Paul Cox is a Marine veteran, serving from 1968-1972, with 18 months in Vietnam as an infantryman. Paul has returned to Vietnam four times since 2008 to help inform his advocacy for the United States to assist the Vietnamese in eliminating the continuing deadly legacies of the war—unexploded ordnance (UXO) and Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) contamination. He also advocates for aid to the children of AO-exposed U.S. Vietnam veterans. Paul believes that comprehensive, integrated care is integral to veterans health and wellness. He proudly uses the Veterans Health Administration.
He has related his Vietnam War experiences to thousands of high school and college students around the United States. He is a member of the American Legion Post 315 and is the Chair of the American Legion War Memorial Commission working to preserve veterans’ access to the SF Veterans Building. He is also a founder of Veterans For Peace Chapter 69 and Hoa Binh (Vietnam) Chapter 160. He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5888. Paul is a licensed civil engineer thanks to the GI Bill.
Suzanne Gordon is an award-winning journalist and author. She has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, The BMJ, and others. She is the co-editor of the Culture and Politics of Health Care Work series at Cornell University Press.
Suzanne is the author or co-author of 12 books including Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines, Beyond the Checklist: What Else Healthcare Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety. Her latest book is The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care. Her book on the Veterans Health Administration, Wounds of War, will be released by Cornell Press in October 2018.
Suzanne is the co-editor of eight books, including Collaborative Caring: Stories and Reflections on Teamwork in Healthcare (January 2015), edited with David L. Feldman and Michael Leonard and First Do Less Harm: Confronting Inconvenient Problems in Patient Safety, edited with Ross Koppel (May 2012). She is co-author of From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public. She recently edited When Chicken Soup Isn’t Enough: Stories of Nurses Standing Up For Themselves, Their Patients and Their Profession.
Suzanne is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the UCSF School of Nursing and an Affiliated scholar with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s Wilson Centre. With Lisa Hayes, she has written a play about patient safety and teamwork entitled Bedside Manners.
Ian Hoffmann is a longtime political and labor activist and organizer. Originally from New York City, he graduated from John Jay College, City University of New York, with degrees in Criminal justice and Government. He later earned a Master's degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
After working on many electoral campaigns at the local and state level, Ian joined the labor movement as an organizer with legendary union activist and strategist Ray Rogers and his firm Corporate Campaign, Inc., working with various labor union clients.
Since March 2015, Ian has been a Legislative and Political Organizer with the American Federation of Government Employees, (AFGE, AFL-CIO), the largest union of federal employees in the country. In the Veterans Administration, AFGE represents 230,000 VA doctors, nurses, psychologists, benefits specialists, and other workers.
Lou Kern is a Vietnam combat veteran. He was at the Siege of Khe Sahn and he ran deep recon patrols with 3rd Force Recon Co, USMC. He completed college after his military service and opened a custom wood shop. Lou specialized in grand staircases, although is now a a semi-retired master craftsman.
Russell B. Lemle, PhD, is the VA-Community Care Workgroup Lead for the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders (AVAPL) and is Clinical Professor, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical School, Department of Psychiatry. From 1981 to 2018, he worked at the San Francisco VA Healthcare System, the last 25 years serving as the Chief Psychologist. He obtained his doctorate from SUNY at Buffalo in 1979, his pre-doctoral internship at UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Lemle has been widely recognized for his contributions to the delivery of veterans’ healthcare, including 2005 APA Presidential Citation, 2011 APA Division 18 Harold Hildreth Award, 2013 Association of VA Psychologist Leaders’ Antonette Zeiss Distinguished Career Award and 2016 AVAPL Patrick DeLeon Advocacy Award. In 2017, the AVAPL Russell B. Lemle Leadership Award was established in his honor for those who promote leadership development to improve mental health care for veterans. He has presented at the Commission on Care, authored numerous testimonies that were entered into the official record of Congressional Committees on Veterans Affairs hearings, and published scientific articles demonstrating the downstream devastation to veterans that will occur if VHA healthcare is expanded rapidly into the community.
Diane Reppun served 30 years of combined active and reserve service in the United States Army. Starting as a personnel officer, she was soon re-trained during the beginning stages of desktop and mini-computer operations, as an Information Technology Officer. She rolled out the first encrypted desktop computers in Military Intelligence in Germany in the 1980s. Upon transitioning from Active Duty, she worked for a Silicon Valley Tech company for a few years before starting her own business as a consultant to law firms on hardware and software technology. During this time her Reserve Duty was with the 91st Division Battle Command Simulations Brigade where she conducted simulated battle exercises for Battalion and Brigade Staff Officers throughout the western region.
In 2009 she was called up and again re-trained, this time as a Civil Affairs Officer; and was immediately deployed to Iraq in a Functional Specialty Team working for the Multi-National Corps, Iraq. She was responsible for gathering and reporting to the Corps and Forces Commanders the status of Civilian operations such as Electricity and Oil Production, Healthcare Services, and Political activity. She was awarded a Bronze Star for her service in Iraq.
Diane attended San Francisco State University and earned a Masters’ Degree in Physical Education in 1982; upon re-deployment from Iraq, she again attended San Francisco State University and earned a Masters’ Degree in Instructional Technology in 2012.
In 2013 she started working for a VA Community Based Outreach Clinic in San Jose, and then transferred to the San Francisco VA when a position in Education became available. She was responsible for the administration of the Graduate Medical Education Office, overseeing some 900 residents and fellows who rotate at the VA during their training at the University of California San Francisco Medical School.
Diane retired from the VA in March 2018 and is concentrating on veterans health care issues as one of the founding members of Fighting for Veterans Healthcare, now Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute.
Joan Zweben, Ph.D., is an addiction psychologist, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California. She recently retired as Executive Director of the East Bay Community Recovery Project, community-based treatment program she founded in 1989 for people with co-occurring disorders. She was also the founder and Executive Director at the 14th Clinic, an opioid treatment program in Oakland, California from 1979-2007. Joan has been a San Francisco VA Medical Center employee since 1974, spending 10 percent of her time at its facilities.
As a community-based provider and VA employee, Joan has seen the power of integrated healthcare services. Unlike her experience working in the VA, Joan had to assemble services piecemeal to create a comprehensive program for the clients of her non-profit organization. Joan provides teaching and supervision at conferences and and in the community in assessment and treatment of substance abuse problems to mental health professionals, physicians, and staff in substance abuse treatment settings. She is also active consulting and writing.