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. Pacini, JD, 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. Pacini 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. Pacini 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. Pacini 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. Pacini earned her Juris Doctor degree (Summa Cum Laude) from DePaul University College of Law with a Certificate in Health Law. Ms. Pacini currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Captive Insurance Companies Association.
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 currently serves as president and chair of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. Dr. Kleinman is chief of the Division of Anesthesiology for Providence Tarzana Hospital, where he also served as its Chief of Staff from 2008-12. A board certified anesthesiologist and internist, he earned his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College and performed postgraduate training at both UCLA and Wadsworth VA Medical Center West in Los Angeles. Dr. Kleinman is also an assistant clinical professor, Department of Anesthesiology, for UCLA’s School of Medicine and is a member of more than six professional societies and associations on national, state, and local levels. He has 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.
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 currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Physician Society of the Memorial Health System and is an associate clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology. 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 and currently serves as its vice chair and vice president. Dr. Weber is chair of the Obstetrical Claims Review Committee and also secretary of the Quality Control Committee. He was recently elected to a three-year term as vice chair of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for California Section 5 (Los Angeles).
Sheilah Clayton, MD, is a general surgeon practicing in Pasadena. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Martin Luther King Jr./C.R. Drew Medical Center, where she currently is Director of its Breast Clinic. Dr. Clayton is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of several professional societies, including the National Medical Association, the Association of Black Women Physicians, the Los Angeles Surgical Society, and the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons. She serves on the CAP and MPT Audit, Compensation, and Finance committees. Dr. Clayton became a CAP member in 1990.
Béla S. Kenessey, MD is a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. After graduating from the University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1989, he attended the USC-PIH Family Practice Residency Program where he served as Chief Resident from 1991-92. There, he was honored with the Resident Teacher Award by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Dr. Kenessey is a Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Family Medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics/Business from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has served on several boards, including at his local hospital, as well as CFO for a community nonprofit organization and CEO and CFO of a sleep diagnostics center. Dr. Kenessey most recently completed a nine year term as president and chair of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. He continues to serve as chair of the CAP Practice and Management Services Committee, and has served as chair of the MPT Northern California Claims Review Committee since 2005. His family practice is located in Danville where he also resides.
Gregory Lizer, MD, FAAP, is chair of the Membership Development Committee of CAP and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 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. Elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2005, Dr. Purcell became a CAP member in 1989.
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 Medical School, 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 Foundation (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 Membership, Education, Practice Management Services, and Governance committees. Dr. Thomsen was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2011.
Charles P. Steinmann, MD, 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 to the CAP Board of Directors in 2011. Dr. Steinmann is currently the chair of the Finance Committee and was elected chair of the MPT Board in June 2016.
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 1984-85 President of the Orange County Radiological Society. He joined the MPT Board of Trustees in 1986 and has been a CAP member since 1978. Dr. Unger was elected vice chair of the MPT Board in June 2016.
Mearl Naponic, MD, is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in La Mesa. Dr. Naponic serves as assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and is a member of the San Diego County Medical Society and California Medical Association. A graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Naponic began serving on the CAP Board of Directors in 1987 and was a member of its Executive Committee until his election to the MPT Board of Trustees in 1990. He has been a CAP member since 1976.
Othella T. Owens, MD, 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 also 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. 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, has been a board-certified orthopedic surgeon since 1988 and currently practices with St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, he completed his internship and 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, and Chief of Staff. He is the physician facilitator of CREW Resource Management, a patient safety program implemented at St. Jude Medical Center. The Orange County Medical Association selected him as an orthopedic physician of excellence in 2000 and from 2004-14. 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 their Audit and Finance Committee. Currently, he serves as Vice Chair of Finance at CAP and is a member of the Audit Committee. He also serves on the Board of St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group and their Finance Committee. A CAP member since 1998, Dr. Shanfield was elected to the CAP Board of Directors in 2007. He was appointed Chair of the Audit Committee in 2016.