Office of the President

Beverley Johnson

Beverley H. Johnson, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer

Bev 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, school, and several national health care organizations. In these Trustee roles, she has chaired or served as a member on strategic planning, finance, and leadership development committees. She has provided technical assistance and consultation to over 300 hospitals and health systems across the United States, Canada and several other countries. She has published widely on patient- and family-centered issues and strategies. Bev was recognized by The National Association of Catholic Chaplains with the 2018 Outstanding Colleague Award and by the American College of Physicians with the 2017 Edward R. Loveland Memorial Award. She 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 and her husband, Stanfield, have four children and nine grandchildren.


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 educational and training efforts. Marie has served as project lead for three PCORI-funded engagement projects. 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. She was a founding member and served for nine years on the parent advisory group for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Marie has three adult children and lives in coastal Connecticut where she enjoys the beauty of the natural environment.


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.


Deborah Dokken

Deborah Dokken, MPA, Senior Specialist, Patient and Family Partnerships

Deborah is a family leader whose passion for healthcare improvement grew out of personal experiences, including the loss of two infants and her husband’s long battle with a rare cancer.

Since 2014, Deborah has had a key role in IPFCC’s Better Together: Partnering with Families, a national campaign to enhance the role of family members in improving the care and safety of hospitalized patients. She was also the lead for IPFCC’s project, “The Study of New York Hospital PFACs and PFAs: Prevalence and Functioning.” In this role, Ms. Dokken led the development of a survey assessing the prevalence and functioning of PFACs across New York State, conducted qualitative interviews, worked closely with the research team, and was one of the authors of the Study’s report. Previously, Deborah was Associate Director of the Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care (IPPC), a national project focused on improving care for children with life-threatening conditions and their families through education and quality improvement. She trained and supported family members involved in the project; helped develop a 25-hour curriculum; served as faculty for 22 educational retreats; collaborated with researchers in designing and implementing an impact study; and co-authored an article with study results, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Deborah has been a member of committees of the IOM, the FDA, and NIH and has also served on a hospital PFAC and a pediatric ethics committee. She is the author of several articles related to family-centered health care and is co-editor of Pediatric Nursing journal’s “Family Matters” section.

Prior to Deborah’s health care work, she had years of nonprofit management experience in strategic planning, marketing, staff and volunteer development, and training. Since downsizing from her home of 20+ years, Deborah enjoys urban, apartment living and exploring good food and wine!


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 has volunteered for the Duke Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center, as well as served on the Patient Advisory Council for the Preeclampsia Foundation from 2014-2019. Ushma lives in the Raleigh area in North Carolina with her husband and two children – one of whom has a genetic condition and a congenital heart defect.


Sherry Hajec

Sherry Hajec, BS, Special Projects Program Associate

Sherry provides support to the Special Projects team. Sherry's responsibilities include working on IPFCC resources, administering the Pinwheel Sponsorship program, and providing event and project assistance as needed. Originally from Louisiana, Sherry—who has a BS in accounting from Louisiana Tech University—has almost twenty years of experience in accounting and has been with IPFCC since 2011.

After the birth of her son, who has congenital heart disease, Sherry became involved with the Children’s Hospital of Georgia at Augusta University, formerly Medical College of Georgia, patient- and family-centered care program as a volunteer, officer, and paid coordinator of the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council. She enjoys living in South Carolina near her daughter and son.


Matthew D’Silva

Matthew D’Silva, Registration and Database Manager

Matthew D’Silva has over 20 years of not-for-profit experience specializing in database management, data analytics and customer engagement through digital platforms. Joining IPFCC in 2022, he hopes to enhance the utilization of the digital platforms and database systems across the organization to better connect with patients and their families. Matthew completed his degree at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and relocated to the U.S. in 2015. Matthew enjoys cooking and developing children’s books manuscripts with the hope to one day get them published.


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).


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.