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 is the chief executive officer of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) and the Mutual Protection Trust (MPT). In this role, she draws on her extensive leadership background in healthcare, 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 healthcare 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.
Muzzammeel (Muz) Bhattha is Chief Financial Officer of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. Mr. Bhattha is a fellow member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of California.
As CFO, Mr. Bhattha 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.
Before joining CAP, Mr. Bhattha was a senior manager with Ernst & Young LLP. He specialized in the audits of property and casualty insurance companies for seven years in the United States and five years with KPMG LLP in United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. He also helped clients navigate through various acquisitions and debt offerings. Mr. Bhattha is also a past board member of the Insurance Accounting & Systems Association Southern California Chapter.
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.
Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP) Board of Directors
and Mutual Protection Trust (MPT) Board of Trustees
Stewart L. Shanfield, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and currently practices with St. Jude Heritage Medical Group at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton. A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, he completed his internship and orthopedic residency in Los Angeles at USC. Dr. Shanfield has served in several appointed and elected positions at St. Jude Medical Center including chief of staff, chief of surgery, chair of Board of Trustees, chair of Physician Well Being Committee, and chair of Allied Health Professions. He served as the physician facilitator of CREW Resources Management; a patient safety program implemented at St. Jude Medical Center. The Orange County Medical Association has selected him as an orthopedic physician of excellence from 2004 to 2021. He was the Arthritis Foundation honoree in 2015. Active in his local community, he was the volunteer medical director of the North Orange County SWAT Team for nearly 10 years. He was a board member of Fullerton Community Bank and served on the bank's Audit and Finance Committee. Currently, he serves as the chair of the CAP and MPT Finance Committee and the CAP Physicians Insurance Agency, Inc. A CAP member since 1998, he served on the CAP Board of Directors 2009-2017 and was elected to the MPT Board of Trustees in 2018.
Sheilah M. Clayton, MD, FACS is a board-certified general surgeon practicing in Pasadena since 1990. 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 and trauma 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. She has served as a member of the Anthem/Blue Cross California Credentials Committee since 2004. Dr. Clayton became a CAP member in 1990 and serves on the CAP and MPT Audit and Finance Committees, the MPT Physician Closed Claims Review Committees, and is chair of the MPT Surgical Risk Assessment Peer Review Committee.
Othella T. Owens, MD, FACS is board-certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She has maintained a private practice in Los Angeles since 2000. She completed her medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and her residency at UCLA in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery. She has been a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery since 1983 and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1989. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program, since 2005 and has been its audit chair since 2016. She has served on the board of the Physicians Aid Association since 2012 and has been its treasurer since 2018. She served on the Board of Trustees of the University of West Los Angeles School of Law from 1994 to 1999. She has been a member of the Women Business Leaders, WBL in Healthcare, since 2016. She is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She was awarded the National Certificate of Honor from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1993. She has been on the MPT Board of Trustees since 2010 and serves on multiple MPT committees.
Roger S. 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 body imaging fellowship at LAC/USC Imaging Science Center. Since 2007, Dr. Eng has been president of Golden Gate Radiology Medical Group, practicing in San Francisco's Chinatown community. He also serves on the Chinese Hospital Association Board of Trustees as of 2021. Since 2017, Dr. Eng has been a medical specialist in ML/AI at Google Health through Vituity. He has been Vituity's medical director for radiology since 2019. Dr. Eng has previously served as a trustee to the California Medical Association and as the 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. A 2018-2019 CAP Fellow, Dr. Eng served on CAP's Member Engagement and Education Committee from 2017-2020 and currently serves on the CAP Political Action Committee.
Wayne Kleinman, MD, is currently completing his term as president and chair of the CAP Board of Directors. He is a past chief of staff at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center and a past chief of the Division of Anesthesiology. Currently, Dr. Kleinman is the president and chief financial officer of Tarzana Anesthesia Medical Group, Inc. 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 and AYSO's youth soccer program, in addition to coaching youth baseball and being involved with 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 elected chair in 2017. He has served on the MPT Los Angeles Claims Review Committee since 2000.
John Kowalczyk, DO, FACOS is a Los Angeles-based urologist and founder of the Urology Group of Southern California where he specializes in prostate cancer, male impotence, incontinence and urodynamics as well as gender dysphoria and gender confirmation surgery. Dr. Kowalczyk became a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons in 1999 and served as president of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California in 2016. He has been a California delegate to the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates every year from 2010 to 2020 and has been an expert reviewer for the Osteopathic Medical Board of California since 2010. Dr. Kowalczyk serves on the board of the Physician’s Aid Association (2013-Present), the Good Samaritan IPA (2011-Present), and the Medical Executive Committee of Good Samaritan Hospital (2003 to Present). While on staff at Good Samaritan Hospital, he has served as the chair of their Patient Safety Committee since 2009, and was a member of the Clinical Practices Committee from 2005 to 2012, the Urology Department from 2002 to 2016, and the Interdisciplinary Practice Committee in 2004. He is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at Touro University and Western University, as well as clerkship director for the Surgery Department of St. George’s University School of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Osteopathy from Midwestern University, completed his internship and residencies at Chicago Osteopathic Hospital and Olympia Fields Osteopathic Medical & Trauma Center, and received his Fellowship training in uroprosthetics at Indiana University. Dr. Kowalczyk has been a CAP member since 2005 and has served on the CAP and MPT Audit and Finance Committees since 2020.
Lisa Thomsen, MD, FAAFP, is a Glendora-based board-certified family practitioner in solo 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 Emanate Health's (formerly CVHP) Governance Committee. Dr. Thomsen has been a CAP member since 2003 and actively participates on the CAP Member Engagement and Education Committee, the MPT Risk Assessment Peer Review Committee, the MPT Nominating and Governance Committee, and the CAP and MPT Litigation Advisory Committee. Dr. Thomsen was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2011 and has served on the CAP Board of Trustees since 2019.