Gilbert S. Chandler, MD, Chairman | Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic
Dr. Gilbert Chandler received his medical degree from the University of Florida and has been practicing over 30 years. He is board certified in anesthesiology and pain management. Dr. Chandler was a practicing partner for 20 years at Specialty Clinic of Georgia and now practices Interventional Pain Management in his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida at Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic. Dr. Chandler served as a member of the Georgia State Board of Medicine and currently serves as an assistant teaching professor for the School of Medicine at Florida State University. He is an active member of both The American Society of Pain Physicians and The American Society of Addiction Medicine. When not caring for patients, Dr. Chandler enjoys spending time with his family.
Thomas Cavalieri, DO, Vice Chairman | Rowan University
Dr. Thomas Cavalieri is the Dean of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and he also serves as a Professor Medicine and Osteopathic Heritage Endowed Chair for Primary Care Research. In 2013, Dr. Cavalieri oversaw the successful integration of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine, which became part of Rowan University, a newly designated research university in New Jersey. Dr. Cavalieri is currently revamping the school’s undergraduate medical education curriculum, facilitating a class size expansion, building the school’s endowment, and preparing the campus for the single accreditation of the graduate medical education programs. An advocate for older adults, Dr. Cavalieri has raised the bar on the standard of care for the senior population. He was the Founding Director of the Center of Aging at UMDNJ-SOM, which has grown into the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology-New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at RowanSOM.
For 15 years running, RowanSOM has been name by US News & World Report as one of the country’s best medical schools for geriatric medical education, and in 2016, the school tied for 12th place in the report. He is the author of over 40 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts, of which many focus on end of life issues, his primary area of research focus. Dr. Cavalieri has been named Top Doc in geriatrics by Castle Connelly, the Consumer Union Checkbook, Philadelphia Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, South Jersey Magazine, and SJ Magazine.
Throughout his career, Dr. Cavalieri was a recipient of numerous honors and awards. In November 2016, he was inducted as Master Fellow by the American College of Osteopathic Internists. Dean Cavalieri was awarded the American Osteopathic Association’s Distinguished Service Certificate in 2015, the organization’s highest honor, for his contributions and leadership in geriatrics and osteopathic medical education. He was the recipient of the AOA Presidential Citation, the Board of Directors award from American College of Osteopathic Internists, and Academic Career Leadership Award from the National Institute on Aging. In addition, he was named Physician of the Year by the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, and was inducted into the American Osteopathic Association’s Mentor Hall of Fame.
Alice A. Tolbert Coombs, MD, MPA, FCCP | Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology
Dr. Coombs is an Associate Professor in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. At South Shore Hospital, Massachusetts, she worked as a critical care specialist and an anesthesiologist with South Shore Anesthesia Associates.
Dr. Coombs was reappointed in May 2015 to serve on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which is a nonpartisan legislative branch agency that provides the U.S. Congress with analysis and policy advice on the Medicare program. Dr. Coombs is a former president of the New England Medical Association which is the regional society of the National Medical Association (NMA). She has served in the National Medical Association’s House of Delegates, as well as on the Publications and Legislative Committees. A member of the Massachusetts Medical Society since 1990, Dr. Coombs has long been active in organized medicine. She has served as President-Elect, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Society and has been a member of its Board of Trustees and House of Delegates. She has been a member of the American Medical Association’s Commission to Eliminate Healthcare Disparities. She is former Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine’s Patient Care Assessment Committee. She served as a member of the Massachusetts Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System. She has served on the Medical Society’s committees on Public Health, Managed Care, Recognition Awards, and Leadership Development. She is a past president of the Norfolk South District Medical Society, one of 20 district groups that comprise the statewide organization. In 2005, she received the Society’s Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award of Excellence in Public Health, and annual award given to a physician who demonstrates creativity, commendable citizenship, initiative, innovation and leadership in the public health and advocacy fields.
One of her major public health activities for several years has been her annual anti-smoking program for South Shore youth. She advocates and works for the American Medical Association’s Doctors Back to School Program (DBTS), which brings physicians into elementary, middle, and high schools across the country to interest young men and women, particularly in minority communities, in health care careers. From 2005-2009 the AMA DBTS reached over 100,000 students. She is currently a Delegate to the AMA House of Delegates and the Massachusetts Medical Society House of Delegates, as well as the Organized Medical Staff Section. In April 2015, Dr. Coombs was elected to the American Medical Association Women Physician Section Governing Executive Board.
Michael Danic, DO | Genesys Regional Medical Center, Department of Anesthesiology
Dr. Michael Danic, is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist specializing in patient safety and experience. He is currently the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Genesys Regional Medical Center and is part of American Anesthesiology of Michigan. He is past chair of the Genesys Co-Management Quality and Safety Committee and is a Board Member Michigan Society of Anesthesiologist. Dr. Danic is also a leading member of Ascension Hospital’s Acute Pain Committee and works with an integrative team designing best practice’s for the system’s 120 integrated hospitals. Dr. Danic is also a community leader for safe use of narcotics and is a board member of the Flint Area Families Against Narcotics, has sponsored medication take back events through Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network and serves on the Flint Powers High School Board of Trustees. He is married to Christa Danic and has 2 children.
N. Lynn Eckhert, MD, MPH, DrPH | Partners Healthcare International
Lynn Eckhert is the Director of Academic Programs at Partners Healthcare International. Dr. Eckhert is a Professor Family Medicine and Community Health, Professor in the Graduate School of Nursing and Adjunct Professor in Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a Senior Lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Following post graduate training at the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Oklahoma and Johns Hopkins University, the latter as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, she joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There she served as a clinician and as Associate Dean for Admissions, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Dean/Vice Chancellor for International and Public Health Programs. She also served as Chairman of the school’s Executive Committee, President of the University Hospital medical staff, Chair of the Credentials Committee and on the Executive Committee of the Group Practice. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and as its Chairman from 2001-2004.
Dr. Eckhert also was a founding board member of the Foundational for the Advancement of Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Dr. Eckhert is a past member of the Composite Committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners and presently serves on the Board of Directors. In 2012 Dr. Eckhert was named by the U.S. Secretary of Education to the National Council on Medical Education Accreditation. She is past Chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges, where she also served on the Executive Council and the Council of Academic Societies Administrative Board and as its Chairman. In 2005 she chaired the Search Committee for the Presidency of AAMC. She is a Past President of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Eckhert served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in public health programs at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. Presently with Partners HealthCare International she is interested in workforce development and capacity building.
Ghazaleh Gigi Hafizi, MD, FACOG | Metropolitan Women’s Center
Dr. Gigi Hafizi is Chief Medical Officer and practicing physician at Metropolitan Women’s Center. In this role, Dr. Hafizi focuses on the development of innovative health solutions to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare to a distinct patient population. Dr. Hafizi oversees the company’s overall clinical program with the goal of providing preventive and therapeutic medical and surgical care to women of all ages. She has over twenty years of experience in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has a depth of knowledge and experience in health education, disease management, patient safety and evidence-based medicine. In the last decade, in additional to her clinical practice, Dr. Hafizi has served as a Medical Student Interviewer, Medical Student, Resident, and Physician’s Assistant teaching faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She has held positions as Assistant Clinical Professor at GWU and VCU Schools of Medicine. Prior to joining Metropolitan Women’s Center, Dr. Hafizi was in private practice in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Dr. Hafizi attended the University of California, Los Angeles, Howard University Medical College and completed internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University School of Medicine. She is Board Certified by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and hold an active medical license in the state of Virginia.
Kun Z. Kim, MD | Kim Facial Plastic Surgery
Dr. Kun Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. He is the 2nd oldest and the only son of four children. His father practiced medicine in South Korea. In 1973, the family immigrated to Mt. Vernon, New York. After a few years, the family settled in Georgia where Dr. Kim graduated from La Grange High School in 1978.
He continued his education at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with High Honors. In 1986 he completed his medical education at Emory University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine degree. Immediately, Dr. Kim went into the U.S. Navy for internship and residency in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He also served as a General Medical Officer on board USS Concord (AFS-5) during 1987-1989, completing two Mediterranean tours with the Sixth Fleet, USN. After completing the Naval services, Dr. Kim worked for a private ENT practice in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2001, he was honorably discharged from the United States Navy with the rank of Commander (0-5).
Dr. Kim is double-board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
In 1999, Dr. Kim opened his private practice, Kim Facial Plastic Surgery, in Doraville, Georgia where he is currently practicing as a solo-practitioner concentrating on facial plastic surgery.
Dr. Kim and his wife, Christine, live in Johns Creek, Georgia; they enjoy traveling and playing tennis. Together, they have 5 children – Kevin, Emily, Jason, Alan, and Evan and their dog, Bori.
Natalie Payne | Student Member
Natalie Payne is in her second year of medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan in 2014. While at Michigan, she worked with a research team studying motor development in children with developmental disabilities. After graduation from Michigan, Natalie continued working with children as a direct caregiver for foster children with severe disabilities living in a residential treatment center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She hopes to finish medical school, possibly enter a pediatrics residency program, and begin serving her community as a physician. Outside of class, Natalie loves to hike and travel with her husband.
Charles Schechter, MD, FACC, FSCAI | Coastal Cardiology
Dr. Charles Jacob Schechter is a cardiologist and has been practicing clinical and interventional cardiology at Coastal Cardiology in Corpus Christi, Texas since 1985. During his tenure at Coastal Cardiology, he served as both Director of Cardiology and Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at the Spohn Heart Institute in Corpus Christi, Texas. Presently he serves as Clinical Instructor of Cardiology at the McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology.
Dr. Schechter was born in Orange, New Jersey, and spent his formative years in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and then returned to Puerto Rico to pursue his medical degree at the University of Caribe Medical School where he graduated as salutatorian of his class. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
He completed his internship in internal medicine at South Baltimore General Hospital before moving to Houston, Texas to complete his medical education. Dr. Schechter completed his residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine followed by a cardiology fellowship at the Texas Heart Institute where he was awarded the distinction of being the outstanding trainee in adult cardiology for the year 1985. Upon completion, he accepted a full-time position at Coastal Cardiology in Corpus Christi, Texas where he has practiced ever since.
Having grown up in Puerto Rico, Dr. Schechter is bilingual in both English and Spanish and treats patients in both languages. He has been married to Hilda Schechter for 36 years, and they have four grown children.
Helen Van Etten, AuD | National Committeewoman, Republican Party of Kansas
Helen Van Etten was elected in 2008 as the Kansas Republican Party National Committeewoman. She has served as a delegate at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Republican National Conventions. She has also served on the Budget Committee, RNC Site Selection Committee and RNC debate Committee. Furthermore, she serves as the RNC Rule Committee as well as the RNC Executive Committee.
Van Etten has been active in the Kansas Republic Party for over 20 years. She served as the president of the Kansas-Federal of Republic Women’s Shawnee Chapter. Van Etten is a national board member of the National Federation of the Grand Order of Pachyderm Clubs. She also served as a trustee to the PAC Maggie’s List, which seeks to increase the number of Republican women elected to public office. She was the secretary for Republicans Oversea. Recently, she has been elected as the co-chair Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Conservative Leadership Caucus.
Since 1985, Helen Van Etten has been an audiologist. She works for the Topeka School District as the chief audiologist. In 1988, Van Etten was on the board of directors for the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and remained on the board until 2006. Between 2004 and 2007, she served on the advisory committee for KAN Be Healthy, a Kansas State Medicaid program for youths and young adults. In 2010, Van Etten was appointed to the Ex-Office, Board of Governors of the Eisenhower Excellence in Public Service Series.
In 2013, she was appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R). She has served on several of the board’s committees, including chair of the Academic Affairs Standing Committee, the Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC) as a representative and commissioner, Washburn University Board of Regents, and the Higher Education and K-12 Coordination Council. She was re-appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents for the second term in 2017 (2017-2021).
Helen Van Etten hold a Master’s Degree in Audiology from Wayne State University and a Doctorate in Audiology from University of Florida.