We are a team of experts and volunteers with diverse backgrounds and skills, all linked by our lived experiences with cardiac arrest.
We are clinicians. We are researchers. We are survivors. We are co-survivors. We are grieving families. We are lay rescuers. We are first responders. We are advocates.
Members are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Sachin Agarwal, MD, MPH, FAHA (he/him)
He is an associate professor of neurology in the division of neurocritical care and hospitalist neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre and the Director of NeuroCardiac Comprehensive Care Clinic (N4C), the first of its kind in the United States. Sachin is a physician-scientist and an outcomes researcher. His research interests lie in characterizing the neurological, psychological, and health-behavioral dimensions of cardiac arrest survivorship, and their association with cardiovascular disease risk, functional outcomes, and quality of life. His more recent work involves designing behavioral interventions to alleviate heart-specific anxiety and posttraumatic symptoms of survivors and their families.
Michael D. Arbuck, MS, MBA (he/him)
Michael Arbuck is an experienced product development and healthcare marketing professional currently holding a Principal Consultant position with Spur Reply, a management consulting firm, in Seattle, WA, USA. Combining his professional cardiology experience from Philips, Physio-Control and Stryker, with his personal experience of surviving a cardiac arrest in 2022 when his partner provided dispatcher-assisted CPR, Michael has become increasingly involved in resuscitation advocacy and education.
Luis Blanco, BFA (he/him)
Luis Blanco is Creative Director for the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He has created branding campaigns and image campaigns in addition to his work as a commercial director. Blanco’s expertise is in communication, both visual and editorial. Blanco currently works with scientists and health professionals to express complex concepts to a broad spectrum of audiences, as well as leading creative teams across all media platforms to produce branded, patient-facing content. Blanco is skilled in design, brand identity, brand strategy, and copywriting with a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.
Jennifer Chap, BS (she/her)
Jen Chap is co-founder of StrataVerve, a marketing and consumer insights practice. In 2012 she came face-to-face with cardiac arrest, when her husband Rick collapsed at home. Alerted by their cat Buddy, she called 911 and gave dispatch-assisted CPR. The grateful couple co-founded BuddyCPR. A fierce advocate, Jen donates her skills to like-hearted organizations to save lives and improve recovery. She’s performed pro bono national research to assess public understanding of cardiac arrest, CPR, and AEDs, produced PSA videos, and is an avid speaker. Closer to home, Jen and Rick are volunteer CPR instructors for Orlando Fire Department’s community program
Katie Dainty, PhD (she/her)
Katie Dainty is a qualitative social scientist and Research Chair in Patient-Centered Outcomes at North York General Hospital, Toronto, Canada. In addition, she is an Associate Professor and Director of the Health Systems Research Graduate Training Program in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. She has expertise in the areas of patient and family experience, implementation science, patient-centered outcome measures, and quality improvement in health care. Her core program of research focuses on using qualitative methods to unpack long-held assumptions about bystander experience and survivorship following cardiac arrest.
Alessandra Dinin, PhD (she/her)
Alessandra Dinin is the Associate Director of Assessment for Duke University. She supports academic programs with the study of teaching, learning, and program evaluation. She’s also an undergraduate college advisor and teaches for the Graduate School’s Certificate in College Teaching. When Alessandra’s daughter was born, her heart was going in and out of an arrhythmia called Torsades de Pointes. The family learned that Alessandra’s daughter and partner have a genetically inherited sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, Long QT Syndrome type 2. Since then, the Dinin family has been advocates for Duke Children’s Hospital, especially the Pediatric Electrophysiology Department, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Ann Doll, MPA (she/her)
Ann Doll is the Executive Director of the Resuscitation Academy Foundation, an organization working to create a world where no one dies from cardiac arrest. Working with faculty and staff from partner organizations, Doll helped create the Resuscitation Academy in 2008. She also serves as the Secretariat for the Global Resuscitation Alliance, a coalition of worldwide leaders committed to saving more lives from sudden cardiac arrest. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Matthew J. Douma, RN (he/him)
Matt Douma is an emergency and critical care nurse in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is also a family member of a cardiac arrest non-survivor. His research focuses on first aid and life-saving, as well as using co-design to make cardiac arrest care more family-centered. When not involved in resuscitation science or patient care, Matt is hiking, cycling, and paddling with his three kids, Charlie 8, Sammy 6, and Eloise 4, through the wilds of western Canada with his partner “Smith.”
Anagha Dutt, MS, MBA (she/her)
Anagha Dutt is the Head of Accounting at Nirvana Tech, Inc., an insurance tech startup based in San Francisco. Prior to Nirvana, Anagha worked as the head of accounting at multiple early stage companies including Kitty Hawk, Alation, Yummly and Druva. She is an experienced finance professional specializing in working with high growth startups. She is also a visiting accounting faculty at DeVry University. Anagha holds an MS in Accounting from Boston College, an MBA from International Management Institute, Delhi, and is also an active CPA.
Samantha Fernandez, MD (she/her)
Samantha Fernandez is a fourth-year neurology resident at Baylor College of Medicine and a cardiac arrest survivor. She had a cardiac arrest 6 months into her residency, in the middle of surgery to remove her gallbladder. She was also aware during part of her resuscitation and remembers bits and pieces of it. Her goal is to help survivors navigate the challenges they may encounter after surviving cardiac arrest and bring awareness to the medical community about the gaps in care that will improve a survivor’s recovery path. She founded the first Cardiac Arrest Survivor Network in Texas, which provides community support, access to resources, and evidence-based information regarding cardiac arrest survivorship in simple language, both in English and Spanish.
Grace Firestone, MD (she/her)
Dr. Firestone is a primary care physician at the University College of Los Angeles. She trained at Stanford Hospital, California, for her family medicine residency and went to medical school in Philadelphia at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. At 18 years old, she went into sudden cardiac arrest in her home and was resuscitated for over an hour. Her brother performed CPR and saved her life. Grace is one of the youngest members of the AHA’s national and international advocacy and resuscitation committees. Her current focus is to improve communication within the healthcare system in order to empower patients and their families.
Kristin Flanary, MA (she/her)
Kristin Flanary, MA, holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University (2008) and a master’s degree from Dartmouth College (2011). Known as “Lady Glaucomflecken” (@LGlaucomflecken) on social media, Kristin offers a unique perspective on healthcare. She has experienced being a patient, caregiver, and “co-survivor” of her husband’s two cancer occurrences and cardiac arrest by age 35. Co-founding Glaucomflecken LLC in 2022, she advocates for co-survivors of medical trauma, supports cardiac arrest survivorship, and raises awareness for CPR and AED use. She is honored to have received an EMS Cardiac Arrest Save Challenge Coin (2020), the Citizen CPR Foundation’s 40 Under 40 award (2021), and the American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Champion award (2022).
Karen Fray, PMP (she/her)
Karen Fray is the Chief of Staff for the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Department of Defense Program Office. Her son, Xhosa Fray-Chinn suffered a cardiac arrest at age 17, while playing basketball. Karen is an advocate for cardiac arrest awareness in children and youth and is a strong proponent of early screening. Karen’s initiatives have paved the way to free heart screenings; one in collaboration with Parent Heart Watch and another with Florida Hospital. Both efforts have impacted youth from diverse economic backgrounds and communities and yielded compelling data for the necessity of community free screenings.
Elizabeth Froelich, PMD (she/her)
Elizabeth Froelich is the Data Manager for Illinois Heart Rescue (ILHR) and the Illinois State Coordinator for Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). Before joining ILHR, Elizabeth was the Commander assigned to one of the busiest ambulances in the nation (A10, Chicago Fire Department) that responded to over 8,000 calls annually. In addition to responding to 911 calls, she has been an educator for over 15 years, lecturing on various Emergency Medical Services (EMS) topics. Elizabeth uses her decades of experience as a first responder to bridge the gap between the vital role between the public and EMS providers and Telecommunicators.
Hilary Gates, MAEd, NRP (she/her)
Hilary Gates is the director of educational strategy for Prodigy EMS and works as a consultant for various healthcare organizations. She is a volunteer paramedic in the Alexandria Fire Department and teaches in the School of Education at American University in Washington, D.C. She began her career as a volunteer EMT with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, MD, and then became a full-time paramedic, instructor and FTO at AFD. Gates then served as senior editorial and program director for EMS World. She implemented AFD’s MIH/CP program in 2017 and has extensive experience as an EMS educator and public speaker.
Katrysha Gellis (she/her)
Katrysha Gellis is a passionate advocate for cardiac arrest awareness, CPR, and 24/7 public access to AEDs. She believes that everyone should feel confident to react in an emergency because quick actions truly can save lives. Her passion comes from personal experience. Two weeks after her 30th birthday, with no health issues or warning signs, her heart stopped beating. Thankfully, two colleagues knew what to do and ultimately saved her life. Inspired to pay it forward, she became certified as a CPR instructor and founded Living Proof CPR Training. She is now working at Action First Aid in Toronto, Ontario, educating people about the importance of 24/7 accessible life-saving AEDs.
Michael D. Herbert, BS, NRP, FFII (he/him)
Michael D. Herbert is a 20-year veteran of fire and EMS. He was a firefighter/paramedic with Leland Fire/Rescue in North Carolina, where he co-created “Firefighter Down: CPR” His passion is in education and helping others to improve their performance. Michael focuses on the complexities that hinder how we prepare, equip, and support individuals. Currently, he serves as the Prehospital Alliance Manager at RQI Partners, accountable for the Resuscitation Academy programs. Michael is a two-time State of North Carolina Office of EMS Paramedic Competition winner and a “40 under 40” recipient by the Citizen CPR Foundation.
Alex James (she/her)
For over 40 years, Alex James has worked for many organizations and agencies. Developing, creating, coordinating, presenting, and seeking to improve services for terminally ill and bereaved individuals and their families, she has worked in hospitals, hospices, critical incidents, schools, bereavement support agencies, corporates, and with the media. Her vast experience working with people has enabled her a wealth of understanding and from this, her own Human Aspects training and self-awareness courses have grown. She has worked on radio as a presenter, agony aunt, and advisor and more recently for several television media companies promoting well-being and awareness as part of the recruitment procedure for reality TV and care of all involved including participants, researchers, and journalists. She has also worked extensively throughout COVID with NHS and Health Education England advising and providing training for clinicians.
Fran Lesicko, MA, LP (she/her)
Fran Lesicko is a Minnesota Licensed Psychologist who consults and conducts training with mental health agencies. In 1992, she experienced cardiac arrest in the stairwell of her clinic with her baby, whose crying alerted staff and saved her life. Fran has been actively involved with the Minnesota Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Network since 2004 and is an admin of a 5,000-member Facebook survivor group. She coordinated a peer mentor program for cardiac arrest survivors and co-survivors. Fran also co-facilitates monthly survivor Zoom support meetings and advocates for better psychological support for all whose lives are touched by cardiac arrest.
Curt Mahoney, FF-NRP, AS (he/him)
Curt Mahoney, Fire Captain at Redondo Beach Fire Department, has been a Southern California Firefighter/Paramedic for 24 years. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire and Emergency Technology. In addition, he received his Los Angeles County Paramedic License in 2002. He has served many roles throughout his fire service career including Assistant Paramedic Coordinator, Paramedic Preceptor, Fire Training Coordinator, Primary CERT Instructor, AHA and American Red Cross CPR instructor. Curt has a passion for Leadership and CPR training. He constantly looks for opportunities to engage the public to make them aware of the value of early CPR/AED interventions. Curt was born and raised in Arizona but has called Los Angeles his home since 1994. Curt lives in the South Bay with his wife Kerry and their two children Riley and Jake.
Cindy Marchionda, BFA (she/her)
Cindy is a devoted caregiver to her husband, Michael, who survived a widow-maker heart attack and cardiac arrest in April 2018. She holds a BFA in Musical Theater from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Cindy has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in several National Tours. She is the recipient of Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award: Best Actress in a Musical. Cindy currently works as a Committee Coordinator at UBS Securities. She is excited to start her next chapter: graduate school at City University of New York (Newmark School of Journalism) where she will be studying to become an on-camera broadcast journalist.
Deborah Medina, BS, EMT, NREMT (she/her)
Debbie Medina is the Founder of CPR it Works | AED Program Solutions with the mission of saving lives through advocacy, education, strategic consulting, and distribution of AEDs. Debbie confronted cardiac arrest when her son collapsed at home. His three friends activated EMS and began CPR. A passionate advocate, Debbie frequently speaks to a broad array of groups on early detection and prevention of heart conditions in children and provides free resources to assist families in obtaining cardiac screenings and recognizing warning signs and symptoms of heart conditions. Debbie has been a spokesperson for the American Heart Association (AHA).
Minyoung Na, BS (he/him)
Minyoung Na is a highly motivated professional revolutionizing healthcare. With a Computer Science degree from Cooper Union, he excelled as a front-end developer at Witbe and now contributes to Superscript, a pioneering healthcare startup. He aims to leverage technology for a positive impact. With a strong technical foundation and a profound understanding of healthcare, Minyoung bridges the gap between technology and healthcare, creating innovative solutions that empower individuals and enhance outcomes.
Maureen O’Reilly-Landry, PhD (she/her)
Maureen O’Reilly-Landry is a psychologist and couple’s therapist with expertise in medically-induced psychological trauma. She founded the Hospital, Healthcare & Addictions work group/COVID Psychology Task Force (Trauma Division, American Psychological Association); chairs the Psychoanalysis & Healthcare Committee (Society for Psychoanalysis & Psychanalytic Psychology); co-teaches Medical Illness and Physical Suffering: A MindBody Perspective (NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis); is clinical faculty, Columbia University Psychiatry Department; and edited the book A Psychodynamic Understanding of Modern Medicine, deemed “essential reading” by Contemporary Psychotherapy. Maureen sees individuals and couples in her New York City private practice, with a personal interest in parents of medically ill children.
Danielle A. Rojas, MS (she/her)
Danielle Rojas holds a Master of Science in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Her interests include the intersection of health, memory, language, and storytelling in voiceless and marginalized populations. She is currently researching the neuropsychological impact of cardiac arrest on survivors and their family members admitted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
Kim Ruether, MRT, BSc Radiography, MA Leadership (she/her)
In 2012, Kim’s 16-year-old son, Brock, was at his school volleyball practice when he collapsed and died of cardiac arrest. Although an AED was at the gym doors and placed at his side, it was not used. Kim founded Project Brock Society in Brock’s memory, focused on awareness and management of cardiac arrest in schools. Kim advocated for emergency call taker change, resulting in ‘Brock’s Law’ which has impacted over 29,000 dispatchers around the world. She is a researcher and CPR instructor. She joined the Alberta Health Services EMS Science and Research team, which is working to collect cardiac arrest data with the aim to improve survival rates.
Kelly Sawyer, MD (she/her)
Kelly Sawyer is an Emergency Medicine physician and Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a fellowship in Emergency Cardiac Care at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011, where she developed her research niche in post-cardiac arrest care. It was her personal experience, however, that steered her interest toward cardiac arrest survivorship. She led a team of experts in the field to write the American Heart Association Scientific Statement on Cardiac Arrest Survivorship, published in 2020. This work also provided a foundation for the incorporation of recovery and rehabilitation to the 2020 AHA guidelines. Kelly continues to collaborate on international work to improve patient outcomes after cardiac arrest and increase our understanding of survivorship and recovery.
Pallav Sharda, MBBS, MS, MBA (he/him)
Pallav Sharda currently serves as the Chief Product Officer at Carrum Health, a digital health startup offering value-based care bundles. His experience spans various roles working on Electronic Health Records at GE Healthcare, Population Health Analytics at Kaiser Permanente, Health Information Exchanges at UnitedHealth Group, and Health Tech Interoperability at Omnicell. He founded and ran several health tech startups before joining Google Cloud as the Global Lead for Healthcare. Pallav taught graduate Medical Informatics at Northwestern University and authored a book on Health IT innovation and entrepreneurship. He received an MBA from Northwestern University, a master’s in medical informatics from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from Delhi University.
Natalia Skritskaya, PhD (she/her)
Natalia is a researcher at the Center for Prolonged Grief, Columbia University, and a clinical psychologist in private practice. For more than a decade Natalia has been conducting research on prolonged grief and its treatment, training clinicians in evidence-based prolonged grief therapy and directly treating people struggling with a difficult loss. She has a background in cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders with an interest in mind-body connection.
Paul Snobelen (he/him)
Paul Snobelen, a Community Resuscitation & Safety Programs Specialist with Peel Regional Paramedic Services in Ontario Canada. Paul is responsible for the local development and implementation of pre-hospital programs supporting the chain of survival after cardiac arrest. He has developed a Region-wide community accessible Public Access Defibrillation Program with over 2,000 AEDs registered and created the Lay Responder Support Program assisting those that acted to save a life. He is a Project lead for “AED on the fly” (AED Drone) and implemented Ontario’s First Volunteer Community Responder Program. Paul’s work can be found in a number of publications and is the industry leader in understanding the cognitive effects of lay-responder response. He has been involved in research with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, American Heart Association, and Canadian & American Red Cross.
Isabella Tincher, BA (she/her)
Isabella Tincher, a compassionate and ambitious professional, graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Architecture and pursued a post-baccalaureate program. A deeply personal experience occurred when her mother had an arrest in 2022, igniting Isabella’s passion for healthcare. Intent on applying to medical school, she currently leads the research studies focusing on developing and testing interventions for family members’ well-being of survivors of cardiac arrest at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. With a background in architecture and growing expertise in healthcare, Isabella aims to merge design principles with medical practices, enhancing patient experiences and advancing healthcare environments. Her empathy and dedication drive her to make a meaningful impact in the medical community.
Susan Toler Carr, PE, GRM (she/her)
Susan Toler Carr is the Co-Founder and Education Advocate for the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation (JCWWP), formed after she and her husband, Darrell, lost their only child Justin who wanted world peace. He died from cardiac arrest due to an undiagnosed heart condition during swim practice. JCWWP includes three arc platforms: Art, Heart, and Peace, promoting world peace and art through youth education, tutoring, mentorship, and scholarship programs. JCWWP provides health awareness through heart screenings, AED, and CPR training. Susan was previously a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the design and construction industry.
Christina Wagener, DNP, MBA, APRN, NPC (she/her)
Christina is the System Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Clinical Operations for Sinai Chicago. Christina is a Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner that strives to build awareness and skills in saving lives by participating both locally and nationally in advocacy work for sudden cardiac arrest. Christina is passionate about cardiac arrest and CPR awareness after a family member experienced a cardiac arrest and she provided immediate response prior to EMS arrival. Her advocacy is driven by this experience and her personal journey as a co-survivor struggling to find resources and support after participating in an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Christina lives in Chicago with her husband and three cats and in her spare time enjoys reading and playing competitive roller derby.
Jasmine Wylie, BA (she/her)
Jasmine Wylie is a grassroots online community leader with a passion for connecting people to information, resources, and each other. Lived experience as a cardiac arrest survivor living with a genetic condition (Long QT Syndrome) and an ICD has had an enormous impact on the trajectory of her life. In 2009, she survived cardiac arrest. In 2013, she became a Stanford Medicine X ePatient scholar. In 2021, she received a Citizen CPR Foundation 40 Under 40 award. Jasmine is grateful and humbled to work alongside others who care as deeply as she does about supporting people affected by cardiac arrest.