Breakout Session Speakers

Mike Burakowski

Mike Burakowski is a licensed funeral director and has been a medicolegal death investigator at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office since 1988. In his role as the LifeSource Medical Examiner/Funeral Director Liaison, Mike collaborates with funeral director and forensic professionals in our donor service area to meet their needs while fulfilling the wishes of donors and donor families.

Deb Carlson

Deb Carlson is the Chief Driver License Examiner with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver & Vehicle Services Division. She is a graduate of Augsburg College and St. Cloud State with teaching certifications obtained for Physical Education, Health Education and Driver Education. Deb has background experience in teaching driver education as well as having been a driver license examiner. She has has been employed within the driver exam unit for the past 25 years.

Mitch Carmody, GSP, CCP

Mitch Carmody is a leading Grief Facilitator in the country; for over 10 years speaking to audiences across the nation helping the bereaved and educating those who serve the bereaved. He is the author of the  widely acclaimed book “Letters To My Son, Turning Loss to Legacy” and creator of the “Proactive Grieving” methodolgy of grief processing.

Shelley Dugan

Shelley Dugan has been a professional chaplain in the healthcare field for over 20 years with special emphasis on hospice, long-term care, chemical dependency, mental health, trauma and medical care. She has a passion for medical ethics and has served on Ethics Committees at each of her sites. Shelley is intrigued by how medical ethics are impacted by the changes in technology and society.

Gerald Friest

Gerald Friest is the Chaplain at Unity Hospital, a part of Allina Health, in Fridley, Minnesota and Co-Chair of Mercy and Unity Hospital Ethic’s Committee since 2002.

Julie Heimbach, MD

Dr. Heimbach is currently the surgical director of liver transplantation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minn. She is originally from Duluth, Minn. and did her surgical residency training at the University of Colorado, followed by transplantation surgery fellowship at Mayo Clinic where she subsequently joined the faculty. She is actively involved in issues of organ allocation and transplantation through her work with UNOS on both the Liver-Intestine Committee as well as the Membership and Professional Standards Committee.

Verlyn Hemmen

Verlyn Hemmen is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. After 20 years of parish work, he became a Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor and has supervised for 11.5 years at United Hospital in St. Paul, where he served on the ethics committee. For the past year, he supervises at Abbott Northwestern where he is the department manager, the metro department director, and the co-chair of the ethics committee.

Monica Huber

Monica Huber, RN, MS, Clinical Vice President, Sanford USD Medical Center Administration, has been at Sanford for many years. Monica currently has administrative responsibility for the Emergency Department, Trauma Service, AirMed Transport (clinical), Adult Critical Care, Pulmonary, Clinical Call Center, Patient Appointment Center, Transplant Program, Hospitalist Program, Emergency Department Physicians, Intensivist Programs, Sanford Reference Laboratory and Core Laboratory Services.

Paul Iaizzo, PhD

Dr. Paul Iaizzo is a Professor of Surgery, Integrative Biology and Physiology, at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He leads the Visible Heart Laboratory, a premier place to perform translational physiology research which ranges from cellular and tissue studies to organ and whole body investigations. Dr. Iaizzo and his research team created and continue to maintain the Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy, a novel educational tool that allows for viewing functional human cardiac anatomy from within.

Vivian Jenkins

Vivian Jenkins Nelsen is coauthor of Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death and Grief. She has spoken to many groups on this topic including the National Hospice Association. Her latest projects are a diversity end of life curriculum for the MN Network of Hospice and Palliative Care and a new book on grief and death in ethnic communities.

Gail Johnson

Gail Johnson is the director of HealthPartners Clinical Simulation. Her diverse healthcare experience includes critical care, organ donation and transplantation, education, and quality management. She is completing her PhD in nursing with a focus on simulation.

Krista Kipper

Krista Kipper is the Program Manager for HealthPartners Clinical Simulation with 14 years of critical care experience as a Registered Nurse. She is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and uses her clinical expertise and education to design and facilitate learner-centered simulation-based curriculum for healthcare professionals including nursing orientation, mock codes, pediatric emergency management, and a 3-day Simulation Facilitator Course. She has spoken at international and regional conferences which include: IMSH, INACSL, ANPD, and Midwest Healthcare Educator’s Academy.

Heather Luders

Heather Luders has worked in tissue donation for the past 20 years. She has held many different positions during this time, including discussing donation with the families of potential organ and tissue donors, performing tissue recovery, training and education as well as quality and regulatory affairs.

Samir Mardini, MD

Dr. Mardini is a Professor of Surgery and Consultant in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. At present Dr. Mardini is Program Director, Division of Plastic Surgery, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Co-Director Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Clinic and Surgical Co-Director for the Essam and Dalal Obaid Reconstructive Transplant Center.

William Payne, MD

William D. Payne is Professor of Surgery and Medical Director at LifeSource. He was the Director of the Liver Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota from 1987 to 2012. Dr. Payne earned his medical degree in 1972 at St. Louis University School of Medicine and did his surgical residency and transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. He was a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Houston before returning to Minnesota in 1983. A former chief of staff of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Dr. Payne currently serves as treasurer on the board of University of Minnesota Physicians, the faculty practice plan. He is the former president of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organ transplantation network.

Marcel Pincince

Marcel Pincince received his graduate degree in theology and pastoral care from the Gregorian University and the North American College in Rome, Italy. The present focus of his work and study is decision making and meaningful communication with families in times of emotional crisis and trauma.

Jeff Richert

For the first few years of his career at LifeSource, Jeff Richert worked with the fantastic LifeSource volunteers to speak with as many driver education and health class students as possible. More recently, Jeff has worked with the driver’s license programs in the LifeSource service area. This work has been a lot of fun and has also taught him that people sincerely want to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation if given the chance. Jeff believes that, “Our community has to be willing to provide its members with as many opportunities to make an informed decision about donation as we can.”

Kevin Stranberg

Kevin Stranberg is recognized for his work as a strategist, trainer and facilitator. His work centers on service from the customer perspective in all healthcare settings including clinics, hospitals and long term care facilities. Stranberg serves as Director of Public Relations for Memorial Medical Center in Ashland, Wisconsin and President of Stranberg & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, facilitation and service delivery.

A. Quinn Strobl, MD

Quinn Strobl, MD is the Chief Medical Examiner of the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office (MMEO) located in Ramsey, Minnesota.

Brenda Verbic

Brenda Verbic is the Operational Director for Mental Health, Care Management, and Social Work services for Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Part of Allina Health. She is a long standing member of the Mercy and Unity Ethics Committee and has served as Committee Co-Chair since 2002. In addition, she serves as a member of the Allina Ethics Council, charged with creating system-wide ethics policies.

Julie Zabloski

Julie Zabloski is the Director of the Communication Center at LifeSource. Julie has been involved in donation and transplantation since 1983. She has worked in several areas within donation and transplant including working with donor families, assisting in the recovery and transplantation of organs, and new program development. Nineteen years of Julie’s career has been with LifeSource.