Respecting Choices

Respecting Choices® Faculty

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Meet the Respecting Choices® Faculty!

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Bernard “Bud” Hammes, PhD

Executive Director

All patients deserve care that is scientifically sound and person-centered. To provide the best care, we must achieve both.
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Dr. Bernard “Bud” Hammes is the Executive Director of Respecting Choices®. For the 32 years prior to this position, Dr. Hammes was a member of the medical staff, Director of Humanities, and Clinical Ethicist at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. As part of his position at Gundersen, he founded and helped develop the Respecting Choices program in the La Crosse region.

Since 1999, he also helped develop the Respecting Choices program into a national and international program. Dr. Hammes served as editor for the book, Having Your Own Say: Getting the Right Care When It Matters Most, which was released in 2012. He has authored or co-authored 46 articles and book chapters that are focused on clinical ethics, advance care planning, and care of patients with serious illness.

Dr. Hammes was awarded the PDIA Palliative Medicine Community Leadership Award by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2012. This award recognizes an individual for contributions to the advancement of the field of palliative medicine through the education and training of future leaders.

In 2015, he received recognition from the Tribeca Disruption Innovation Awards for the impact of the Respecting Choices program. This award celebrates those whose ideas have broken the mold to create remarkable impact.


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Linda Briggs, MSN, MA, RN

Director, Program Development and Research

I am privileged to have spent over 18 years working with Respecting Choices’ teams around the world. You have taught me the true meaning of courage, passion, and perseverance.
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With 25 years of nursing experience as a critical care staff nurse, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, and educator, Linda Briggs joined Respecting Choices® in 1999 to provide leadership in the development and dissemination of this internationally recognized program. She has been privileged to consult with healthcare leaders, organizations, and communities around the world providing education and support in implementing the principles of effective and sustainable person-centered decision-making programs.

Her clinical and research interests have focused on the disease-specific planning needs of patients with advanced illness and their families. Briggs has led the development of the Respecting Choices curriculum, co-authored several Respecting Choices manuals and programs, and has published numerous articles regarding advance care planning and end-of-life care. In 2015, Briggs received recognition from the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards for the impact of the Respecting Choices program.

In 2017, Briggs transitioned to the role of Director of Program Development and Research as Respecting Choices became a division of C-TAC Innovations.


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Stephanie Anderson, DNP, RN

Deputy Executive Director

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
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Dr. Stephanie Anderson is the deputy executive director of Respecting Choices, a division of C-TAC Innovations. She is responsible for designing and leading operations including the delivery of this internationally recognized program. She has over 25 years of experience in hospice and palliative care, home care, case management, and emergency medicine. Dr. Anderson earned her doctor of nursing practice degree from the University of Iowa specializing in health systems administration.

Dr. Anderson has served in a variety of leadership roles. In these roles, her palliative care program was awarded Joint Commission Certification and the system received the Circle of Life award from the American Hospital Association. She led the initiation of and co-chaired the Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (IPOST) movement, resulting in new legislation and statewide implementation. Dr. Anderson joined Respecting Choices in 2013 as a senior faculty consultant and evolved into the director of consultation and education services prior to her current role.

Dr. Anderson currently chairs the National POLST central region leaders group and is a member of the POLST developing states committee. She has most recently been named vice president of the International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care (ACPEL).

Dr. Anderson believes person-centered decision making based on an individual’s goals and values truly transforms care and should be the top priority to delivering exceptional whole-person healthcare.


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Carole Montgomery, MD, FHM, CPE, MHSA

Director, Physician Development and Program Improvement

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Before joining Respecting Choices, Dr. Carole Montgomery served as vice president of Clinical Integrated Pathways for Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit integrated health system based in western Michigan. She was responsible for designing and leading the development of population health management programs that focus on integrating care across settings and specialties, with a focus on success in both episode-based and population-based risk payment models. In addition to standardizing clinical best practice, objectives included driving reliable engagement of patients through standard education, shared decision making, and advanced care planning for all patients.

Montgomery has over 20 years’ experience in the practice of hospital-based medicine and physician leadership in both physician group and hospital settings. During her practice in a large multi-specialty physician group, she served in a variety of leadership roles, including governance, administrative, and medical director functions.

Montgomery earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned her master’s degree in health management and policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

Sandra Schellinger, MSN, RN, NP-C

Senior Faculty Consultant

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson <br> “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”— George Burns
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Prior to joining Respecting Choices®, Sandra Schellinger had over three decades of experience in a variety of administrative and clinical roles serving patients and families with serious illness in advance care planning, hospice and palliative care, and late-life research. She served in statewide advance care planning, palliative care, and end-of-life initiatives for the Twin Cities Medical Society, Minnesota Medical Association, and Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

Schellinger is an experienced researcher and is currently published in the areas of disease-specific advance care planning, whole person goals-of-care discussions, and use of a lay healthcare professional as an alternative care approach for patients and families living with serious advanced illness. Schellinger has been a First Steps® and Next Steps Advance Care Planning Faculty and Instructor for Respecting Choices since 2007 where she developed and implemented a system-wide advance care planning approach for Allina Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Subsequently, as an independent faculty consultant with Respecting Choices, she has assisted numerous health systems and Honoring Choices Minnesota partners to deliver a systematic approach of advance care planning.

Schellinger believes advance care planning is an ongoing process of delivering person- and family-centered care by identifying and respecting an individual’s beliefs, values, whole-person needs, and treatment preferences over the life span.


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Pat Tadel, MSN, RN

Senior Faculty Consultant

Being invited into the disruptive work of shifting care to be more inclusive, more person-centered is an exciting opportunity that fuels me each time I engage with a new team. I learn every day from those willing to take on the hard work of culture shift. How important and how powerful the work of advance care planning is for overall health or an organization.
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Pat Tadel has over 20 years of experience in hospice and palliative care and holds a master’s degree in nursing, a post-master’s degree in nursing/palliative care, and has completed a post-doctoral certificate in medical ethics.

Her clinical roles have included hospice case management as well as extensive experience in administration and leadership, including clinical and business operations management. Her commitment to engagement in the patient narrative is seen in her ongoing work supporting special patient populations, including the unique needs of veterans at end of life as well as improving access for underserved populations.

Tadel was involved in initial steps to create and adopt the use of a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form in Illinois and the development of patient education materials related to such documents. She has been actively involved in select workgroups with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). She also received intensive training through the National Institute for Jewish Hospice Accreditation.

Tadel is an End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) trainer and a national speaker on issues related to facilitation, bioethics mediation, and end-of-life ethics.


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Kathleen Ziemba, MSW, LCSW

Senior Faculty Consultant

“Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.” -Jane Addams
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Kathleen Ziemba has more than 25 years’ experience as a clinical social worker and leader in healthcare, hospice, and palliative care. Ziemba became an Advance Care Planning Instructor in 2004, First Steps® Organization Faculty in 2014 and serves as steering committee member for Honoring Choices Wisconsin, an initiative of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

Prior to joining Respecting Choices®, Ziemba was the Social Work and Palliative Care Manager at Meriter – Unity Point Health in Madison, Wisconsin where she designed and implemented a systematic approach to advance care planning program in partnership with Honoring Choices Wisconsin.

Throughout her career, Ziemba has chosen roles which best allow her to deliver a strengths-based practice, person- and family-centered care, program innovation, and professional mentoring. She enjoys consulting with individuals and teams to deliver values-based conversations and coordination of care by integrating advance care planning into routine care and the fabric of the larger community.


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Joyce Hart Smerick, BS

Faculty Consultant

I feel privileged to be working with passionate, dedicated, creative people across the country who are committed to person-centered care.
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Joyce Hart Smerick joined Respecting Choices® as a Faculty Consultant in January 2017. Since September 2015, she had been serving as a Respecting Choices First Steps® Faculty independent contractor.

Smerick began work with Honoring Choices Wisconsin in 2012. As Organization Faculty, she trained and supported over 30 healthcare organizations across the state as they developed and expanded their advance care planning programs. She then became director of the Honoring Choices Wisconsin initiative.

Prior to joining the Society, Smerick worked in the field of continuing medical education at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

With over 20 years of experience as a childbirth educator, she feels privileged to be working in an area that promotes person-centered care.


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