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Howard County General Hospital
Behavioral Health Program Manager
Sparking change across a large health system
Laura Torres has helped launch several health care agent initiatives within Howard County General Hospital (part of John Hopkins). The percentage of hospital patients with advance care plans on record tripled since these programs began.
Marian Grant, DNP, ACNP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN
National Palliative Care Leader
The intersection of advance care planning, palliative care, and advocacy
Dr. Marian Grant has spent decades advocating for advancements in palliative care. She has served on the boards of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, The Carolinas Center, and The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium where she pushed for better integration of advance care planning and palliative care. She even helped bring forth a bill to expand palliative care support at the federal level.
Bernard “Bud” Hammes, PhD
Executive Director, Emeritus
Increasing ACP capacity and coordination within hospitals and communities
Renowned for his work improving care at the end of life, Bud Hammes is an innovator in the development of institutional policies and practices, staff education, and patient/community education around advance care planning. He founded and helped develop the nationally and internationally recognized advance care planning program Respecting Choices, which has a proven track record of increasing the adoption of advance care planning actions.
Karen Shelton, LMSW
Howard County General Hospital
Advance Care Planning Coordinator, Population Health Dept.
Offering personalized patient assistance to increase advance care planning
In her role as the Advance Care Planning Coordinator at Howard County General Hospital (part of John Hopkins), Karen Shelton has made a measurable impact on the hospital's patient population and community. Following the start of her work, 26.6% of Howard County General patients older than 65 — about 1,500 — have advance directives on file with the hospital. That is a 10% increase since 2016. In all, nearly 2,000 patients of all ages have advance directives in their records thanks to Ms. Shelton's critical role in the hospital's overall advance care planning efforts.
Shawnda Sullivan, MHA, MBA, MPhil, RRT
Primary Care Coalition
Director, Community Physician Engagement
Increasing advance care planning through hospital and community collaboration
As one of the creators and founders of the Voice Your Choice advance care planning initiative, Shawnda Sullivan is experienced in leading successful collaborations between hospital systems and community groups. Voice Your Choice leveraged hopital system resources to empower trusted community leaders to promote advance care planning, improving outcomes for hospital staff, patients, and the community at large.
Director, Program Operations and Sr. Faculty Consultant
Advancing the intersection of healthcare and advance care planning
Kathleen Ziemba has over three decades of experience as a clinical social worker and a healthcare leader focused on hospice and palliative care. As a current leader at the renowned Respecting Choices, her specific expertise includes coordination of care, educating healthcare systems and communities about engaging patients and the general public in advance care planning activities and championing values-based conversations.
Tiffany Callender Erbelding
The Horizon Foundation
Senior Program Director
A foundation's comprehensive approach to advance care planning
As the leader of the Horizon Foundation's successful Speak(easy) Howard initiative, Tiffany Callender Erbelding shares her organization’s approach to encouraging advance care planning at the individual, community, organizational and institutional level.
Who is behind this?
As the largest health philanthropy in Maryland, the Horizon Foundation has been leading our own health care agent initiative, Speak(easy) Howard, since 2016. Working closely with hospitals, primary care providers, assisted living facilities, faith communities and nonprofits, we’ve steadily increased the number of health care agents named in our immediate community - Howard County - each year. Now, we are expanding our vision: we want to ensure every Maryland resident has frequent opportunities to name a health care agent. That means engaging more organizations and partnering with peers to share lessons learned.
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