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Cherie SkagerCherie Skager, MA, MNPL
Executive Director

Cherie Skager joined the Hope Heart Institute in 2010 as the Vice President of Outreach and Education and was promoted to Vice President in 2011.    Prior to joining The Hope, Cherie led programs at the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the YWCA of Seattle King County and Snohomish County and Federal Occupational Health.

Cherie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and Master of Arts degree in Health Education from the University of Nebraska and a Master of Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University.  Cherie is passionate about community well-being and volunteers for several local non-profits.  She lives in Kirkland with her husband and two sons.

Chainani, Karishma 2

Karishma Chainani, MS, CHES
School Programs and Evaluation Manager

Karishma Chainani joined the Hope in the fall of 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, and completed her Master of Science degree in Health and Human Performance, specializing in Community Health, from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. She also holds a Certificate of Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Prior to working at the Hope, Karishma worked as a Licensed Massage Practitioner for 7 years, working with people of different backgrounds to bring wellness into their lives through the power of touch.

Karishma enjoys working within communities to foster peoples’ sense of empowerment for changing their lifestyles, including encouraging them to make healthy choices. Prevention of disease is something she believes is important, as heart disease has affected her family in a profound way.

Karishma’s hobbies include kickboxing, traveling and spending time with her family, fiancé, and black lab, Buddy.

Gail Headshot 6.11.15

Gail Lapasin
Director of Philanthropy

Gail Lapasin joins The Hope as Director of Philanthropy. She is the proprietor of Gail Lapasin, LLC, specializing in fund development for non-profit organizations.  Gail has led the development teams at the College Success Foundation and the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, in addition to originating national partnership programs for the Lymphoma Research Foundation.  Prior to her work in philanthropy, Gail enjoyed a career in sales and hospitality management.

Gail has a passion for creating relationships resulting in better access to health care, education and human services for those who need it most.  Gail’s expertise is in establishing fundraising infrastructure and personnel development, along with creating new and successful fundraising programs.

Gail is a native of Detroit Michigan and holds a business degree from Western Michigan University.  The Pacific Northwest is her home, where she and her husband Rod have raised their two children and are actively involved in the community.

Lori MeyersLori Meyers
Communications Director

Lori Meyers joins the Hope Heart team as Communications Director and brings with her more than 19 years of experience developing and launching successful and impactful communications and marketing campaigns.

In addition to Hope Heart, Lori operates her own communications consulting business, and before joining Hope Heart, served as Vice President of a Seattle-based public relations agency for 13 years.  Prior to that, Lori was the in-house Global Public Relations Manager for Specialized Bicycles Inc. She supervised the strategic planning and implementation of international media relations campaigns and enjoyed the “mandatory” lunch bike rides in sunny California!

Lori is passionate about helping people reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, as her family has been directly affected when her husband suffered a stroke at age 41.  She wants to do what she can to share the important role nutrition and fitness play in risk-reduction and overall health and wellness.

Lori has a bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Washington. She lives in Bellevue, Washington with her husband, two very active young sons and two equally active dogs. Lori is involved with the community and serves on the PTA board at her sons’ school. She enjoys time with her family, CrossFit, road cycling and spending time at the beach.

Jaclyn NgJaclyn Ng
Heart Restart & Volunteer Programs Manager

Jaclyn was born and raised in West Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. Throughout college, she worked at Virginia Mason Medical Center as a nutrition assistant and enjoyed learning a lot about nutrition and health.

She has a diverse service background serving across the nation as an AmeriCorps member. She served as a FEMA Corps member and assisted individuals and families affected by a disaster; particularly, with Superstorm Sandy relief. Furthermore, she continued her service with United Way of King County with their Million Meals Campaign and the American Red Cross in Seattle as a Volunteer Recruit and Intake Coordinator.

Aside from work, she enjoys the outdoors such as hiking, snowboarding, kayaking, and river rafting. If you don’t see her out and about, you would most likely find her at home cooking or watching movies.

Steven PalazzoSteven J. Palazzo, PhD, MN, RN
Teen Take Heart Program Manager

Steven J. Palazzo is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Seattle University with a part-time assignment with The Hope Heart Institute as Program Manager for Teen Take Heart. Prior to joining The Hope, Steven worked as a medical/cardiac critical care nurse at Harborview Medical Center and taught nursing in the Seattle Community College system.

Steven has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, a Master’s Degree in Nursing (Nurse Educator Specialist Training), and a PhD in Nursing Science (Diagnostic Utility of sTREM-1 in Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia). He was the recipient of an NIH/NRSA Fellowship in Research and was an ARCS (Achievement Reward for College Scientists) Fellow.

Steven is interested in educational outreach in underserved communities in Washington State. He lives in Renton and enjoys running, tennis, and gardening. He shares his home with his partner of 19 years and their two beagles.


Kerryn RedingKerryn Reding - PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington School of Nursing; and Women Take Heart Fellow

As the Women Take Heart Fellow, Kerryn will implement a community-based, culturally-relevant lifestyle intervention focused on improving diet and exercise habits that will lead to weight loss and sustained healthy weight.

Kerryn’s research Interests have been focuses on reducing cancer incidence and recurrence, with particular interests in lifestyle interventions and biomarkers of risk, as well as reducing racial disparities in breast cancer.

Kerryn has a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, a Masters in Public Health (MPH), Epidemiology from University of Michigan, and a BS, Zoology from Arizona State University.