Program Director: Michelle Pearce, PhD
Dr. Michelle Pearce, PhD is fulltime faculty in the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and holds an adjunct 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.
Joan Henriksen, PhD, RN
Dr. Joan Henriksen, PhD, RN is a senior Clinical Ethicist at Children’s Minnesota. Dr. Henriksen began her career 25 years ago in pediatrics at the University of Iowa. She served as a nurse in the cardiology and pulmonary unit and later did infusion therapy and clinical nursing education. She earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Iowa and focused her work on virtues of acute care teams. As a clinical ethicist, Joan grew the clinical ethics practice from an average of 30 consults to over 250 per year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, before moving to her new role at Children's Minnesota. Joan’s research interests include truthtelling, conflicts of conscience in clinical practice, and identifying risk factors that may indicate looming ethical problems. Joan has taught ethics and religious studies for over 20 years. From undergraduates, to medical students and graduate learners to working clinical professionals, Joan enjoys guiding reflection on what it is to do well and be ethically thoughtful clinicians. Dr. Henirksen will co-instruct Death and Dying: Legal and Ethical Considerations.