Board of Directors

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation Board:

Dianne Gray
– Board President


Dianne Gray is the President of Hospice and Healthcare Communications, (, an international firm focused on creating and furthering advocacy projects and education/communications initiatives involving all aspects of end-of-life and palliative care.

Dianne is a nationally recognized speaker, award winning writer/journalist, film producer, master collaborator and project director.  She is also a passionate advocate for improved communication and care for seriously ill patients, their families and the loved ones they leave behind.

In addition to being the President of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, Dianne also participates on the boards of International Children’s Palliative Care Network and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Pediatric Leadership Council. She is also the co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Parent Advisory Group. Over the past twenty years, she has founded four non-profit organizations, each focused on improving life for seriously ill children and their families.

She is currently producing a documentary on end of life care for PBS and is collaborating with other major media partners and hospice professionals to produce a wide array films, books and other exciting projects. Dianne is an intrepid traveler who enjoys connecting people everywhere. Over the past several years, she’s worked, hiked, adventured, and/or presented in 17 countries and over 100 cities.

Wherever she goes, Dianne also sits beside with the ill and the dying, and still sees her family’s ten year pediatric hospice/palliative care experience with her son, Austin, (who died in February 2005) as the gift of a lifetime.


Ken Ross – Founder and Board Member

Ken RossKen Ross, son of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is the founder of the EKR Foundation (2006) and former President (2006-2013) and currently serves as Vice-President. He also served on the board of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Center from 1989-2005. Ken was the principal care provider for his mother in the last 9 years of her life until her passing in 2004.

His responsibilities included handling over 80 publishers of Dr. Ross’s work, public relations, copyright & trademark issues, maintaining the website, archiving her video and audio recordings, as well as preserving her research papers. While growing up, he traveled with her extensively while on her numerous foreign trips witnessing her lectures and workshops. Ken has made a series of lectures on his mother’s legacy for hospices and various conferences around the USA, Argentina, Japan, Mexico, & The Netherlands since 2009.

A professional photographer by trade, he has photographed 95 countries towards his goal of 101.

Author, Real Taste of Life: A Journal by Ken Ross and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, 2002

Tea with Elisabeth by: Ken Ross, Fern Stewart Welch, and Rose Winters, 2009


Stephen Connor, PhD – Board Member

Stephen Connor

Stephen R. Connor, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the London, UK based Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), an alliance of national and regional hospice and palliative care organizations worldwide. After serving for 11 years in the leadership of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (US), he is now focusing on palliative care development internationally with the WHPCA. He also serves as Senior Research Fellow to Capital Caring in the Washington Area.

Dr Connor has worked continuously in the hospice/palliative care movement since 1976, as the CEO of four different US hospice programs, and has been a consultant surveyor for the Joint Commission. In addition to being a hospice and association executive, he is a researcher, advocate, and psychotherapist, licensed as a clinical psychologist in California and Kentucky. Dr Connor’s areas of research interest in palliative care include: bereavement, denial in the terminally ill, outcome and performance measurement, and evidence based care for the dying. He has chaired the board of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, & Bereavement, is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Palliative Care Research Center, and serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. For the last 14 years Dr. Connor has been working on palliative care development internationally in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin American. Dr Connor has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles, reviews, & book chapters on issues related to palliative care for patients and their families and is the author of Hospice: Practice, Pitfalls, and Promise (1998), Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide (2009), and co-editor of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life (2013), a joint WHO and WHPCA publication.


  • 36 years experience in the field of hospice and palliative care
  • 22 years as a hospice chief executive
  • 15 years experience as an organizational consultant
  • 12 years experience in psychological clinical practice
  • 10 years experience as an association executive
  • Author of Hospice: Practice, Pitfalls, and Promise (1998), Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide (2009) and over 80 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters on issues related to palliative care.


Joan Marston – Board Member

Joan Marston is based in South Africa and is presently an International Children’s Palliative Care Consultant with PaCCHI – Palliative Care for Children a Humanitarian Imperative; also ICPCN Global Ambassador for Children’s Palliative Care and Director of Education and Development for Sunflower Children’s Hospice in South Africa.

Joan’s background is in Nursing and Social Science and she has 22 years experience in palliative care for children – caring for children when the Executive Director of Bloemfontein Hospice and then founding the Sunflower Children’s Hospice in 1998 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, as well a regional network for life-limited children, the St Nicholas Bana Pele Network, in 2009. As the national pediatric development manager for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, from 2007 – 2010 Joan and her team developed a strategy for a national network of services , promoting the considerable growth of the number of children’s palliative care services for children in South Africa . During that time she was the Project Manager for a program to develop children’s palliative care Beacon centers in Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.

In 2005 colleagues from 15 countries established the International Children’s Palliative Care Network, with Joan as the first Chairperson from 2005 – 2010, then become the first CEO from 2010- October 2016. The ICPCN now has membership in over 100 countries.

Joan was part of the group that developed the new Guidelines for Persisting Pain in Children, as well as Guidelines for Disclosure in Children, for WHO.

Married to Richard with two adult children living in the UK, and an active member of the Anglican Church, Joan is a Lay Minister in the Cathedral in Bloemfontein; and an Honorary Lay Canon of Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire, England.

A committed advocate for children’s right to palliative care and pain relief, Joan believes that this can be achieved worldwide when people share knowledge and resources, and work together to expand access to palliative care for all children.


M. R. Rajagopal, MD – Board Member


Dr. M.R. Rajagopal was born in Trivandrum in Kerala, India and graduated from Trivandrum Medical College. He did his post-graduation in Anesthesiology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. While working as Professor and Head of Anesthesiology in Calicut Medical College, he with his colleagues founded the Pain and Palliative Care Society in 1003 offering free pain management and palliative care to poor patients. In 1995, this was declared a WHO demonstration project and grew to the present Institute of Palliative Medicine with a network of over 100 palliative care centers in the state of Kerala. This initiative resulted in palliative care reaching about 40% of the needy in Kerala compared to the national average of less than 1%.

Currently, he is the director of the WHO Collaborating Center at Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences and the founder-chairman of “Pallium India”, a trust that he founded to improve access to palliative care in India, focusing on balancing increased coverage with improved quality. His initiative has also led to the development of a Government policy on Palliative Care in the state of Kerala in 2008.

He also works with the WHO Collaborating Center at Pain and Policy Studies Group (PPSG) in Madison-Wisconsin and with the Access to Essential Medicines program of WHO, to remove regulatory barriers in availability of oral morphine for pain relief. Over a 15 year period, this resulted in simplification of narcotic regulations in 17 of India’s 28 states.

Dr. Rajagopal is a life time advisor to the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and is the vice chairman of Asia Pacific Hospice Network (APHN). He is a member of the International Experts’ Committee of the WHO Collaborating Center at Madison-Wisconsin. He is also an Associate faculty member of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at San Diego, USA. He is on the editorial board of several international journals and has authored/edited two textbooks, several book chapters (including Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine) and more than 30 publications in scientific journals.

The New York Times ( wrote an article which described his work in 2007. In 2008, the International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency honored him at Philadelphia with the Marie Nyswander Award for his contributions to the field of pain management. In 2010, International Association for Study of Pain (IASP) honored him with its award for excellence in pain management in developing countries, at the World Pain Congress at Montreal. He was also the recipient of the Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award for Public Health of 2012.


Barbara Rothweiler, Ph.D, ABPP – Board Member

Barbara RothweilerDr. Rothweiler, daughter of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross MD, is a licensed psychologist, with board certification in neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology.  In addition to conducting neuropsychological evaluations, she provides consultation liaison services, specializing in medical rehabilitation, but also hospital wide, including palliative care and hospice.  She serves on the Aspirus Wausau Hospital Bioethics Committee and the Medical Staff Support Committee.  She is a member of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, International Neuropsychological Society, National Academy of Neuropsychology, American Psychological Association, and the Wisconsin Psychological Association.  She also serves as board member of Mount Sinai Congregation.


J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD – Board Member

  • Don Schmacher - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation BoardJ. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, has almost 40 years of progressively responsible experience in hospice and palliative care administration. Since 2002, he has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). In 2003, he was appointed as the President and CEO of NHPCO’s affiliated organization, the National Hospice Foundation. He became the President of FHSSA in 2004 (currently known as Global Partners in Care) and President of the Hospice Action Network, formerly known as The Alliance for Care at the End of Life in 2007. Dr. Schumacher reported directly to the Board of Directors as the key executive responsible for operations of the NHPCO and its three affiliated organizations.
    A globally recognized authority on hospice and palliative care, Dr. Schumacher has been active throughout his career as a member and officer of various industry organizations. He has also served as an expert, strategic planning consultant to individual hospice and palliative care programs and state associations throughout the U.S. An active public speaker, Dr. Schumacher has presented domestically and internationally on topics such as strategic planning for hospices, palliative care policy development and clinical guidelines for HIV.
    Dr. Schumacher is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and Massachusetts and holds a doctorate degree in psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Boston, Massachuse:s. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he earned his M.S. degree in counseling psychology.