Demonstrated Leadership

Hospice of the Valley is proud to be recognized for our expertise in end-of-life medical care and support at local, regional and national levels. Our team is most accomplished.

Paula J. Alderson, President and CEO.

Alderson comes to Hospice of the Valley after serving as president of trustBridge, a healthcare company formed from the merger of Hospice by the Sea with Hospice of Palm Beach County. Previously she served as president and ceo of Hospice by the Sea, and as a member of the board of directors. Hospice by the Sea was a not-for-profit, community-based provider of hospice care, palliative care, caregiver support, bereavement counseling and home health agency services throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties in South Florida.

“Alderson’s background as a nurse, academician, Fortune 100 executive, business leader, entrepreneur and caregiver have come together in a set of skills and experiences that shape her leadership style and business philosophy,” said Jeff Strawn, Hospice of the Valley chairman of the board. “She is a visionary and tireless healthcare advocate. We are delighted to have her join Hospice of the Valley.”

“I have always viewed my leadership role as a privilege,” Alderson said. “I am delighted to be working with Hospice of the Valley during our transition to our merger with Sutter Care at Home. We look forward to expanding the continuum of care for our patients.”

For the past 10 years, Alderson led Hospice by the Sea with a focus on clinical excellence, business growth and expansion of the valuable services it provides for those in need in the community. Using creativity and leadership skills combined with many years of executive-level healthcare experience, she oversaw several innovations in hospice care, including adding palliative care services and an award-winning complementary therapies program that includes massage, reiki, healing touch and music therapies.

Alderson has an extensive background in the healthcare delivery system, having held several leadership positions on a national, regional and local level, including: president of a Fortune 100 HMO; Chief Operating Officer of a complementary healthcare company; corporate head of national initiatives; vice president of health services in the New York metro market; senior vice president of medical operations; director of regional health services; and corporate director of product development. During this time, she served on several boards and received an Outstanding Executive Leadership award.

Additionally, Alderson sits on the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association board of directors and the membership committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Jim Ptak, chief financial officer, has presented at national educational forums on achieving financial strength in hospice care organizations. Jim also serves on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association work group.

Neal Slatkin, MD, DABPM, vice-president of medical services and chief medical officer, and neurologist, pain and palliative care physician, oversees a team of hospice physicians and guides the overall direction of all medical programs. He was recognized by Castle-Connolly as one of America’s Top Doctors in Cancer for 2007, 2008 and 2009, ranked among the 25 best cancer doctors in America, acknowledging his work in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in adults and children. He is a coveted speaker at national and international conferences related to palliative care and hospice. Prior to joining Hospice of the Valley, Dr. Slatkin was the director of supportive care, pain and palliative medicine and a professor in the department of neurology at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, CA, where he served as prinicipal investigator for numerous clinical drug studies exploring new treatment options for pain and other symptoms arising from cancer and diabetes mellitus. He was also the founding chair of City of Hope’s Institutional Bioethics Committee and served as an expert reviewer for the Medical Board of California. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with subspecialty certification in pain management; Diplomate of the American Board of Pain Medicine; and a Diplomate of the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Chaplain Pam Nates is a member of the Santa Clara Medical Association Ethics Committee.

Karen Nolan, RN, Clinical Outreach Manager, is a member of the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association Board of Directors representing Region 5.

Jamie Van Zanen, MSW, and Connie Kay, MSW, are trainers for the Santa Clara Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Coalition.

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