James Rock, Chair of the Board
As a caregiver to his wife, Sandra, who was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2001, chronic illness is never far from James Rock’s mind.
A 35-year career as the founder and owner of Rock & Associates, a consumer products broker, did nothing to prepare James for the struggle he and his wife would face following her diagnosis and a given prognosis of three to five years. The challenges were many, the knowledge of the disease was limited and support was nearly nonexistent.
As Sandra started a support group for those with IPF, James launched his own advocacy work to educate policymakers on IPF and its impacts. While more must be done to build awareness of IPF, after five years of outreach to members in Congress, a House Resolution was passed that identified IPF as a terminal disease.
James knows that not everyone who faces diagnosis of a chronic illness is in a position to navigate their own needs. In reaction to CVC’s emphasis on personalized care, he says, “It’s a wonderful, compassionate resource for many people who are very sick, and very scared. To be a small part of that as a Board member is priceless. It’s just tremendous.”
James has served on CVC’s Board of Directors since early 2015.
Cheryl Sullivan Staveley, Treasurer
As a widow of a Huntington’s disease (HD) patient and a previous caregiver to her daughter with HD, Cheryl Sullivan Staveley has dedicated her life to advocating for HD awareness and care.
Cheryl’s first exposure to HD was through a technical lens in nursing school. She wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it would take on her when her husband and daughter were diagnosed with the condition. As a result of her experience with the disease, Cheryl created a support network for other families and travels across the country to attend health conferences, sharing her family’s story from a caretaker’s perspective.
She appreciates the opportunity to help other families with the caretaking process through her role at CVC. “Organizations like CVC help families understand that they are not alone in their fight against chronic illness. I joined the Board because I want to continue spreading the word about HD and help other families receive the resources they need to live with chronic illnesses,” said Cheryl.
Cheryl has served on CVC’s Board of Directors since July 2015.
Tracy Downing, Secretary
Tracy Downing’s experience as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has helped him become intimately familiar with the complex nature of the health care industry and the challenges those with chronic illness face when trying to navigate it. While in this role he worked on federal government contract issues dealing primarily with health care construction, services (including home oxygen and transplants), and supplies (including pharmaceuticals).
Tracy first heard about CVC while in graduate school and after learning about the critical support they provide chronically ill patients, he knew he needed to get involved.
“Serving on the Board is the least I can do to help people with chronic illnesses find assistance and resources for their serious health conditions. My work with CVC gives me pride and joy knowing that I’ve helped someone’s family navigate their way through a difficult time,” said Tracy.
Tracy has served on CVC’s Board of Directors since January 2006.
Bruce Packett, Director
Bruce Packett was first touched by chronic illness while he was in high school when his grandfather, who was a close mentor, passed away from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.
Bruce has since dedicated his life to helping people and families directly impacted by chronic illnesses. His goals are to ensure that patients receive resources and to fix the holes in the health care system that leave patients without access to treatment.
He joined the Board of CVC after serving as the executive director at the American Academy of HIV Medicine where he saw firsthand the problems that chronically ill patients face when interacting with our health care system.
When discussing CVC and chronic illness, Bruce says, “I have a firm conviction that no one, especially the most vulnerable patients with chronic and difficult conditions and diseases, should lack access to quality health care and general well-being. I believe there is power in people coming together to share their stories, working side by side and helping one another navigate through life’s challenges. And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of an organization that does just that.”
Bruce has served on CVC’s Board of Directors since December 2014.
Gregory Smiley, Director
Gregory Smiley is the president, CEO of Caring Voice Coalition. Previously, he served as an advisor, based in South Africa, for the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, where he worked to build the capacity of 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa to respond to HIV. A graduate of both Duke University in Durham, N.C., and George Washington University’s School of Public Health in Washington, D.C., Smiley’s prior public health experience includes clinical research at George Washington University, the Alpha-1 Association, the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service, and the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Gregory Smiley has served on the board of CVC since February 2005.