Skip to content

Board of Trustees

The Transplant House of Cleveland Board of Trustees is comprised of very committed volunteers, each of whom has been touched by organ transplantation and the special patients and family members whose lives are changed by that gift of life. With many hundreds of families coming to Cleveland each year for evaluation and surgery, each of us believes it is time for Cleveland to create its own home-away-from-home for transplant patients and their families.

Board Members


Art Thomson


For more than 25 years, Art Thomson has been working in healthcare – most of this time in organ transplantation. Art has shown tremendous support for all local donation-related initiatives at both Lifebanc and within the Cleveland Clinic Health System. Currently, the Administrator for the Digestive Disease Institute and the Transplant Center at Cleveland Clinic, Art recently served as Treasurer for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).


Gordon R. Bowen

Vice President

Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer for Lifebanc, the organ and tissue recovery agency serving Northeast Ohio. He has spent most of his career in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation industry serving in a variety of roles.  Bowen, a certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator and Medical Technologist, serves on a variety of state, regional and national advisory boards and committees related to organ and tissue donation and transplantation.


Joanmarie Button


Joanmarie has both a personal and professional passion for Transplant House of Cleveland. Currently the Director of House Program Operations at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, a 55-bedroom home-away-from-home for families of pediatric patients, she has 20 years of experience in managing hospitality housing. Joanmarie and other family members have received organ transplants at the Cleveland Clinic, and she has provided online support to kidney transplant patients and families coming from out of town. Her previous work experience was in corporate human resources and professional relations.


Jon Mecoli


Jon is Investment Director in the Cleveland Clinic Investment Office where he and colleagues manage the hospital's long-term investment portfolio.  Jon is a certified financial analyst and graduate of both Denison University and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  Jon's past work experience includes serving as a Senior Investment Analyst at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation where he managed an investment portfolio.


Kennith Chavin, MD, PhD

Kennith Chavin, MD, PhD, is the Division Chief of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery at UH Cleveland Medical Center, Professor and Vice Chair of Surgery at CWRU School of Medicine and James A Schulak MD Endowed Director of the Transplant Institute at University Hospitals. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lafayette College, he completed Medical School at Temple University School of Medicine, he completed his PhD and General Surgery / Chief Residency at Medical University of South Carolina and then he completed his Fellowship in Transplant Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Bridget Cougevan Howard

Bridget Cougevan Howard serves as the Executive Director of the Institutional Review Board at the Cleveland Clinic, which protects the rights, safety and welfare of individuals recruited to participate in research activities. Bridget was previously an attorney specializing in health law at a local law firm, and was associate counsel in the Law Department at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.


Kay Kendall, MSW

Kay Kendall, MSW has worked in outpatient mental health settings for the first 14 years of her social work career. She began working at the Cleveland Clinic as the Heart Transplant Social Worker and for 22 years she has been involved in the evaluation process of these patients and she has followed pre and post heart transplant patients and also individuals who have mechanical circulatory support devices placed. Kay has conducted research projects exploring patient’s quality of life pre and post-transplant. She has presented and published the results of these studies. Kay has been a member of the Society for Transplant Social Workers and was appointed to the UNOS Ethics Committee and the UNOS International Relations Committee in 2010.


Erica Miller

Erica Miller, Past President of Transplant House of Cleveland, brings 15 years of experience from New York City, where she created a 10-bedroom facility for transplant patients visiting Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Her husband is currently director of Liver Transplantation at Cleveland Clinic.


Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller is Vice President of Health IT & Services for BioEnterprise. Matthew leads BioEnterprise’s efforts in serving and growing start-up healthcare software and service opportunities. He brings more than 25 years of technology, operational, entrepreneurial and executive leadership experience both domestically and internationally. Matthew received an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh – Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Biology/Chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew received a liver transplant at Cleveland Clinic in April 2015 and since that time, he and his wife, Lisa Vegas, have devoted most of their free time to volunteer work centered on the advancement of efforts designed to ensure a successful and emotionally supportive transplant experience for others.


William Mulligan

William Mulligan is the Managing Director for Primus a private equity firm. Mr. Mulligan earned a BA in Economics from Denison University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Mr. Mulligan focuses on the firm’s business services and healthcare investment activities. Mr. Mulligan is a Director of Installed Building Products, LLC, PartsSource, Inc. and SPARTA Insurance Holdings, Inc.

Mr. Mulligan serves on the Board of Trustees of The Cleveland Clinic, Denison University and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.


Anthony Panzica

Anthony Panzica is President & CEO of Panzica Construction Company in Cleveland. Tony earned a B.S. degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1975 and his professional engineering license shortly thereafter. Mr. Panzica’s primary role as President/CEO is to market and maintain relationships with our clients. He carefully monitors client satisfaction, quality control and provides timely issue resolution.  For the past 37 years, Anthony has served on a variety of boards and committees in the nonprofit sector and maintains an active role in industry-related groups. Currently, he is serving as president of the Construction Employers Association.

Chris Van Ausdale_Formal HR bw

Chris Van Ausdale

Chris Van Ausdale is the SVP, marketing leader at Westfield Bank, a community bank located in Northeast Ohio that provides comprehensive personal, business, and agency banking products and services. As the Marketing Leader for Westfield Bank, Chris focuses on acquiring new customers and deepening existing customer relationships by developing marketing strategies and building out new functionality. Chris has over 20 years of marketing experience and prior to Westfield Bank, she worked in marketing roles of increasing responsibility at KeyBank and Applied Industrial Technologies. Chris earned a B.A. in Business Administration and a Minor in Art from Bluffton University and an MBA from Ashland University.

Chris was on the board of JD Breast Cancer Foundation for 5 years and served as president for 3 years prior to joining Transplant House of Cleveland.


Brian Vitale, In Remembrance

Brian Vitale served as Trustee from 2017 until his passing in November, 2020.  Brian Vitale was Senior Partner, Vitale, Caruso & Associates in Warren, New Jersey. Vitale, Caruso & Associates is a 46 year old Financial Planning/Investment Advisory company with assets under management in excess of $150 million. Brian was involved with many charities over his long career, but Transplant House of Cleveland holds special meaning. He and his wife, Diane, spent seven months living in a hotel across from the Cleveland Clinic pre- and post-liver transplant, which he received in December 2013. Transplant House was not open at that time, and Brian and Diane understand the need for housing and community support in Cleveland for transplant patients and their families, and therefore gave generously to this cause.

Associate Board

The Associate Board was created by Candice Monroe, who received a heart transplant when she was 15-years old. Over time, this group has attracted young professionals with personal experience or interest in supporting and advocating for the organ transplant community and who love Transplant House of Cleveland.


Candice Monroe

Candice Monroe is a Specialist for Training in Employee Development at the JM Smucker Company. She has held several positions since joining the company in 2012. Candice obtained a Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and a Master’s of Arts degree from The University of Akron. Candice is an avid volunteer for Northeast Ohio’s Organ Procurement Organization, Lifebanc, and Donate Life America, and is a committee member for the Canton, Ohio American Heart Association’s Heart Ball. Candice and her older sister are heart transplant recipients, so her passion for organ donation and the gift of life has allowed her to cross paths with an amazing organization—THoC.

If you would like to get more information about joining the associate board, please contact us.