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The Center for Guardianship Excellence was developed through a collaboration of members of The Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute with the goal of providing training to those who have been given the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of another person.

 Heather L. Connors, Ph.D.

Heather L. Connors, Ph.D., is Director of Research for Guardian Community Trust, Inc. (GCT), a non‐profit organization located in Andover, Massachusetts, that advocates for guardianship reform through research, education and an active grant‐making program.  Heather is an associate lecturer in the Masters in Aging Services Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has done ground-breaking research on guardianship issues.  Prior to joining GCT, Heather was Guardianship Program Manager for Jewish Family & Children’s Services in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Heather received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from The College of the Holy Cross and her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute, a Board Member of the National Guardianship Association, and is a Nationally Certified Guardian.


Traci Cucinotta, MBE, MSW, LICSW

Traci Cucinotta, MBE, MSW, LICSW is the Education and Training Specialist at Guardian Community Trust in Andover, MA. She earned a Bachelor’s of Social Work from West Virginia University, a Master’s of Social Work from Salem State University and a Master’s of Bioethics from Harvard Medical School.  She has also studied ethics and bioethics at both Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Trinity International University. Her work as a Clinical Social Worker spans critical care, dementia, end of life, and chronic mental illness. Her focus is to educate guardians on the principles of decision-making, particularly pertaining to the ethics of end-of-life care.  In addition to her role at Guardian Community Trust, she a member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, National Association of Social Workers,  National Guardianship Association and a Board Member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Association.


Wynn Gerhard, JD

Wynn Gerhard, JD is a Senior Attorney in the Elder, Health and Disability Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), in Boston, Massachusetts, where she has worked since 1987. In addition to her legal work for elders through GBLS, Wynn has been committed to guardianship reform in Massachusetts for more than two decades.  She was a clinical supervisor for the Northeastern University Law School Legal Skills in Social Context Project on Public Guardianship in 2014-15 and presently is a member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute. She also chairs the Coalition of Organizations to Improve Elder Care. Wynn graduated from Harvard University and received her JD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.




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