James A. Carlson

President and CEO

James Carlson is the president and chief executive officer of the Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA).  In this capacity, Jim oversees the management, operations, and strategic direction of OHCA. With more than 25 years of experience in health policy and association management, Jim is widely recognized as one of the leading long term care and health policy resources in Oregon.

Jim has served as president and chief executive officer of OHCA since 1997. He works closely with local, state, and federal policymakers; advocates; businesses; and coalitions to enhance quality care and services in Oregon.

Before first joining OHCA as director of government affairs in 1994, Jim served as associate director of government affairs for the Oregon Medical Association. He began his career as a legislative assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives.

He is a past member of the boards of directors of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and is a past-president of the American Society of Health Care Association Executives (ASHCAE).

Philip Bentley, JD

Philip Bentley, J.D.

Senior Vice President of Government Relations

Philip Bentley, J.D., has more than 20 years of experience in public policy, law, and legislative affairs. Phil earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining OHCA, he served as legislative director and chief of staff for Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and practiced law in Portland. Prior to law school, he served as a legislative aide in the Oregon House of Representatives and as a policy adviser to the State Treasurer. He is also a veteran of several electoral campaigns, including Senator Ron Wyden’s first election to the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer www.craigmitchelldyer.com 503.513.0550

Gwen M. Dayton, J.D., CHC

Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Gwen Dayton leads OHCA’s regulatory efforts and provides legal and technical advice to OHCA and its members. Prior to joining OHCA, Gwen served as senior counsel for NW Permanente where she provided regulatory and compliance advice to physicians serving Kaiser Permanente and was a member of the government relations team. Gwen earned her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Pomona College.

Cheryl Durant

CRM Administrator/Accountant

Cheryl Durant serves as a database administrator, accountant and board liaison at OHCA. She plays a key role in enabling the use of technology to expand current business and grow new business by benchmarking business activity and trends. Cheryl has been involved in nonprofit finance, administration and governance for nearly 20 years. Prior to joining OHCA she worked as the director of board relations at OHSU Foundation.

Melodie King, CMP

Director of Education

Melodie King joined OHCA in 2002. A graduate from Oregon State University, Melodie has a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and received her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation in 2008. As Director of Education, Melodie develops and coordinates OHCA’s educational workshops, special events, and conferences and manages OHCA’s business partner relationships.

Linda Kirschbaum

Senior Vice President of Quality Services

Linda Kirschbaum has been involved in the long term care profession for over 25 years. Prior to joining OHCA in 1998, she was a director of operations for a multi-service long term care campus featuring skilled care, residential care, assisted living, and independent senior housing. In addition to her nursing home license, Linda has an assisted living administrator certificate. Her work includes public policy, education development and training, providing technical assistance to members, and directing quality initiatives and programs for the Association. Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in health care administration and a certificate in gerontology from Oregon State University.


Chris Madden

Associate Director of Government Relations 

Chris Madden is a member of OHCA’s advocacy and government relations team. Prior to joining OHCA, he worked for a consulting firm in Portland and was an English instructor with Teach for America in Detroit. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, summa cum laude, from the University of Oregon.


Brenda Michael

Assistant Controller

Brenda Michael is a member of OHCA’s accounting team. She works with members to address questions related to accounting, billing, and invoicing. Prior to OHCA, Brenda worked as an accountant for several organizations assisting with financial management, financial reporting, and process improvements. Brenda earned her MBA in finance and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix.

Lori Mueller

Lori Mueller


Lori Mueller oversees all finance, accounting, HR, IT, and office administration at OHCA. She plays a pivotal role in shaping OHCA’s opportunities for growth and impact on the industry. Before joining OHCA, Lori worked as CFO for the investment firm Arnerich Massena and as vice president of finance and administration for the OHSU Foundation.

In addition to her work at OHCA, Lori serves as treasurer for the Portland Workforce Alliance, which builds partnerships between local businesses and Portland-area high schools to provide students with real-life work experiences and career-learning opportunities. Lori earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Portland State University.

Sara Schouten

Member and Administrative Services Coordinator

Sara Schouten is part of OHCA’s operations team, providing support for members during events, coordinating with the accounting team, and managing the front office. She joins OHCA after working several years in customer services and sales throughout Oregon and Texas. Sara earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University.

Catherine Van

Communications Coordinator

Catherine Van joined OHCA after a career in television news reporting that spanned from Nevada to Oregon. As an Emmy-nominated journalist, she covered presidential elections, high-profile crimes, and stories that mattered most in her community. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast electronic media studies from Gonzaga University. Catherine assists with OHCA’s communications activities and manages OHCA’s event registration processes.

Rosie Ward

Senior Vice President of Strategy 

Rosie Ward manages OHCA’s strategic planning, affiliate programs, events team, and communications and marketing activities. She earned her master’s in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University and her bachelor’s in public relations from the University of Oklahoma.