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Susan Frampton

Susan's Bio:
As the President of Planetree, a non-profit organization, Frampton works with a growing network of hospitals and health centers around the world that have implemented Planetree’s unique patient-centered model of care. Prior to her work with Planetree, she spent over twenty years at several hospitals in the New England area. Her work focused on community education, wellness and prevention, planning, and development of integrative medicine service lines. Frampton received her undergraduate training at Rutgers University, and both masters and doctoral degrees in medical anthropology from the University of Connecticut. She has numerous publications, the most recent including a series on patient-centered care in the American Journal of Nursing, and the newly released edited collection Putting Patients First, Second Edition (Jossey-Bass Publishing, 2008). The first edition of Putting Patients First (Jossey-Bass Publishing, 2003) won the ACHE Hamilton Book of the Year Award in 2004. In addition to speaking internationally on culture change, patient-centered design, and health care consumerism, Frampton has presented keynotes on designing patient-centered practices in acute care, continuing care, and ambulatory medicine settings for the  Healthcare Design Symposium, Veterans Health Administration and WHO. She was  invited in May 2009 by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health and the International Medical Center in Jeddah to present the keynote address at the “Paradigm Shift in Healthcare” symposium. She was recently appointed to The Joint Commission’s Expert Advisory Panel on culturally competent patient-centered care standards, the National Quality Forum’s Care Coordination Steering Team, and the Institute of Medicine’s review panel for their up-coming publication on integrative medicine.

Sara Guastello

Sara's Bio:
Sara Guastello is Planetree’s Manager of Designation and Resource Development. In this role, she coordinates the Patient-Centered Hospital Designation program that formally recognizes hospitals that are effectively identifying and responding to the full range of patient, family and staff needs. As part of the project team that developed the Patient-Centered Care Improvement Guide, Sara visited patient-centered hospitals across the United States to capture best practices in patient-centered care, and compiled the findings of a comprehensive analysis of patient focus group data to distinguish recurring themes that reflect the reality of the patient experience. With a background in development, Sara also partners with Planetree affiliates’ development offices and foundations to help them secure philanthropic support of their efforts to provide patient-centered care in healing environments. Sara previously served as Major Gifts Officer for the Griffin Hospital Development Fund, and coordinated the employee division of a $5.5 million capital campaign that resulted in employee giving that surpassed giving to all previous hospital campaigns, and with more than 50% of employees participating, well exceeded national benchmarks for employee giving levels in hospitals. Sara received her bachelor’s degree in communication from American University in Washington, D.C.

Carrie Brady

Carrie's Bio:
Carrie Brady, Planetree’s Vice President, Quality, collaborates with policymakers and other partners to develop and implement strategies to promote patient-centered care. Carrie’s specific responsibilities include assisting Planetree affiliates in advancing patient-centered approaches to quality and patient safety, promoting effective utilization of HCAHPS, and coordinating the development and implementation of Planetree’s new patient-centered designation process. Before joining Planetree, Carrie spent several years as a Vice President of the Connecticut Hospital Association, where she was responsible for assisting hospitals in complying with statutory, regulatory, and accreditation requirements governing patient care delivery, advocating for hospitals with state and national organizations, and developing innovative collaborative initiatives in quality, patient safety, and public reporting. Carrie has served on several state and national committees, including the National Quality Forum (NQF) Review Committee for Hospital CAHPS, the NQF Serious Reportable Events Maintenance Committee, and is a member of the National CAHPS Benchmarking Database Advisory Group and AHRQ’s TalkingQuality Editorial Board. Carrie received a J.D. and combined M.A/B.A in Sociology from Northwestern University, and was a 2005-2006 Patient Safety Leadership Fellow.


Funded by the Picker Institute, the Picker/Planetree Fellowship was created as an opportunity to
engage health care professionals with first-hand experience implementing patient-centered care
in the development of this Improvement Guide. The three fellows were selected from among the
most accomplished patient-centered hospitals in the country, as evidenced by their having been
awarded Planetree‘s Patient-Centered Hospital Designation. The 2008 Picker/Planetree Fellows

Maria Hale

Maria's Bio:
Maria Hale is Vice President of Patient Advocacy and Patient Centered Support Services at Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) in Mount Kisco, NY, a 233-bed community hospital, awarded the prestigious recognition of Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital. With more than 10 years of healthcare experience in both an academic medical center and a community hospital setting, Hale has a variety of experience in healthcare administration and project management. Currently, her areas of focus include patient advocacy, ethics consultation and end of life decision making, and operational leadership of integrative medicine, food and nutrition services, patient transport and volunteer services.
In 2007, Hale was selected as the recipient of a national Patient-Centered fellowship, awarded by the Picker Institute and Planetree. Additionally, Hale has more than 10 years of Human Resources and Training Development experience working for two of the world's premier hotel companies, The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Susan Bennett Smith

Susan's Bio:
Susan Bennett Smith is Director of Staff Development at Fauquier Health in Warrenton, Virginia. Susan is also the Planetree Initiatives Coordinator. Fauquier Hospital, an 86-bed community hospital, has been a Planetree affiliate since 1999 and became a Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital in 2007. The Planetree designation process provided many opportunities for the Education Department to play a tremendous role in the cultural transformation. Educating all staff, volunteers and physicians on the Planetree philosophy, developing the curriculum for the various level retreats, maintaining employee engagement through organizational leadership development are all functions that help cultivate the patient-centered care philosophy. Publication and presentations include, “Facilitating Change in a Complex Organization” Nursing Administration Quarterly (Winter 1999); “Inspiration: A System Quality Award Recognizing Performance and Service Poster Presentation, AONE, (March 1999); “Product-line Management Effects Data Driven Outcomes,” Poster presentation (Chicago, 1995); “From Manager to Leader, Controller to Facilitator: A Changing Role for the Nurse Manager,” Nursing Spectrum (Oct. 1994, Vol. 4, No. 22). Smith has over 25 years of healthcare experience. Her previous roles included Director of Accreditation and Performance Improvement, Director of Cardiology Services and Director of Recruitment for a large healthcare system. She has a BS in Nursing and MS in Nursing Administration from George Mason University.

Susan Stone, PhD, RN

Susan's Bio:
Susan Stone is currently the Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operations Officer at Sharp Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center in Coronado, California. As a member of the Executive Team at Coronado Hospital, Ms. Stone provides leadership, assists with the business/planning, marketing and operational management for their 204-bed full service community hospital. She is responsible for over 450 employees, and oversees the multi-unit operational budget and revenue for the clinical departments.

She is at the forefront of motivating the business community and hospital-wide system in recognizing Sharp Coronado as a Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital and leader in patient-centered care and patient safety. Ms. Stone has over eighteen years of leadership experience within healthcare organization. She has been recognized for outcome-based national, county, community, system and hospital-wide program development. She is a strong business executive with financial management/business-strategic planning, marketing, quality customer service orientation and excellent public speaking skills. She has an undergraduate degree in Nursing, a Master's Degree as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, and a Ph.D. in Nursing, from the University of San Diego, School of Nursing. Susan is a dedicated Executive and Team Member who fosters leadership at the front line, in both nursing and health management. She is a visionary who consistently facilitates developmental goals to increase and maintain high patient, physician and employee satisfaction, and improvement in outpatient and inpatient customer service. Through the presentation best practices, accompanied with diligent communication and innovative ideas, Susan and the Executive Team at Coronado Hospital have moved this small community-centered hospital to be nationally recognized as a leader in patient care.