Melinda Gruber, PhD, MBA, CNA

Vice President Continued Care Services, Lakeland Health

Chief Executive Officer Caring Circle

Dr. Gruber administers palliative care services, hospice care, and bereavement services for Lakeland Health serving Southwest Michigan. She initiated the development of a community and health system-wide advance care planning program and was instrumental in establishing a post-acute care network with expectations, agreements, and measures for Lakeland Health. Dr. Gruber is responsible for two long-term care facilities, family bereavement center, primary care services for homebound patients, facility provider services, and home based care programs, including home health care, personal care services, home infusion, medical equipment, and non-emergency medical transportation. Additionally she is a liaison with other community-based organizations to align and expand community-based care serving as a board member for the local Area Agency on Aging, vice-chairperson of PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Southwest Michigan, chairperson of the Berrien County Cancer Service, and chairperson of the Health Berrien Consortium. Dr. Gruber serves on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors and is chairperson of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Care Professionals. She is a member of the Advance Care Planning Steering Michigan Committee and Michigan Home Health and Hospice Associate Hospice Committee. She has previous experience in operations, fund development, strategic planning, marketing, and business development for not-for-profit organizations. She earned an MBA and doctorate degree in organizational leadership from Western Michigan University.

Why I Applied to be a Fellow

"As someone who cares for people with advanced illnesses and as a healthcare executive, I see the suffering individuals experience because of our Country’s fragmented approach to serious illness care. When people are faced with situations they are not prepared for, when family members and caregivers are uncertain, and when health professionals are strained, vulnerable individuals lose quality in their lives. I am passionate about improving policy at all levels to create a better system of care for the elderly and seriously ill, as well as their caregivers and care providers. I plan to expand my knowledge of health and aging policy, increase my experience and skills in policy translation, and broaden my professional network to become a bridge for front-line patient care, health care management, and policy. This will allow me to play a meaningful role in advocating for the best approaches to care for seriously ill people. "