Three New Members Join Compassion & Choices’ Board of Directors
Each brings tremendous experience and unique perspective to this distinguished post.
by Sonja Aliesch
October 28, 2020
Compassion & Choices counts on its board of directors to represent a broad range of ideas and offer superlative expertise spanning the nonprofit, for-profit and academic sectors. Our board provides strategic counsel and ongoing operational guidance as the movement to empower end-of-life choices continues to evolve.
We are thrilled to announce the addition of three new compassionate voices to our board of directors. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Chandana Banerjee, Elaine Charney and Dr. Csaba Mera:
Chandana Banerjee, M.D., M.P.A., is an assistant clinical professor in the City of Hope Department of Supportive Care Medicine, specializing in hospice and palliative care. She developed City of Hope’s Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship and also established the Cancer Pain Rotation for Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship, which is now part of its core curriculum. She is the physician lead for Schwartz Rounds at City of Hope and serves as chair on the End of Life Option Act Subcommittee and serves on the Continuing Medical Education and the Ethics and Quality of Life committees. And she is chair for the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine’s Humanities and Spirituality Special Interest Group. Dr. Banerjee has written and published numerous articles and book chapters, and spoken at conferences nationally and internationally. She is also the editor for an upcoming book exploring views on end-of-life care, death, burial and bereavement within different cultures and religions.
Dr. Banerjee’s leadership activities in education include excellence in teaching, faculty development and mentoring, and curriculum and program development. She loves to write poetry as well, and her first collection, Ashen Leaves, was published in July 2020.
Elaine Charney, J.D.,
is an attorney who enjoyed a career as an Administrative Law judge in Michigan and director of the Bureau of Driver Safety for the Michigan Department of State. She also worked for the Department of Homeland Security as Program Manager of Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, and as assistant federal security director for the Southwest Florida International Airport. Charney spent 25 years working with the Michigan Legislature to pass many traffic safety laws including major drunk driving reforms. Governors of both parties appointed her to serve on several Michigan boards and commissions. Elaine was also a volunteer professor at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, and an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. She served as the first woman president of the Ingham County Bar Association, vice president of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, president of Mid-Michigan Women’s Lawyers Association and chair of the Michigan Bar Association Annual Convention for years, drawing in every U.S. president and many Supreme Court justices to speak to Michigan attorneys during those years. She also worked diligently with Betty Ford and Helen Milliken to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Michigan.
In her recent retirement, Elaine chose to exercise the right side of her brain and has become a watercolor artist. She paints, teaches art at the local college, and recruits national and international artists to teach seminars in her hometown of Sarasota, Florida. Her art can be seen at www.elainecharney.com.
Csaba Mera, M.D., is an accomplished, outcomes-driven healthcare leader with 23 years as a clinician caring for patients followed by over 20 years as a physician executive. Dr. Mera has built innovative medical management health plan programs for commercial, Medicaid and Medicare lines of business at several reputable health plans. In addition to significant success as a health plan physician executive, Csaba has been a key consultant to Fortune 500/100 companies, including Time Warner, Dow Chemical, Xerox, AT&T, Western Digital and American Airlines. As a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award examiner, he has engaged with the nation’s highest quality healthcare organizations, annually recognized by the president of the United States and the secretary of commerce. While at Cambia Health Solutions, Csaba built the nation’s first palliative care program that got the attention of Capitol Hill and convinced Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to address a number of issues around reimbursement for end-of-life care.
Most recently, Dr. Mera wrote and executive produced the feature film Here Awhile about a terminally ill woman reconnecting with her estranged brother in Oregon seeking his support of her end-of-life choice. The movie stars Anna Camp, Steven Strait and Joe Lo Truglio. It is through the creation of this movie that he connected with Compassion & Choices.