Our Core Team
Pacient Founder Randy Gerber
Randy Gerber is a healthcare attorney with more than 35 years of experience. In his law practice, Randy works with physicians and physician groups, hospitals and nursing homes in connection with their health law issues, general corporate, financing, and business matters.
Randy founded Pacient in 2016 to help consumers navigate a complex U.S. healthcare system by delivering easy-to-understand answers to their questions. He came up with the concept after years of assisting clients, friends, and family with the non-clinical issues they were facing as consumers. He thought that those who are not lucky enough to have a healthcare professional in their family or circle of friends should have the chance to ask an expert their questions as well. Educating others on healthcare came naturally to Randy as he served as an adjunct healthcare law professor at Saint Louis University School of Law for many years.
Pacient Editor and Project Manager Kyla Bauer
A few years ago a car hit Kyla while she was on her bike. She had never seen so many doctors or gone to so many doctor visits. She spent a year and a half in recovery, battled insurance disputes until she found a lawyer, and lost all of her savings even though she had good health insurance and worked with 18 doctors and nurses. As someone who has gone through long periods with or without health insurance after college (pre-Obamacare), she set out to become a patient advocate for anyone who finds themselves in the same situation.
Her background is in scientific research working for public universities and the US Geological Survey. Six years ago, she switched to helping startup businesses in health care. Before becoming an advocate, she set up the NFL Players Association Brain & Body program with Cleveland Clinic. Kyla is the youngest in our office, but the only one who watches Matlock and does crossword puzzles.
Pacient Editor and Marketing & Digital Content Manager Sonja Shin
Sonja Shin specializes in writing about health and science in easy-to-understand language. She has reported medical, technology and general news at TV stations in San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis and produced network news in New York. She has designed websites for NASA and Stanford University. She struggled with life-threatening depression and anxiety for decades and is passionate about sharing tools for coping with life's inevitable stresses to help people feel happier. She also loves stickers and cat videos.
Pacient Board of Advisors and Fact Checkers
David A. Caplin, M.D.
Dr. David Caplin is a highly-respected plastic surgeon, who has spent years witnessing firsthand the uncertainty and fears that come with breast cancer. But there was a turning point in his career when a patient was diagnosed with a tumor in her breast. She had no insurance and couldn’t afford treatment. She sadly passed away, leaving behind a husband and two children.
That patient’s story haunted Dr. Caplin. He set out to create a program that ensures the treatment of individuals who can’t afford proper care – no matter what. He teamed up with another physician, started recruiting volunteers, and Gateway to Hope was founded. His unending dedication to seeking out new partners and providers has made Gateway to Hope a life-saving success.
Elizabeth Tracey has spent more than 15 years at Johns Hopkins, where she broadcasts a daily radio spot called the Hopkins Health NewsFeed, carried on NPR affiliates, CBS Radio and a host of other outlets. The Health NewsFeed offers a Johns Hopkins expert’s take on breaking medical and scientific news, through the lens of how it might impact you or someone you love.
Elizabeth also cohosts PodMed, the number one Google hit under ‘health and medicine podcasts.’ For almost 11 years she has partnered with Rick Lange, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, TX. Each week Rick and Elizabeth discuss four breaking medical stories with an eye toward their impact on treatment choices. Elizabeth has also written extensively for WebMD and other web and print outlets.
Sharon Balleau is a senior care advocate who helps seniors and their families with transitions into care facilities. When her father with Parkinsons was injured after a fall, she found out his spouse was beginning to have dementia and could not help as a caregiver. She and her family had 3 days to find a care facility where her father could live and the nearest family member lived 1000 miles away. This experience led her to a new role to work with families to investigate care facilities and ensure proper placement.
Before working with seniors, Sharon actually taught at a preschool to educate special needs children and work with their families.
Michael Friedman, M.D.
Dr. Michael Friedman is an Otolaryngologist–Head and Neck Surgeon and serves as Medical Director for Chicago ENT. Today, he is a professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, and he is chairman of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Dr. Friedman is also a nationally known expert on head and neck cancer, endoscopic sinus surgery, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, and sleep disorders.
Dr. Friedman’s clinical philosophy is that the solution to a patient’s problem begins with their story. He believes that listening to the patient’s history and symptoms is the first step to helping them, and that a comprehensive assessment will lead to the most accurate treatment — one that centers around thoroughness and precision.
Dr. Friedman is also a member of 13 professional societies, and is a frequent lecturer all over the world. He has been featured on ABC, CBS, FOX, WGN-TV, and in national publications and journals.
Laura Shipp has written for Coping with Cancer magazine, My Southern Health, and DINKLife. Her feature articles include interviews with Olivia Newton-John, Shannon Miller, Hoda Kotb, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Scott Hamilton, Mandy Patinkin, Dorothy Hamill, and Sharon Osbourne.
Laura is the editor of two national healthcare magazines: Coping with Cancer and Coping with Allergies & Asthma. She also manages the digital marketing campaign for the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation.
Mark Renken is an executive with extensive experience in managing and consulting with medical groups and physician practices, in private and hospital/health care system settings. He currently works in the teleheath marketplace to help connect doctors to their patients.
Before this, for most of his career he helped with the expansion and integrated care of SSM Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system that serves the Midwest.
Rebecca Frigy Romine
Rebecca Frigy Romine is a healthcare attorney who specializes in the regulation of electronic health records and privacy laws.
Jeffrey E. Fine
Jeffrey Fine is a healthcare attorney who specializes in intellectual property law of healthcare systems and start-ups.
Sheila Burkett is a partner at a small business who specializes in web design and is actively involved in the St. Louis start-up community. She has an understanding of what small business owners face to help employees get covered by health insurance and what to do when employees face illness.