Board of Directors

William Little, MBA and MPH

Board Chair

Retired in 2013 after a 44-year career in public service working as the Administrator of Florida Department of Health and Sarasota County Government Health and Human Services. Similarly, he was fortunate to work as Deputy County Administrator with Sarasota County Government in leading their health and human services. Additionally, he spent 28 years in the US Army in both active duty and reserve capacities. In his work years in Sarasota County, he was privileged to be a part of a dynamic community that is very collaborative and forward-thinking in its approach to health and human services, and learned much from his experiences being a participant in many community organizations and initiatives.

Following retirement, he continued to work with community non-profit agencies, local government, state government, and local foundations with a focus on leadership, strategic planning, community engagement, and project management.

The goal of Bill’s work with organizations is to improve leadership and planning, align their work to community values and expectations, facilitate connections and collaborations with a broader community network that shares their vision of the future, and develop strategies and plans to achieve community-focused outcomes.

His formal education included an MBA and MPH, which enabled him to apply business principles within the multi-faceted discipline of public health with the goal of helping foster a healthy and prosperous community.

Maria Somera Ramirez

Board Vice-Chair

Maria is a mother of three children, passionate community advocate, and 7-year patient of CenterPlace Health. Currently Maria is also on the Board of Children First where she is the past chair of the executive Committee and the Board liaison for the Policy Council.

Maria is also on the steering council for the First 1000 Days- a community organization that provides support to women in pregnancy and the first 1000 days of the life of the children. She is on the advisory council of her children’s elementary school and Executive Director of Operations at CoastLife Church in Venice. Maria lives in NorthPort and owns a small business with her husband.

Howard Berman, MBA

Board Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair

Howard is the former president and chief executive officer of The Lifetime Healthcare Companies, Inc. (formerly Excellus, Inc.), a nonprofit company headquartered in Rochester, New York. Prior to the formation of Lifetime, Mr. Berman served as president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of the Rochester Area beginning in 1985.

Previously, he served as group vice president of the American Hospital Association and as president of the Hospital Research and Educational Trust. He has also held administrative positions with the national BlueCross BlueShield Association and the New York City Department of Hospitals. Since 2003 he has served on the faculty of St. John Fisher College School of Business as well as chair of the Center for Community Engagement at St. John Fisher College. He has also been on faculty at the Universities of Michigan and Chicago. Mr. Berman received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Illinois, and a Master’s degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mr.

Berman is also an inductee in the National Healthcare Hall of Fame. Mr. Berman’s extensive knowledge of health care, health care financing, and start-ups has been and will continue to be invaluable to the governance of CenterPlace Health.

Arnold Dennard

Board Secretary

Arnold has served as a consumer CPH Board member for the past 2 years. While attending the University of Massachusetts in the early 1970s, he assisted with the deinstitutionalization of mental hospitals in the state of Massachusetts. For 32 years, he was employed as an emergency room technician, primarily in the trauma bay, at various institutions.

Additionally, he is a certified massage therapist, who worked in private practice for 13 years. He brings to the Board the perspective of a patient who receives various services at the CPH’s William L. Little Health and Human Services Center and recommends areas of improvement from a consumer’s point of view.

Irene Fleshner, RN, MHSA, FACHE

Governance Committee Chair

Irene received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from The American University and a Master’s in Health Services Administration from The George Washington University School of Business. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, The Honor Society of Nursing, and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is a Principal with the consulting firm of Reno, Davis and Associates, Inc. where she provides consulting services to health care organizations, suppliers, and professional associations. Irene also serves in a part-time capacity as the Executive Clinical Consultant for the medical supply and technology company, Direct Supply. Prior to her current roles, Irene spent 15 years, most recently, as the Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer with Genesis Health Care, a publicly-traded, long-term, post-acute and rehab organization with more than 450 facilities in 29 states.

In addition, Irene worked as the Vice President of Operations and Professional services at Suburban Hospital-Johns Hopkins Medicine, a community teaching hospital. Irene began her career as an acute care nurse and nursing administrator at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Irene’s expertise is in the areas of workforce development, clinical operations, and business strategy.

Gloria DeHaven, BSN, MBA, CRC

Quality Committee Chair

Gloria received her Bachelors of Nursing from St. Leo University and her Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida. She is a long-time Sarasota resident. Currently, she works for Florida Blue Cross-Guidewell Holding as their Medicare STARs Consultant working with various providers in Southwest Florida to attain a 5 STAR rating, with an impact on approximately 11 thousand covered lives.

Previously she worked as a Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) Practice Advisor for WellCare Insurance Corporation. In that role, she assisted practices in Southwest Florida to improve their scores, impacting approximately 120 thousand covered lives. Earlier in her career, she worked for Doctor’s Hospital as Cardiovascular Nurse Educator/Congestive Heart Failure/Stroke Coordinator in the PCU/ICU. In that role, she worked closely with the director to coordinate the education of patients with Congestive Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction, and Stroke to reduce readmission rates. Gloria possesses expertise in health care quality improvement and risk and insight into current third-party insurance payment structures.

Maria DeCarlo, FACHE, MBA, MS

Maria is vice president of Rehabilitation and Post-Acute Services at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, where she oversees the organization’s 60-bed Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, 120-bed Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and an array of inpatient and outpatient therapy programs. Maria is currently responsible for the 74,000 square foot Rehab Pavilion built on the hospital campus. Previously, she held various managerial positions where she participated in the planning and development of 4 outpatient rehabilitation clinics, including a medically based wellness center. Licensed as a speech-language pathologist, Maria holds both a Master of Science and a Master of Business Administration degree. She is board-certified in Health Care Management and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Maria is an administrative surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF International), holds a Six-Sigma Green Belt, is a member of the Medical Advisory Committee for Neuro Challenge Foundation, and is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Maria has extensive healthcare experience, which she shares with the Board to aid in decision making.

Maureen O’Brien, RN, PhD

Maureen has recently joined CPH Board, bringing clinical, statistical, and quality improvement experience. She is a Registered Nurse with nearly 20 years of clinical experience primarily in critical care settings within hospitals, including post-anesthesia, medical, surgical, cardiac, and neonatal intensive care units.

Most recently, she was the Senior Scientist at Telligen (Quality Improvement Organization or QIO mandated for every state to monitor Medicare quality of care) for 20 years after working for over five years as a lead biostatistician for the Veterans Administration’s in the cardiac research division. She provided key leadership for Telligen analytic staff for multiple local and national contracts under Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), focused on quality of care improvement across hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, and other settings. She was actively involved with the process of submitting both new and revised national quality measures to the National Quality Forum (NQF) for endorsement and understands measure specifications as well as business requirement documentation.

Dr. O’Brien simultaneously had a faculty appointment at the University of Colorado 2001-2016, teaching courses related to biostatistics applications and clinical outcomes. Her clinical, teaching, statistical skills and her experience with measure development offers a unique combination of expertise.

Mikhail Scott

Mikhael has 11 years of experience in government, legislative, and public affairs with both state and federal agencies. Over the years he has served in numerous public sector roles including the Florida Department of Agriculture and the U.S. and Florida State House of Representatives, where he supported the research, analysis, and development of legislative policy and government programs.

Mikhail has a passion for community outreach and developing communication campaigns and has managed numerous state and local initiatives that helped to improve local food systems, educate underserved populations on access to health and human services, and provide economic resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crystal Brooks, MSW, LCSW

Crystal is a licensed clinical social worker and owns a mental health private practice in Sarasota named North Star Counseling and Wellness LLC. At her practice, Crystal provides mental health psychotherapy, specializing in helping those who live with chronic illness. Previously, Crystal worked at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and provided mental and behavioral health counseling to patients in the inpatient rehab facility. She also worked for several years at Sarasota Memorial as a case manager performing social work duties related to discharge planning and securing community resources for patients in the Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte County areas.

Scott Bushway

Scott and his wife have been patients of CenterPlace Health and the Department of Health for over ten years. He has spent his career at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Assisted Living Facilities as a Housekeeping Supervisor. He is passionate about Sarasota County governance and strengthening the community through advocacy.

Marylee Ford Grosso, BS, RPh, PD, FASCP

Marylee Grosso is a pharmacist with over 40 years of professional clinical management experience in the Long Term Post Acute Care space which includes 25 years with Genesis Healthcare, a multi-state long term, post-acute and rehab organization. As Corporate Senior Director of Clinical Operations, she oversaw the clinical pharmacy practice standards of the Nursing and Medical Affairs Departments with expertise in the areas of clinical program development, medical supply and drug formulary management, regulatory compliance monitoring and electronic medication management systems.

Marylee is a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, the professional organization dedicated to the medication management needs of older adults. As an active member she has chaired two key committees, the Medication Safety in Transitions of Care Committee and Opioid Stewardship Workgroup, where she led teams in the creation and authorship of the Society’s MSTOC and Opioid Stewardship Toolkits, educational offerings and resources for Pharmacists.

She is also a member of the President’s Advisory Board of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and a member of the Executive Committee of The Post Acute Wound and Skin Integrity Council where she serves as Board Secretary.