Meet the Experts Behind WorkLife
The Center for WorkLife Wellbeing strives to be exceptional today and even better tomorrow, which is why we only work with the very best professionals. Our team of talented experts are dedicated to using their wealth of knowledge to improve the wellbeing of your organization’s caregivers.
Heather Farley, M.D., MHCDS, FACEP
Chief Wellness Officer
Dr. Heather Farley has personally experienced the trauma that impacts caregivers when a patient suffers an unexpected adverse event and the transformative power of supportive, evidence-based initiatives. She is passionate about advancing the professional fulfillment and wellbeing of health care providers so they can flourish at work and at home. Studies show that investing in employee wellbeing is a wise choice for health systems for a multitude of moral, ethical, and financial reasons. She leads advocacy programs and interventions aimed at optimizing the caregiver experience and fostering an organizational culture of wellbeing. Her mission is to restore joy and meaning in work for health care providers across the nation.
Vanessa Downing, PhD
Director, Center for WorkLife Wellbeing
Vanessa Downing, PhD, a counseling psychologist, leads Center initiatives that optimize meaning, connection, and joy in work for all caregivers. As a former cardiac psychologist, she is well acquainted with the unique challenges clinicians and caregivers face. In 2014, Dr. Downing helped establish the Care for the Caregiver Peer Support Program and went on to develop multiple pilot projects that contributed to the founding of the Center for WorkLife Wellbeing in 2016. She guides the strategic development of direct services and interventions that create a culture of wellbeing, and leads the team in consultation, peer support, referral, and research activities.
Manager of Strategic Projects
Greta Ehrhart has worked in health care for many years and was deeply moved when she saw caregivers who had invested their lives helping other people experience burnout. In her work overseeing administration and Insight Focus Groups, she focuses on identifying what factors support caregiver joy and fulfillment, or, conversely, what are the challenges. Tracking those trends is the key to creating a comprehensive and cohesive strategy to enhance professional fulfillment. She is passionate about multidisciplinary collaboration in promoting a culture where colleagues thrive.
Speakers and Consultants
Stacey Boyer, PsyD, Caregiver Wellbeing Specialist
As a trained trauma clinical psychologist, Dr. Stacey Boyer works to implement wellbeing strategies preventatively and in response to adversity. She listens carefully to needs of various groups—nurses, environmental service workers, nutrition staff, and ambulatory practices—to provide individual and group support, plan programming and offer education that meets their needs so they can experience fulfillment and connection in the workplace. She’s also engaged in wellbeing research and is co-authoring the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for the Assessment and Psychological Trauma in Adults. She finds joy in yoga, hiking, music and book clubs and integrates deep breathing exercises and a daily gratitude practice into a mindful work life.
Katie Godfrey, PhD, Care for the Caregiver Program Manager
Dr. Katie Godfrey supports the wellbeing of caregivers who are doing the challenging work of caring for patients by teaching them the skills to support one another. She recognizes that working in healthcare comes with significant challenges, and that peer support can be a powerful source of connection and healing for caregivers. She collaborates closely with colleagues across ChristianaCare to support individuals and teams when they face stress at work. As a psychologist, she is intensely interested in the intersection of physical health and mental health and has expertise in stress management, mindfulness-based interventions, and wellbeing-related behavior change. She is passionate about interdisciplinary work, saying we can be our best at work when we all work together. By practicing yoga, running, spending time outside, and connecting socially with family and friends she recharges physically and emotionally so she can be her best self.
Mark Mason, PhD, Resident Wellbeing Specialist
Dr. Mark Mason works to foster healthy clinical environments so professionals can practice health care with fulfillment and meaning. He is fascinated by the power of groups to heal and reflect and leads quarterly wellbeing rounds with 300 interns and residents and fellows on such topics as sleep science, imposter syndrome, mindfulness, and self compassion. He previously worked as a staff psychologist and group therapy coordinator in a university college counseling center, and had his own experience with burnout, which led to his work helping others to be their healthiest selves. A devoted gardener, he delights in watching things grow, a passion that extends to his work. His avocation as an ultimate Frisbee player enhances his ability to teach others to connect through teams.
Sam Van Horne PhD, Senior Research Associate
Dr. Sam Van Horne studies factors that impact professional fulfillment, burnout, and gender equity in medicine. His research has included broad survey studies of clinicians as well as studies of adoption of interventions focused on wellbeing, such as OASIS rooms. Before working in healthcare, Dr. Van Horne was an assessment researcher in higher education, where he studied faculty and student adoption of e-textbooks as well as how learning analytics can support student learning. His hobbies include fly fishing, reading, and cooking.
External Sales Coordination
Cheryl Botbyl, Wellbeing Program Coordinator
Cheryl Botbyl is devoted to ensuring that the logistics of the center’s events and programs are running smoothly, an integral part of spreading the center’s mission of nurturing WorkLife meaning, connection and joy in the lives of caregivers. She is the point person for colleagues who want to learn more about wellbeing. She is passionate about positive change and exercises regularly.The center’s OASIS rooms inspired her to create a space for meditation, mindfulness and relaxation in her own home, strengthening her commitment to wellbeing in her work life and personal life.
Jessica Hinckle, Executive Assistant and Wellbeing Team Coordinator
A member of the Center for WorkLife Wellbeing team since its inception, Jessica Hinckle finds joy in supporting her colleagues to enhance the wellbeing of the many caregivers the center is reaching. She feels profoundly grateful for the center’s growth and the positive impact it makes in empowering caregivers to be fulfilled and flourishing. Through her work, she has learned to build decompression time into her home life, where she has taken up crocheting, a creative pastime that enhances her sense of wellbeing.
Danielle Kuhn, Wellbeing Program Manager
A longtime advocate of wellbeing, Danielle Kuhn is the initial point of contact for organizations who want to learn more about the center’s mission of promoting wellbeing in the workplace. She also works with ChristianaCare wellbeing champions and space modifications committees to establish OASIS (Opportunity to Achieve Staff Inspiration and Strength) rooms throughout the health system, places where staff can relax, refresh and decompress. Organizing social connections for friends and family and practicing gratitude in her home life enhances her role in implementing WorkLife Wellbeing initiatives that promote the Center’s mission.
Center for WorkLife Wellbeing Champions
Theresa Birardi, DO, Ambulatory Wellbeing Champion
A family physician, Dr. Theresa Birardi began to dive into the data on caregiver burnout as she approached mid-career and was determined to make a difference in promoting joy and fulfillment in the practice of medicine. She is passionate about preventive care and works with doctors, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to educate them on wellbeing initiatives that address potential issues, as well as existing concerns. Her role as a caregiver advocate is a dynamic complement to her work as a family physician and strengthens her personal commitment to a healthy diet, fitness and thriving family life.
Julie MacRae, MD, Perioperative Services Wellbeing Champion
Dr. Julie MacRae is a plastic surgeon who helps surgeons and other perioperative staff to work productively and find fulfilment and enjoyment in their work. She has a deep interest in social and work life issues, including gender equity, implicit bias, culture and environment in the operating room, and the wellbeing of surgical providers/staff in a potentially stressful environment. She says the best part about being a surgeon is helping people feel better and expanding that goal through wellness work has enhanced her joy. She uses mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in her own life, as well as the lives of her patients.