Since the death of her infant son in 2001 from preventable medical errors, subsequent lawsuit, and realization of the need to increase communication between physicians and patients to improve healthcare, Mary Ellen has been a staunch and tireless advocate for transparency and compassion in all conflicts. Mary Ellen earned a master's degree in education and restorative practices. She now uses these methods in her own class as a teacher, corporate trainings, curriculum development, and mediation techniques.
In addition to facilitating professional development for health care providers and educators on collaboration skills, peace-building skills, and restorative practices, Mary Ellen consults with physician practices and patients on the most effective tools to improve communication, outcomes, and costs. Throughout her twenty plus years as an educator, Mary Ellen has taught all ages from birth to adult (parent & child classes, early childhood, middle school, graduate level classes and professional development trainings in both the education and health care industries). As an educator, Mary Ellen has researched, developed, and implemented evidence-based peace-building curriculums. She focuses on renewing trustful relationships through highly-engaging, interactive, content rich programs. She specializes in peace building classrooms and patient-physician conversations post-adverse events. Mary Ellen is dedicated to renewing the trustful relationship between patients and their physicians. On this issue, she is a catalyst.
Mary Ellen is author of "Split the Baby: One Child's Journey through Medicine and Law" and an internationally recognized advocate for safe care and transparent dialogue in health care. She has written extensively on the topics of grief, peace building, infant loss, and medical error. Through a variety of venues, Mary Ellen offers parents of children additional information, empowerment, and encouragement to collaborate with healthcare providers. This includes James's Project (whose mission is to reduce infant mortality) and serving on the patient safety committee of Good Shepherd Hospital, The Newborn Coalition Advisory Board, leading support groups, and speaking to clinical professionals about communication with patients and their family members. Her work was highlighted the Fall,2009 at the national organization for patient advocacy, The Empowered Patient Coalition .
In 2011, Mary Ellen was invited to participate with The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authoirty's Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Meeting. She is co-author for the new Guidelines for Tonsillectomy in Children. She has worked with the following organizations: The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, The Joint Commission's International Center for Patient Safety Patient & Family Advisory Group (alternate 2007), The Congenital Heart Information Network, The CHD International Quilt Awareness Project, and The Make A Wish Foundation (2001 & 2002); The Pennsylvania's Governor Office of Healthcare Reform, The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (also invited guest speaker to the Authority's annual Board Retreat), as well as The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 2010 Patient Activist. She has been a featured guest on radio and television programs including the National Public Radio program, Voices In The Family with Dr. Dan Gottlieb, Real Life with Mary Amoroso's "Death of a Baby" and CN8's Comcast Newsmakers.
She has been a member of The National Association for the Education of Young Children, served on the board of the Delaware County Early Childhood Education Association, served on accreditation committees for The Pennsylvania Association of Private Independent Schools.