Program Director: Michelle Pearce, PhD
Dr. Michelle Pearce, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at the Center for Integrative Medicine in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She also holds an adjunt faculty position at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Pearce received a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from Yale University and completed a medical psychology internship and two post-doctoral fellowships at Duke University Medical Center. Her program of research examines the role of religion/spirituality in mental and physical health, particularly at the end-of-life. Specifically, Dr. Pearce has studied religion/spirituality as a coping resource for end-of-life cancer patients and their caregivers, as well as the spiritual needs of hospitalized advanced cancer patients. Her current research focuses on the integration of spirituality into psychotherapy for the treatment of depression, PTSD, and moral injury. She has also developed and implemented numerous educational and clinical training programs for medical and graduate students, patients, caregivers, and health care professionals.
Flavius R. W. Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH
Dr. Flavius Lilly worked in the healthcare industry for more than a decade in senior leadership roles. His focus was in community health improvement, quality care, and organizational development. Currently, he is the Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School and the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In these roles, he leads strategic initiatives in new professional master’s degree development and online learning. He is also responsible for providing executive leadership to a broad range of student affairs services. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Wright State University, a Master of Public Health degree from Drexel University, a Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His primary research interests are in the realm of healthcare improvement for individuals with severe mental illnesses.
Leah Sera, PharmD, MA, BCPS
Dr. Leah Sera is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She received her PharmD from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2010. She completed a pharmacy practice residency at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD and a specialty residency in pain management and palliative care at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Dr. Sera teaches a variety of topics, including pain and palliative care, autoimmune disease, and community pharmacy topics, in required and elective courses in the PharmD curriculum. She also mentors pharmacy students in the Geriatric and Palliative Care Pathway. Dr. Sera has been invited to speak on pain management and palliative care topics at professional pharmacy conferences and at medical centers such as the National Institutes of Health. She has published research on medication prescribing practices in hospice patients in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and in Progress in Palliative Care. Her current research includes prescribing practices in hospice populations, and educational research in the pharmacy practice lab and an elective study skills course. Dr. Sera will be teaching the Palliative Care course.
Jennifer Maxfield-DeCarlo, Ph.D., LCSW-C
Dr. Maxfield-DeCarlo is an Associate Professor and Program Director at MidAmerica Christian University in the Graduate School of Psychology and Counseling. Dr. Maxfield-DeCarlo is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work where she teaches Death, Dying, and Bereavement and Paradigms of Clinical Social Work Practice. Her clinical work has focused on working with clients throughout the spectrum of managing devastating illness from diagnosis to end-of-life care. Her research interests focus on fostering hope at end-of-life and the treatment of “treatment induced anxiety” through integrative medicine approaches. Dr. Maxfield-DeCarlo completed her Doctorate at Cappella University in Human Services with a specialization in Counseling. Dr. Maxfield-DeCarlo instructs the Caring for the Bereaved course.
Anita Tarzian, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Anita J. Tarzian, PhD, RN is a former surgical oncology nurse, hospice nurse, and returned Peace Corps volunteer who received her doctorate in Nursing (concentrating in Ethics) from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and a Masters from the same university in Intercultural Nursing. She currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Maryland Health Care Ethics Committee Network, which is run out of the Law and Health Care Program at UMB's Francis King Carey School of Law. She is also an Associate Professor at the UMB School of Nursing, and an independent ethics & research consultant. Dr. Tarzian's professional focus has been in clinical and research ethics, including clinical ethics consultation in acute and long-term care settings, ethics education, palliative care, hospice/end-of-life care, the influence of culture on health care decision-making, and disability rights. Dr. Tarzian will co-instruct Death and Dying: Legal and Ethical Considerations.
Debra Wiegand, PhD., RN
Dr. Debra Wiegand, PhD, RN is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where she teaches a variety of classes, including end-of-life care, families in crisis, and qualitative nursing research to undergraduate and graduate participants. Dr. Wiegand’s program of research focuses on improving end-of-life care for patients and families. She has conducted clinical research with families participating in the process of withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment and has disseminated her findings through publications, and poster and oral presentations. She has served as faculty for the City of Hope and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s program, “End of Life Nursing Education Curriculum Course (ELNEC) for Critical Care.” Dr. Wiegand was invited by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to serve as Chairperson of the Ethic’s Advisory Committee (charged to address palliative care in intensive care). Dr. Wiegand will co-instruct Death and Dying: Legal and Ethical Considerations.