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Hebrew Senior Care

Management Staff

The Leadership Team

We believe that the quality and deep dedication of our staff is what sets us apart from other health care providers. Hebrew Senior Care encourages our employees to identify and implement best practices.  Employees are provided comprehensive orientation, and ongoing training beyond regulatory requirements is available and encouraged.  

Hebrew Senior Care employees are guided by a deep sense of purpose and an overwhelming sense of pride in knowing that they have provided the very best quality health care to a senior in need while supporting their family members and friends.  Staff at all levels is committed to providing quality, patient care and our employees have been with Hebrew Senior Care for an average of 15 years.  Because of the work we do and the way we do it; in many cases, our employees become more than care team members; they become family members.  Meet the Hebrew Senior Care Senior Team:

Denise M. Peterson, RN, MSHCA, NEA-BC, FACHE, President and CEO


Denise Peterson is a senior healthcare executive with progressive responsibilities in leading patient care services and clinical operations.  A visionary leader with proven ability to foster and build partnerships with physicians and staff to accomplish strategic goals while enhancing the patient experience.  Proficient at improving and enhancing quality outcomes by engaging interdisciplinary teams through change processes with demonstrated strength in turnaround situations.

♥ Master of Science:  Rensselaer, Healthcare Administration, Hartford, CT (1995)
♥ Bachelor of Science: University of Hartford, Nursing, Hartford, CT  (1991)
♥ Diploma in Nursing:  St. Francis School of Nursing, Hartford, CT  (1982)


Ava Pannullo, MD, Geriatric Medicine, Medical Director, Chief Medical Officer 

Dr. Pannullo is board-certified in Geriatric and Internal Medicine.  Dr. Pannullo is a member of the American Geriatric Society, American College of Physicians and American Medical Directors’ Association.  Dr. Pannullo’s areas of interest include health and aging; including topics of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  Dr. Pannullo is the Director of the Outpatient Services for Connecticut Geriatric Specialty Group; Hebrew Senior Care’s physician practice dedicated to the care of seniors.  Dr. Pannullo has practiced at Hebrew Senior Care since 1993.  Dr. Pannullo speaks English, German, and Italian fluently.

♥ Fellowship: University of Connecticut Traveler’s Center on Aging in 1993, Geriatrics
♥ Residency: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical/ Beth Israel Medical Center
♥ Medical School: University of Connecticut – School of Medicine, Internal Medicine
♥ Undergraduate: Vanderbilt University, B.S.
♥ Faculty Appointments: University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Assistant Professor
University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Site Director and Director of Medical Education for both the Internal Medicine Residency Program and the Geriatric Fellowship Program. 


Madelene A. Francese, Vice President, Marketing, Strategy and Fundraising


Ms. Francese joined Hebrew Senior Care in 2007 to oversee the fundraising operation for Hebrew Senior Care and its affiliates. Ms. Francese and her fundraising team are charged with securing funds in support of operations, capital projects, special programs, and endowment.  Since arriving at Hebrew Senior Care her team has successfully raised in excess of $5.0 million in support of operations and capital improvements. Ms. Francese has been fundraising on behalf of the nonprofit community for 30 years with the majority of that time spent in the Greater Hartford region. Ms. Francese estimates that she has raised in excess of $25 million in operating support for museums, higher education, the arts and health care.    

Before joining Hebrew Senior Care, Ms. Francese worked for The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts for 10 years and during that time raised more than $8.0 million in operating support. Prior to joining The Bushnell, Ms. Francese was the Annual Fund Manager at Newington Children’s Hospital and subsequently Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  During her tenure at CCMC, Ms. Francese was responsible for organizing and carrying out the week-long grand opening activities for the new children’s hospital; a proud achievement.

Ms. Francese’s favorite part of her job is getting to know her donors and providing the necessary funding for the residents and families who we care for every single day. 

Ms. Francese earned B.S. in psychology with a minor in English from Connecticut College. 


Grisel Contreras

Grisel Contreras, Executive Director, Hoffman SummerWood Community 


Grisel brings to Hoffman SummerWood more than 16 years of health care experience.  She has led  Home Care and Hospice business operations and capital budgets for two of the largest post-acute care hospital systems in Connecticut; Trinity Health of New England and Hartford HealthCare.  Grisel’s focused strengths include improving satisfaction among residents and their family members, sustaining profitability, creating operational efficiency, and enhancing quality and safety.  Grisel is certified in LEAN SIX SIGMA processes and currently holds a Green Belt. 

♥ MBA: Business Administration with a specialty in Nonprofit Management; St. Peters College
♥ Undergraduate:  Urban Studies, BS, St. Peters College

Debbi Stetson, Director of Human Resources



Liisa Livingston, CPA, Chief Financial Officer


Liisa Livingston joined Hebrew Senior Care in November 2018 in a part-time capacity.  Prior to joining Altman & Co where she also works part-time, Ms. Livingston began her career as a CPA at Blum Shapiro before joining the audit department of PricewaterhouseCoopers.  She left public accounting to become the Chief Financial Officer of a private label distribution company. During her twelve year tenure, she oversaw both financial and operational aspects of the business including procurement, human resource responsibilities, budgeting, profitability analysis, debt restructuring and the sale of one of the company’s brand lines.  In December 2013, Ms Livingston launched her own consulting firm providing financial planning assistance, cash flow management, financial software implementation, internal control analysis and, in some cases, full oversight of her clients’ finance departments.

Ms. Livingston has considerable experience with bank forbearance situations, evaluating and implementing process efficiencies and managing cash flow.  She has assisted companies in gaining financial stability, renegotiating contracts and improving financial reporting.

♥ Undergraduate:  Certified Public Accountant, Bryant University (Honors Curriculum) with a BS in Accounting and a minor in English
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