Physician, Caregiver Coach, Grief Practitioner Join Compassion & Choices Board of Directors

July 6, 2022

National end-of-life care advocacy group adds new board members from MI, DC, GA

Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest end-of-life care advocacy group appointed a physician, caregiver coach, and grief practitioner to its board of directors effective July 1. Each of them has previously served for the organization in other volunteer capacities. Through regular meetings and ongoing discussion, Compassion & Choices’ board members provide strategic direction and governance to the organization to help fulfill its mission to expand and improve end-of-life care options.

These individuals already have contributed an incredible amount to Compassion & Choices through their leadership, expertise and time,” said Jerri Lea Shaw, Board Chair, Compassion & Choices. “I am honored they have agreed to share their skill sets, knowledge and perspectives with us by serving on our board of directors.”

Dr. Satheesh Gunaga is an emergency medicine physician and Medical Director of the emergency department at Henry Ford Health Center in Brownstown, Michigan. 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 Compassion & Choices’ Healthcare Advisory Committee and is one of the physician leaders for Compassion & 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 emergency departments across our country.

“I have dedicated my career to ensuring patients have access to high quality end-of-life care in all healthcare settings, including the emergency room.” said Dr. Gunaga  “I am looking forward to supporting Compassion & Choices in its mission to improve care, and educate people across the country.”

Dr. Irene Jackson-Brown created “The Art of Eldercare,” as the owner and CEO of Jackson-Brown Associates, LLC.  As an applied gerontologist with nearly twenty years of experience, she focuses on how to support, educate, and assist older adults and their loved ones.  To date, she is nationally certified as a geriatric care manager (CCM) with advanced professional status; a  Certified Senior Advisor (CSA);  and a Certified Dementia Practitioner(CDP).  She is an author, presenter, and educator.  Her book, “Eldercare as Art and Ministry,” published in 2020, has been widely received by corporations, organizations, and institutions.

“I started ‘The Art of Eldercare’ in 2005 after serving as my father’s primary caregiver, and feeling the fear and uncertainty that came with it,” said Dr. Jackson-Brown. “Sharing my expertise as a care advocate through Compassion & Choices has been fulfilling; I am ready to continue the important work of educating and supporting our communities about end-of-life care on a national scale.”

Joél Simone Maldonado, also known as “The Grave Woman,” is a licensed funeral director, insurance agent, sacred grief practitioner and member of the Gullah and Geechee culture of South Carolina, but lives in Roswell, Georgia. She specializes in helping individuals, families, businesses and government navigate difficult conversations about death and its aftermath. In 2021, Madonado joined Compassion & Choices’ African American Leadership Council. Maldonado has a strong social media presence, and has written many eBooks, including her most recent release “30 Things to Say Other Than I’m Sorry When Someone Dies.”

“This work in the death and dying space is sacred. I am honored to share my voice and experience as a sacred grief practitioner with Compassion & Choices as a board member,” said Madonado. “I know that the supporters of this movement, and this organization, are determined to improve end-of-life care for their loved ones and community. I am ready to help make that happen.”

“We are proud to have such incredible people join our already dynamic board.” Kim Callinan, president & CEO of Compassion & Choices  said. “Compassion & Choices works at all levels of government and healthcare nationwide to transform end-of-life care, with informed, empowered leaders like these people. I know that their skills, passion, and drive will help us as we advance our mission.”


Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

Compassion & Choices
8156 S Wadsworth Blvd #E-162
Littleton, CO 80128

Mail contributions directly to:
Compassion & Choices Gift Processing Center
PO Box 485
Etna, NH 03750