It is truly my honor and privilege to serve as the Foundation’s Board Chair. Through the support of our dedicated Board members and the generosity of our donors, we strive to fund programs and services that truly enhance the palliative and end of life journey for patients and their loved ones throughout San Diego County.
The provision of hospice and palliative care is highly regulated and prescriptive and is typically paid for by the government or through insurance coverage. It is a medical program, reimbursed to provide medical care, therefore, programs that call to the heart, nourish the spirit, and provide therapeutic but non-medical interventions must be funded by other sources. The LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation was created to address this need. Whether through Aromatherapy, Pet Therapy, Healing Touch, Veterans Programs, Music & Memory or one of the many other programs we embrace, the Foundation seeks ways to recognize the uniqueness of each individual and provide support for them that eases their journey, speaks to the heart or fulfills their final wishes.
I hope that as you look through our website you will join us in celebrating the value of giving. You can make a difference by participating in our special events, attending our educational programs, giving to our patient programs, volunteering, or granting an end-of-life wish.
Help us make a difference today!
Jill Mendlen, Board Chair
Board of Directors
LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation is governed by a group of community leaders who are committed to the care and services provided by hospice and their desire to truly impact the lives of patients and their families. They bring a depth of professional experience in many areas including healthcare, insurance, public relations, marketing, business, and financial management in addition to their leadership and involvement in numerous community service and charitable organizations.
Jill Mendlen, RN
Jill Mendlen serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Hospice and Palliative Care which specializes in the delivery of hospice and palliative care services to individuals who reside throughout San Diego County. Ms. Mendlen also serves as Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Medical Associates — San Diego’s Palliative Care Specialists. LightBridge Medical Associates is San Diego’s first community-based Palliative Care specialty medical group.
Ms. Mendlen is a nationally recognized expert in clinical program development, health care management, reimbursement and strategic direction. She is the 2019 recipient of the Doris A. Howell, MD Award for Advancing Palliative Care, conferred in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievements as a pioneer in palliative care in San Diego.
Steven Nico is a Client Sales Executive with Marsh & McLennan Insurance Agency LLC, which specializes in assisting both small and large group employers in their health insurance benefits needs. He has been working as a group health insurance broker for over twenty-five years. Mr. Nico is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and the local chapter, San Diego Association of Health Underwriters (SDAHU).
Mr. Nico received his B.S. degree in Marketing from San Diego State University.
Sharlene Beltran is a Senior Sales Executive at Blue Shield of California specializing in the small business market assisting employers with their health insurance benefits needs. She is a licensed insurance agent and has been working as a group health insurance advocate for over twenty years. Mrs. Beltran also acts as the Philanthropy Chair of the local chapter of San Diego Association of health underwriters (SDAHU) and is dedicated to helping others in our San Diego community. She has been married for 31 years to her husband Michael and has three children in which they reside in Carlsbad, CA.
Charisse Caniff retired after working 21 years in the Physical Therapy Department of the San Diego Veterans Hospital in La Jolla, CA. While at the VA, she was part of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit (SCI), a unit of the hospital that works exclusively with veterans with spinal cord injuries. She was passionate about her job and the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. She served as both a therapist and the managing lead of the SCI therapy department.
After retiring in 2014, Charisse joined LightBridge as a volunteer. Her volunteer responsibilities include patient visits, 11th-hour care, administrative support, and involvement in the veteran’s program. She joined the Board of Directors at LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation in late 2016.
Jeff Carlos has more than a decade of experience and passion for working through the complex wealth planning issues that business owners, executives, and retirees face making him uniquely positioned to help his clients pursue their financial and lifetime goals.
Mr. Carlos has earned the prestigious CIMA® (Certified Investment Management Analyst®) designation, is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, AAMS®, and was named a 2017, 2018, and 2019 Five-Star Wealth Manager by San Diego Magazine. He holds his FINRA Series 7, 66, and 24 securities licenses and his Life Insurance license. Mr. Carlos is a former Chairman of the Alpine & Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and supports many other charitable causes.
Tom Eslick is currently the CEO/Owner of Abundant Home Care in San Diego. Tom also holds the same position at his second company, Ultimate Medical in Phoenix, AZ. Tom began his career in the Home Medical Equipment Industry in 1992 as a branch manager for a large independent dealer in the Los Angeles area. After the acquisition of this company by a Fortune 500 company, Tom became the Regional Sales Manager in charge of Arizona and Nevada. After successfully managing the region for three years, Tom was promoted to National Sales Manager. Two years later, Tom ventured out on his own, starting Ultimate Medical and later acquiring Abundant Home Care, Inc. Abundant Home Care specializes in delivering home medical equipment for the Hospice and Palliative Care providers in San Diego County. Abundant also provides equipment to private pay clients in their homes or facilities and has a retail store open to the public in Poway.
Pamela Hough is Senior Vice President of Operations/Administrator for the LightBridge organizations and has been instrumental in the start-up and development of each. Under her leadership, LightBridge Hospice earned accreditation by the Joint Commission and, when it was offered, additional certification in palliative care. LightBridge Medical Associates was the first medical group specializing in palliative care in San Diego.
Pam is passionate about LightBridge’s special programs devoted to easing the burden of illness for patients and their families and helping them find ways to joyfully create meaningful moments and everlasting memories.
Jeff S. Katz
After working as an executive in corporate America, Mr. Katz branched out as a freelance business development consultant extending his proven sales, marketing, and networking reach to various businesses, enhancing their campaign strategies and impact in the marketplace. With a successful track record in dealing with C-Level executives, professional sports franchises, athletes, entertainers, and philanthropists, Mr. Katz helps cultivate synergy between products and decision-makers that influence today’s culture. His philanthropic efforts have spanned the globe from Africa to India, and his platform of “Empowering the Success of Others” earned him 1st prize in Proctor & Gambles “My Rising Tide” entrepreneur competition.
For over a decade, Mr. Marcus has used his experience as the Regional Sales Coordinator for AFLAC to serve his clients as an independent insurance broker.
Mr. Marcus served 15 years on the board of directors of the San Diego Association of Health Underwriters (SDAHU) as the V.P of Philanthropy and has worked hand in hand with the Rady Children’s Hospital Special Needs Clinic, and The Helen Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children. Mr. Marcus is an active member and Ambassador of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. He is also the recipient of the San Diego Association of Health Underwriters, Neil R. Crosby Achievement in Excellence Award, and the Joel Marcus Angel Award.
Jill Osmar ‘s current practice involves the representation of physicians and other health care providers. She is knowledgeable in the rapidly changing healthcare industry related to physician selection and deselection, credentialing, compensation, marketing, self-referral and fraud, and abuse issues.
Ms. Osmar focuses on regulatory compliance, representing physicians and physician groups in medical staff proceedings. Her practice also includes the development and licensing of healthcare facilities such as laboratories, ambulatory surgery centers, home health agencies, DME suppliers, sleep centers, and hospices.
Lisa Swaiman is currently retired and happily volunteers for LightBridge Hospice — leading Expression Through Art sessions and visiting patients one-on-one.
Lisa was Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at The Capital Group, parent company to American Funds. She started the retirement plan communications department, which educates everyday people to plan for retirement.
Lisa was honored in 2019 with the Lights of LightBridge Volunteer Award in recognition of the many ways in which she radiates light into the lives of San Diegans.
Gifts of Gratitude
Would you like to honor the special nurse, aide, social worker, chaplain or doctor who made such a difference for you and your loved one along their healthcare journey and help ensure these special gifts for those whose journey still lies ahead?