Biographies

B | C | D | H | J | K | L | M | N | P
Barbara A. Fuchs, RN, BSN, MS, CCMEP, CPHQ, FNAHQ – SME, Writer

Barbara Fuchs is a healthcare veteran with more than 20 years experience in utilization, quality, and case management.

As a former health care director, she assisted acute care and managed care organizations in providing cost-effective, quality patient care. With an additional 11 years as a leader in continuing professional education, including accredited provider and industry funding organizations, and as founder of EPiQ Services, LLC, she places a high value on effective education, coaching, and development of healthcare professionals. She works with healthcare, education, and funding organizations to improve professional practice and patient outcomes.

As a certified professional in both healthcare quality and continuing medical education, Fuchs has published a variety of articles and abstracts and is a frequently invited speaker at healthcare forums. She also serves as an SME in case management and professional development. Fuchs received her diploma in nursing from the Lankenau Hospital School of Nursing (PA), her BS in sociology/community health from St. Joseph’s University (PA), her BSN from Eastern University (PA) and her MS in health administration from West Chester University (PA).

Barbara Anderson Head, PhD

Barbara Head is an Assistant Professor within the Interdisciplinary Program for Palliative Care and Chronic Illness at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member to both the Kent School of Social Work and the School of Public Health at the University of Louisville. 

Her contributions to the healthcare field span four decades and include positions as social worker, nurse, writer, academician and researcher. Dr. Head has provided testimony as an expert witness for U.S. Attorney’s office commenting on Medicare hospice fraud & abuse cases, made dozens of invited presentations both domestically and abroad, served as principle and or co-investigator on numerous grants and special projects, and is currently as serving as co-investigator on the National Institute of Health funded R25, Development of an Interdisciplinary Oncology Palliative Care Curriculum. 

Most recently she was honored with induction as Fellow of Palliative Care Nursing by the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association.

Barbara Johansson, RN, BSN, CCM, CPUM – CCMC Taskforce Chair, Peer Reviewer

As vice president of care coordination strategies for Molina Healthcare, Inc., Barbara Johansson is responsible for the development and implementation of multiple programs including the behavioral health, long-term care, and chronically ill and complex populations. Prior to this, she served as the corporate Aged, Blind, and Disabled Programs director, implementing new programs in several states. Johansson initially began her work for Molina at the Molina Healthcare of Washington health plan where she was the director of the Washington Medicaid Integration Partnership (WMIP) pilot project and worked in conjunction with the Washington State Medicaid office on a CHCS-Robert Wood Johnson grant for the program. Before joining Molina Healthcare, Johansson worked at Qualis Healthcare for 12 years, serving in a variety of roles for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial lines of business. 

Johansson has been published in Caring MagazineCareManagement, and Lippincott’sCase Manager. She has served on the board of the Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC) since 2008. She received her BS in nursing from the University of Washington, along with a BS in communication/public relations.

Connie McKenzie, RN, CMC – SME

With more than 30 years of experience in hospital, community home health, and primary care environments, Connie McKenzie is currently the director at Firstat RN Care Management Services (FL). Past professional experience includes serving with the Foreign Service at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela as the director of health care, as well as serving in Juneau, Alaska where she was instrumental in developing the only statewide home health program serving the native population. 

She is a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and the Florida Geriatric Care Managers Association and served on the board. She received their Outstanding Chapter Member award in 2009. 

McKenzie developed a successful biopsychosocial innovative care management model that provides support and advocacy to the geriatric population, dual diagnosis/psychiatric needs, and individuals with disabilities of all ages, as well as support for their families while providing clear options directed toward the individual’s immediate and long-term care goals. 

She received her diploma in nursing from Conestoga College in Ontario, Canada, and holds certification as a Geriatric Care Manager and certified mental retardation counselor (ON).

Darlene Commons, RN, CCM, CDMS – SME

Now assistant vice president, Darlene Commons has been with MedInsights (Indianapolis) since 1995, serving in various roles. Prior to MedInsights she was a field case manager for American International Rehabilitation Services.

Commons is a professional speaker for Lorman Education Series, a frequent presenter at professional workers’ compensation seminars, and has been published in Professional Case Manager. She received her diploma from Good Samaritan Hospital of Nursing (Cincinnati) and attended St. Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute, IN.

Hussein Tahan, DNSc, RN - Knowledge Editor 2009-present

Hussein is the System Vice President for Nursing Professional Development and Workforce Planning at MedStar Health System in the Washington, DC area and Maryland. Prior to this position, Hussein was the Corporate Director of Nursing Research and Education at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in NY City. Hussein has over 25 years of healthcare experience, has assumed various leadership positions in the acute care setting and has worked in not-for-profit academic and community hospitals, ranging in size from 250 to over 2,600 beds.

Hussein’s research is focused in the field of case management and care coordination, mainly service delivery and roles and functions of case/care managers. Hussein is actively involved in national taskforces; most recently Hussein was the Vice Chair of the Quality, Measurement and Research Improvement Council of the National Quality Forum (NQF); a member of the National Transitions of Care Coalition; the Bundled Payment Demonstration Project’s Review Panel sponsored by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI); and the Technical Expert Panel of the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University established for the Comparative Effectiveness study of Case Management for Adults with Medical Illness and Complex Care Needs, funded by AHRQ funded. Hussein also acted as a peer reviewer for AHRQ on this study.

Hussein has published more than 85 articles and book chapters; speaks nationally on case management practice; and currently is a member of the editorial advisory boards of 3 journals (Professional Case Management; CMSA Today; and Men in Nursing). He is a manuscript peer reviewer for 3 additional journals and the co-author of 4 textbooks on case management including the Case Management Society of America’s Core Curriculum for Case Management and Case Management: A Practical Guide for Practice and Education. Hussein is a recipient of the 1997 and 2003 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award and the 2013 Nursing Outlook Certificate of Excellence in Reviewing.

Hussein is an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, past Commissioner and Chair of the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) and currently acts as the Knowledge Editor of the CCMC’s Case Management Body of Knowledge web portal. He is an advisory board member of the Graduate Nursing program at Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey, International Credentialing Associates in Washington, DC, and PCI Home Care Group in New York City.

Hussein earned his Doctorate of Philosophy degree at Columbia University School of Nursing, Master’s of Science, Nursing Administration at College of Mount Saint Vincent, both in New York; and his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Jacqueline J. Birmingham, RN, BSN, MS, CMAC - Writer

A respected member of the case management community, Jacqueline J. Birmingham’s career has evolved since becoming a nurse in 1960. The breadth of her knowledge and experience span decades dedicated to nursing and healthcare management. 

She has authored, co-authored and contributed to nearly 20 books and 30 journal articles including a recent work in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Birmingham is a respected teacher and speaker making presentations to domestic and international clients associated with insurance companies, state healthcare agencies, hospitals, and universities including the esteemed Oxford University in Oxford, England. She was President and Founding Board Member of the National Board for Certification in Continuity of Care and has offered official testimony to both the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate on Medicare issues.

Recognized for her passion for excellence, Ms. Birmingham is a past recipient of Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who’s Who in American Nursing and has been honored with a Distinguished Case Manager of the Year award.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New York’s Niagara University as well as a Master of Science in Administration and Supervision from the University of Hartford. Ms. Birmingham currently serves as Vice President for Regulatory Monitoring and Clinical Leadership for a transition management software group in Newton, Massachusetts.

Joan M. Nelson, DNP, RN, MSN - Writer

Dr. Nelson is an adult nurse practitioner whose professional portfolio boasts extensive work in the field of quality improvement with a focus in geriatrics and population management. She has worked with the frail elderly population since 1997 and has authored several papers on geriatric topics including a recent article for American Nurse Today. In her clinical practice she provides care to homebound and bedbound patients in the Denver metropolitan area.

For the past decade she has been an Associate Professor with the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing where she develops curriculum for nurses, and also provides clinical supervision to nurse practitioner students. Honored by the University for her commitment to excellence Dr. Nelson is the recipient of the Dean's Teaching Award and the Chancellor' Teaching Recognition Award. 

She received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry as well as teaching certification in Secondary Science from the Metropolitan State College, a Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctorate of Nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

John D. Banja, PhD

John D. Banja is a Professor and Medical Ethicist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His contributions to the medical ethics field are extensive as he lays claim to the titles of teacher, lecturer, author and researcher. His graduate education concentrated in Philosophy culminating in a doctoral degree from New York’s Fordham University in 1976.

Dr. Banja’s present research focuses on the moral formation of healthcare professionals, empathic communication, disclosure of medical error, neuroethics and translational research ethics.

At the Atlanta Clinical Translation Science Institute at Emory, he serves as Director for the Section on Ethics in Research and Participant Advocacy. Teaching and lecturing on topics in medical ethics throughout the United States, he has delivered over 700 presentations to national and international audiences and has authored over 150 papers plus a book, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism (Jones and Bartlett, 2005). A widely respected expert, Dr. Banja is a recipient of many awards and honors and is a former board member of the Commission for Case Manager Certification.

Katherine Johnson – Professional Writer

Katherine Johnson is a career journalist, writer, and editor with more than 17 years of experience writing for broadcast television, cable, and print media outlets. She is the founder and editorial director of Katherine Johnson Media Enterprises, LLC, a media company that offers a full range of editorial and media services to small businesses and individual clients. She also offers her media services pro-bono to several local non-profits and other charities.

Johnson served as executive producer and producer for cable and broadcast affiliates with the New York Times, Tribune Company, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Cable, and FOX-TV. She was one of the first producers at Florida’s first digital television station in Sarasota and executive producers at the 24-hour cable news channel in Orlando, Florida. Katherine continues to serve as a producer on specialized television projects. 

She is an alumnus of Florida Southern College with a degree in journalism.

Kathy Craig, MS, RN, CCM – SME Writer

Kathy Craig

Kathy Craig, MS, RN, CCM, president and founder of Craig Research Continuum, engages in consulting and developing evidence-based, validated tools such as Interrater Reliability, eQuity™ (electronic Acuity), Caseload Cartographer™, and the Data Trifecta™ for case management process, performance and outcomes. She serves on Professional Case Manager’s editorial board and CMSA’s education committee and caseload work group. 

Her healthcare background includes 15 years of general and psychiatric nursing in metropolitan and rural hospitals across the US and 15 years of telephonic and home-visitation case management (CM) practice in the US and Canada. During her tenure as lead analyst for a well-known CM company in the US, Craig created and conducted validation studies on the CM Acuity Tool©, for which she holds originator’s copyright. Besides consulting and lecturing internationally, she has numerous publications in newspapers, texts, and peer-reviewed journals. 

Ms. Craig’s educational credentialing encompasses full sponsorship to nursing school at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, sciences degree in biology with emphasis in electron microscopy from University of Delaware and a graduate degree in biomedical writing from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Ms. Craig was a key author of  Value of Case Management .

Katie A. Fabbro, MA - SME

Katie Fabbro is currently providing direct oversight of the creation, procurement, implementation, and management of the Indiana Care Select Program as the Care Select manager for the State of Indiana, which serves 70,000 Medicaid recipients. She has also served as a chronic disease manager and policy analyst for the state, as well as teaching for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, School of Social Work. Her Indiana Chronic Disease Management Program was named a “Top 50 Program” of 2006 by the Innovations in American Government Awards, a program of the Ash Institute of Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 

Fabbro received her BS in community health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her master of arts in social work from the University of Chicago, with certification in health administration and policy.

Laura Sether – Professional Writer

Laura Sether is a freelance writer and editor specializing in public policy, health care, and business writing. She was previously executive editor for W&A Publishing, a boutique publisher of personal finance and investing books.

Laura spent 15 years working in politics at the federal, state, and local levels. She served as press secretary for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and on the communications and policy team of the administration of Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. Laura previously directed a public journalism project for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. She began her political career in Washington, D.C., as a legislative assistant for Congressman Tim Penny.

Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Northwestern University. She is a former Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota and is currently working on her MBA at the University of Northern Iowa.

Laurie R. Russell, MS, RN, CCM, GCM – SME

As XLHealth’s vice president of medical affairs, Laurie Russell is responsible for care management, utilization management, and clinical quality programs at Care Improvement Plus, a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan currently operating in six states. She has more than 30 years experience in healthcare, most recently with Johns Hopkins HealthCare, where she was senior director of care management and played a key role in a major departmental reorganization that integrated disease management, utilization management, and behavioral healthcare management services. Prior to that, as director of disease management, she was instrumental in the development, implementation and monitoring of 12 specialty disease programs and revenue enhancement initiatives for Johns Hopkins. 

Russell also served as assistant vice president for nursing operations at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. Her clinical experience includes ER, ICU, CCU, Renal Dialysis, and Orthopedics. She has practiced clinically at various hospitals in the Baltimore area including Upper Chesapeake, Sinai, Johns Hopkins Bayview, and St. Joseph Medical Centers. 

Russell is a graduate of The College of Notre Dame of Maryland (BSN) and Central Michigan University (MS) and is currently involved with the Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC) as an SME. She is a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, and Sigma Theta Tau International. Published works have appeared in The Remington Report as well as Practicing Medicine in the 21st Century (2006).

Linda Chalmers, BSN, RN, CCM, WCLA

Linda L Chalmers has been with Zurich Insurance North America since 1987 with her most recent assignment being as a medical case manager with Zurich Services Corporation since 1997. Prior to that she worked at Wausau Insurance Companies (IL) as a Field Case Manager for 9 years and at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as a Staff and Head Nurse.

Chalmers has been actively involved as a commissioner for both CIRS( now CMDSC) and CCMC, chairing the latter from 1996-1997 . She served in a special capacity for the CCMC Ethics Committee, is the Commission for Case Manager Certification’s CMBOK® Expert Reviewer and has been published in both Case in Point and Profressional Case Management publications.

Holding licenses in IL, MI, CA, Chalmers earned her BSN from the University of Illinois Medical Center College of Nursing, Chicago and is a Workers' Compensation Claims Law Associate.

Mary Olsen, BSM, PHN, MSW, CCM – SME

Using her extensive experience in case management, Mary is currently the complex care manager at HMC/Wellpoint in Denver, CO. She involves herself with clinical education, staff education, policies, and procedures in the acute hospital setting, orientation, and training for family practice residents in acute case management and medical social work. She has also developed CCM training courses and consults for Triple AAA’s online CEU courses. In 2007, Mary was awarded the Centura Excellence in Caring Award in Case Management. Mary received her diploma in nursing from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing (NE), her BS in nursing from the University of Oregon, her paralegal certification from the Denver Paralegal Institute, and her MSW from Colorado State University.

Michael B. Garrett, MS, CCM, CVE, NCP – CCMC Taskforce Member, Past chair of NPD Committee, Peer Reviewer

Michael B. Garrett has been in the field of healthcare management for more than thirty years in a variety of operational, administrative, and development positions. He currently is the vice president of business development for Qualis Health. Prior to joining Qualis Health, Mr. Garrett held several positions at Intracorp, a disability management company.

Mr. Garrett has published numerous articles in a broad array of issues in the field of care management. He has also been a speaker at regional and national conferences on care management and healthcare quality improvement. He has been an author and contributor on four books. He currently serves on URAC’s Clinical Accreditation Committee and Lippincott’s Professional Case Management Editorial Review Board. He has served on the Commission for Case Manager Certification, including chair. He also served on the Case Management Society of America’s Workgroup for the Revision of the Case Management Standards of Practice, the Leadership Council of the Academy of Certified Case Managers, and the Managed Care Advisory Council of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization 

Garrett holds a BA in psychology from Gonzaga University and a master’s of science in clinical psychology from the University of Idaho.

Monika White, PhD, MSW – SME

An experienced practitioner, educator, researcher, author, lecturer, administrator, and board member, Monika White has worked for more than 35 years in both the public and private sectors. Her work has focused on coordinating health, mental health and community-based service delivery systems for older adults and their families. A leading authority on care management, eldercare services, volunteer programs and healthy aging, she is a sought-after speaker and consultant nationally and internationally.

White is an adjunct associate professor at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (LA). She is a past president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and a founding board member of the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. In 2009 she founded Monika White Consulting.

In addition to more than 40 published articles, book chapters, reference works and research or program reports on aging-related and program development topics, she serves on three editorial boards of professional journals. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to the field, most recently the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Council of Gerontology and Geriatrics. She was also selected as a topic expert (1995) and delegate at large (2005) for the White House Conference on Aging.

White received her BA in English from California State University (LA), and both her MSW and PhD in social work from the University of Southern California.

Nancy L. Nehmer – Copy Editor

Nancy L. Nehmer holds a B.A. in elementary education from Wheaton College (IL), although she has worked in publishing since her senior year in high school. Trained first as a proofreader then editor, she has spent most of her vocational life in the editorial sector. With more than 25 years’ experience, she now operates her own freelance editorial business, doing work for associations, nonprofits, colleges, magazines, and publishing houses. She has authored two books, as well as a few published magazine articles. A short 2-year stint as an administrative assistant at the Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission (CDMSC) introduced her to the world of disability case management. She currently serves as copy editor and CE contributor for the Commission for Case Manager Certification’s CMBOK® project.

Nita Beck. M.S. – Web Editor

Nita Beck

Nita Beck has been a technical communicator for nearly 30 years and operates Nita Beck Communications, a consultancy based in Rochester (NY) offering technical writing, Help authoring, and documentation project management services to businesses around the U.S. Prior to that she spent a few years teaching high school English before falling into a technical communication career, which fit “like a glove.” She is a senior member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and has earned numerous awards for her technical writing and Help authoring, including awards of excellence from the Society’s International Technical Publications Competition and International Online Communications Competition. She is a frequent presenter at local STC conferences, and for 18 years she taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in technical communication at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

In 2009, Nita earned certification from MadCap Software as an advanced Flare developer and founded the Rochester Flare User Group (otherwise meaningless tidbits of information to all except other Help authoring geeks who use Flare). 

Nita earned her BA in English and dramatic arts in 1977 at the State University of New York at Geneseo followed by an MS in education in 1981 at Nazareth College of Rochester.

 

Paula Gelber Dromi, PhD, LCSW – Peer Reviewer, SME Writer

Paula Gelber Dromi

Paula Gelber Dromi is a specialist in the field of gerontological social work. She has extensive experience in the field of aging as a psychotherapist and eldercare consultant to individuals, families, nursing homes, healthcare organizations and adult day health centers. She is known for creative program design, development and writing of adult training curriculum and programs as well as her presentations to both professionals and laypersons on a variety of senior issues and concerns including case management; dementia; care giving; cultural competence; and loss, grief and death. Dr. Dromi has been a social work consultant for the Los Angeles City Department of Aging as well as the Director of the Home and Community Based Technical Assistance Division. She was responsible for their case management program and the on-going training of case managers.

As an adjunct faculty member, Dr. Dromi taught in the social work programs in the California State University system in Los Angeles, Northridge and Long Beach, as well as the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. She also taught in the marriage and family therapy program at Phillips Graduate Institute. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles.

Dromi received her BA in social science and philosophy from California State College, San Francisco; her MSW from the School of Social Welfare, University of California (LA); and her PhD from the School of Social Work, University of Southern California (LA).

Sarah Fister-Gale – Professional Writer

Sarah Fister Gale is a ghostwriter and freelance journalist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has covered a range of business and healthcare topics in her career, including trends in drug development, interdisciplinary teamwork in healthcare settings, and issues of healthcare compliance and leadership. Her work has been featured in dozens of publications, including Inc., Small Times, HFMA's Leadership magazine,Greenbiz, and many others. She has authored two books and is currently seeking publication for her first novel. 

Fister Gale holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

Sylvia R. Titchenal, RN, MBA, HIA, ACM – SME

Currently Divisional Director of Case Management for Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) out of Springfield, IL, Sylvia has extensive management experience in hospital, insurance, TPA, government health systems (Tricare), and QIO settings. She serves as a case management consultant to other facilities in the Jefferson Health System, sharing her 25+ years of care management and 10 years of clinical experience. She also speaks and writes. Currently a board member, Sylvia served as the 2007-2008 Gateway chapter president for the American Case Management Association (ACMA). She is also a member of Association of Fundraising Professionals, WPS (MAC) Provider Outreach Education advisory committee, adjunct faculty for Athena Forums professional education website, as well as the recipient of the 2010 National Platinum Awards for Dorland Healthcare – Overall Case Management Program and finalist for Utilization Management Program. 

Titchenal received her diploma in nursing from the Missouri Baptist School of Nursing, AA and AS degrees from Belleville Area College (IL), a BS in healthcare management from Maryville University (MO), and MBA and MA from Webster University in health services management. She is currently working on her doctorate in public health at Walden University.