Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Transforming health care through partnerships


Office of the President

Beverley Johnson

Beverley H. Johnson, BSN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer, IPFCC Board

Beverley Johnson has over 30 years of experience in organizational development and management. She has worked as a health professional providing direct care in hospitals, managing a hospital unit, and teaching. She has served as a Trustee of a hospital, national health care organizations, and a school board. In these Trustee roles, she has chaired and served on strategic planning committees, finance committees, and had fiduciary responsibility for nonprofit organizations. She has provided technical assistance and consultation to over 300 hospitals and health systems across the United States and Canada. She has published widely on patient- and family-centered issues and strategies. Bev is the recipient of the 2011 Dorland Health People Award for leadership in the area of patient- and family-centered care, the 2008 Stanley Graven Award for outstanding contribution to the National Perinatal Association, the 2007 Stan and Mavis Graven Award for Leadership in promoting optimal environments and developmental care for high risk infants and their families, the 2007 Changemaker Award by the Board for the Center for Health Care Design, the 1992 Lloyd Bentsen Award for leadership for family-centered care, and the 1990 Humanitarian Award from Pediatric Nursing.

Bev is the mother of four children, two of whom are writers and two of whom are health care professionals. She also has seven grandsons and two granddaughters.

Business and Finance

Dolores Coutts

Dolores Coutts, MBA, CFA, Chief Financial Officer

Dolores is responsible for IPFCC's strategic planning, financial and risk management, business operations, and human resources. Prior to joining IPFCC, Dolores spent 20 years managing a $1 billion commercial paper program for the Caterpillar Equipment Dealers. Dolores received her Bachelor of Arts from LaSalle University in Philadelphia and her Masters in Business Administration from the George Washington University. Dolores is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and serves as an Arbitrator with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Alexandra Vergara

Alexandra Vergara, BS, MS, MBA, Accountant

Alex provides accounting services to IPFCC. Alex has nearly 20 years of experience in banking, accounting, finance, consulting, and management. Alex is also the Principal/Director of AV Financial and Trading Solutions, a company that specializes in full service bookkeeping and financial data management. In her leisure time, Alex, who is originally from Colombia, South America, enjoys traveling, reading, swimming, camping, and dining out.

Elizabeth Hansen

Elizabeth Hansen, BA, Bookkeeper

Liz handles bookkeeping for IPFCC and helps the Special Projects team with pre-event logistics and on-site conference and seminar support. Liz is occasionally called upon to use her organizational and editing skills to assist on other IPFCC projects. Liz, who has a BA in English from Old Dominion University, brings a host of work experience to IPFCC. She has worked as a reporter, technical writer, and desktop publisher of marketing materials for real estate agents. In addition, Liz works on the finance side of her husband's residential contracting business. A Virginia native, Liz continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She has been with IPFCC since 2010.

Policy, Programming, and Information

Marie Abraham

Marie Abraham, MA, Vice President, Programming and Publications

Since joining IPFCC in 1996, her work includes providing consultation to hospitals and health care systems that are working toward patient- and family-centered change and building partnerships with patients and families to improve and redesign health care; developing resource materials and toolkits, co-authoring publications; and serving as lead planner and faculty member for IPFCC conferences, seminars, webinars, and other training efforts. Marie was project lead for a PCORI-funded project, “Creating Capacity for Sustainable Partnerships with Patients and Families in Research” and a second PCORI-funded project, “Strengthening Diversity in Research Partnerships: Knowledge to Action.” Marie also led IPFCC’s work as a subcontractor to the CMS Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) Patient and Family Engagement Support Contractor. She serves as faculty and consultant for the Vermont Oxford Network, and has served as consultant for the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. As project staff for two grants funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Marie ensured patient and family participation in key stages of the research process and that deliverables would be valuable and meaningful to patients and families. She served for nine years on a parent advisory group for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pam Dardess

Pam Dardess, MPH, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Operations

Pam provides consultation and training to health care organizations; serves as faculty for IPFCC seminars, webinars, and meetings; and assists with strategic planning to scale up the practice of patient- and family-centered care. Prior to joining IPFCC, Pam was a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) where her work focused on stakeholder engagement; patient-centered measurement; and the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies and interventions to promote patient and family engagement (PFE). While at AIR, Pam led work to develop and evaluate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety. She also directed a project to provide PFE-related training and technical assistance to the Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIINs) and their member hospitals as part of CMS’s Partnership for Patients initiative.

Outside of work, Pam enjoys hiking, being a Girl Scout leader, and following professional cycling. Pam lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.

Mary Minniti

Mary Minniti, BS, CPHQ, Senior Policy and Program Specialist

As a Senior Policy and Program Specialist, Mary provides consultation to health care organizations and assists with the updating and the development of resource materials. Mary was the lead author on the brief on Individual and Family Engagement in the Medicaid Population: Emerging Best Practices and Recommendations. Prior to joining IPFCC, Mary spent more than 25 years in quality improvement, community organizing, implementation of patient-centered medical homes, and the enhancement of the patient experience of care. Mary worked in a variety of capacities for PeaceHealth, an integrated health care system serving communities in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, including as the Pursuing Perfection Project Manager in Whatcom County, and as the Quality Improvement Director for PeaceHealth Medical Group (PHMG) in Eugene, Oregon. She has extensive experience in integrating patient and family advisors into quality, safety, and ongoing improvement efforts across the continuum. Mary is a proud grandmother, an avid gardener, and dog lover.

Deborah Dokken

Deborah L. Dokken, MPA, Coordinator for Patient and Family Partnerships

Deborah is a family leader and IPFCC's Coordinator for Patient and Family Partnerships. Her career in family advocacy grew out of her own personal experiences, including the loss of two infants due to prematurity and her husband's long battle with a rare abdominal cancer. As a result, Deborah became involved in programs that improve family support and enhance family participation in health care.

Deborah was the Associate Director of a national project, the Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care (IPPC). She co-founded the nonprofit, community-based organization Partners in Intensive Care, and was a founding member of the Parent Partners Group at The George Washington University Hospital. Deborah has been a member of committees of the Institute of Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Deborah co-chairs the Patient and Advisory Committee at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC, and serves on the Patient and Family-Centered Clinical Community of Johns Hopkins Medicine. She co-edits the Family Matters section of Pediatric Nursing journal, and has co-authored articles on family- centered pediatric health care, and has presented at many conferences.

Cara Coleman

Cara Coleman, JD, MPH, Patient and Family Partnerships Specialist

Cara is a Family and Professional Partnership Specialist with the PCORI funded “Strengthening Diversity in Research Partnerships: Knowledge to Action” project. She also works as a consultant with Family Voices, as an Instructor of Pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School INOVA Regional Campus and teaches community pediatrics to the Pediatric Residents at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. Cara is the author of “I am Justice, Hear Me Roar” about her daughter, Justice Hope, with special healthcare needs and disabilities. She is currently serving a Gubernatorial appointment to the Virginia Board of Medical Assistance Services and is the Family Voices Liaison to the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities Executive committee. She is the past Chair of the Loudoun Disability Service Board. In the past, Cara has worked as an adult health specialist, a case manager for homeless pregnant women, a counselor in a shelter for battered women, a law clerk for a Judge, immigration subject matter consultant, and an attorney serving low-income immigrants.

Cara lives in Virginia with her husband, children and English Mastiff, Maximus.

Special Projects/Educational Programs

Ushma Patel

Ushma Patel, MSPH, PMP, Director for Special Projects and Educational Programs

Ushma provides overall direction, management, and coordination for IPFCC educational programs and other special projects. Prior to joining IPFCC, Ushma was a senior project specialist at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) where she contributed to survey development, program implementation and evaluation, and explaining evidence-based medicine to consumers and clinicians. Ushma is a certified project management professional and is trained in cognitive interviewing and focus groups. While at AIR, Ushma provided technical assistance to the Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks and their member hospitals as part of CMS’s Partnership for Patients initiative. She was also an integral part of the development, implementation and evaluation of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety.

As a preeclampsia survivor and patient advocate, Ushma volunteers for the Preeclampsia Foundation as a member of their Patient Advisory Council and for the PCORI 4th Trimester Project. Ushma lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children – one of which has a genetic condition and a congenital heart defect.

Ann Selinger

Ann Selinger, Special Projects Manager

As Special Projects Manager, Ann assists on a variety of projects, including seminar and conference planning and execution, administering the Pinwheel Sponsorship program, and providing other support as needed. Over the years, Ann has been a hospital and school volunteer, hospital board member, nursery school teacher, head of a nursery school, children's bookstore owner, caterer, real estate agent, and admissions assistant at a boys high school. Caring for her husband in the last years of his life, introduced her to the importance of including the patient and the family in the care of the patient and brought her to IPFCC.

Ann lives in Massachusetts close to her son's and daughter's families and enjoys helping and playing with her four granddaughters.

Natasha Reed

Natasha Reed, Registration and Database Manager

Natasha is responsible for the development of IPFCC’s event registration websites, management of registration, and maintenance of databases. Prior to joining IPFCC, Natasha spent a decade managing registration and events for national and international not-for-profit organizations, as well as writing for trade publications.

The experiences of fostering a child with disabilities and being diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome have made Natasha passionate about the immense importance of the inclusion of family in the care of patients. She volunteers for various organizations, including The Autism Society and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Natasha lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York where she enjoys writing, gardening, and tending to her animals.

Annette Lee

Annette Lee, Health Care Program & Communications Specialist

As Health Care Program and Communications Specialist, Annette works on coordinating and hosting webinars, managing our social media accounts, and assisting with the production of our monthly Pinwheel Pages. She also helps with technical assistance on PFCC.Connect and designs flyers, brochures, and graphics for various projects. Annette is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Public Health Science and brings to IPFCC previous experience both in clinical health care settings as well as in health-related nonprofit organizations.

Outside of work, Annette is also a Patient Care Volunteer at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC and is actively involved in fundraising efforts for Children's National as part of the Terp Thon Alumni Network leadership team. She hopes to combine her passion for health care improvement and love of philanthropy to one day follow in the footsteps of those she is lucky to work with here at IPFCC.

Sherry Hajec

Sherry Hajec, Special Projects Program Associate

As a Special Projects Program Associate, Sherry provides support to the Special Projects team. Sherry's responsibilities include working on seminar action plans and IPFCC resources, and providing assistance in meeting planning. Originally from Louisiana, Sherry—who has a BS in accounting from Louisiana Tech University—has almost twenty years of experience in accounting.

Since the birth of her son, who has congenital heart disease, Sherry volunteers with the Children's Heart Program (CHP) Volunteer Council and also served as the MCG Children's Medical Center CHP's paid parent coordinator. She lives in South Carolina with her family. Sherry enjoys time with family and friends, especially sporting activities with her children.