Our Team

Our team at Zen Caregiving Project is devoted and deeply dedicated to our work. Regardless of our title, we each see ourselves as caregivers and our lives are enriched by those we serve.

Roy Remer

Roy, Zen Caregiving Project's Executive Director, has been an end-of-life caregiver and educator since 1997. He trained with Zen Hospice Project (ZHP) to become a volunteer and served at the bedside for six years at the Guest House facility before serving for seven years on San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital’s Palliative Care Ward. Roy served on the ZHP board of directors from 2002 until 2008. In 2008, he completed a yearlong end-of-life caregiver training at the Metta Institute in Sausalito, CA.

A dedicated practitioner in the Soto Zen tradition, Roy is a student at the San Francisco Zen Center. Roy is certified by the Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), and the Compassion Institute as a Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT©) instructor.

Roy also guides wilderness-based rites of passage programs in partnership with EarthWaysLLC of Sebastopol, CA.

Mary Doane

Mary, Zen Caregiving Project’s Senior Instructor, has been integral to the training and education programs of Zen Hospice Project for over a decade. Becoming a volunteer caregiver in 2005, Mary served for ten years at the bedside; five years each at Laguna Honda Hospital and the Guest House. Currently, she is the lead facilitator of our Mindful Caregiver Education courses, while also developing curriculum and mentoring newer instructors. She has facilitated our New Volunteer Training and previously served in the position of Volunteer Program Coordinator.

Mary completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, and is certified by the Stanford University School of Medicine, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) as a Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT©) Instructor.

Amanda Coggin

Amanda, a Zen Caregiving Project Facilitator, lived and taught in Southeast Asia in 2000 where she began Vipassana Meditation in the S.N. Goenka tradition. She discovered Zen Caregiving Project through a mindfulness grief group and became a volunteer caregiver in 2011, and later joined its staff as Volunteer Coordinator until 2014. Amanda completed Clinical Pastoral Education training at the UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in 2016-2017 and recently returned to UCSF as a staff chaplain. Amanda facilitates both our Open Death Conversations and Mindful Caregiver Education.

Cassandra Palmer

Cassandra, a Zen Caregiving Project Facilitator, has served as a volunteer caregiver at the Zen Hospice Project Guest House for five years and is committed to providing mindful support to families and residents experiencing the end of life process. Cassandra is an active facilitator in the Mindful Caregiver Education and Open Death Conversation programs and is passionate about providing opportunities for people from all walks of life to explore their relationship with death and compassionate care. Cassandra is also trained in being an End of Life Doula and has an academic background in Holistic Psychology and Counseling.

Hephzibah Plotkin, MPH

Hephzi, a Zen Caregiving Project Facilitator, has been a member of the Zen Caregiving Project community since 2008, serving as a volunteer caregiver at both, Laguna Honda Hospital and the Guest House. Since 2014 she has facilitated Open Death Conversations and Mindful Caregiver Education courses. A teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Hephzi seeks to be present in each moment at the bedside for whatever is arising. She has also been a therapist in Scotland since 1989 and has been trained as a Rosen Method Bodywork practitioner.

Kristin Bowers

Kristin has been a Volunteer Caregiver with Zen Caregiving Project since 2015; serving first at the ZHP Guest House and more recently on S3 at Laguna Honda Hospital. She is a certified conscious dance instructor with Open Floor International. Kristin is passionate about supporting caregivers and persons coping with loss to process grief and strong emotions through movement of the body. She is also a dedicated practitioner of mindfulness meditation and is an executive in the trade book publishing industry.

Irene Smith

Irene, a Zen Caregiving Project Guest Facilitator, is considered the founding visionary of the hospice massage field having introduced massage into hospice care on the West Coast in 1982. As the founder of Everflowing, Irene is an internationally respected author, educator, and practitioner in the field of Mindful Touching Irene has taught health care providers Mindful Touching for over three decades, creates educational resources utilized by health care institutions worldwide and holds a private hospice massage practice in San Francisco California. As a west Coast assistant to the late Elisabeth Kubler- Ross MD, Irene brings extraordinary depth and wisdom to her work.