SALAD Program Presenters

Richard F. Groves JCL, MA, MDiv

Professor Richard Groves is an internationally respected teacher on topics related to the science and spirituality of wellness.  A chaplain and counselor for thirty years, Richard speaks nine languages and has earned graduated degrees in theology, ethics, world religions and law.  Richard was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and served as chaplain and ethicist for the US Air Force and numerous North American health care systems.

Richard with his late wife, Mary, co-founded the Sacred Art of Living Center in Bend, Oregon in 1997.  More than twenty thousand students throughout North America, Europe, Asia and India have graduated from the Sacred Art of Living & Dying training courses taught by the Groves including more than nearly three thousand physicians worldwide.  Richard’s latest book, The American Book of Living and Dying: Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain has been widely compared to the groundbreaking work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Drawing upon Celtic spiritual traditions, the Groves created The Anamcara Project, a first of its kind professional apprenticeship in the sacred arts of living and dying.

Richard has a passion for bringing together the worlds of medical science, psychology, spirituality and cultural diversity.  As a university professor of philosophy and world religions, Richard is an advocate for a more innovative approach to education on issues related to end of life care. As a health care educator, Richard has taught a variety of professional audiences on issues related to integrated medicine and the art of dying.

Groves is a highly sought after keynote speaker at conferences internationally on topics that include wellness, aging and palliative care.  He continues to work as a tireless advocate for a more effective and holistic approach to pain management and human suffering.  His latest project in an on-line education program called the Soul & Science for Caregivers.

Dean Sharpe MD, MHA

Dean Sharpe trained as a general surgeon and worked in private practice from 1980 to 2002.  He shifted focus, obtained a Master’s Degree in Health Administration, becoming Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Charles Medical Center for twelve years, sharing this position with his surgical practice from 1994-2002.  Informatics and computerized medical records came and he facilitated the change at St. Charles from 2004 to 2006.  As the Vice President of Medical Affairs and VP Clinical Informatics, relationship and change facilitation was the major role of the job.

His love has always been as facilitator and educator, so starting in 1992, he helped design and facilitate “People Centered Teams”, an organizational development and personal growth seminar, both at St. Charles and nationally, impacting the lives of over 5000 participants.  He helped design and taught two levels of Death and Dying workshops at St. Charles in the 90’s with the goal that caregivers would become more comfortable with their own mortality as well as their patients.  His belief as physician has always included the role of facilitating the relationship between patient and illness since this healthy relationship allows healing, regardless of physical cure.  The vision and mission of the Sacred Art of Living and Dying Center and the SALAD seminars are a natural extension of Dean’s previous interests and work.  He is married to Marlis Beier, and has two daughters and two grandsons. He lives in Bend, Oregon and enjoys cooking, skiing, hiking, gardening, and being with his family.

Marlis Beier, M.D.

Marlis Beier started her professional career in Obstetrics and Gynecology and practiced for seventeen years. She found gratification in both the clinical challenges and accompanying those facing life transitions around sexuality, motherhood, loss and medical crisis. During that time, her desire to prevent unwanted teen pregnancy led to presentations, making an educational video and teaching in schools as well as founding a mentoring teen theater group.

Life and identity shifted when exacerbation of multiple sclerosis ended her private practice. Finding meaning in her own losses and change stimulated learning storytelling, spiritual work, dream tending and writing. An ordained Maggid (Jewish storytelling and teacher), she speaks at faith communities as well as to secular groups.  Her focus changed from accompanying those giving birth to those facing the end of life.  Her volunteer work includes hospice, interfaith networking and Volunteers in Medicine (caring for indigent patients).  Seminars at the Sacred Art of Living Center motivated her to begin teaching dream tending, facilitating end of life review (a personal Vidui) and acting as a spiritual director.  Facilitating material and ritual at the Sacred Art of Living and Dying programs comes naturally from her practicing personal, family and community ritual in Judaism, fitting in with her love of stories.

Her greatest love is her family, including husband Dean Sharpe, M.D., two daughters, Marissa and Anneliese, and grandsons Thielsen and Sawyer. The saga of Anneliese’s health challenges since age one inspired her to become a better doctor, mother and companion to any one facing illness or challenge.

Kevin Dieter M.D FAAHPM

Kevin Dieter M.D. is an Associate Medical Director for the Hospice and Palliative Care Services at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He was in private practice for 10 years before becoming a full time faculty member at the Aultman Family Medicine Residency program in 1998. Kevin became involved in hospice care as a fledgling hospice medical director in1991, and was been active in hospice and palliative care locally, regionally and nationally. For the past 5 years, he has been providing hospice and palliative care full time in the Summa Health System.

Kevin has a strong passion in medical education and is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the Northeastern Ohio Medical University ( NEOMED ). He enjoys teaching medical students, nursing students, residents and fellows in a variety of settings. He was instrumental in forming the Department of Palliative Medicine at the NEOMED, and in 2012 received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award for his efforts in teaching throughout the medical school curriculum. Kevin’s belief that hospice patients can be wonderful teachers to young doctors allowed him to create a hospice experience for medical students that was one of the first of its kind in the country, and is a keystone for the Palliative Care curriculum at NEOMED.

Kevin brings a very strong belief in the absolute necessity of spirituality in the teaching and practice of medicine. The Sacred Art of Living Center has become an essential part of his professional life in that regard, and has deeply impacted his own spiritual growth and sustenance. It is with great pleasure that he is able to participate in educating others through the Sacred Art of Living and Dying programs.

Maryhelen Zabas, MA

Maryhelen Zabas (Zabaszkiewicz) was born in 1945 in Portage, Pennsylvania.  She moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1960 and in 1962 entered the Roman Catholic women’s religious Community of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit.  She graduated from Ursuline College of Cleveland in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  In 1972 she received her Master of Arts in English from John Carroll University of Cleveland.

Maryhelen was licensed as a Nursing Home Administrator in 1983.  In 1986 she was elected Superior of her order and served in that capacity until 2006.  In May of 2006 she was hired as regional representative of the Sacred Art of Living Center in Bend, Oregon, where she began training as a facilitator for the Sacred Art of Living and Dying programs.

Since 1978, Maryhelen served on the Board of Jennings Center for Older Adults where she also worked in administration and pastoral care since 1988.  In her ministry in pastoral care she worked primarily with dying residents and their families, assisting at the deaths of over 60 residents annually for the past twenty years.

A speaker at numerous annual conferences and presenter of numerous workshops on the topic of spirituality in end-of-life care, Maryhelen is a member of the Team for the Anamacara Project and has taught the Sacred Art of Living in many venues including specially designed sessions for the nursing students at Cleveland State and Kent State Universities in Ohio.