Our Team

Ayana Woods, MPH

Executive Director
Pronouns: she/her


Ayana Woods has a BA in Sociology and African American studies from Princeton University and a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina. She is a public health professional with 20 years of experience in developing health education and outreach programs to promote wellness, successful management of chronic illness, and patient empowerment. She served as the Director of Education for the National Hemophilia Foundation and worked with the CDC as a Principal Investigator to launch the largest online resource for people with bleeding disorders.

Read more

Lillian Mehran, MPH, CHES

Director of Education and Outreach
Pronouns: she/her


Lillian Mehran has over a decade of experience in public health, including community outreach and needs assessments, program development and implementation, and ethical oversight of research studies. Her work has served diverse populations including solo seniors, LGBTQIA+ patients, individuals with chronic health conditions, intimate partner violence survivors, and older adults in under-served communities.

She has worked with a variety of organizations including academic medical centers, colleges, community health centers, advocacy groups, research foundations, and national professional organizations (including serving as the Program Chair of the American Public Health Association Ethics Section). She has a BA in Psychology and Women’s/Gender Studies and a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist, and is a PhD candidate at the CUNY School of Public Health, focusing her dissertation on end of life healthcare experiences in diverse communities.

Judith Schwarz, PhD

Clinical Director
Pronouns: she/her


Judith Schwarz is an expert on ethical issues relating to patient self-determination and informed end of life decision-making. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed professional journals. Judith is a nationally recognized expert on the option of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) as a means for capacitated and suffering patients to control the circumstances and timing of death. She has spoken at local and state nursing conferences, and in 2014 she co-presented a workshop about VSED at the Management and Leadership Conference of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Program. She earned a PhD in nursing research from New York University, a MSN from Lehman College, and an RN from St. Luke’s School of Nursing.

Priyanha Nadanasabesan, MPH

Program and Development Manager
Pronouns: she/they


Priyanha Nadanasabesan Priyanha Nadanasabesan is a recent graduate of the CUNY School of Public Health with an MPH in Community Health. Her passions include pursuing collective liberation at all levels and creating new systems that are led by and center minoritized communities. As a first-generation Sri Lankan American, Priyanha’s lived experiences have made her feel very personally connected to the project of creating expansive healthcare options that are culturally affirming and diverse. This includes understanding the intersecting and complex factors that affect how individuals experience end of life options and care. Prior to pursuing her Masters, Priyanha worked in both private public health consulting and nonprofit environments. Her personal hobbies include creating art that reimagines the first-generation experience, connecting with like-minded individuals on their spiritual interests, and attending many stand-up comedy shows in NYC.

David C. Leven, JD

Senior Consultant
Pronouns: he/his


David C. Leven was the Executive Director of End of Life Choices New York from 2002 until July 1, 2016. A leading advocate for patients and an expert on advance care planning, patient rights, palliative care and end-of- life issues, David has played a key role in having legislation introduced and enacted in New York to improve pain, palliative and end-of- life care, including the Palliative Care Information Act. David lectures frequently to diverse professional groups, students and the general public, and is a regular guest lecturer at College of New Rochelle School of Nursing and Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. A graduate of the University of Rochester and Syracuse University College of Law, he is the recipient of numerous awards including the Public Interest Law Award of the New York State Bar Association, Public Interest Law Committee.