VEN Leadership & Staff
Board of Directors:
George Belcher graduated from Kansas University ('71) and Vermont Law School ('77). He was an officer in the U.S. Navy for three years. After graduating from law school he practiced general law in central Vermont until 1990 when he was elected as the Washington County Probate Judge, a position he held until retirement in 2012. He is a past president of the probate judges' association and has been active in various committees and programs concerning end-of-life, electro-convulsive therapy, surrogate decision making, and medical-legal issues surrounding guardianships.
George lives in Montpelier with his wife, Suzanne, who is a MSW social worker with the University of Vermont training partnership.
Kelly Champney, Esq. is Manager of Provider Contracting and contracting counsel focusing on development of a comprehensive high quality low cost provider and facility network for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont the state's local not for profit health insurance company. Ms. Champney's focus is development of provider relationships which focus on high quality reasonable cost services for all Vermonters. She works with individual providers to large teaching facilities to create value based business relationships focusing on the quality and efficient provision of services to Vermonters.
Ms. Champney has substantial experience in commercial contract negotiation, regulatory analysis for large health systems and provider network development. Additionally, prior to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Ms. Champney served as defense counsel for hospitals, providers, and employers for civil employment, workers' compensation and malpractice claims. Ms. Champney also represented local ski companies in malpractice and workers' compensation matters.
Ms. Champney's legal career in Vermont began at Vermont's Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration where she served as a law clerk primarily for the Insurance and Health Care Administration Divsions. At BISHCA, Ms. Champney assisted with drafting the rules for the newly created Catamount Health system and assisted in obtaining federal funding for Vermont's high risk pool insurance population. Ms. Champney also serves as an Associate for the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners and is a member of the Vermont and New York Bar Associations.
Linda Cohen [Dinse Knapp & McAndrew] is a health care attorney advising clients on a variety of regulatory, transactional and litigation matters. Ms. Cohen's practice concentrates on client counseling and litigation involving a wide range of provider reimbursement issues relating to commercial as well as government payers. She has substantial experience in commercial contract negotiation and payment related litigation for large health systems.
Ms. Cohen has arbitrated, mediated and litigated several provider reimbursement disputes through conclusion and has appeared before the Provider Reimbursement Review Board. Additionally, Ms. Cohen handles issues relating to Medicare fraud and abuse laws, Medicare reimbursement, compliance issues, federal Anti-Kickback law, physician contracting and state regulatory compliance.
Immediately before joining the firm, Ms. Cohen served as the Director of External Appeals and as a regulatory compliance attorney for the Health Care Administration, a Division of Vermont's Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. At BISHCA, Ms. Cohen was primarily responsible for enforcement of health insurance laws and regulations relating to insurers and managed care organizations. She also ran the external appeals program which affords consumers an independent appeal of claims denied by commercial insurers.
Before relocating to Vermont, Ms. Cohen practiced in the health care and commercial litigation departments of Cozen O'Connor in Philadelphia. While at Cozen O'Connor, Ms. Cohen participated in the representation of national health care systems in reimbursement disputes and a class action related to billing practices. She also represented large and small providers in contract negotiations, fraud and abuse matters and provided regulatory compliance advice. Ms. Cohen represented a variety of commercial clients in contract related disputes for a wide range of issues including title insurance, real estate leasing, non-competition agreements and anti-trust. Several of those actions included trials and arbitrations to conclusion. Ms. Cohen also participated in product liability defense of manufacturers of fire prevention and detection products.
Candy Diamond serves on the VEN Board as a community member with passion, commitment and a desire to address the ethical dilemmas that confront our ever-changing health care world. She also currently serves as a community representative on the Vermont Board of Medical Practice. Prior to joining the VEN Board, Candy ran three statewide political races and one national race in Vermont, and worked as the legislative coordinator for the Office of the Attorney General. Candy has also served on the Board of Woodbury College and on the Board of a free health care clinic, The Peoples Health and Wellness Clinic, in Barre, VT. As a long-time engaged community member, Candy brings a unique, grass roots perspective to the Board of the Ethics Network. She currently resides in Montpelier with her husband, Jerry.
Penrose Jackson is Director of Community Health Improvement at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Beginning in 1983 she has served on the boards of health care organizations including the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont and the Vermont Health Foundation (VHF). Since 1996, she has also served as the staff to the VHF, overseeing grants to community-based organizations whose efforts advance the VHF’s mission of improving the health of the communities it serves.
Ms. Jackson served for thirteen years as the first Executive Director of the Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian mall in Burlington, Vermont. Subsequent to that, she filled similar positions at the National Gardening Association and the Intervale Foundation. Her community commitment has been extensive and includes board chair positions with the Burlington City Arts, Champlain Initiative, Childcare Resource and Referral Center, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Ethan Allen Homestead, First Night Burlington, Greater Burlington YMCA, Leadership Champlain, South Burlington Rotary Club, KidSafe Collaborative, Linking Learning to Life, and Women Helping Battered Women. In early 2008 Ms. Jackson served as chair of the American Health Association’s “Go Red for Women” Vermont luncheon.
A native of central New York State, Ms. Jackson graduated from the University of Vermont. She also participated in UVM’s masters’ degree program in American history and attended the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. From 2003-4 she participated as a fellow in the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum fellowship, “Creating Healthier Communities. She is currently enrolled in Saint Louis University’s Certificate Program in Community Benefit.
- co-chairs Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer,
- chairs Linking Learning to Life,
- serves as treasurer for the Vermont Public Health Association, and
- sits on the boards of the South Burlington Rotary Club, KidSafe Collaborative, University of Vermont Alumni Board, Burlington Legacy, Vermont Historical Society, and the Champlain Initiative.
Ms. Jackson lives and gardens in Hinesburg with her husband, Schuyler Jackson, and dog, Katie.
Jim Leddy served four terms in the Vermont Senate, including 2 terms as chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. He was the lead sponsor of Vermont's health care reform legislation and was CEO of The Howard Center in Burlington from 1980 until 2000. He has served on a number of boards, including the University of Vermont. Presently, Jim serves as Vermont State President of AARP and as a member of AARP's National Policy Council.
Robert Macauley is Medical Director of Clinical Ethics at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College and M.D. from Yale. Following residency training in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, he was a pediatric hospitalist in Connecticut and Director of Pediatrics at Kuluva Hospital in Uganda, before coming to UVM in 2002. He also holds a Master of Studies in Philosophical Theology from Oxford University, and Masters of Divinity and of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School.
Dr. Macauley's work focuses on clinical ethics, pediatric palliative care, and spirituality. He directs the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service at Fletcher Allen Health Care as well as the ethics curriculum at the UVM College of Medicine, for which he received the Golden Apple Teaching Award. He has published articles on topics ranging from civil disobedience in the practice of medicine to the role of surrogate decision-making following a suicide attempt, in journals such as the Hastings Center Report and the Journal of Clinical Ethics. Dr. Macauley also directs the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Vermont Children's Hospital as well as the "Spirituality in Patient Care" initiative at the College of Medicine, for which he received the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health Award for Curricular Development.
Ann Mallett , RN retired from Lamoille Home Health & Hospice in Morrisville, Vermont in 2010 after 30 years of employment. During her time at the Agency, she was active in state-wide home health organizations as well as Lamoille County social services collaboratives.
Ann has served terms on the Northeastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Board and the Community of Vermont Elders (COVE) Board. She participated in VEN's original Taking Steps initiative, co- facilitating numerous workshops around Lamoille County in the early 1990s.
Peter Mills Ph.D., M.S. has worked as a Psychologist in the VA in White River Junction VT since 1994. He is currently the Director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety Field Office. He joined the National Center for Patient Safety in 2002 and has focused on suicide prevention, patient safety improvement and measuring patient safety in VA. Prior to joining the NCPS he was the Associate Director of the VISN 1 Patient Safety Center of Inquiry and directed several national medical safety improvement projects within the VA system. From 1994 to 1999 he served as the director of the Evaluation and Brief Treatment of PTSD Unit, and the Director of the PTSD service. He is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He conducts research in patient safety, dissemination of medical innovation and the characteristics of medical improvement teams.
He has served as the Chair of the Clinical Ethics Committee at the VAMC in White River Junction and a member (ex-officio) of the Bioethics Committee, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center since 2002; and the Chair of the Integrated Ethics committee at the VAMC since 2005.
He lives in Norwich Vermont with his wife Jan and two sons (currently in college).
Sarah is the Director of the Bowse Health Trust, a grant funding department at Rutland Regional Medical Center that was initiated in 1996. The Bowse Health Trust is responsible for the oversight of RRMC's community benefit programs that are targeted to improve the health of the people in Rutland County. In addition to this health improvement role, Sarah recently became RRMC's Blueprint Manager for Rutland County. This new responsibility is a natural progression to the experience Sarah has gained during her 25 year nursing career. She has held positions as a Certified Diabetes Educator, Employee Wellness Coordinator, Community Benefits Coordinator, Community/Patient Health Educator, Clinical Instructor at UVM, Adjunct Faculty at Castleton State College, Infectious Disease Research Nurse, and Pediatric Staff Nurse.
Sarah's non-profit experience started as a Board Member for the Vermont Chapter of the Diabetes Association in the early 1990's. In 1998, she became the first President of the Vermont Association of Diabetes Educators and guided the association in becoming a chartered chapter of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Other non-profit roles include Past-President of Southern Vermont AHEC, Board Member of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, and member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
On the county level, Sarah has been active with a variety of non-profits. At the local Public Access Television Station she hosted a monthly TV show for 12 years and is a past Board member. Her current commitments include being a Board Member for the Rutland Free Clinic and a Steering Committee Member for the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition.
Sarah is a life long Vermonter who completed her undergraduate nursing degree at the University of Vermont and her Master's Degree of the University of Connecticut. She currently holds certifications as a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Certified Quality Manager, and a Master Trainer in the Stanford Self-Management Program.
Sarah lives in Rutland Vermont with her husband, Brian. Now that her 3 children are grown, she has more time enjoy biking, hiking, and skiing.
Director, Rural Ethics Initiatives, Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth Medical School. He also is an adjunct Associate Professor at New York University’s Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Until 2003, he was Chief of the Ethics Education Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Ethics in Health Care, which he co-founded. He completed his undergraduate work at Elmhurst College, received a MDiv. from Andover Newton Theological School, and a Ph.D. from Union Institute and University.
He is the 1984 recipient of the United States Congressional Excalibur Award for Public Service for his efforts concerning the ethical care of the terminally ill. From 1986-1989, he was a W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow studying US and international health care policy. In 2004, the Department of Veterans Affairs established the annual competitive William A. Nelson Award for Excellence in Health Care Ethics for “significant and sustained contributions to the Department through health care ethics…” In 2006 Dr. Nelson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Elmhurst College. And from 2008-9, he was a National Rural Health Association Leadership Fellow.
The author of over 75 articles and book chapters; he has delivered hundreds of invited lectures, papers, seminars, and workshops on organizational and clinical ethics topics in the US and internationally. Dr. Nelson is the Principal Investigator of several Federal and state funded research studies fostering an evidence-based approach to ethics. Dr. Nelson co-edited Managing Ethically: An Executive’s Guide, (2nd ed. 2010, Health Administrative Press). And also is editor of the NIH funded 2009 e-book; Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics: a Practical Guide for Professionals. He is a regular contributor to Healthcare Executive’s “Healthcare Management Ethics Column.” He also is the ethics consultant to the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Cathy Suskin is an attorney who has worked primarily in the areas of employment, environmental and civil rights law. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, serving early on in her career as a civil rights investigator in the Vermont Attorney General's Office, a judicial clerk in Vermont District Court and an instructor in legal writing at Vermont Law School. More recently she was Associate General Counsel to the Vermont Environmental Board and worked in private practice. She also does freelance writing and editing. Cathy has a longstanding personal and professional interest in hospice, end of life care and medical ethics. She has appeared on television and radio to discuss and raise public awareness concerning these issues and also sits on the Ethics Committee at Central Vermont Medical Center. In November 2008 she received a graduate certificate in Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Beth Cheng Tolmie is a research and evaluation project consultant who lives in South Burlington, Vermont. Her consultation activities consist of social policy research with incarcerated women, criminal justice and court diversion programs, health organizations, and education and social services agencies. Primary interests include collaboration, organizational change, quality improvement, program implementation and the integration of services for children, youth and families in Vermont.
Beth received a Master's in Social Work degree from the University of Vermont in 1996. For several years she worked with an area agency on aging and studied the needs and service networks available to elders. Subsequently, Beth was employed by the Vermont Department of Health for twelve years in operation and program management roles. She has more than ten years experience in creating, implementing, and managing long-term strategic visions for programs, departments and agencies within education, government and non-profit environments. As a 2008 graduate of the University of Vermont's Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program, Beth has most recently pursued work as a consultant, coordinating and conducting research and evaluation studies.
Cindy Bruzzese has served as the Executive Director for the Vermont Ethics Network (VEN) since October of 2008. Prior to coming to Vermont Ethics, she was the Program Manager for the Madison-Deane Initiative (MDI)--the educational arm of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties End-of-Life Care Services Program. There her work focused on providing education and resources to the community and health care providers about quality palliative and end-of-life care. During her tenure with MDI she also worked with filmmaker Terrence Youk and members of the Madison-Deane Initiative to produce the documentary film, Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying. She also currently serves as a community representative on the Central Vermont Medical Center Ethics Committee. Cindy holds a Bachelors of Science from Colby College in Waterville, Maine and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Vermont.