About Vital Options International

Educating and Supporting Patients’ Needs | Giving Voice to Patients and Caregivers

Vital Options International has expanded its mission to become a global health foundation focused on health education, supporting the financial needs of qualified patients and their families and giving patients and caregivers a voice.


From a culminating 30+ years as an innovative leader in patient advocacy, our expanded mission includes direct support of qualified patients, their caregivers and families across all chronic, terminal and rare conditions through the Selma Schimmel Vital Grant.


The Selma Schimmel Vital Grant is a financial support program focused on helping qualified patients and their families who are enduring a financial hardship while battling a chronic, terminal or rare condition. The Vital Grant program assist qualified patients for things like transportation to treatment, groceries and other living expenses. The program is administered in part by our partner foundations along with support from our Vital Partners who assist through donations and other capabilities.


Vital Options is and will always be committed to providing education along with giving a voice to patients, caregivers, families and healthcare professionals through our Vital Education and award winning Vital Conversation and Advocacy In Action programs. This blend of combining education, patient stories and insights from healthcare professionals provides patients and their families valuable guidance to the treatment and support they need.


 Message from the VOI Board

Welcome to Vital Options International! 

From a culminating 30+ years as an innovative leader in patient advocacy, today represents a pivotal chapter in the life of this organization as we look to our future of supporting patients, their caregivers and families. With new ways to support patients, a new Board of Directors and renewed energy, we are committed to our mission of generating global health education, conversations and support. 

Vital Options International continues to bring you access to health education and stores from patients, medical professionals and advocates from across the globe that ultimately enlighten, engage and empower you to better understand the patient and caregiver experience and journey. 

Thank you for engaging with us. We hope you’ll check back often for updates, join our community, interact through our social media, share our educational resources with others and let us know what topics you would like more information on. With your input and support, Vital Awareness of all options becomes clearer.

Vital Options Board of Directors

David S. Duplay, Chairman and CEO

David Duplay is currently the Founder and CEO of MedTera Healthcare Intelligence LLC, a healthcare advisory firm who’s focus is to assist industry healthcare stakeholders in the development of their health products and services. Dave also serves as the Chairman and CEO of Vital Options International.

Dave has spent his career as a business and technology strategist for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. With a heritage in healthcare marketing, communications and technology, Dave has worked with pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, research organizations and patient groups for over 20 years, completing various types of marketing and strategy projects across almost all disease areas.

As an advocate for the healthcare industry and a passionate believer that aligning the goals and aspirations of all stakeholders in healthcare is key to improving outcomes for patients, Dave is frequently invited to comment on the positive aspects of working with the pharmaceutical and managed care industry and is a recognized author and speaker on healthcare marketing strategies, physician, patient and caregiver strategies as well as the pharmaceutical industries role in delivering quality care.

Debby Bitticks, Chairman Emeritus

Intergenerational Expert, Award Winning Author, Health and Caregiving Advocate.  Debby worked with her sister Selma Schimmel (Founder of VOI) from its inception, and is proud to continue her support of the organization and the legacy of her sister.  Debby is a breast cancer survivor and can be reached at Debby@DebbyBitticks.com.

Kevin Weadock, Board Member

Kevin Weadock is an Engineering Fellow at Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company dedicated to bringing surgical solutions to patients worldwide. Kevin earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and is a Registered Patent Agent in the USPTO.  He is an inventor on 44 US patents and an author on papers in the field of biomaterials, tissue engineering and nuclear medicine. He is also the author of “The River,” a memoir on the effects of alcoholism on his childhood.

Kevin has participated in the Cortland County, NY Big Brother program and has coached Little League baseball and basketball in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has contributed to the United Way since 2000. Kevin has spent his career addressing various disease states, including third degree burns, ovarian and lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases.  He is a cancer survivor and hopes to help others who have been affected by the disease.

Dave Hassrick, Board Member

Dave Hassrick is an environmental consultant who has been providing environmental liability analysis for corporations across North America. Dave’s primary practice area has focused on re-positioning of environmentally impaired real estate and working with global companies to improve their environmental footprint for long-term growth and sustainability.

Calvin L. Butts II, Board Member

Calvin is an entrepreneur and private equity leader who brings oversight and deep governance experience through his work with University of Pennsylvania at Princeton Hospital Foundation Board and as a Trustee at Hampton University. Calvin serves as Vice Chair, Secretary of the University of Pennsylvania at Princeton Hospital at Foundation Board and also sits on Governing and Nominating and Finance committees. As the youngest Trustee in Hampton University’s history, he serves on the Student Development and Alumni Affairs Committees. Calvin is also an active member of National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)

Calvin is also Vice President, Agency Partnerships at BioPharm Communications, an Omnicom Health Group company. As a General Partner at East Chop Capital, Calvin provides individuals the opportunity to build wealth through curated and vetted investments across real estate, hospitality, travel, technology, financial services, media and sports.

Mike Lally, Board Member

Mike is a recently retired pharmaceutical & healthcare executive having spent the last 30 years of his career in various senior executive roles in the industry. Most recently Mike held the position of Sr Director of Global Logistics with Teva Pharmaceutical, the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world. 

Prior to Teva he worked in all aspects of supply chain in the electronics, textiles and pharmaceutical industries. Mike now dedicates his time volunteering for the betterment of health related causes and is a passionate supporter of Patients and Caregivers who are dealing with chronic conditions. 

Mark J. Speckhart, Board Member

Mark J. Speckhart is an entrepreneur and International Sales Agent with over 20 years of experience in the automation industry. Mark currently represents ZCS Company, the world leader and most innovative company changing people’s lives and businesses every day for the better.

Mark is an esophageal cancer survivor diagnosed in 2011 and the proud father of three beautiful children.

Mark is also a Patient Advocate speaking with patients pre and post-surgery. In this role he helps by giving explanations on what patients with similar medical situations can expect as far physical and mental challenges during treatment and then after treatment.

Sarah Savoia, PA-C

Ms. Savoia is a Physician Assistant and research scientist at Yale University School of Medicine in Neurology. Her primary area of practice is Cognitive and Behavioral neurology. Sarah focuses on expanding Yale’s clinical services in the areas of cognition, optimization of clinical operations, and patient care. Prior to her position at Yale, she worked in various capacities in mental health care.

Recently, her paper, “
 Wernekinck Commissure Syndrome: Sequela of a Caudal Paramedian Midbrain Infarction,” was published in the journal Neurology.