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transitions guiding lights

Our Team

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Matt Fisher, President

Matt Fisher joined Poyner Spruill on June 1, 2014 from the firm of Bode Hemphill, LLP. His practice focuses on the representation of health care providers, with an emphasis on Certificate of Need law. Matt's practice centers on the litigation of Certificate of Need awards and denials and assisting health care providers with the development of Certificate of Need applications. He also represents health care clients on licensure and certification issues, including appeals challenging certification and licensure survey decisions and penalties, and issues pertaining to DMA provider payment denial.

Dr. Timothy G ihrig Dr. Timothy G ihrig

Dr. Timothy G Ihrig, CMO of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care | CEO of Ihrig MD & Associates

Board Member

Prior to joining Crossroads, he served as the medical director for Palliative Medicine at the Trinity Regional Medical Center (TRMC) within the Unity Point Health System. He also served on the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Development Board of Managers of Unity Point Health. With a total operating budget just over $4 billion, Unity Point offers care in eight regions across Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The health system includes 15 owned and 14 affiliated hospitals, 280 physician clinics, and home care and hospice locations. The Trinity Regional Medical Center was a Pioneer ACO organization through the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation. It is located in North Central Iowa, and serves a rural eight county area with a combined population of approximately 120,000 with approximately 35.2% between the ages of 75-84. The area is disproportionally elderly and ill when compared nationally and has a palliative appropriate population exceeding 42,000 lives. All counties in the service were designated as medically underserved areas. 
 
Dr. Ihrig attained a degree in medicine from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and a Master's degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Iowa, Des Moines and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

 

Cooper Linton Cooper Linton

Cooper Linton

Board Member

Cooper Linton serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Transitions LifeCare, which was originally founded as Hospice of Wake County. In addition to his marketing work, he oversaw the design and construction of Wake County's first freestanding hospice home and end of life care campus. Cooper has worked in the healthcare industry for over 15 years with a focus on home and community based care. His experience includes successful administrator roles for two home health and hospice companies as well as several years of sales planning, sales force management and business strategy design. Additionally, Cooper has worked in quality improvement directly for healthcare providers and on contract with Medicare through the Medical Review of North Carolina. Mr. Linton holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration and a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he also completed his Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. When not working, Cooper is happily busy as a father and an avid outdoorsman.

 

gretchen napier

Gretchen Napier

Board Member

Gretchen Napier came to lead the LifeLinks team, after decades of experience as an independent and assisted living administrator, as well as a publisher of a resource guide for seniors. Her love of the elderly and appreciation for the wisdom they have to offer us began in high school when Gretchen volunteered by painting fingernails for the residents in a nursing home. There she learned about the importance of touch therapy and witnessed firsthand the shortcomings and "one-size-fits-all" mentality of many organizations and individuals serving seniors. After earning a degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt, she obtained a Master's in Health Services Administration from one of the top programs in the country at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology.

Over the decades, Gretchen saw how easy it was for older adults to fall through the cracks of the healthcare system, and how long-distance and broken family relationships make caring for an aging loved one an overwhelming task. Helping families with these challenges is the mission of LifeLinks. Her team of Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists and Social Workers, provide expert guidance to families so they can make the best decisions and obtain the best value of care for their aging loved one.

Gretchen has served the Middle Tennessee community on Boards such as the Alzheimer's Association, the Senior Services Network, the Williamson County Geriatric Council and the Fifty Forward Respite Caregivers and Martin Center. She currently also serves on the North Carolina Eldercare Workforce Coalition, as Chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Aging Life Care Association(ALCA) and President of the Southeast Chapter of ALCA. She is a national speaker, university professor and published author. She also has a grown daughter living in California, a 14 year old son at home and one furbaby, a Lhasa Apso/Bulldog mix named, Tiger.

 

CEO, Transitions LifeCare CEO, Transitions LifeCare

John Thoma

Board Member

John Thoma is a graduate of Boston University where he received a B. A. degree in Spanish. He continued studies at Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Non-Profit Institute and Tufts University School of Continuing Education concentrating in Community Economic Development and Non-Profit Management. John joined Hospice of Wake County in 1991 and has served in the capacity of Finance/MIS Manager and Chief Financial Officer. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in August 2002.
 
Born in Austin, Texas and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, John has been a resident of Raleigh since 1990. In addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer, John serves on the Board of Trustees for the Hospice of Wake County Foundation and is very active in promoting quality end-of-life care at the state and national levels. John served on the Board of the United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) and the NC Association for Home and Hospice Care (AHHC). Nationally, John serves as Secretary of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) Board of Directors and chairs the NHPCO Governance Committee. He has previously chaired the NHPCO Quality and Standards Committee and served on the Membership

adam wolk, md

Joyce Wright

Board Member

Executive Director at Atria Oakridge Senior Living, Joyce has been a prominent leader in the triangle area making a difference in the senior housing industry in a Continuum of Care Community (CCRC), non-profit, as well as for profits. Senior living and healthcare has always been a passion of hers. She became interested in working with older adults during her early teen years through her grandmother, an inspiration, who worked in a nursing home. "I fell in love with the knowledge, experience and wisdom that older adults have to offer and learned at an early age how much I could learn through them. And, I knew that this was the population that I wanted to serve."
 
Joyce considers herself an advocate for older adults. She works closely with potential residents and their families in identification and implementation of appropriate resources to ensure residents' highest level of independence, satisfaction and success at Atria Oakridge Senior Living. In addition she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the community and helping families navigate the healthcare system as well as explore their living and lifestyle choices. "Making a difference in a family's life is what I strive to do daily!"
 
She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She brings 24 years of experience, continuing education and insightfulness to the industry. She and her husband have one son, and are actively involved in the Outreach Ministry of their church.

adam wolk, md adam wolk, md

Adam Wolk, MD, Senior Medical Officer | Alignment Healthcare

Board Member

Adam Wolk, MD, Senior Medical Officer at Alignment Healthcare, is passionate about serving the senior population in Wake County.

Prior to joining Alignment Healthcare, Dr. Wolk worked as a hospitalist in multiple health systems, before returning to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) as an assistant program director in the Internal Medicine Residency program. Dr. Wolk also served as regional hospitalist manager for MedStar Health. Dr. Wolk had a leading role in quality and safety for MedStar before joining Alignment Healthcare in the fall of 2014.

Dr. Wolk graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and attended the University of California Davis School of Medicine. He did both his residency and chief residency at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

OurStaff

Nicole Bruno, Co-Founder, Executive Director Nicole M. Clagett, Co-Founder, Executive Director

Nicole M. Clagett, Co-Founder, Executive Director

Nicole has a passion for working with older adults and believes in the "law of plenty". She enjoys the challenge of breaking down the silos of health care organizations by creating and participating in consortiums of health care providers that actively discuss issues facing seniors they serve. The goal is to discover how this fragile population can have a better quality of life through education, resource sharing, and problem solving during meeting times and through collaboration. 
 
Nicole has spent a major portion of her career in various capacities at the Northeast Health and the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center in New York. Nicole served as a social worker and team leader of their Special Care Unit for individuals with dementia and as director of an Adult Day Medical Health Center (Adult Daycare). During her tenure at the Eddy, Nicole served on the Board of the Alzheimer's Association of Northeastern New York chapter and trained professionals on techniques for dementia care nationally. When moving to North Carolina, Nicole expanded her area of expertise to the field of private duty in-home care as the Community Outreach Coordinator, at Homewatch CareGivers of the Triangle and currently holds a position as Community Educator at Transitions LifeCare.
 
Nicole also serves in various roles for radio and TV outlets. Currently, she writes for ABC11 and hosts "Aging Matters" on 680 WPTF.
 
Nicole took some time off from her professional career to raise two of her children. During that time, she experienced first-hand what it is like to be the primary caregiver, not only for children, but also for her grandfather, who she cared for in her home until he passed away.
 
Nicole earned an Associate in Arts degree from The Sage Colleges and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work with Advanced Standing from Siena College. She has completed some graduate work in Health Care Administration.

 

Leigh Warren, Community Outreach Coordinator

Leigh Warren, Special Projects Coordinator

Leigh comes to us from Elder and Adult Day Services (EADS), a day health nonprofit organization in Seattle, Washington, where she was responsible for public relations and marketing. From 2008 through 2009, the organization took on a rebranding campaign with the goal of attracting a wider variety of participants and funding sources. Leigh and her supervisor presented on the campaign at the 2010 National Adult Day Services Association Conference here in Raleigh. Leigh and her family moved to Raleigh in July of 2009. Leigh continued working (remotely) for EADS until recently.

 

Martha R. Womble, Program Coordinator Nurse Aid 1 Training Program

Martha R. Womble, Program Coordinator Nurse Aid 1 Training Program

Martha, a N.C. native, is Program Coordinator for Guiding Lights. Martha has over 40 years of experience as a R.N. with positions ranging from all aspects of in-patient rehabilitation, coordinating care for severely injured workers, to surveying adult care facilities in N.C. for licensure compliance with state rules and regulations. Many of these positions provided her the opportunity to see first-hand the importance of well trained staff to care for the elderly. She strongly believes coordinating a program that prepares nurse aides to become the best they can be, will result in providing much better care for the frail elderly.

 

Rachel David, Contracted Accountant

Rachel David, President of T.J.A. CPA PLLC, a locally owned company in the city of Cary, NC. Mrs. David has over 10 years of experience in accounting and specializes in job costing, non-profit accounting and personal financial management for seniors with Alzheimer's and Dementia. Her passion is advocating for those that are not able to advocate for themselves and to serve the elderly community however she can.

 

Pam Kane, RN Instructor

Pam Kane, RN Instructor

For Pam, there is no greater reward than to watch a student grow in confidence and knowledge in the skills required for the Nurse Aide I program. She has worked alongside CNAs in the neonatal intensive care unit and home health setting. Teaching caregivers is Pam's favorite role as an RN. She shares in our commitment to educate caregivers.
 
She graduated from Craven Community College in New Bern, North Carolina with an ADN and a few years later earned a Bachelor's Degree at Mt. Olive College. Pam has been nursing for 21 years with experience in the NICU and then Home Health nursing, as well as instructing the Nurse Aide I program at Pamlico Community College in Grantsboro,  North Carolina.

 

Kelley O'Brien, Grant Writing Consultant

Kelley O'Brien has over 15 years of experience as a communicator, grant writer, project manager, and administrator in higher education and nonprofits. As a grant writing consultant, she has secured more than $4.5 million in public and private grants. As an administrator, she has served on the management team of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government and led a statewide K-12 education program. And, as a project manager and facilitator, she has led strategic planning efforts and a variety of initiatives that required broad-based buy-in and support. 
 
Kelley has taught extensively on grant writing and communications, designing and instructing courses for graduate students and professionals on these topics. She is adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government. She currently teaches Professional Communications and Grant Writing. 
 
She has a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies, Urban Studies from the University of Georgia. More recently, she has completed the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Executive Program in Innovation and Harvard Division of Continuing Education's Design Thinking Program.

 

Shelly Slaczka, Executive Assistant

Over the last 15 years Shelly has had a variety of experiences with administrative, clerical, and customer service. Every experience was instrumental and provided opportunities to learn the importance of how everyone needs a strong support system to be able to function to our utmost potential. As a young child, Shelly was exposed to many hardships where she watched several loved ones become ill and pass away. Watching how that affected those around her, impacted how she deals with such hardships now. It is her passion to express to those in need that they are not forgotten, they are loved and they matter.

 

Julie Keely, Referral Specialist

Julie was raised in a caregiving family, observing the challenges and rewards of her mother caring for her grandmother and of her father caring for her mother. No doubt this impacted her career in healthcare administration and senior care. Julie's career began at UNC Memorial Hospital as an Emergency Room Clerk and Medical Clinic Financial Counselor, then she continued to build and manage a customer service department for the startup HealthAmerica/Maxicare  - one of the first HMO's in the area. After spending three seasons as a Campaign Associate for United Way of the Greater Triangle and learning of the impact made by nonprofits, Julie discovered her passion for working with seniors and spent the next seven years as The Transportation Coordinator for The Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Here she coordinated volunteers to provide transportation for seniors for doctors' appointments and other necessary trips, learned of the special needs of seniors and their caregivers, and of the resources available to them. After a year spent marketing in the private duty homecare industry she is excited to be able to share her knowledge and compassion as the Referral Specialist for Transitions Guiding Lights.