Healthcare Advisory Council

The Healthcare Advisory Council is an interdisciplinary collective of healthcare professionals with broad experience in supporting end-of-life care across the country. The perspective of the Healthcare Advisory Council is key in providing insight and practical guidance as we work towards our strategic plan and our mission to affirm life and accept the inevitability of death, expand options for compassionate dying and empower everyone to choose end-of-life care that reflects their values, priorities, and beliefs.

Venerable Zhiyun Cai, PhD, BCC, PCHAC

AIHCP Certified Grief Counselor, Palliative Care Chaplain, Stanford University Hospital

Bhikkhuni Dr. Zhiyun Cai is a palliative care chaplain at Stanford Hospital, a scholar and a practitioner. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. She is also the first Buddhist foreigner to earn the certification of the Board Certificated Chaplain (BCC) through the Association of Professional Chaplains in the United States.

Bhikkhuni Dr. Zhiyun ordained as a Buddhist nun in the Zen Buddhist tradition in 1993 in China. She had received three primary Buddhist schools’ training (Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism) in her early monastic life. She was invited to the United States in 2000 by a Buddhist organization. She was impressed by the extensive mindfulness practice of westerners. She conducted researches and completed her dissertation on “Doctrinal Analysis of the Origin and Evolution of the Buddhist Forest Meditation Tradition with a Special Reference to the Thai Present Forest Ajahns.” This is the first research to discuss the similarities and the differences between the Buddhist original forest meditation teachings from the Pāli Canon and the modern meditation techniques that are widely applied in the United States. The research provides rich content on the meditation both to scholars and practitioners.

Bhikkhuni Dr. Zhiyun received her interfaith Chaplaincy Resident and Palliative Care specialty training at Stanford Health Care. She provides compassionate, professional, and effective spiritual care services to patients with serious illness for more than ten years. She has rich experience in palliative and hospice spiritual care. Bhikkhuni Dr. Zhiyun also offers mindfulness and self-compassion courses to the hospital staff and local university students to increase their resilience for living a better life. She is involved in training new interfaith chaplain at the hospital, works with local Buddhist communities, hospital palliative medicine teams to increase patients’ quality of life, valued their end of life decision, assist them with a dignified and peaceful death. Bhikkhuni Dr. Zhiyun traveled extensively in the United States and overseas to provide spiritual care, retreat, and assist the Buddhist communities in establishing Buddhist Compassionate Care Center to patients with life-threatening diseases. She serves in the Wellness Committee at Stanford Health Care. Her clinical research focus on mindfulness training for increasing the quality of life of the Palliative Care patients, Self-Calming Rituals, Competency Cultural Education, and Asian Perceptive on Death and Dying. Chaplain Yun recently earned the Palliative Care and Hospice Advanced Certification (PCHAC)from APC and became one of only forty-four such certification holders in the United States.

Lisa Deal Smiling

Lisa Deal, RN, MPH, ScD

Humane Prison Hospice Project

As a community health nurse caring for AIDS patients in Boston during the late 1980s, Lisa discovered her passion for being with the dying. Following that profound experience, Lisa’s life took her in down a variety of paths as a clinician, a research associate, a policy analyst/editor, and a grants officer. With Master’s Degrees in Public Health and Nursing from the University of Washington and a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University, she spent several years working on child and family policy issues with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Silicon Valley, before taking several years away from the paid workforce to raise her three children and engage in community volunteer work. After the tragic deaths of her younger brother, her dear friend and pastor, and her father all within a three year span, Lisa felt called to return to caring for the dying. In 2010, Lisa joined Mission Hospice & Home Care as a hospice and palliative care nurse, where she worked in clinical and leadership roles for the next nine years. While at Mission Hospice, Lisa directed the Palliative Care Program, the Community Outreach Program, and served as Chief Clinical Officer and finally Chief Executive Officer until 2019.

It was during her time at Mission Hospice that Lisa became involved with Humane Prison Hospice Project, where she currently serves as Executive Director. Humane’s mission is to transform the experience of death, dying, and loss among incarcerated persons, in part by training prisoners in end-of-life care and grief support and educating key stakeholders on the needs of those who are aging, chronically ill, and terminally ill in the carceral system. Humane’s model of training prisoners to be compassionate end-of-life caregivers is transformative, not only for the dying inmate, but for their fellow prisoners who provide the care, for the correctional staff who witness this care, and for the broader community when those trained are paroled. The outcome is a therapeutic community within prison walls that results in a cultural shift toward compassion, care, empathy and support that sets the foundation for restorative justice practices. The prison environment becomes a place for rehabilitation and support rather than punishment and conflict.

Lisa’s involvement with Compassion and Choices stems from her commitment to equity in end-of-life care, and advocacy around making sure that all people, even the most marginalized in our society, have access to compassionate hospice care if that is their choice.

In addition to her work with Humane, Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for GAIA Global Health and Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., and she is a lay chaplain for the Santa Clara County jails in California. Aside from her professional life, Lisa treasures time with her family (husband and three adult children) and long walks on the beach.

Curt Eschels, MAc, MST

Retired Acupuncturist, Olympia, WA

Curt Eschels began his career practicing acupuncture in 2000. He has treated patients with the full range of health issues, from pain to internal organ dysfunction to emotional imbalances. His interest in treating people near the end of their lives has grown recently, which drew him to volunteer with Compassion & Choices. Curt also served as President of Washington state’s professional association for six years and is a member of the national professional association.

Prior to his private sector work, he worked in the public sector on energy policy, including five years as Chairman of Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council and four years as a Special Assistant to the Governor on energy policy and radioactive waste disposal. He was nonpartisan staff to Washington State’s Senate Energy and Utilities Committee during the 1970s and 1980s.

Curt holds a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture from the NW Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a Master of Science in Teaching degree, majoring in physics, from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Angela Forcucci

Pharmacist

Dr. Angela Forcucci received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology from University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from University of California, San Francisco in 1997.

Her roles in pharmacy have encompassed many different therapeutic disciplines. At Kaiser, she worked primarily as a hospital inpatient pharmacist.  Additionally, she staffed several outpatient clinics and established an HIV clinic to assist with patient care.  She spent a few years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medication specialist, supporting the sales staff. Then, in 2001, she began working for an independent pharmacy providing support to hospice and home health agencies.

Since 2011, she has been employed by Advance Care Pharmacy in Escondido, where she is the Director of Infusion Services.  This pharmacy prepares and dispenses medications for over 150 hospices in Southern California.  Angela runs the sterile compounding/infusion department and assists with non-sterile compounding specific for hospice patients. Since California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLOA) passed, she has worked closely with hospices, prescribers, and patients requesting medications under the EOLOA.

Michael D. Fratkin, MD, FAAHPM

Michael D. Fratkin, MD FAAHPM is a rural palliative care physician with a long history of local innovation, national influence, and a passion to create access for disregarded communities. He has worked for decades in an effort to bridge the psychedelic science to the care of people and their families facing the psychospiritual challenges of serious illness, approaching death, and complex grief.

As an innovator in technology-enabled service delivery, Dr. Fratkin founded ResolutionCare, an inspired interprofessional team based home palliative care program now caring for thousands of people and families in California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah as VyncaCare. The ResolutionCare program was the first to use videoconferencing for home based palliative care and Dr. Fratkin was catalytic and instrumental in helping professionals in hospice and palliative care, as well as primary and specialty practices adapt quickly to the challenges suddenly thrust upon our healthcare system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Fratkin has led teams whose work has been featured on PBS NewsHour, NPR, and the Washington Post. Presentations to peers have included the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, with impactful public facing messages from the TEDx and End Well stages. As the recent past and continuously active chair of the AAHPM Forum on the Safe Use of Psychedelic Assisted Therapies, Dr. Fratkin remains committed to ensuring that people facing serious illness and end of life issues have safe access to all therapies that may ease their suffering and invite healing.

Heather Frucci, BCPA

AccentCARE, formerly Seasons Healthcare Management

Heather, a West Michigan native, is the National Manager of Patient Funding at AccentCare, formerly Seasons Healthcare Management with over 14 years of experience in the post-acute continuum. 12 of those being in Hospice care. Heather is a practitioner of Yoga and an avid runner with a firm belief that successfully treating patients includes treating the mind, body and soul.

Heather is a Board-Certified Patient Advocate and a member of the National Association for Healthcare Advocacy. Heather specializes in access issues and is passionate about breaking down barriers to meeting patients where they are. Heather strives to help others consider the expansive options of how healthcare can be accessed for the chronically and terminally ill. Outside of the office Heather values time spent with her two young children, family and friends.

Satheesh Gunaga, DO

Satheesh Gunaga, DO, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician, administrator, and educator. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and received his Osteopathic medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing. He has spent the last 14 years practicing and teaching Emergency Medicine (EM) as part of Envision Healthcare within the Henry Ford Health System in the Detroit Metropolitan area. Ten of those years he spent as the associate EM residency director, training the next generation of EM physicians, before transitioning in 2019 to his current roles as Vice Chair of the Department of EM, EM Research Director, and Division Head of EMS at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. He serves as the ED Medical Director at Henry Ford Health Center Brownstown and actively leads research around sepsis resuscitation, stroke care innovations, and acute coronary syndrome biomarkers. Throughout his medical career he has had a passion for palliative care and serves on the City of Hope: End of Life Symposium’s Steering Committee. In 2021, Dr. Gunaga joined our Healthcare Advisory Committee and is one of the physician leaders for Compassion and Choices’ National Emergency and Palliative Medicine Initiative, which is proactively exploring collaborations, research, and outreach opportunities to improve earlier access to palliative care options in EDs across our country.

Amy Reese Hohmann

Pharmacist

Dr. Amy Reese Hohmann currently works at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California as an inpatient pharmacist. She is on leadership for the Coachella Valley Pharmacists Association amongst other committees. She is involved in many organizations within pharmacy and bioethics because she enjoys being involved in her profession and giving back. She graduated from Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy in 2019. She completed a Master’s degree in Bioethics through Loma Linda University School of Religion while she was in pharmacy school and graduated with her MBe in 2018. After pharmacy school, she went on to do a fellowship at Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute in Bioethics at Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University. Since graduation, she has worked in many different aspects of pharmacy and transitioned into inpatient because of her passion for inpatient pharmacy. She worked in community pharmacy (independent and chain), COVID clinic, small community hospital, and large medical center. She enjoys advocating for the field of pharmacy in many different aspects and does what she can to ensure pharmacists are seen and heard within interdisciplinary healthcare committees.

Jiewen (Janice) Huang, LCSW, EdD Candidate

Founder of Present Moment Wellness, LLC

Janice Huang is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Grief Educator, Certified Brainspotting Practitioner, psychotherapist, life coach, and Healing Touch Practitioner Apprentice. Janice speaks English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. She earned her BA and Master’s in Social Work, concentrating on health and mental health. Janice is also working on her EdD in Organizational Leadership, emphasizing Organizational Development. Janice has worked in various settings, including Shanti’s Women’s Cancer Program, UCSF Oncology Radiation, home health, hospice and palliative, medical inpatient, UCSF Psychiatry, primary care behavioral health, field instructor, and psychotherapy group practice. She served as the Regional Assistant Director for California Region B of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for three years and another three years as a co-chair/chair of the Asian Pacific Islanders Social Work Council (APISWC), Northern California. While Janice focuses more on her wellness studio nowadays, she remains a Steering Committee member for APISWC. When she finds time, Janice continues to provide services as a volunteer for Mission Hospice and Home Care, the Chinese American Coalition for Compassion Care, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Eunju Lee, LCSW, MA, MS

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Eunju Lee received her MS from University of Chicago in Social Service Administration and later, an MS from American University in Organizational Development. She began her social work career in human and labor rights in her native Korea before working with domestic violence survivors in Asian communities of NYC. After volunteering with a hospice residence for the homeless, she found her calling in end-of-life care and transitioned to hospice work. She has been a field social worker in community and inpatient settings and worked as a social work manager for a large hospice agency in NYC. After a decade of hospice work, she currently works as the palliative care social worker for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is also a group facilitator for Gilda’s Club, serves as a mentor to NYU’s Zelda Foster’s PELC program for the past several years, supervised a number of MSW students, presented in various local and national conferences on hospice and palliative care, and sits on the board of SWPHN.

Cristina Grisham Montanez, M.A., C.P.C.,

Certified Pastoral Counselor

Cristina Grisham Montanez (she/her/hers) is a certified pastoral counselor, social justice advocate, and educator working to advance the hospice and palliative care movement in the United States and around the world. She is a Certified Core Adjunct Faculty member teaching in National University’s graduate and undergraduate counseling programs. She is also the founder of Advance the Common Good Consulting, a private practice offering coaching, consulting, curriculum development, and content creation services to individuals, groups, and organizations around the world looking to promote social good. She serves on the Global Partners Committee at Hospice of the North Coast in Carlsbad, CA where she worked for over 7 years and was responsible for spiritual care, community and staff education, policy development, and leading the agency’s diversity, inclusion, and health equity initiatives.

Trained in trauma-informed and spiritually-oriented care, Cristina has worked as a clinical case manager and pastoral counselor serving survivors of politically motivated torture and gender-based violence, she is an advocate for those re-entering their communities after incarceration; and is a hospice chaplain. She is committed to normalizing conversations about the experience of death, dying, and loss. She frequently speaks about the relationship between complicated grief and spiritual well-being and the need to approach these topics through the lens of cultural humility.

Cristina holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a Certificate in Arab Studies, a M.A. in Pastoral Care & Counseling from the University of San Diego, and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Refugee Trauma and Global Mental Health from Harvard Medical School. She is an active member of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and serves on the Education and Public Policy Committees for the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHAPCA)

Karen Morin, RN

Karen Morin, RN is an oncology and hospice nurse. She is the founder of LA Patient Advocates, an end of life consulting practice and health advocacy practice. In addition to extensive work supporting patients and families, LA Patient Advocates works with hospices who want to support patients who choose Medical Aid in Dying. As a RN, she held positions on an AIDS Care unit, and Oncology and BMT Unit at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. At weSPARK Cancer Support Center, she served as the Oncology Resource Nurse and facilitated metastatic and caregiver support groups at the Center in Los Angeles, California. Karen also has experience in home hospice care.
Karen was widowed in 2007 when her husband and father of her three children died of a brain tumor. Her experience with death and dying in a number of clinical and personal settings led her to be an active volunteer with Compassion & Choices and a vocal medical advocate for Medical Aid in Dying legislation, working towards its initial passage in California and its update in 2022.
After the passage the End-of-Life Options Act, Karen served as the Southern California Team Leader of the End-of-Life Volunteers for Compassion & Choices and is now part of the Access Action Network, advocating and speaking to community, senior groups and hospices on all End of Life Options and California’s Medical Aid in Dying Law, as well as their Medical Advisory Board.
Karen has served on a number of non-profit boards and was a Founding Director of End of Life Choices California. She was also a founding board member and President of the LA Guild for Reproductive Health and serves on the Board of Directors at weSPARK. She has been active in the political impact of end of life issues, and autonomy and agency of women’s bodies.

Evan Pulvers, MD

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center

Evan Pulvers, MD: Originally from Oregon, a family doctor trained in NYC and Northern California, currently working in Northern Arizona in Family Practice.  Happily dog mom to Valk the two-year-old dog. Practitioner of very slow recreational running. Domestic partner to an avid bread-making maniac and fast recreational runner.

Dr. Mitsuo Tomita

Retired Family Physician

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Tomita attended UCLA before attending medical school at UCSF.  After completing his internship and residency in Fresno in family medicine, he joined Kaiser Permanente in San Diego in 1975.  He retired from full-time family practice at Kaiser in 2008 and then did some part-time work in community health centers in the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Washington state.  He splits his time between San Diego and Seattle. He was an Assistant Clinical Professor on the voluntary faculty of the UCSD School of Medicine before retirement.

Yelena Zatulovsky, LCAT, MA, MT-BC, CCLS, HPMT, HEC-C, DBe(c)

Vice President of Patient Experience - AccentCare

Yelena Zatulovsky is Vice President of Patient Experience at AccentCare with over 20 years of bedside experience working with patients and their chosen families at the end-of-life. Yelena is licensed as a Mental Health Practitioner, certified as a Healthcare Ethics Consultant, board-certified as a Child Life Specialist, and holds an advanced designation (and board certification) as a Hospice & Palliative Care Music Therapist. Yelena recently served on the drafting committee for the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act amendment and previously served on NHPCO’s Ethics Advisory and Pediatric Advisory Councils. Yelena is concurrently an International Bioethics Fellow, Lancet Commission on Medicine, Nazism, and the Holocaust and is pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Bioethics.

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