Heather L. Connors, Ph.D.
Heather L. Connors, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of The Center for Guardianship Excellence, a newly formed non-profit which seeks to make guardianship more accessible and effective through research and training. Prior to joining The Center, she was the Director of Research at Guardian Community Trust, where she focused on the experience of guardianship for guardians and those subject to guardianship. Heather received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from The College of the Holy Cross and her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Traci Cucinotta, MBE, MSW, LICSW
Traci Cucinotta is the Education and Training Specialist at Guardian Community Trust in Andover, MA. She earned a Bachelor’s of Social Work from West Virginia University, a Master’s of Social Work from Salem State University and a Master’s of Bioethics from Harvard Medical School. She has also studied ethics and bioethics at both Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Trinity International University Her work as a Clinical Social Worker spans critical care, dementia, end of life, and chronic mental illness. Her focus is to educate guardians on the principles of decision-making particularly pertaining to the ethics of end-of-life care and is currently researching what other states are doing for formal guardianship training and plans to use that to develop and deliver a training protocol for new professional and family guardians in Massachusetts. In addition to her role at Guardian Community Trust she is a guardian and a member of NASW, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, MGA and NGA.
John J. Ford, Esq.
John J. Ford is Director of the Elder Law Project at the Northeast Justice Center in Lynn and has served as director since 1977. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Paul E. Lichterman Award from the National Conference on Law and Aging; the Powley Award and the Theresa Award from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA); the Advocacy Award from the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association; and the Massachusetts Bar Association's Public Interest Advocacy Award. In 2010 he was inducted into the National Association of Legal Services Developers Elder Rights Advocacy Hall of Fame. John is past President of the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA and the Massachusetts Guardianship Association, and is a member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute. He was principal author and editor of “Guide for Elders,” the premier self-help resource for Massachusetts senior citizens (available on the LifePath website) and “A Handbook for Guardians of Nursing Home Residents in Massachusetts.” John has taught at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is a frequent contributor to publications and programs on elder law issues. He received his legal education at Boston University School of Law.
Wynn A. Gerhard, Esq.
Wynn A. Gerhard is a Senior Attorney in the Elder, Health and Disability Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), in Boston, Massachusetts, where she has worked since 1987. In addition to her legal work for elders through GBLS, Wynn has been committed to guardianship reform in Massachusetts for more than two decades, including service on committees and Boards of many kinds that represent or work on behalf of elderly and disabled persons. Wynn was clinical supervisor for the Northeastern University Law School Legal Skills in Social Context Project on Public Guardianship in 2014-15, and presently is a member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute. She also chairs the Coalition of Organizations to Improve Elder Care, working to improve the quality of long-term care services in Massachusetts. Prior to GBLS, Wynn worked for Legal Services for Cape Cod and Islands and Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo NY. She graduated from Harvard University and received her JD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Hon. Gen. Scott Harshbarger
Scott Harshbarger is Senior Counsel at Casner & Edwards. For more than a decade, he has developed a practice specializing in providing strategic advice and counsel for corporate investigations and defense, business ethics, compliance and risk management, corporate and not-for-profit governance and government regulation. During his two terms as Massachusetts Attorney General (1991–1999), Scott was elected President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), and made Elder Protection his national presidential priority building on his focus on domestic violence and elder abuse, fraud and financial exploitation. Since returning to private practice, Scott has continued to be involved in public policy reform, serving as the head of Governor Romney’s Commission on Corrections Reform (2003-2005), chair of the Blue ribbon Commission on Public Pension Reform, chair of the SJC Taskforce on Hiring and Promotion in Probation and in the Judicial Branch (2010-10110, and a member of the SJC court Management Advisory Board. He has held varying teaching positions in professional responsibility, legal ethics, government, public policy and other law-related subjects at Boston University Law School, Harvard Law School, Northeastern Law School and Northeastern College of Criminal Justice. He also has authored numerous articles on topics in corporate and not-for-profit governance and regulatory strategies. He regularly speaks to state and national business groups, industry associations and legal, business and college audiences. Scott appears regularly in the national media and on New England television as a commentator and news analyst.
Peter M. Macy, Ed.M., J.D.
Peter M. Macy is Executive Director of Guardian Community Trust, Inc. (Community Trust), a non-profit organization that is deeply committed to guardianship reform in Massachusetts. Community Trust supports reform with research grants and sponsorship of educational events in collaboration with the Institute. Community Trust also serves as a trustee for the largest Medicaid-exempt pooled trust program in Massachusetts. Peter is a founding member of the Institute and a frequent contributor to programs sponsored by the Institute. Prior to joining Community Trust in 2014, he worked in private practice as an elder law attorney for two decades, specializing in trust law and guardianship practice. Peter is a graduate of Boston College Law School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Divinity School and the University of Puget Sound.