Our Board


Terry M. Perlin, Ph.D

President
Terry M. Perlin serves as Consultant in Medical Ethics at The Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati. He is Emeritus Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Research Fellow at Scripps Gerontology Center, having been a faculty member at Miami University in Ohio from 1975-2009. He has held teaching and research positions at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; Wright State University School of Medicine; and the University of California, San Francisco. Terry received his B.A. in History, magna cum laude, from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History of Ideas from Brandeis University. For ten years he was Ethics Consultant for the American Association of Blood Banks. Terry is the author of Clinical Medical Ethics: Cases In Practice and trains hospital ethics committees in case consultation.

Peter J. Strauss, JD

Treasurer
Peter J. Strauss practices trusts and estate law and has a special interest in issues involving the rights of persons with respect to health care treatment at the end of life. He has been included in The Best Lawyers in America (2007 to 2014) and in New York Super Lawyers – Metro Edition (2007 to 2015). Best Lawyers named him “New York City Elder Law Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. Peter is Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School, and director of the Guardianship Clinic, which he founded in 2003. He has written articles for many professional publications, including the New York Law Journal. Peter earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Bowdoin College.

Agapi Ermides, DO

Director
Dr. Agapi Ermides is a trained anesthesiologist who has worked in NYC and surrounding areas since 2008. In 2022 she completed specialty training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and transitioned to hospice medicine full time in Albany, NY. Her holistic approach to healing led her to pursue energy work years ago, and she holds Reiki and Medical Reiki Master certifications. Throughout her career she has also been involved with several international humanitarian efforts, most recently the Refugee crisis in 2017 in Greece. Dr. Ermides has had a long-standing interest for end-of-life work, pursuing end-of-life doula training in 2019. She facilitated virtual death cafes at the onset of Covid-19, to lessen the traumatic impact on people, including fellow healthcare workers. She is a passionate advocate for raising death awareness and acceptance, and engages in conversations on various online platforms. In the future, she envisions running a non-profit where she is able to help people who are isolated and of marginalized communities, have access to a dignified death. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, live music and dancing, yoga and meditation, baking bread and cooking with friends at home.

Melody Madera, MS, MPH, HACP, PHNA-BC

Director
Melody Madera was born in Washington Heights, New York City, and raised in Yonkers, NY. She is a first-generation Dominican American Registered Nurse Certified in Advanced Public Health Nursing and a Healthcare Accreditation Certified Professional. Melody has over 15 years of experience as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the public health and hospital setting including direct patient care, continuous quality improvement, regulatory activity, health education, and healthcare management. Melody holds a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and a Bachelor of Nursing Science from The State University of New York at Binghamton. In 2012 she graduated with a dual Master’s Degree in Community Health Education and Public Health Nursing (MS/MPH) from Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), Bellevue School of Nursing, and School of Public Health. Melody began her professional nursing career in 2007 at VNS Health (Formerly Known as Visiting Nurse Service of New York). In 2017 Melody joined NewYork Presbyterian Westchester Hospital (formerly known as NewYork Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital), as the Assistant Director of Regulatory Activity. She remained in the regulatory department until 2020 when she joined Lawrence Community Health Services as the Executive Director. As the Executive Director of Lawrence Community Health Services, she oversees business and clinical operations for Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care, Lawrence Home Care of Westchester, and the Bereavement Center of Westchester. In 2022, Melody was recognized by the Business Council of Westchester as a 40 under 40 Raising Star honoree chosen based on her professional accomplishments, professional affiliations, and demonstrated leadership. Melody is an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), founder and board member of the NAHN Westchester Chapter, an Advisory Board Member for Gorton High School's Academy of Medical Professions, and a Yonkers Partner in Education (YPIE) mentor.

Robin Plumer, DO

Director
Dr. Robin Plumer practiced emergency medicine in New Jersey for over 30 years. In 2008 she moved to New Zealand, where she continued to work in emergency medicine, but she also pursued her interest in end of life care by working in several hospices and completing a postgraduate diploma in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the University of Auckland. In 2017 she returned to the US to help care for her father, who had Parkinson’s disease. She served in both inpatient and community hospice settings in New Jersey for 4 years. Following the passage of NJ’s medical aid in dying (MAID) law in 2019, she pursued intensive study of the field by collaborating with experienced MAID clinicians in California, Washington state, and Oregon. In July of 2020 she started a practice devoted to MAID with a former nurse colleague who shares her passion for intensely personalized and comprehensive patient care. Since starting their practice, they have attended over 150 MAID deaths, and have become proficient in managing special situations. Dr. Plumer serves as an on call doctor for ACAMAID (Academy of Aid in Dying) to provide realtime advice to clinicians nationwide who have questions about MAID. She is passionate in encouraging those in the medical community who wish to become involved in MAID by mentoring and teaching.

Kristen Karlberg, MPH, Ph.D

Director
Kristen Karlberg is a medical sociologist at Purchase College SUNY where her work focuses on the life course and ageing. Her education includes a BS in Biology, MPH in preventive medicine and biometrics and a PhD in Sociology from UCSF. Her research interests lie at the intersection of medicine, genetics, technologies, gender and the internet.
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