2022 Board of Directors

President – Laura Matson, MA, MEd, LCPC is a Hospice Care Consultant with Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care. She got her start in hospice, working for BJC’s inpatient hospice facility, Evelyn’s House. Prior to pursuing her passion in hospice, Laura spent 16 years in education pursuing her passion of middle school development on the north shore of Chicago. While in education, she earned an MA in counseling and a ME.d in School Leadership. Laura’s personal experience walking alongside her brother during his cancer and later hospice journey, ignited her advocacy for end-of-life issues.

Vice President – Kim Gladstone, RN, CHPN, MA has thirty years of experience in healthcare spanning several diverse roles in direct patient care and administration. With each experience, she strived to learn and then share what she learned with both providers and patients to improve healthcare in our communities.  She was a hospice volunteer from 2010 to 2018 and is currently a nurse case manager with SSM Hospice, St. Louis.

Secretary – Heather Bell is a social worker with BJC Hospice and Supportive Care. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from St. Ambrose University and her M.S.W. from Washington University, specializing in health and gerontology. She is currently the President of the Social Work Leaders in Health Care of Metro St. Louis group. She regularly speaks in the community and throughout BJC HealthCare on goals of care at end of life and presents at an ongoing caregiver class.

Treasurer – Jayne Lynch, PT is the Director of Skilled Nursing Facilities for SSM Health.  Her experience in healthcare started as a physical therapist in the hospital setting and then on to outpatient care. She left healthcare for about 10 years while she worked as project manager and ergonomist in the product design industry where she experienced a unique opportunity to facilitate product design for the elderly.  Her therapy roots eventually brought her back to healthcare but this time with home health where she had the privilege of becoming the “hospice” therapist. Her current role within SSM post-acute care division allows her to work closely with community organizations that assure our elderly are able to live fully in the last stages of their lives.  Jayne has her physical therapy degree from St. Louis University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Health Administration at Webster University.

Member at Large – Carla Baum is the Founder and Principal, Meaningful Life, and Advocate for End-of-Life Conversations.   Meaningful Life was founded to bring resources and tools to individuals to ensure their end-of-life wishes are shared and honored. Carla is a senior healthcare executive in the St Louis area, with extensive experience in older adult living, acute care and rehab.   She more recently served as Vice-President and Network Executive for Lutheran Senior Services, as President, of St Joseph Hospital, Kirkwood, and as President, SSM Rehab.   She currently serves as an older adult living consultant. Carla holds Certification in Advance Care Planning, Respecting Choices, is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, and earned a Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Carla’s community service includes Board of Directors -Kirkwood Historical Society, Leading Age Missouri, Almost Home, and volunteer for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Member at Large  – Harold Braswell, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of health care ethics at Saint Louis University. His research examines the intersection of hospice and disability rights, both in general, and with particular regard to bioethical debates about the “right to die.” His book The Crisis of US Hospice Care examines the ethical and clinical consequences of the US hospice system’s dependence on familial caregiving. He is currently studying the impact of anti-black housing discrimination on the distribution and practice of US end-of-life care.

Member at Large – Cheryl Doerr is Director of Community Relations with Pathways Hospice & Palliative Care, part of the Delmar Gardens Family. She brings over 30 years of experience and an in-depth knowledge of healthcare marketing in a wide variety of settings including hospice, palliative care, home care, long-term care, and acute in-patient hospital care. She studied marketing and management at Southeast Missouri State University and received her B.A. in Speech Communication and Certificate in Writing from the University of Missouri St. Louis. Cheryl oversees business development, including all written material, branding, education and community outreach, speaker series’, health fairs, and special events. She assists with advertising, website, and social media development and design. Cheryl has a passion for education and advocacy regarding “Quality of Life at the End of Life,” and enjoys sharing her knowledge and insight with physicians, social workers, the senior population, and their family members.

Member at Large – Vivial Lopez is currently a certified Diversity, Equity & Inclusion specialist. She has non-profit experience spanning from community engagement to leadership development. Vivial earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and proudly served her country in the United States Marine Corps. Her passion for people, leadership and family led her to Gateway End of Life Coalition. She is committed to advocating for more access to end-of-life care information and resources for black and brown communities.

Member at Large – Lauren Ponder currently works as a Human Resources Coordinator at Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Lauren is proud to be an active teammate and leader in the projects in her career and personal life. Being a multi-layered person, Lauren earned her SHRM – CP certification along with her End of Life Doula certification (death doula). Lauren has utilized her passion as a death doula to create the St. Louis Death Positive Collective which aims to create a cultural shift regarding death and agency at end-of-life through community, education, resources, and advocacy. In addition, she has started her own company, With Love Events, to guide people through pre-planning for end-of-life events. Outside of her professional career Lauren enjoys gathering with friends and family, creating traditions with her children and husband, and dancing (a lot).

Member at Large Lynn Potts, MBA is Director of Business Development at Vizient, a healthcare performance improvement organization. She brings her experience working with both acute and non-acute healthcare providers, and extensive knowledge of the hospice industry, to the Gateway End-of-Life Coalition. Lynn experienced the value of hospice services personally when her uncle needed hospice care. He lived thousands of miles away without family members nearby and the hospice provider was a blessing during his end-of-life journey.

Member at Large – Debbie Schuster, M.H.A, J.D. is a partner at Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal, P.C, whose practice focuses on elder, disability and special needs law, estate and incapacity planning (including end of life planning), mental health law, Elder and Family mediation, and Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefit planning and advising. Ms. Schuster is a certified Elder and Adult Family Mediator and works with individuals and families to find the best options for their complex legal and life transition issues.  She is the Chairperson of the VNA of Greater St. Louis, a Vice-Chair of the Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee, a member of the Missouri and National Academies of Elder Law Attorneys, a member of the Aging Life Care Association, Board member of the Gateway End of Life Coalition, a member of the St. Louis Financial Exploitation Multi-disciplinary Task Force.  She is a frequent speaker for St. Louis ARC, the Parkinson’s Association, the Missouri Bar, and many other organizations. Ms. Schuster is passionate about educating the community about advance care planning and elder law to enable them to be their own best advocates. Debbie and her dog, Yadi, are a certified touch therapy team that goes to Evelyn’s House hospice, many nursing and assisted living facilities, and at work every day providing canine calm to Debbie’s clients.

Member at Large – Cara L. Wallace, PhD., LMSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University. Her research focuses on issues related to end-of-life care within three related areas: (1) barriers to care; (2) quality of care; and (3) educating students, professionals, and the general population to face issues surrounding death, illness, loss and grief. She coordinates SLU’s Interprofessional Gerontology Certificate program and teaches Values and Ethics and direct practice courses related to end-of-life, aging and healthcare. Dr. Wallace’s research and teaching are informed by practice experience in hospice and hospital systems.

Member at Large Yolonda Yvette Wilson is Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, with additional appointments in the Departments of Philosophy and African American Studies. She earned the Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently working on a monograph, Black Death: Racial Justice, Priority-Setting, and Care at the End of Life. Professor Wilson’s public scholarship on issues at the intersection of bioethics, race, and gender has appeared in The Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum, USA Today, and The Conversation and republished in outlets such as The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, and The Philly Voice. Her media appearances include outlets such as Al Jazeera English and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio. Professor Wilson is a 2019-2020 fellow of the National Humanities Center (Durham, NC USA) and a 2019-2020 Encore Public Voices Fellow.

President Emeritus – Joan Bretthauer, M.S., B.S., is a Certified End-of-Life Doula and NEDA Proficient with ACE End-of-Life Doula Services. She has special training in End-of-Life Coaching and Advance Care Planning. Joan has been a hospice volunteer for over 10 years.  As someone in the community committed to make a difference, Joan advocates for Hospice and Palliative Care legislation in Washington D.C and Missouri.  With more than 30 years committed to the welfare of others, she devotes her energy, talent and experience to fulfilling on her mission and making a difference for others around the end-of-life experience. End-of-life is a sacred time in a person’s life. Joan believes all people deserve compassion, dignity and above all, a loving space to be complete at the end of their life’s journey. Joan is President Emeritus of Gateway End-of-Life Coalition. During her many years as a board member, she created programs, workshops, and educational training for health care providers and the community. She is currently Executive Director of The Conversation Project, St. Louis.  Joan is a member of National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, End-of-Life University and Aging Life Care Association..