SWHPN Announces Seven New Board Members

SWHPN held elections for its Board of Directors in March 2021 and is excited to announce the addition of seven new members. Read the full press release here.

Tanisha Bowman, MSW, LSW, APHSW-C, a native of the Northern Virginia area, first attended Northern Virginia Community College where she earned her associate's degree in social science with a Deaf specialization, as well as a career studies certificate in American Sign Language. She then went on to graduate in May 2015 from George Mason University with her BSW. Following her graduation from GMU, Tanisha moved to Pittsburgh where she earned her MSW at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in December of 2016. After graduation, Tanisha completed a Death and Dying fellowship through the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and accepted a position at UPMC as an ICU social worker. Tanisha currently works as a supportive and palliative care social worker at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside where she is a member of the palliative care section’s anti-racism and social justice committee. 
Tanisha brings with her 5 years of board experience as a former NASW state chapter board member, has multiple race in social work and race in medicine presentations under her belt, and can often be found engaging in various threads within the medical, social work, and hospice and palliative Twitter communities. In her spare time, Tanisha sews her own clothes and gets lots of hugs from her 10-month-old baby girl.

Lori Eckel, LCSW, APHSW-C is the lead palliative care social worker and the senior ethics consultant at Legacy Health.  She received her MSW from Portland State University School of Social Work, completed advanced clinical training in palliative care from Smith School of Social Work, and completed the Zelda Foster Palliative Care Leadership Fellowship at NYU School of Social Work. Lori currently serves as an adviser and mentor for participants in both the Smith and NYU’s Zelda Foster programs. Her palliative care clinical social work has been focused in critical care and oncology and she has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Social Work in End of Life and Palliative Care.  In her ethics role, she oversees the ethics consultation service, co-leads review and development of ethically relevant institutional policies, and supports the continuing ethics education activities at Legacy Health. Lori appreciates opportunities to contribute to the well-being of health professionals, teaching students, and mentoring others in the field of palliative care. She has presented locally and nationally on topics related to advance care planning, moral distress, and ethical dimensions of end-of-life care.

Jennifer Halpern, PhD, LMSW, APHSW-C, is a senior palliative social worker at the Oncology Support Program (OSP) of the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, working with inpatients and outpatients. She is the Psychosocial Coordinator for the hospital’s Cancer Committee and Chair of the Ethics Committee. As SWHPN’s Educational Consultant, she developed the Curriculum Guide for the APHSW certification. Jennifer received her doctorate in social psychology/organizational behavior from UC Berkeley and was an assistant professor at Cornell University. Jennifer’s publications focus on communication, negotiation, and decision making.

J. Russell Kieffer, LCSW, APHSW-C is currently the Regional Director of Palliative Care for Providence St Joseph Health in Southern California. He is responsible for the direct oversight of 5 hospital-based inpatient palliative care consultation programs in the greater Los Angeles area, as well as robust community and home-based adult and pediatric palliative care programming in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Prior to accepting the position in 2014, he was the Director of Care Management, Clinical Social Work, and Palliative Care services at Providence St Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.
A native New Mexican, Russell completed both undergraduate and graduate studies in New Mexico. He holds a post graduate certification in Palliative Care Leadership from the Zelda Foster Studies Program at New York University and is certified with the national Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network. He has a 25+-year career history in healthcare and has worked in various medical and educational settings, with an emphasis in HIV/AIDS, hospice, palliative care, clinical social work, and nonprofit development.
Russell is an accomplished musician and cycling hobbyist, but currently spends most of his time outside of work raising two young children. 
Caitlin Scanlon, MSW, LCSW completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work at New York University in 2015, and then continued on to complete the Harvard Medical School Inter-Professional Palliative Care Fellowship in pediatric palliative care at Boston Children’s Hospital/ Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She currently works as the Pediatric Palliative Care Social Worker at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis as well as a bereavement therapist for children and adults at the Riley Bereavement program, providing individual sessions, support groups, virtual meditations, and grief informed yoga. Caitlin has had the opportunity to present regionally and nationally on many topics including childhood bereavement, communication, the role of palliative care social work and advance care planning with adolescents and young adults. Caitlin is passionate about guiding and supporting families as they cope with serious illness diagnoses and are tasked with medical decision-making, focusing on communication and the use of sensitive and trauma-informed language. She finds meaning in working with children and their accompanying families in an effort to provide support and bridge communication gaps amidst managing difficult situations. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, baking, spending time with loved ones, and watching cheesy rom coms.

Danetta Sloan, PhD, LMSW, MA is a Social Work Scientist who has a passion for improving health care equity for aging Black Americans. She believes that it is her Ministry to seek ways to improve health-related care and access to care for Blacks through Faith-Centered initiatives. Dr. Sloan is an MSW with training in the diseases of aging. She had a 10-year journey as a medical social worker for those diagnosed with a life limiting disease in the hospital and the terminally ill in the community as a home care hospice social worker. Most of the patients and their families she worked with in hospice were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease. She became a caregiver to her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 84 years old. 

Dr. Sloan received her PhD at the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America in Clinical Social Work. Dr. Sloan did her first post-doctoral training at the Pain and Palliative Care Service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and completed a second fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She continues to work on the Divine assignment to be of service to the Black Community. Her investigations involve novel approaches to increase awareness of dementia and related diseases, palliative and end of life care focusing on advance care planning. 

Dr. Sloan has several grants and honors, including the prestigious Cambia Foundation Sojourns Scholar award but none as rewarding as being a conduit for improving health care outcomes in Black communities.

Bridget Sumser, LCSW, MSW became a social worker as a path to working with those living with serious illness. Over the course of the last 10 years, she has worked across settings, providing support and companionship to patients, families, community members, and providers. In addition to her clinical work, she is a writer and educator, having published "Palliative Care: A Guide for Health Social Workers" in 2018 with her co-editors. She was named one the first social workers to be a Cambia Sojourn Scholar in 2019, working on interprofessional education for rural social workers. Her practice is rooted in a commitment to social justice and understanding illness and caregiving experience within the content of a unique life. Above all, she looks to promote connection and well-being, looking to find places to increase ease through many forms of support.

SWHPN is incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW, APHSW-C, John Cagle, PhD, Michelle Charles, LCSW, Susan Enguidanos, PhD, MPH, and Gary Stein, JD, PhD, all who concluded their service this year.

Though their terms have expired, many will continue to advise SWHPN and serve as members on various SWHPN Board Committees.

Nominations for the SWHPN Board of Directors and Committees opens again at the end of 2021.

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