Karen Kiefer, MSN, APN, NP-C, RN-BC – Chair
Karen is an Advanced Practice Nurse, with board certification in Adult Gerontology Primary Care. She has clinical experience for sixteen years as an RN and experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse for twenty-five years. Her focus has always been on adequate management of pain control, advocacy for patient rights and holistic approach to overall health. In her career she has cared for a variety of patients in the acute, chronic and end-of-life settings.
Karen is board certified in pain management and currently works in a hospital system providing treatment and coordination of care for adults suffering from strokes. Additionally, Karen is passionate about management of chronic illnesses, symptom management and preventative health. Karen’s goals are to maximize quality of life, minimize or omit suffering and providing access to quality care for all. She has lived with neuropathic pain for the past thirteen years and is passionate about providing access to a multi-modal approach integrating patient participation to achieve increased quality of life.
Karen is a founding member of the Garden State Chapter of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, served as a past president and was the Legislative and Advocacy Chair for ten years. She served as a volunteer advocate in the American Pain Foundation. She testified before the FDA and responded to legislation and regulatory agencies herself and on behalf of the Garden State Chapter of ASPMN. Karen has also lectured to consumers and nurses on appropriate pain management and regulatory and legislative implications on treatment. Karen has conducted media interviews on television, radio and print regarding pain issues.
The focus of Karen’s career is on improving access to appropriate pain management across a variety of disciplines using a team approach with the person in pain as a participating member of the team.
Micke A. Brown, BSN, RN – Vice Chair & Treasurer
Micke is a registered nurse with experience in clinical advisement, communications, consumer and health care professional education, advocacy and business management. She has more than 40 years of nursing expertise with 50 % in the specialty of pain management. Currently, she serves as a Community Nurse II in Communicable Disease Surveillance, Emergency Preparedness and is the Program Coordinator for the HIV Prevention (PrEP) Service for Washington County Health Department in Maryland.
From 2013 to 2015, she served as a program director for the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy grant project funded by the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. That project was charged to create a state based process to improve access to care for people taking prescribed controlled medications who abruptly lost their prescribing healthcare provider. Micke proudly served as a past Director of Communications as well as Advocacy for the American Pain Foundation (2003-2013).
Micke has served on the board of directors for multiple organizations, testified before state and federal legislatures and regulatory agencies, lectured to professional and consumer audiences, conducted media interviews on television, radio, print and Internet venues as well as published on pain care, advocacy and support. Micke is a founding member of The Pain Community (TPC). She served as the steering committee chairperson during the early years and has contributed as a regular blogger, content developer and editor for TPC’s online community.
Kay-Diene Robinson – Secretary & Director of Social Media
Kay-Diene Robinson, MPH, CHW was born with Sickle Cell Anemia (SS-disease), diagnosed at four months old. Throughout her life, she experienced 3-5 crises a year. However, in 2012 after a traumatic bout with bi-lateral pneumonia, which put her in a medically induced coma for twelve days, her crises began to increase to a few times a month, at times.
On September 11, 2015, she underwent an allogeneic stem cell transplant in hopes to cure her sickle cell disease. Her donor was an unrelated 8 out of 10 HLA match to herself. Twenty-eight days post engraftment, on October 9th, she was 100 percent donor while in her second medically induced coma. Two weeks before Christmas that same year, she was told that she had no sickle cells in her body.
Despite the numerous complications, she endured her quality of life has afforded her an existence that she would not change for the world. Currently, she is 3-years post-transplant, and still receiving childhood vaccines; however, she will not allow that stop her from being the change she wishes to see in the world.
Maggie Buckley, MBA, BCPA – Past Chair
Maggie has an MBA in accounting with experience in banking and business management. She has been a volunteer patient advocate for more than 20 years while living with the chronic pain condition Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Maggie has served on the board of several non-profit support organizations. She has testified at state and federal policy hearings, written articles and coached hundreds of people to self-advocate for better care. Maggie also served on the steering committee for The Pain Community during the early years.
Teresa Shaffer – Director of Outreach
Teresa is a seasoned patient advocate, a past member of the Pain Care Leadership Council, The West Virginia Pain Initiative and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). She served on the steering committee for The Pain Community during the early years. Teresa serves as team leader for online community and social networking teams as well as a regular blogger for the online community. As a person living with pain for the last 20+ years, she understands the challenges that people with pain need to overcome.
Teresa spent over a year confined to a wheelchair due to severe pain but with the help of her family and healthcare provider she was able to get out of the wheelchair and began life again. At this point in her life she felt she was meant to do more with her new lease on life and when the opportunity to join the former non-profit organization, The American Pain Foundation (APF) PainAid Online community and to become the West Virginia State Advocate for the APF Action Network presented themselves she knew that this was her destiny. By stepping out and telling her story, she strives to empower others to take that first step to being a self-advocate and to advocate for others.
Yvette Colón, PhD, BCD, LMSW – Director of Education & Research
Yvette holds masters and doctoral degrees in clinical social work, with experience in human resources, consumer education, Internet technology, training and supporting online communities, and bilingual psychosocial support for pain, palliative care and oncology communities. With more than 25 years of experience, she has served on non-profit boards and published and lectured on pain management, psychosocial oncology, end-of-life care, diversity, and technology-based social work services. As part of a multicultural group private practice, she provides individual and couple psychotherapy to adults dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, LGBTQQ+ issues, general life concerns, and EMDR for chronic pain. Yvette is a cancer survivor and a past caregiver for a person with chronic pain. She also served on the steering committee for The Pain Community during the early years.
Cindy Leyland – Director of Affiliate Relations
As the Director of Program Operations at the Center for Practical Bioethics, Cindy Leyland oversees creation, implementation and management of administrative, financial, and operational systems and processes in support of executive and program leadership needs. She also supports resource development through prospect identification and management, as well as grant writing and management. A highly skilled project director, Cindy currently leads the PAINS-KC Citizen Leadership Group and in the past led the Center’s Pediatric Palliative Care and Aging in Community projects.
Cindy has enjoyed few pain free days in her entire life. As a child, she spent months in hospitals with severe asthma, with doctors predicting she would not live to be an adult. Over time, several pain conditions emerged. Yet, while pain persisted, she did, too. She worked as a legal assistant when she was in high school. She raised two children as a single mom, cared for her mother who had multiple medical problems, graduated from college, earned an MBA and worked her way into a job that is personally satisfying and socially impactful.
Because of the way chronic pain is woven into her daily life, Cindy makes purposeful choices that begin with just getting out of bed in the morning: she puts her alarm clock across the room so that she HAS to get up and turn it off. She pushes herself through each day with purpose. She carves out time in her weekends to appreciate her husband, her children and grandchildren with purpose. Cindy admits that she pushes herself too hard on many days. After all, being purposeful doesn’t mean being perfect.
Her favorite phrase is “hide and watch.” Anyone who takes that challenge will be quite surprised. Pain may punctuate her days, but purpose is what fills in the spaces between. Living a life with hope and purpose is the strength she brings to The Pain Community. It is the gentle gift she holds for our constituents and their caregivers… patience, perseverance, and purpose.
Cindy is a graduate of Benedictine College’s Executive MBA program, with emphasis on leadership, entrepreneurship and transformational strategic planning. She currently serves on the Board of The Pain Community, having served on the boards of Synergy Services and the American Lung Association of Western Missouri in the past, along with volunteering regularly over a period of nearly ten years at Safe Haven, a domestic violence shelter.