) and as a Director-at-large of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She teaches communication and teaching skills to practicing clinicians across the country.
Kimberly Curseen, MD FAAHPM (2021-2024)
Emory Palliative Care Center
Curseen is director of outpatient palliative care for the Emory Palliative Care Center. She also is an associate professor of internal medicine at the Emory School of Medicine. In 2010, Curseen was a recipient of a US Health Resources and Services Administration grant for her work on educating community members and healthcare providers in rural Arkansas in the practice of geriatric palliative care. She has been a member of AAHPM for more than a decade and was the founding chair of the Outpatient Palliative Care SIG. Most recently, Curseen served as chair of the AAHPM Membership & Communities Strategic Coordinating Committee..
Sandra Gomez, MD FAAHPM (2022-2025)
WellMed Medical Management
Dr. Gomez is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is currently the Medical Director of Care and Value for WellMed Medical Management in Houston where she is tasked with overseeing their Post Acute Network, Care Management initiatives and strategic programs for the most seriously ill patients in their Medicare Advantage population. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a national level speaker in the areas of communication, care of the seriously ill and palliative care. Her previous work at Memorial Hermann Health System, the largest not-for profit health system in Southeast Texas, led to the development of 8 inpatient palliative care programs in their community hospitals. She and her teams have received numerous awards including the Circle of Life Citation of Honor and her private practice was a finalist for the International Hospital Federation’s Award in Quality, Safety & Patient Centered Care. She currently lives on a 10 acre farm with her husband and 5 children ages 7 to 18.
Dio Kavalieratos, PhD, FAAHPM (2023-2026)
Dr. Dio Kavalieratos is an Associate Professor and Director of Research and Quality for the Emory Palliative Care Center in Atlanta, GA. At Emory, Dr. Kavalieratos leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinician-scientists, with a focus on mentoring and career development. As a health services researcher by training, Dr. Kavalieratos’ work focuses on the development and evaluation of palliative care clinical delivery models, particularly in chronic non-cancer illness. Dr. Kavalieratos has been a member of AAHPM for nearly ten years, serving in several volunteer roles, including Chair of the Research Committee and Co-Chair of the Annual Assembly Scientific and QI Subcommittee. In 2019, Dr. Kavalieratos was awarded with AAHPM’s Early Career Investigator Award.
Stacie Levine, MD FAAHPM (2022-2025)
University of Chicago
Dr. Stacie Levine is the Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at University of Chicago Medicine where she has been employed since completing fellowship training in 2002. Dr. Levine established the hospice and palliative medicine fellowship at University of Chicago in 2010, where she served as the program director until 2017. She is also co-director of the Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program which provides training in primary palliative medicine to interdisciplinary clinicians.
Dana Lustbader, MD FCCM FAAHPM (2021-2024)
Landmark Health, OPTUM
Great Neck, NY
Dr. Dana Lustbader is the Regional Medical Officer for OPTUM’s Landmark Health providing home-based care for people with advanced illness or multiple chronic conditions. She was Chair of the Dept of Palliative Care, and Chief Medical Officer of OPTUM Supportive Care. Prior to this, Dr. Lustbader was the Director of ICU at Northwell Health working as an intensivist. She also founded the Department of Palliative Medicine and its hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) fellowship. During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Lustbader returned to work as an intensivist in the ICUs of New York City. She is a Professor of Medicine at Northwell Hofstra School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine, completed Internal Medicine training at New York University Medical Center and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at St. Vincent's Hospital. Dr. Lustbader is triple board certified in Hospice and Palliative Care, Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine.
Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD MA MDE BCPS FAAHPM (2023-2026)
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
McPherson has practiced hospice and palliative care as a clinical pharmacist her entire career. She is a professor at the University of Maryland and executive program director of the online Graduate Studies in Palliative Care (MS, PhD) program. She has served as a resource to medical staff for pain and symptom consultations, opioid conversion calculations, methadone dosing and other medication-related issues. McPherson is particularly interested in assuring patients with a serious illness receive goal-concordant medication therapy. She has authored five books including the popular "Demystifying Opioid Conversion Calculations: A Guide to Effective dosing" and numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters.
Laura J. Morrison, MD FACP FAAHPM (2023-2026)
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, CT
Morrison has been a palliative care clinician-educator and member of AAHPM for almost 20 years. She was founding chair of the Education SIG and co-founder of the annual Interactive Educational Exchange. She is associate professor of medicine (geriatrics) and Director of Palliative Medicine Education at Yale School of Medicine. She is the current and founding director of Yale’s HPM fellowship and has advocated to raise the bar for national palliative care training standards for physicians through local curricular innovation and AAHPM and ACGME committee work on palliative care competencies and milestones.
Alvin Reaves, III, MD FACP FAAHPM (2022-2025)
US Acute Care Solutions, Adventist Healthcare
Dr. Alvin L. Reaves, III, FACP, FAAHPM is a Palliative Medicine physician with US Acute Care Solutions at Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville, Maryland. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 1998. Dr. Reaves, III graduated from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at MedStar Washington Hospital Center from 1998-2001 and served as Chief Resident, Internal Medicine 2001-2002. After almost a decade of practicing in a private practice and hospital medicine, he pursued a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at National Institutes of Health and Capital Hospice, now Capital Caring, completing it in 2011. Dr. Reaves, III is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is active in the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, where he has served on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is the founder the Black Professionals, Patients and Families forum. He has done post-graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, earning a certificate in Theology and Ministry in 2016, and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Religions of the World at Harvard Extension School and will begin a Master of Bioethics program this fall at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics. Dr. Reaves, III clinical interests include the ethics and culture of advance care planning and end-of-life decision making as well as the intersectionality of faith/spirituality and medicine, particularly in African-American community. Dr. Reaves, III is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a member of the senior choir at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Shaida Talebreza, MD FAAHPM AGSF (2021-2024)
University of Utah; George E. Wahlen, Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Salt Lake City, UT
Dr. Shaida Talebreza MD, AGSF, FAAHPM serves as Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine and is board certified in in family medicine, geriatric medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Talebreza serves as the Chief of the Geriatric, Palliative, and Extended Care Service at the George E. Wahlen, Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and as a national leader for the VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care VA Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative (VA LSTDI). The goal of the VA LSTDI is to develop and implement new practices to ensure that the values, goals, and life-sustaining treatment decisions of seriously ill Veterans are elicited, documented, and honored. Dr. Talebreza strives to promote geriatric, hospice and palliative medicine education nationally. She served as one of the leaders of AAHPM’s Hospice Medical Director Leadership Council and is the creator and lead editor of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Geriatrics Evaluation and Management Tools, a web-based educational resource and smartphone clinical app. She is the recipient of the American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Junior Clinician Educator of the Year Award, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA), and the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award. Dr. Talebreza is passionate about providing comprehensive, compassionate, evidence-based care to people with serious illness and educating and inspiring others to do this important work.
Elisha Waldman, MD FAAHPM (2021-2024)
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Waldman is a pediatric palliative care physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he participates in clinical duties, education, program development, and research. In addition to receiving training in and actively practicing medicine stateside, Waldman also spent a total of 5 years serving as an assistant attending physician at Hadassah Medical Center in Israel. He has been an active member of the Academy since he joined in 2012 and was named an Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2019.
AAHPM Past Presidents
AAHPM's Chief Medical Officer sat down with some of our past presidents to talk about their year as president. Listen to their stories with the links below.
2022: Tara Friedman, MD FAAHPM
2021: Nathan Goldstein, MD FAAHPM
2020: Rodney O. Tucker, MD MMM FAAHPM
2019: Joanne Wolfe, MD MPH FAAHPM
2018: Tammie E. Quest, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2017: Janet Bull, MD MBA HMDC FAAHPM (interview)
2016: Christian Sinclair, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2015: Christine Ritchie, MD MSPH FACP FAAHPM (interview)
2014: Jean S. Kutner, MD MSPH FAAHPM (interview)
2013: Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD FACP FAAHPM
2012: Timothy E. Quill, MD FACP FAAHPM (interview)
2011: Ronald J. Crossno, MD FAAFP FAAHPM (interview)
2010: R. Sean Morrison, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2009: Gail Austin Cooney, MD FAAHPM HMDC (interview)
2008: Russell K. Portenoy, MD (interview)
2007: J. Cameron Muir, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2006: Ron S. Schonwetter, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2005: Robert M. Arnold, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2004: James Cleary, MD (interview)
2003: David M. McGrew, MD FAAHPM (interview)
2002: Martha Twaddle, MD FAAHPM FACP (interview)
2001: John W. Finn, MD FAAHPM
2000: Carla S. Alexander, MD FAAHPM (interview)
1999: Michael H. Levy, MD PhD (interview)
1998: Walter Forman, MD FAAHPM
1997: Ira Byock, MD FAAHPM (interview)
1996: Laurel Herbst, MD (interview)*
1995: Charles Sasser, MD FAAHPM FACD (interview)
1994: Gerald Holman, MD FRCP(C) FAAP*
1993: Jack Starr, MD
1992: Marty Skinner, MD
1991: J. Andrew Billings, MD*
1990: Wilbur Flannery, MD*
1989: Robert Miller, MD
AAHPM Executive Interviews
2020-Present: Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA FASAE CAE, CEO of AAHPM
2007-2020: Steve R. Smith, MS CAE, CEO of AAHPM (interview)
2004-2015: C. Porter Storey, Jr., MD FACP FAAHPM, Past Executive Vice President (interview)