EVE BANKERT

Eve Bankert MT (ASCP- American Society for Clinical Pathologists), is a Senior Quality Improvement Specialist for IPRO and leads the New York division of the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Special Innovation Project: Community Based Sepsis Initiative. Prior to joining IPRO, Eve served as the Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, NY and was actively involved with the hospital’s implementation of the 2013 Rory’s Regulations requiring all New York State hospitals to have evidence-based protocols for the early recognition and treatment of sepsis in place. Eve is a board certified and New York State licensed Medical Technologist with an extensive background in clinical microbiology, antibiotic stewardship and hospital epidemiology.

​BEN BUFFA

After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1975 Ben spent 30 plus years working with Fortune 500 companies.  Ten years ago Ben made a major career change.  He retired from the corporate rat race and dedicated his life to helping those in need.   For five years he worked for Father Peter Young to help welfare recipients move into the work force.  When Ben retired he looked for a way to use his skills to help people in need.  He discovered that there were numerous seniors who were in need of food, but, were not able to travel to a food pantry for help.  So with the support of the Saraatoga-Wilton Elks he developed a program to deliver food to seniors unable to travel to a food pantry.  As of June, the Saratoga-Wilton Elks will have delivered more than 2,000 meals to seniors in need. 

KYM HANCE

Kym Hance is a Certified Care Manager from The National Academy of Certified Care Managers and holds an Advanced Professional standing with the Aging Life Care Association. ™ She obtained her BS in Social Work from Barton College in Wilson NC. Kym has dedicated her multi decade career to providing services in the aging community and her primary focus is helping seniors age gracefully with their dignity intact. She has worked in all facets of senior living, including skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care, home care and most recently for the Alzheimer’s Association. Kym uses a holistic approach in working with families focusing on a client-centered approach for finding and maximizing resources for seniors and coordinating care.  Kym is very active in the local aging community serving on many area aging committees. She is considered an expert in community resources as well as the options available to pay for services that most people don’t even know exist.

KEN HARRIS

Ken Harris is the Executive Director of Albany Guardian Society, one of the oldest not-for-profit charitable foundations in the Capital District. Founded in 1852, Albany Guardian Society’s mission is to engage in a wide range of programs including education, research, information and community engagement that will improve the quality of life for seniors, family members, and their caregivers. Since 2012 Albany Guardian Society has been involved in educating the community on the Village movement currently hosting forums, networking sessions and recently coordinating the Capital Region Villages Collaborative with the goal of increasing the number of Villages in the Capital District. Previously to working at Albany Guardian Society, Ken was a Senior Policy Analyst for 14 years at LeadingAge New York representing subsidized housing, retirement communities, continuing care retirement communities and assisted living communities.

MARCUS HARAZIN

Marcus Harazin is the Coordinator of the Patient Advocates Program for the New York StateWide Senior Action Council,Inc. Mr. Harazin has over 40 years of experience in the field of aging and human services. He was formerly a Deputy Director for the New York State Office for the Aging where he administered multiple programs for senior citizens.  These included home care, case management, health insurance counseling, nutrition, transportation services, NORCS, and many other community based programs.  He was the liaison for aging to state, federal and local disaster response and recovery agencies.  He also coordinated chronic disease prevention and dementia demonstration grants for the State Office for the Aging.  In addition to his state experience, Mr. Harazin also served as the Commissioner of Social Services and as the Director of the Office for the Aging in Fulton County, New York.

ERIC HAUSMAN

Eric Hausman is an Independent Consultant specializing in Medicare Education and Training. He has conducted hundreds of Medicare presentations since 1998 on all aspects of Medicare and related insurance, both to groups of people with Medicare and to professionals. Over the last fifteen years, he has served as the Lead Trainer for the HIICAP program in New York State, providing training and technical assistance to Medicare counselors throughout the state.  He previously worked in the Medicare operations of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint). Eric holds both his BBA and MBA degrees from Baruch College in Manhattan. He loves to talk to people about Medicare.

LEIGH McCONCHIE

Leigh McConchie graduated in 1991 from Albany College of Pharmacy and worked for several chain retail pharmacies prior to becoming the current owner of Stone’s Pharmacy in Lake Luzern NY in 2003. He is a board member of PSSNY (Pharmacist Society of the State of New York) and founding member of CPESN NY (Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Networks).  This network of pharmacies are patient centered and focus on building relationships with their customers and the local health care community.   

CRYSTAL MOORE

Crystal Dea Moore is currently Interim Dean of the Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs and has been at Skidmore for 17 years. Prior to this interim role, she was the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Diversity and Faculty Affairs since 2015. She is a Professor of Social Work and holds the endowed Quadracci Chair for Social Responsibility. She has published two books and over 40 articles on topics including loss, grief, end-of-life issues, mental health, and health care communication. While on the faculty at Skidmore, she taught courses in social work practice, research methods for the human services, and human behavior. Crystal is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with older adults and veterans with life-limiting illness and their families among other populations.

LOUIS W PIERRO

Louis W. Pierro is the founder and principal of Pierro, Connor & Associates, LLC, and concentrates his law practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration, Business Succession Planning, Elder Law and Special Needs Planning. Mr. Pierro has been selected to the Best Lawyers in America, The Best Lawyers in New York, Super Lawyers of the Hudson Valley, Top 25 Lawyers in Upstate New York, NY Times Top Attorneys in NY, and he has maintained an AV preeminent rating from the Martindale-Hubbell since 2001. In addition, Mr. Pierro is Best Lawyers 2018 Lawyer of the Year in Elder Law for the Capital Region. Mr. Pierro has served as Chair of the Estate Planning Committee, and Committee on Taxation of the Trusts & Estates Section, and the Elder Law Section, of the NYS Bar Association, and he is currently a member of the Elder Law Section Executive Committee. He is founder and Director of Elder Counsel, a national organization of Elder Law and Special Needs law firms, which provides proprietary document drafting software and education to over 950 member firms in all 50 states. He is also President & CEO of Advocates Planning Group LLC, an attorney membership organization dedicated to providing a range of support services to attorneys who prepare and maintain sophisticated trust plans for clients, with a focus on Delaware law. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; the American Bar Association, Probate and Trust Section; the NYS Bar Association Trusts and Estates and Elder Law Sections; and the Albany County Bar Association (Chair, Elder Law Committee 1993-1998). He has served as a Director of the Estate Planning Council of Eastern New York, Inc.; Senior Services of Albany, Inc.; Alzheimer’s Association of Northeast New York, Colonie Youth Center and McAuley Residence. He served as an adjunct professor at Siena College, where he lectured on Estate Planning from 1987-1995, and has lectured extensively on Estate Planning and Elder Law to professional groups across the country. 

MICHAEL SAWYER

Michael began his career in the healthcare industry over 20 years ago when he served with the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He has worked in many Naval hospital ER’s throughout the country and also trained with the U.S. Marines when serving as their medic in the field.  For nearly 7 years Michael has enjoyed educating others as a Basic Life Support instructor. He has been working with Landmark health for the past 3 ½ years. His initial role with Landmark was as a Nurse Care Manager and as of last fall, Michael was promoted to the Supervisor of Outreach & Engagement.

MARK SPIEZIO

Mark has started his 30th year of active service as a volunteer and career EMS provider. Mark founded the Southern Washington, Northern Rensselaer County Mobile Health Care System. He is a certified Paramedic, Instructor Coordinator, and EMS Program Director. Mark has spent 28 years as the Chief Operating Officer of the Cambridge Valley Rescue Squad, and is a member of both the National Association of EMTs and the New York Mobile Integrated Health Care Association. 

TERESA D SPITZNAGEL

In her role as Senior Vice President of Home & Community Services, Spitznagel is responsible for the integration of National Church Residences’ growing home care, hospice, primary care and adult day services.In addition, Spitznagel oversees the Service Coordination program which provides quality assurance programming for more than 600 service coordinators nationwide. Spitznagel previously served as Vice President of Support Services. Spitznagel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in social work from The Ohio State University in 1991, and in 1997 received a Master of Science in Health Administration from Central Michigan University. She is a licensed social worker in the State of Ohio.

CHRISTINE STEGEL

Ms. Stegel is a Senior Quality Improvement Specialist for IPRO, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for New York State, in contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Her most recent experience is facilitating cross-setting partnerships between community health care providers and service organizations in an effort to improve communication and care coordination as Medicare beneficiaries move between care settings during treatment of an acute or chronic illness. Her responsibilities at IPRO include collaborating with health care providers and industry stakeholders as a participant on the Care Transition Heath Care Quality Improvement Team. She is knowledgeable of evidence based strategies that can be used in an effort to reduce “avoidable” 30-day hospital readmissions.  
Ms. Stegel has over twenty-five years of home health care experience, inclusive of direct care delivery, multidisciplinary supervision, performance improvement, and operations management.

JEN MALEY-WHEELER

Jen Maley-Wheeler is the Director of Programs at the Pride Center of the Capital Region.Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Jen moved to Albany in 2006 with her wife after graduating with a B.S in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University. It was in college that Jen began her advocacy work with the LGBTQ community, serving in various roles of EKU’s Pride Alliance as well as organizations in the community. Jen obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany and has worked at various non-profits throughout the Albany area.

DR SUSAN WEHRY

Dr Susan Wehry, a geriatric psychiatrist, is Chief of Geriatrics at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. As an undergraduate, Susan majored in special education at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee before entering medical school and awakening a passion for working with older adults and persons with serious psychiatric disabilities. She assisted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) in the development of webcasts on mental health and individualized care planning and has been an active partner in their current initiative to improve dementia care in nursing homes. Dr Wehry authored Oasis 2.0 which helped both reduce unnecessary antipsychotic use and transform nursing home culture throughout New England. Since 2016, she has assisted the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in introducing an Oasis-based curriculum to over 1200 homes. Susan is enthusiastic about promoting healthy aging. In 2015 she joined Vermont sculptor Kate Pond in Mapua, New Zealand for the final leg of Kate’s world sculpture tour and the start of Susan’s #changingaging sabbatical in New Zealand and Australia.

ANISA GRABOCKA

Anisa Grabocka is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center.  She has held different positions at the Medical Center within the Geriatrics and Extended Care Line Services, assisting Veterans and their families through the continuum of care.  Anisa completed her field training with the VA Medical Center in mental health in primary care setting.  Prior to joining the Stratton VA Medical Center, she worked at St. Peter’s Hospital in critical care and medical cardiology services.  Currently she serves at the Program Coordinator for the Homemaker Home Health Aide Program, and Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services as well as the social worker with the Community Nursing Home Program and Caregiver Support Program.


MARYKATE MONROE

Marykate Monroe is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Certified Case Manager at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center. Currently at the medical center she works within the Home Based Primary Care team and the Community Nursing Home Program. In this role, she works amongst an interdisciplinary team to help elderly veterans who are medically comprised remain at home.  She also does on call behavioral health assessments for the emergency room. Prior to this Marykate was employed with an outpatient primary care provider doing behavioral health social work and at Albany Medical Center on an inpatient medical/surgical floor doing discharge planning.