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

Over Dave’s 30 year healthcare career, he has led and advised several enterprise–wide transformation initiatives focused on enabling the company’s business model to adapt to changing healthcare market conditions and disruptive market forces. His years of working with global pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, research organizations and patient groups have provided Dave with a unique perspective that allows him to harmoniously blend all aspects of the healthcare delivery continuum. He has been recognized for his ability to raise visibility and bring new technology to the forefront while always maintaining a strong focus on Patients and Caregivers.  This combined with his successful background in sales and marketing has resulted in some of the most highly recognized, award-winning deliverables in the healthcare industry today.
 
Dave’s functional strengths are in strategic and tactical planning and he is often sought after, as he is one who remains at the forefront of blending multimedia digital technology and the patient side of healthcare. Dave continues to provide guidance and advice to several private and publicly held companies in the health technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.
 
Dave is a recognized executive leader with hands-on experience providing in-depth and cutting-edge strategies to clients within the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.  Chosen to lead in the high-profile launch of several new digital platforms, to formulating multi-tiered media campaigns consisting of traditional and non-traditional tactics, Dave has gained the reputation as one who “thinks outside the box” and builds strong relationships with clients and strategic partners.

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.

Joseph F. Anderson, Board Member

Joseph began his career in Financial Services working for Nathan & Lewis Securities.  He remained there for 17 years, as the Managing Director of Trading. As a testament to his innovativeness in the financial field, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Wealth Management when Met Life took over. Joseph was a pioneer in Independent Wealth Management Sector creating investment solution for High Net-Worth Individuals, Practice Management, Mentoring, Sales, and Marketing.  He retired from Financial Services after 30 years as an Executive with both Nationwide and Genworth Financial as the Wealth Management National Sales & Relationship Manager to pursue his passion in Emergency Management.
 
Joseph began his EMS career in 1986.  He was one of the founders of the EMS Special Operations Team and assisted in the development of the first comprehensive Emergency Management & Preparedness plan for the City of Jersey City.  Joseph has been a volunteer with North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad for over 24 years and held the position as CFO & Captain of Rescue and Special Operations for over 20 years.  Joseph remains very active in EMS as a Rescue and Special Operations Instructor and he is one of the original founding members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force.  Joseph the Treasure and Board Member with the New Jersey EMS Task Force and continues his work keeping the people of New Jersey Safe.
 
He joined CarePoint Health in 2014 as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and was promoted to Director of Network Operations in 2017. CarePoint Health is comprised of 3 Community Hospitals, 75 Medical Offices, and Urgent Care Centers making it one of the largest hospital systems in the region. In this role, Joseph was responsible for the Life Safety and Environment of Care programs. Additionally, he served as the Hospital Chairperson for the NJ UASI Northern NJ Chapter. Joseph was a key member of the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Department of Health’s response to COVID-19.
Joseph joined A.E.R Consulting Services as the Financial Advisor in 2010 and moved into the role of Senior Consultant of Emergency Management & Preparedness in March 2020. He was promoted to Assistant Vice President and member of the Board.

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.

Michael Freedman, Board Member

Michael is senior healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience supporting Learning & Development, Education, and Corporate Training initiatives for Johnson & Johnson. 

Most recently Michael served as the J&J Global Lead for Change Management, Communications and Training supporting HR related projects. Prior to that, Michael served as the head of the J&J North American Training Center of Excellence where he was responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of tactical deliverables in support of the J&J North American Supply Chain.  

Michael is passionate about helping people inflicted with Cancer and Alzheimer’s, having recently lost his brother to cancer and both parents to Alzheimer’s. His sister is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

Michael is an Eagle Scout and active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, in addition to being an active member of the NJ EMS Task Force Technology & Communications Team.

Dave Giles, Board Member

After over 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry Dave has for the past 4+ years been a widower father of fraternal twin 14 year old sons, and he focuses his time not only on his sons, but also on improving the lives of others as a mentor, volunteer, board member, and investor.

Dave held multiple Senior Executive positions in Marketing, Sales, Global Commercial Operations, and Health Technology and was responsible for building and leading US and Global commercial organizations, teams, strategies, and tactical implementation across a variety of geographies and brands.

His leadership experience spans multiple therapeutic areas including Autoimmune and Rare Diseases, Neurology, Psychiatry, Cardiovascular, and Gastroenterology. Dave is particularly passionate about increasing the awareness of pheochromocytoma, the rare and most frequently misdiagnosed condition that suddenly and unexpectedly took his wife’s life. He is also very passionate about conditions that have significantly impacted his sons’ lives and development during their earlier years – adrenal insufficiency and food allergies.

Dave has served as a Guest Lecturer at the Fox School of Business at Temple University and has spoken at multiple conferences on pharmaceutical marketing and sales, as well as leadership. He has an MBA in Finance and Management, studied Economics at St. John’s College of Oxford University in England, and has completed Executive Education programs with Wharton, Columbia, and Northwestern.

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.

Toni Hendrix, Board Member

As The Director of Human Resources with The Loomis Communities, Toni is responsible for partnering with leadership to promote HR management practices to ensure fair, equitable and consistent treatment of employees while minimizing the potential for legal liability. She also provides consultation and developmental support to leaders and team members relative to employee engagement, policy interpretation, change management, and performance management.

Prior to joining The Loomis Communities, Toni was a Senior Human Resources Consultant at Baystate Health and Vice President of Training and Development for the American Cancer Society, overseeing all six New England states. Previously, she was a Senior Consultant with Simmons Associates, a national Diversity and Training company in Pennsylvania. Early in her career, she was the Director of Organizational Development at MassMutual Financial Group.

Toni has traveled extensively and lived in Germany, Istanbul, and Korea; she currently resides in Springfield, Massachusetts with her husband, Joseph. Joe and Toni share an entrepreneurial spirit and have owned a consulting business, daycare, catering business, and other ventures. Toni studied education at the University of Maryland while serving in the United States Army and has done graduate work in management at Cambridge College.

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. 

Steve Lucas, Board Member

Steve is a Healthcare Executive with Merck & Co. Inc. During his tenure at Merck & Inc. of 24 years, he has vast sales and operational experience supporting the Vaccine Division. Steve has the sincere desire to make a difference in the health of the community through creating and delivering preventable measures. 

As a community activist and desire to give back to the community, Steve chartered two graduate chapters for his national fraternity. The first, PI Gamma Sigma Alumni Chapter in Montgomery County, PA was chartered in 2013. The second Chapter, Sigma Alpha Sigma Alumni Chapter in Bucks County, PA, is the first and only African American fraternity in the County was founded in 2018. He is not only a founding charter member, but also the first President of Sigma Alpha Sigma Chapter and is a life member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity Inc.  

Steve is using his healthcare acumen as a newly elected Board Member for a Non-Profit organization, Interfaith Caregivers of Mercer County, NJ. This organization is dedicated to promoting the independence, dignity and wellness of homebound elderly and people with disabilities. Steve is also a committee member for the South Jersey Alzheimer’s Association where he hopes to help the organization in their mission to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease.

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.