Three New Members Join Board of Directors

July 6, 2022

Compassion & Choices welcomes physician Satheesh Gunaga; author and educator Irene Jackson-Brown; and funeral director, insurance agent and sacred grief practitioner Joél Simone Maldonado to this impactful post.

A distinguished board of directors brings a broad range of expertise spanning the nonprofit, for-profit and academic sectors. Through regular meetings and ongoing discussion, the board provides strategic counsel and ongoing operational guidance as the movement to empower end-of-life choices continues to evolve. Compassion & Choices is thrilled to have three new members begin their service July 1:

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 Commitee 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.

Irene V. Jackson-Brown, Ph.D., CSA, CMC, CDP

After earning a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, Irene held several academic appointments and then moved to the not-for-
profit sector. She juggled work, her family and personal life, along with responsibilities as a hands-on family caregiver.
In 2005, she opened an applied gerontology practice as the “The Art of Eldercare.” Irene holds several certifications as a senior-servicing professional — CSA (Certified Senior Advisor) from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors; CMC (Care Manager Certified) from the Association of Aging Life Care Professionals; and a CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner) from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Irene has a wealth of continuing education experiences, including a multi-year, post-graduate certificate from the Washington School of Psychiatry’s program entitled, “The Study of Aging and Clinical Application.” She was also a Fellow in a year-long program on clinical-related topics in psychoanalysis at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. And she has a certificate of completion from the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Herbert B. Hercowitz Mini-Medical School Program. Irene earned credits from The George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management’s Project Management Program to enhance already notable communication and successful goal achievement skills. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, a retired Episcopal priest. They have an adult son and his partner, Irene’s “daughter- in-love.” Before this writing, she had only grand-dogs. Now, Irene is expecting her first grandchild, a girl!

Joél Simone Maldonado

Joél Simone Maldonado is a licensed funeral director, insurance agent and sacred grief practitioner. She specializes in

helping guide individuals families, businesses and governmental agencies navigate uncomfortable and difficult conversations about death, dying, end of life, funeral and burial planning. She was born in Europe and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, the heart of Gullah and Geechee culture. “Spirituality, the sacredness of death, caring for those in transition, the deceased and supporting my community through grief have always been a huge part of my life. My professional approach is deeply rooted in ancient and ancestral wisdom passed down generation to generation.

During my decade of service in the funeral service industry, I’ve fashioned my unique background and professional experiences into a caliber and style of care and comfort that guides those that I serve toward healing through journeys with grief. It is my life’s work to educate everyone – regardless of faith, race, age, or status – that death, dying and grief are sacred and transformative to our journeys as human beings.”

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