CAP’s Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of the Mutual Protection Trust are leading physicians in their fields of medicine. The CAP Executive team hails from all aspects of medical professional liability coverage, including claims and legal, risk management, and insurance. Together, they govern the organization with our members’ and healthcare facilities’ best interests in mind.
Sarah E. Scher, JD, RN assumed leadership of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) in February 2015. As the chief executive officer of CAP and the Mutual Protection Trust (MPT), she draws on her extensive leadership background in health care, law, patient safety, risk management, captive insurance, and medical professional liability to direct CAP’s core businesses – MPT and the CAPAssurance Risk Purchasing Group, which provide access to superior medical professional liability protection, patient safety education, and risk management services.
Prior to joining CAP, Ms. Scher was corporate vice president of risk management and insurance, president of the Advocate Physician Partners Risk Purchasing Group, and chair of Advocate Insurance SPC for Chicago-based Advocate Health Care, Illinois’ largest health system.
During her tenure at Advocate Health Care, Ms. Scher was responsible for developing, implementing, and directing the system-wide insurance, risk financing, risk management, and claims management programs to ensure a consistent and optimal approach to minimizing liability and risk exposure. Under her leadership and through her vigilant governance of litigation, utilization of risk financing alternatives, and fostering of strategic insurance partner relationships, the organization built a multi-million dollar reserve and significantly reduced expenses.
Early in her career, Ms. Scher worked as a trauma nurse at a level I emergency department and as a prosecutor in the criminal division of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. She was also an adjunct associate professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana, an expert speaker on clinical-legal issues to physicians and nurses, and lobbyist on behalf of the insurance and health care industries before the U.S. Congress.
A Nursing graduate of Purdue University School Calumet, Ms. Scher earned her Juris Doctor degree (Summa Cum Laude) from DePaul University College of Law with a Certificate in Health Law. Ms. Scher currently serves on the board of the California Hospital Medical Center Foundation, the U.S. Bank Advisory Board, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Healthcare Law Executive Committee, and the National Insurance Industry Council.
Cindy Belcher is chief operating officer of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP).
In this capacity, Ms. Belcher oversees enterprise business development and retention for both the Mutual Protection Trust (MPT) and CAPAssurance, human resources, marketing and corporate communications, and the CAP Physicians Insurance Agency.
Since joining CAP in 1999, Ms. Belcher has held positions of increasing responsibility, including senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development, vice president of membership, and director of marketing/customer relationship manager.
Ms. Belcher is also chief operating officer and president of the Cooperative of American Physicians Insurance Company, Inc. (CAPIC).
Prior to joining CAP, Ms. Belcher served as vice president, west region sales manager for Alexsis, Inc./RSKCo, a CNA subsidiary, where she was responsible for operational and P&L oversight of the western half of the U.S.
Ms. Belcher is a graduate of Oregon State University, Corvallis, where she earned Bachelor of Science degrees in both Science Education and Microbiology. She is also a licensed California property and casualty and surplus lines insurance broker. Among her philanthropic endeavors, Ms. Belcher is a Board Director for City of Hope’s National Insurance Industry Council, which honored her in 2008 with its William R. Story Award for Leadership and Professionalism.
John Donaldson is chief financial officer of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP).
As CFO, Mr. Donaldson directs all of CAP’s financial functions, including planning and reporting; accounting practices and treasury functions; and managing relationships with external auditors, actuaries, and rating and regulatory agencies.
Since joining CAP in 2004, Mr. Donaldson has helped ensure the company’s ongoing financial strength, guiding the upgrade of its Mutual Protection Trust (MPT) medical professional liability product from an “A” to “A+” rating by A.M. Best, and facilitating important groundwork leading to a change in tax accounting at MPT, which generated $21 million in tax refunds. Providing protection to nearly 12,000 California physicians, MPT is CAP’s core product and is considered a benchmark in the California medical professional liability industry.
Before joining CAP, Mr. Donaldson held CFO positions at Employers Insurance Company of Nevada and Fremont Insurance Group, Inc. He earned an MBA in Financial Services from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach.
As general counsel for the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc., (CAP) since 1992, Mr. Ownby directs a legal staff and outside counsel to deliver legal solutions to this industry-leading medical professional liability company.
Working with industry coalitions and company-retained lobbyists, Mr. Ownby provides analysis and key communications for CAP’s health care liability legislative program. He also represents the interests of health care on the board of the Civil Justice Association of California and advances the development of case law affecting the rights of physicians and patients through the Amicus Curiae Committee of the California Medical Association.
Other duties at CAP include management of regulatory compliance, board governance, and liability coverage matters. Mr. Ownby also promotes patient safety through his regular column for physicians, “Case of the Month.” In 2010, CAP published Mr. Ownby’s columns in the book: “Medicine on Trial: Risk Management Lessons from Litigated Cases.”
From 1987 to 1992, Mr. Ownby was a litigation attorney with Schmid & Voiles, a law firm dedicated to the defense of CAP members. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Ownby was a news editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal, California’s largest legal newspaper.
Mr. Ownby earned his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1987. He is a cum laude graduate of California State University, Northridge, where he earned a BA degree in Political Science.
Jeffrey Stoner is senior vice president of Claims and Risk Management Services for the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP).
With a professional background that includes almost a decade as a trial attorney, Mr. Stoner joined CAP in 1995. As senior vice president of Claims and Risk Management Services, Mr. Stoner oversees all claims provided to CAP’s Mutual Protection Trust, as well as all third-party administrative activities. In this capacity, he advises claims review committees in their decisions of which cases should go to trial and which are settled out of court. He was also instrumental in the development and oversight of the CAP Cares program, which provides resources and emotional support for member physicians in crisis who are facing adverse outcomes with their patients.
Mr. Stoner is also a committee member for the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA), a leading trade association representing domestic and international medical professional liability companies owned and/or operated by physicians, hospitals, dentists, and other health care providers.
A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stoner earned a law degree from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in World Literature from Pennsylvania State University. As a trial lawyer, he practiced in both Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Wayne Kleinman, MD, is a past Chief of Staff at Providence Tarzana Hospital and the Immediate Past Chief of the Division of Anesthesiology for Providence Tarzana Hospital. A board-certified anesthesiologist and internist, he earned his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia and performed postgraduate training at both UCLA and the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center. Dr. Kleinman is currently an assistant clinical professor volunteer, Department of Anesthesiology, for UCLA’s School of Medicine and is a member of more than half-a-dozen professional societies and associations on national, state, and local levels. He has also held key positions in numerous community and charity organizations and events, including the Guardian Hoops Club, AYSO’s youth soccer program, AIDS Ride Los Angeles, and Physicians Caring Holiday Food Drives. Dr. Kleinman has been a CAP member since 1992. He was selected as a CAP “Fellow” by the Board of Directors in 2014, was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2015, and has served on the MPT Los Angeles Claims Review Committee since 2000.
Paul Rocky Weber, MD, PhD, is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who has practiced at Women’s Hospital/Long Beach Memorial Medical Center since 1981. Dr. Weber earned his medical degree and PhD from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed a one-year fellowship program for physician leaders sponsored by Memorial Health System. He completed his residency training in obstetrics/gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Physician Society of the Memorial Health System which comprises six hospitals and 2,000 physicians. He is a Clinical Professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine and teaches residents and medical students at the UCI Medical Center. Formerly Chief of Staff and Chief of Obstetrics at Women’s Hospital, Dr. Weber has also held positions on its Board of Trustees, Board of Directors, and Executive Committee. A CAP member since 1981, Dr. Weber was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2005. Dr. Weber is Chair of the Obstetrical Claims Review Committee and Secretary of the Quality Control Committee. He has recently served as Chair of the California Section 5 (Los Angeles) American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Sheilah Clayton, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon practicing in Pasadena. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Martin Luther King Jr./Charles R. Drew Medical Center. Although Dr. Clayton has extensive experience in all aspects of general surgery, she has more recently developed an interest in breast surgery, especially in underserved populations. Currently, she serves as the Chair of Surgical Services at the Martin Luther King Jr. Surgical Center where she has co-authored several papers relating to molecular biology in breast cancer, nurse navigation and surveillance models in breast cancer survivors. Dr. Clayton is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, Los Angeles Surgical Society and the National Medical Association. She serves on the CAP and MPT Audit, Compensation, Finance, and Physician Closed Claims Review Committees, and is Chair of the Surgical Risk Assessment Peer Review Committee. Dr. Clayton became a CAP member in 1990.
Roger Eng Jr., MD, MPH, FACR, is a board-certified radiologist in practice since 1997. Dr. Eng earned his medical degree from George Washington University’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences and earned his Master of Public Health from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. He completed his residency in Radiology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and fellowship at LAC/USC Imaging Science Center. Dr. Eng is President of Golden Gate Radiology Medical Group, serving San Francisco’s Chinatown community. With a 25-year long history of participating in organized medicine, Dr. Eng has previously served as a trustee to the California Medical Association and as president of the San Francisco Medical Society. Within his specialty, Dr. Eng has been President of the California Radiological Society. He is a Fellow and Councilor of the American College of Radiology. A CAP member since 2016, Dr. Eng was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2019.
Dennis Jordanides, MD, is a board-certified internist with 19 years of clinical experience. Dr. Jordanides’ training began with completion of a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering followed by Medical School at Texas Tech University. He served his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), followed by a faculty position at UCI. He served as Medical Director of Carmichael Training Systems and worked to maximize the performance of elite athletes from across the county. As founder of the Inpatient Hospitalist program at Eisenhower Medical Center (EMC) in Rancho Mirage, he worked closely with EMC physician executives to build highly successful programs. A CAP member since 2007, Dr. Jordanides was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2019.
Gregory Lizer, MD, FAAP, is chair of the Member Engagement and Education Committee of CAP and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has served on the CAP Board of Directors since 2013. Dr. Lizer is a noted expert on childhood allergies, asthma, and a variety of pediatric health care topics, having spoken on these subjects at schools, hospitals, and community events. A member of Descanso Pediatrics/Huntington Medical Foundation Medical Group in La Cañada-Flintridge, Dr. Lizer is also active in his local community, having served on the board of the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA and as volunteer director of Camp Health Centers for the Los Angeles Metro YMCA resident camps in Big Bear and Mammoth. In 2007 and 2012, he was named Best Pediatrician by the Glendale News Press “Foothills’ Best.” Dr. Lizer graduated from Hahnemann University’s School of Medicine in Philadelphia and completed his internship and residency at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Animal Physiology from UC San Diego. Dr. Lizer has also served on the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.
Graham A. Purcell, MD, is a Santa Monica board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice since 1984. A graduate of the University of Alberta Medical School in Canada, Dr. Purcell completed his orthopedic residency at the University of California, Los Angeles and the John H. Moe Spine Fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He is currently an assistant clinical professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, and Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Purcell was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2005.
Charles P. Steinmann, MD, FACA, has been a practicing, board-certified anesthesiologist since 1977. Currently a staff physician at Hoag Hospital, and the Newport Plaza Surgical Center, Dr. Steinmann received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, where he subsequently completed his residency in anesthesiology. He completed a fellowship in pain management in Zurich, Switzerland, and received the 2001 Award of Excellence from the Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative. During a four-year sabbatical in England, Dr. Steinmann studied for his master’s degree in finance and began work on his Master of Philosophy in Finance at the University of Exeter. A CAP member since 1981, Dr. Steinmann was elected to the MPT Board of Trustees in 2005 and served on the CAP Board of Directors from 2011 to 2016. Dr. Steinmann is currently Chair of the MPT Board of Trustees.
Phillip Unger, MD, is a board-certified Fullerton radiologist in private practice since 1975. Dr. Unger earned his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada, as well as the American College of Radiology. He is an active member of the Orange County Medical Association, California Medical Association, and the American Medical Association. Dr. Unger also served as President of the Orange County Radiological Society from 1984-1985. Dr. Unger joined the MPT Board of Trustees in 1986 and has been a CAP member since 1978.
Othella T. Owens, MD, FACS is board-certified in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and has maintained a private practice in Los Angeles since 2000. Dr. Owens completed her medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, and her residency at the University of California, Los Angeles Division of Head and Neck Surgery. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the American College of Surgeons and is a past member of the Los Angeles County Medical Women’s Association. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Jenesse Center Inc., a domestic violence intervention program, as well as on the Board of Directors for the Physicians Aid Association, and she is a current member of Women Business Leaders. Dr. Owens is assistant clinical professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In 1993, Dr. Owens was awarded the national Certificate of Honor from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She became a CAP member in 2007 and was elected to the MPT Board of Trustees in 2010.
Stewart L. Shanfield, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and currently practices with St. Jude Heritage Medical Group in Fullerton. A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, he completed his internship and orthopedic residency at USC in Los Angeles. Dr. Shanfield has served in several elected and appointed positions at St. Jude Medical Center, including Chair of Board of Trustees, Chair of Surgery, Chief of Staff, and Chair of the Physician Well Being Committee. He is the physician facilitator of CREW Resource Management, a patient safety program implemented at St. Jude Medical Center. He currently serves as the Chair of the Allied Health Professions Committee which oversees quality and peer review of all physician assistants and nurse practitioners at St. Jude Medical Center. The Orange County Medical Association has selected him as an orthopedic physician of excellence since 2004. He was the Arthritis Foundation honoree in 2015. Active in his local community, Dr. Shanfield was the volunteer medical director as a non-sworn officer for the North County SWAT Team. He was a board member of Fullerton Community Bank and a member of its Audit and Finance Committee. Currently, he serves as the CAP Finance Committee Chair and Chair of the CAP Physicians Insurance Agency. He serves on the MPT Board of Trustees having been elected in June 2018. In January of this year he was elected as a board member of St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. A CAP member since 1998, Dr. Shanfield served on the CAP Board of Directors from 2007 to 2017.
Lisa Thomsen, MD, FAAFP, is a Glendora-based board-certified family practitioner in private practice since 1990. In 1987, Dr. Thomsen graduated from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and completed her residency training at the University of Southern California-PIH Family Medicine Residency Program. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and serves on the California Academy of Family Physicians Medical Practice Affairs Committee. As an independent physician representative, Dr. Thomsen worked on the Los Angeles Regional Accountable Care Organization Board of Directors in 2012. She was recognized as “Physician of the Year” in 2010 by the Citrus Valley Health Partners (CVHP). Before starting her solo practice, she was CEO of Foothill Family Practice Medical Group. A former Chief of Staff at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Thomsen also served on the CVHP Board of Directors and currently is an active member of CVHP’s Governance Committee. Dr. Thomsen has been a CAP member since 2003 and actively participates on the Member Engagement and Education Committee and the Risk Assessment Peer Review Committee. Dr. Thomsen has served on the CAP Board of Directors since 2011. Dr. Thomsen joined the MPT Board of Trustees in July 2019.