PSC Partners is fortunate to have a very talented and motivated group of people serving on its Board of Directors. Our board members come from a rich variety of backgrounds and experiences and are united by our common cause to find a cure for PSC.
Click the names below to expand each item and read more about our board members.
Ricky Safer - CEO
After having led the life of a health nut for decades, Ricky Safer was shocked to receive her PSC diagnosis in 2003, and then to discover that there was little accurate information or support available for PSC patients. Still reeling from her recent diagnosis, Ricky decided she didn’t want to wait around to see if things would improve. In 2004, with the help of her family, her hepatologist (Dr. Everson) and two friends from the support group (Lee Bria and David Rhodes), Ricky founded PSC Partners Seeking A Cure. Ricky’s years of volunteering with CCFA locally and nationally and her position on the board of the Donor Awareness Council provided her with the background to get PSC Partners Seeking a Cure off the ground. Ricky has served on the Nutritional Panel for CCFA, and also received the CCFA Sigman award.
Ricky feels extremely lucky to have her family as her loyal support group and constant helpers. One of her greatest joys is spending time with her family—her husband (Don), daughter and son-in-law (Elissa and Steven), son and daughter-in-law (Adam and Sue), and grandkids (Sam, Lily, Rowan and Hudson). She enjoys her role as CEO of PSC Partners, and continues to be passionate about finding a cure for PSC, and making life better for all PSCers. In Ricky’s other life, she taught foreign languages and provided cross-cultural training at the University of Denver. Ricky received her B.A. in French with honors from the University of Michigan, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Ricky can be reached at email@example.com.
Fred Sabernick - Chair
Fred Sabernick was diagnosed with PSC in 2004, and upon becoming symptomatic he attended his first PSC Partners Conference in 2009. He quickly bonded with the people and organization of PSC Partners, and credits the friendship and support he received for helping manage his disease. After worsening health he received a liver transplant in 2012.
He volunteered with PSC Partners in a number of roles before joining the Board, and has previously volunteered in adult literacy education and as a youth hockey referee. He holds a MSEE from the University of Florida and has been employed in the electronics and computer industry for over thirty-five years, and has traveled extensively both in North America and overseas. He enjoys running, woodworking, and trying (failing) to keep up with current technology, and has called the Atlanta, GA area home since 1997.
Monica Walters Crowley - Vice-Chair
Monica Walters Crowley is the Director of Communications and Compliance for Central Health, the Travis County Healthcare District, which is dedicated to providing access to high quality, innovative health care to vulnerable residents in Travis County, Texas. Monica is an attorney who has prosecuted white collar fraud cases at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and the Texas State Securities Board. She is a mother to Lilly and wife to John and a member of the Austin College alumni board and the Balcones Council CampFire Advisory.
Joanne Hatchett - Secretary
Joanne Hatchett, RN, FNP, ACHPN, has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Woodland Clinic Medical Group since 1995, caring for adult and geriatric patients in the clinic, hospital, and skilled nursing facilities. Joanne is a strong advocate for advance care planning and patient and family education. In 2013, Joanne was recognized by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California with the first Compassionate Care Innovator Award.
Her previous nursing experiences include staff and leadership positions in adult and neonatal intensive care units. She served on the Board of Directors of River Oak Center for Children for 8 years and on the Yolo County Commission on Aging for 5 years.
Shortly after her son’s diagnosis with PSC in 2006, Joanne attended her first PSC Partners Conference in Pittsburgh. The goals of PSC Partners, patient and caregiver education and support, and fund raising for PSC research, were so evident during this conference. Since then, Joanne and her husband Steve have welcomed the opportunity to volunteer and be a part of the PSC Partners family.
Joanne graduated from San Francisco State University with a BSN in 1978. She received both her MSN as a Cardiopulmonary Clinical Nurse Specialist in 1983, and a Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s certification in 1995 from the University of California, San Francisco.
Jennifer Sims - Treasurer
Jennifer Sims had never heard of PSC until the day her son was diagnosed in 2011. From that day forward, she has poured her heart and soul into taking care of her son and learning more about PSC. Jennifer’s first experience with PSC Partners was at the annual conference in 2014. She was immediately drawn to the organization and its mission to find a cure for PSC.
Jennifer earned her BBA in Accounting from Baylor University and is a CPA. She is an estate planning specialist who helps donors maximize their charitable gifts to their favorite organizations. Jennifer and her husband, Scott, live in Colorado with their two children.
Stuart Barnett was diagnosed with PSC in 2013. After his wife Debra quickly and easily found PSC Partners on Facebook he was amazed at the abundance of information and support that helped him cope with this mysterious disease. He attended his first conference in New Haven in 2016 and found the welcome amazing and comforting. That welcome never died down the entire conference and he and Debra left knowing that there was more to be done to help this cause and wanted to be involved immediately.
Stu graduated the University of Albany in NY in 1998 with a degree in Economics and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) and VP- Sr. Financial Consultant for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. He has 20 years of experience in the financial industry. When he is not helping people with their finances he is spending time with his 3 kids Jadon, Kaila and Emma (aka Little Red), and his wife Debra on Long Island where they live.
Rachel Gomel’s commitment to PSC Partners began in 2008 when she attended the Jacksonville conference. Rachel holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Her Ph.D. work at McGill University was cross-disciplinary (in Philosophy of History, Comparative Literature, and Literary Criticism) and earned her three Canada Council awards. She left McGill University shortly after her third child was born.
She has been involved in many community projects and in teaching literature. She was on the board of the Atwater Children Libraries that serve underprivileged sections of Montreal. During her eleven years as volunteer and four years as head of the local YMCA Advisory Board, she ran a youth swim team, organized self-help workshops and conference series for the public. Rachel organized city-wide running races to bring awareness and funds to the special needs of single moms with special-need children. Over the years, she has advised and mentored many college-bound young people. Her husband, three children and their families are the center of her life.
Joanne Grieme lives in Pittsburgh, PA and has been an active volunteer with PSC Partners since attending the first PSC Partners conference in 2005. Her son was diagnosed at the age of 15 with PSC in 2001 and has had 4 liver transplants.
Joanne has worked with her husband in the family business in the aviation industry for over 20 years, but is most fulfilled with her volunteer work helping others and raising awareness for PSC. She has also served on the Board of Directors for other liver organizations in the Pittsburgh area.
Wes Hendrix lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and children. They have been active with PSC Partners since 2013, when his wife was diagnosed with PSC.
Wes is the Chief of the Appellate Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas. He serves as the office’s lead appellate litigator and as a member of the senior management team, advising the U.S. Attorney on legal, strategic, and administrative matters. He has prosecuted cases involving terrorism, public corruption, child exploitation, and fraud. Prior to working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was an associate attorney at Baker Botts LLP and a judicial clerk for Fifth Circuit Judge Patrick Higginbotham. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago.
Britt Moore is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and works with families of children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. She completed her undergraduate degree at Luther College in Day Decorah, Iowa and her Master’s Degree at Western Michigan University, both in Psychology. Britt currently works with families and caregivers teaching them to use behavior analytic principles to enhance their children’s appropriate behavior and learn new skills in their home environment.
Britt was diagnosed with PSC in the fall of 2011 and was able to attend her first conference in the spring of 2012 in her very own Minnesota. She was blown away by the friendships and knowledge she gained while at the conference and has been involved ever since. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and two children where they love to get out when the weather allows it; gardening, golfing, skiing, camping, and listening to music.
Mike Pearlman spent his career working in the field of corrections, at both the District of Columbia and Federal level. He’s an author, has an MS in Criminology and Corrections from Florida State University, a second MS in Government (Public Administration) from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, a certification in Group Work/Group Counseling from the Psychiatric Institute Foundation, and a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. Since 1998, he has been a member of the adjunct faculty in the Sociology Department at George Mason University. His awareness of, and involvement with primary sclerosing cholangitis began in 2007 following his eldest daughter’s diagnosis.
Ken Shepherd’s son John was diagnosed with PSC when he was 13. Ken and his wife Patty became involved with PSC Partners Seeking a Cure in 2006 and quickly found support, hope and a cause. The Shepherds are highly motivated to fundraise for PSC research and help other PSC families create and achieve individual fundraising successes.
John received a life-saving liver transplant in March of 2014. Fully understanding that a liver transplant is only a treatment for PSC keeps the Shepherd family engaged to continue the fight for a cure. ”Research gives us hope and will provide the answers for a world without PSC”.
Ken has served PSC Partners as chair of the fundraising committee, vice-chair of the board and as chair of the organization.
Ken is the Managing Partner of two Northern Virginia Toyota dealerships and has been in the retail automotive industry for 35 years. Ken is a Rotarian, a sustaining Paul Harris Fellow, and serves as an Advisory Board member of the Northern Virginia Community College Automotive and Engineering Educational Department. Ken received a BA in Economics from California State University, Fullerton in 1976 and a Dealership Management Development degree from the General Motors Institute in 1985. The Shepherds reside in Catlett, Virginia and have four sons and five grandchildren.
Travis was diagnosed with PSC in 2010, shortly after his 16th birthday. He attended his first PSC Partners conference in 2013 and was immediately welcomed into ‘the family.’ In PSC Partners, Travis has found support, encouragement, hope and friendship. He is committed to doing his part in finding a cure. Out-going and positive, he has worked in the service industry since graduating high school. Travis is the restaurant manager at a local country club where he enjoys meeting and interacting with all types of people. As a young man living with PSC, he offers valuable perspective and insight to the Board.
Chris Klug (Honorary Member)
Chris Klug is proud to have helped pioneer the sport of snowboarding and participate in its progress during the past twenty-five years. Mr. Klug’s next goal is to return to his third Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. and vie for a different colored medal in February 2010. As a nine-year liver transplant recipient, Mr. Klug believes it is important to include the life-saving message of organ and tissue donation in all that he does. Mr. Klug is a two-time US Olympian—he was an Olympic Bronze Medalist in Salt Lake City, Utah (eighteen months after his liver transplant from PSC) and placed 6th in the Nagano, Japan, 1998 Winter Olympics. Mr. Klug’s awards include: 2009 US National Snowboarding PGS Champion, ten time US National Champion, five time Snowboard World Cup Champion, and 2002 Olympic Spirit Award Recipient. Mr. Klug is also the author of the book, To the Edge and Back, the filmmaker and producer of Ride of Your Life, and is currently working on Carve, a TV special and documentary project, showcasing alpine snowboarding. Chris Klug is the founder and chairman of the Chris Klug Foundation www.chrisklugfoundation.org.
A heartfelt thank you to our passionate and dedicated Board of Directors for guiding us in all the major decisions for the organization.