Paul L. Epner, MBA, MEd
Chief Executive Officer
Paul L. Epner, MBA, MEd is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). He is also Chair of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis, a collaborative with more than 50 of the country’s leading healthcare societies, health systems, patient organizations, and organizations focused on improving quality. He recently was named to the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety. Paul is a Past President of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) where he also created the Increasing Clinical Effectiveness (ICE) initiative. He was recently a member of the CDC’s “Clinical Laboratory Integration into Healthcare Collaborative” and a consultant to their Laboratory Medicine Best Practices program (an evidence-based practice initiative). Paul is an Associate Editor for the peer-reviewed journal, Diagnosis.
Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Graber is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Stony Brook University and serves as SIDM’s Chief Medical Officer. He has an extensive background in biomedical and health services research, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications. He originated Patient Safety Awareness Week in 2002, an event now recognized internationally. He is the 2014 recipient of the John M Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality, awarded by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, the nation’s top honor in the field of patient safety.
Dr. Graber has also been a pioneer in efforts to address diagnostic errors in medicine, and his academic work in this area has been supported by the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. He convened and chaired the first Diagnostic Error in Medicine conference in 2008, and in 2011 he founded the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), and served as President from 2011 through 2018.
Global Head of Innovations
Cathy A. Peterson has more than 25 years of executive experience in health care focusing on business development, managed care, marketing, and strategy. She has worked in a wide variety of healthcare settings including hospitals (academic, community and health systems), large physician groups, physician-hospital organizations, nursing homes, major healthcare associations, and insurers. She is recognized as a dynamic and passionate leader who consistently increases income. Cathy has served on more than seven boards. Cathy lives in Chicago, and when she is not working, she is taking ballroom dance lessons, playing with her dogs, gardening, reading, or spending time with her friends and family.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Lorie Slass has more than 25 years of experience in communications and public affairs. For nine years Lorie served first as Vice President, then Senior Vice President for Communications at the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the highly successful Choosing Wisely© Campaign. Over the course of her career she has served as a senior Communications Officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Deputy Campaign Manager for Cover the Uninsured Week at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Director of the Washington Office of the Annenberg Public Policy Center; and served as Communications Director for Families USA, a non-partisan nonprofit organization working to improve healthcare quality. She worked in consulting in Washington D.C., directing public relations strategies for a range of health, education, and children's issues accounts first at Podesta Associates, and then at GMMB.
Susan E. Sheridan, MBA, MIM, DHL
Director of Patient Engagement
Susan E. Sheridan, MIM, MBA, DHL, currently serves as the Director of Patient Engagement at the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). Prior to her joining SIDM she served as the Patient and Family Engagement Adviser in the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Director of Patient Engagement of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and led the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Patients for Patient Safety initiative, a program under the WHO Patient Safety Program.
Sheridan had previously spent 10 years in patient advocacy inspired by adverse family experiences in the healthcare system. Sheridan is Co-Founder and Past President of Parents of Infants and Children with Kernicterus (PICK) as well as Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS), a nonprofit organization that seeks a safe, compassionate and just healthcare system through proactive partnership between consumers and providers of care.
She speaks frequently on patient engagement across the full spectrum of healthcare at national and international events. In April 2009, Sheridan was named to Modern Healthcare's list of Top 25 Women in Healthcare as well as Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare. In 2010 Sheridan was awarded the “Idaho Healthcare Hero” in community outreach by the Idaho Business Review and in 2011 Sheridan was appointed by The Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality of the Health Resources and Services Administration. She also served on the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) CLIAC Federal Advisory Council and the Accreditation Council of Graduate Continuing Medical Education (ACGME) Board of Directors as a Public Director.
Sheridan received her BA from Albion College, her MIM and MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and her Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Adrian College. She has a professional background in international banking and served in Ecuador with her late husband, Pat, as Peace Corps volunteers.
Director of Development
Deborah Barnard has more than 21 years of nonprofit industry experience and 18 years of concentration in the national nonprofit health industry. Her primary focus has been in development and revenue generation. Deborah’s most recent position was for eight years with the National Psoriasis Foundation as the Associate Director of Field Operations for the Midwest and southeast regions. She was responsible for the growth of annual income, leadership and overall management for multiple states in two major markets. She has also worked for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Deborah currently resides in Chicago.
Elizabeth Cohen, MPH
Elizabeth received her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Community Health Sciences, with a focus on Global Health, from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Prior to joining SIDM, Elizabeth has worked in both the corporate and in the not-for-profit arenas, including Marriott International, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Institute for Health Research & Policy, UIC School of Public Health, FHI 360, and Emanuel Congregation. Elizabeth was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Africa as a Community Health & Economic Development advisor, 2005-2007. Her diverse background encompasses fundraising, project management, finance/budgeting, program development, human resources, and communications.
Strategic Partnerships Manager
Tina attended The University of Iowa, where she received a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and a BA in Communication Studies. To further enhance her nonprofit skills, Tina earned an MS in Public Service Management from DePaul University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Executive Education program. Prior to joining SIDM, Tina managed communications, marketing, and partnerships for The Children’s Heart Foundation.
Daniel Persky is a project manager for SIDM. He has more than 15 years experience working with nonprofits and governments on project development, grant writing and project management of initiatives that create and sustain healthy communities. He previously led projects funded by the CDC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Kaiser-Permanente. Daniel holds a MS in Urban and Regional Planning and a JD, both from University of Iowa.
Diana Rusz, MPH
Quality Improvement Program Manager
Diana received her Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to joining SIDM, Diana worked as a consultant for Health Management Associates (HMA), a national research and consulting healthcare firm. Before HMA, she worked as a graduate assistant at the Center for Research on Women and Gender as well as the Chicago Colorectal Cancer Consortium, while attending the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research experience comes as a result of various academic appointments. They include research assistant with the Cancer Center at the University of Michigan Health System; research assistant with the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan; and she served as a wellness and risk reduction specialist for underserved youth in Detroit.
Digital Content Manager
Amanda Staller is the digital content manager at SIDM. Over the course of her career, she has worked with nonprofit organizations and startup companies to create communication strategies and develop engaging online content. Most recently, she served as the web content specialist for The Electrochemical Society, where she implemented the use of new media platforms, managed website development, and assisted in fundraising initiatives for scientific advancement. Previously, she held both staff and freelance writer positions for Philadelphia-based news outlets, including WHYY.
Ilse Garcia Romero
Marketing and Communications Associate
Ilse received her Master of Arts degree in media studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and has five years of experience writing for different audiences across a variety platforms. During her time in graduate school, she worked as a public relations and community engagement intern for Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas, as well as serving as a social media coordinator for Flow, UT's Radio-Television-Film department online journal. Prior to that, Ilse worked as a public relations intern at the U.S. Department of Labor- Public Affairs office in Philadelphia while earning her degree in English from Rutgers University. Ilse is passionate about communications, nonprofit work, and representation in media.
Silver received her BA in English at the University of California, Berkeley. She has extensive experience working with environmental nonprofits campaigning for climate change mitigation measures. Recently she served as Campaign Director with the California Student Sustainability Coalition where she developed and implemented strategy for a statewide fossil fuel divestment campaign. She is passionate about the environment, nonprofit organizational strategy and patient engagement in healthcare.
Jeremiah Smith received his BS in Music Management from the University of Evansville in southern Indiana. He has made a career in nonprofit administration with both big and small organizations alike including Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Prior to his position as Program Assistant with SIDM, Jeremiah served as Development Associate for Friends of the Chicago River working to increase individual memberships and supporting the organization’s yearly gala.
Senior Policy Advisor
Leslie Tucker is an independent health policy consultant with three decades' experience serving the nation's leading public, private, academic and philanthropic organizations working to improve health care. From 2009-2016 she was Vice President, Policy for the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation, where she worked to advance medical professionalism as a force for improving quality, and has been closely involved with the Choosing Wisely© Campaign since its inception. Prior to ABIM/F, she became Senior Program Officer in The Pew Charitable Trusts HHS program after serving as Director of the Washington Office for a large and successful Pew-funded public health infrastructure funding initiative. At the state level, Leslie led Strategic Planning, Policy and Outreach at the Rhode Island Department of Human Services during welfare reform and SCHIP expansions. She provided government relations and rural practice support for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and served as senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), and as a health policy analyst to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging.
Senior Patient Engagement Advisor
Suz Schrandt is a patient and patient advocate with a health and disability law and policy background. She is the founder of ExPPect, a patient engagement initiative focused on elevating patients to critical roles in improving health care and medical education. Schrandt’s prior roles include Director of Patient Engagement at the Arthritis Foundation, Deputy Director of Patient Engagement at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Health Reform Team Lead for the Kansas Health Institute, and over 20 years as a patient instructor in clinical training initiatives aimed at increasing early diagnosis and appropriate, patient-centered management of chronic disease. She is one of nine voting members on the FDA’s inaugural Patient Engagement Advisory Committee, Chairperson for the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) North American Patient Roundtable, and has been an invited speaker at numerous US and international conferences. Schrandt received her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law and has co-authored multiple publications on health policy and the value of patient engagement.
Susan Carr has been writing and producing ImproveDx, SIDM’s bimonthly newsletter, since January 2013. She works on publications for a number of other clients, all of which are involved in health care. She currently curates a blog at EngagingPatients.org and has been producing a newsletter and journal for the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences for the past 12 years. Susan was the founding editor of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare in 2004, and continues to write and edit articles for organizations, such as SIDM, that focus on safety and quality improvement. She lives and works outside of Boston, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. When not working on publications or her very old house, you’re likely to find Susan folk dancing or enjoying the company of friends and family.