ProfNet Experts Available on Graham-Cassidy Bill, Pediatric Cancer, More


  • How the Health Benefit Plan Industry is Changing in Response to New Laws, Regulations, and Realities
  • ‘Debugging’ Employees for Peak Performance
  • Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month
  • A Busy Parent’s Path to Mindfulness
  • Hurting? Try Meditation
  • How to Be Happy at Work
  • Pets Help People Heal After Tragedy
  • Shapeshift Your Life
  • World’s Largest Peace Intention Experiment


  • Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill (11 experts)


  • Reporter, White House – MLex (DC)
  • Executive Producer, Corporate, Tech & World – Wall Street Journal (NY)
  • Biopharma Reporter – MedCity News (US)


  • Is Social Media and Journalism Linked?
  • 9 Tips: Defeat Your Inner Editor to Write Better and Faster
  • Blog Profiles: Weather Blogs



How the Health Benefit Plan Industry is Changing in Response to New Laws, Regulations, and Realities
Ron Peck
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
The Phia Group, LLC
“In the health benefits industry, and healthcare in general, change is the only constant. New laws and regulations seem to be popping up daily, and varying interpretations of those rules even more often. Different entities are approaching the issue from different angles based on their own perspective and agenda – creating conflict between parties that are both right, and both wrong. Ultimately, identifying the best way to maximize benefits and minimize costs will come down to each individual’s priorities — from employers seeking to secure the best coverage for their employees, to lawmakers seeking to secure coverage for all Americans — these and other noble goals may not be compatible.”
Based in Braintree, Mass., Peck is available to discuss the health benefit plan industry, including self-funded health benefits vs. traditional “fully funded” insurance; the growth of self-funding in the U.S.; adverse selection, self-funding, and the impact on Obamacare; and the benefits of self-funding health plans. As an ERISA attorney with The Phia Group, Peck has been an innovative force in the drafting of improved benefit plan provisions, handled complex subrogation and third party recovery disputes, healthcare direct contracting and spearheaded efforts to combat the steadily increasing costs of healthcare. Considered to be not only one of the nation’s top ERISA lawyers, Peck is also viewed as one of the nation’s premier self-funded health plan consultants and health benefits attorney, lecturing at and participating in many industry gatherings. He is also frequently called upon to educate plan administrators and stop-loss carriers regarding changing laws and best practices. His theories regarding benefit plan administration and healthcare have been published in many industry periodicals, and have received much acclaim. Prior to joining The Phia Group, Peck was a member of a major pharmaceutical company’s in-house legal team, a general practitioner’s law office, and served as a judicial clerk. He is also currently of-counsel with The Law Offices of Russo & Minchoff. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University. He now serves as The Phia Group’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and is also a dedicated member of SIIA’s Government Relations Committee.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Matthew Painten, [email protected]

‘Debugging’ Employees for Peak Performance
Dr. Dave Sharar
Managing Director
Chestnut Global Partners
A workforce dominated by “artificial intelligence” doesn’t have HR issues: robots work 24/7, don’t demand a competitive benefits package, feel stress or show up to work with aches and pains. Despite these built-in advantages, we humans should be employable for many years to come — but we’ll need all the help we can get to stay competitive. When AI-driven systems break down, they’re debugged and re-programmed; when we “break down,” it’s typically due to stress, depression, etc., that causes lack of focus, absenteeism, and any number of counterproductive behaviors. Says Dr. Sharar: “Optimizing workforce performance isn’t as easy as a software update or patch — we’re ‘debugged’ by getting mental health and wellness support to address or ‘fix’ impediments to productivity.”
A recent study by Chestnut Global Partners and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) assessed over 16,000 EAP counseling cases, and showed the correlation between employee assistance programs (EAP) and positive effects on absenteeism, presenteeism, work engagement, workplace distress, and life satisfaction. The study can be downloaded here:
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Charles Epstein, [email protected]

Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month
Robert Martin
Author, Founder
Bridge to a Cure
“Every day, 42 families in the United States learn that their child has cancer. Every week, 38 children will lose the fight. The lack of life-sustaining treatment options erodes hope, and hope is a huge element of what is needed to make it through the worst of times. Opening the doorway of possibility to life-sustaining treatment can only have an upside.”
Martin, a children’s advocate and author, writes books with his granddaughter Keira Ely, including the bestsellers “The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels” and “SuperClara – a Young Girl’s Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage.” Martin founded the nonprofit Bridge to a Cure Foundation to fund life-sustaining treatments for children suffering from terminal illness.
Online Press Kit:
Contact: Jennifer Thomas, [email protected]

A Busy Parent’s Path to Mindfulness
Michelle Gale
Author, Mindfulness Educator
“The goal of meditation is not to stop thoughts. Thinking is part of being human and we should not beat ourselves up or call ourselves bad meditators because we can’t stop thinking. In fact, when we sit in meditation and notice our mind has wandered, this is exactly why we practice. This means we are doing it right! One of my favorite outcomes of practice is to not take my stressful thoughts so seriously. I certainly still have them; they just don’t run the show.”
Gale is a mindfulness educator, corporate trainer, executive coach, podcast host and author of the book “Mindful Parenting in a Messy World.” She is on a mission to support parents in staying meaningfully connected to themselves and their families, even as the demands and complexity of contemporary life and work are accelerated. She works in schools, communities, and corporations teaching mindfulness and speaking to parents. Gale was previously the head of learning and leadership development at Twitter and spent most of her career working in high growth technology start-ups. In addition to her board work with the Holistic Life Foundation, she is currently an advisor to the Mindful Schools, Wisdom 2.0 and Tilt365. She is also a strategic partner with The Trium Group and WisdomLabs. Gale received her M.A in psychology from Meridian University and her undergraduate degree from Florida State University, where she studied child development. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons, who are by far her greatest life teachers.
Online Press Kit:
Contact: Jennifer Thomas, [email protected]

Hurting? Try Meditation
Anita Sanchez, Ph.D.
“The intent [of meditation] is to recognize our oneness with all things. Deepening your connection to people, Earth and spirit can gift you the experience of joy each and every day.”
Sanchez is a transformational leadership consultant, speaker, coach and author of the new book, “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times,” available now from Enliven, a new imprint from Atria Publishing Group of Simon & Schuster. She bridges indigenous teachings with the latest science to inspire and equip women and men to enjoy meaningful, empowered lives and careers. With four decades of experience coaching and training executives and their teams in dozens of Fortune 500 companies, governmental groups and non-governmental agencies, Dr. Sanchez is an established leader in global organizational change initiatives. She is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council with luminaries such as Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson and John Gray, as well as the Association of Transformational Leaders, the Evolutionary Business Council, and serves on the boards of the Bioneers organization and the Pachamama Alliance. She resides in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colo., with her husband and son.
Online Press Kit:
Contact: Contact: Michelle Tennant, [email protected]

How to Be Happy at Work
Jody B. Miller
C2C Executive Search & Strategic Management
“The bottom line is that most of us refuse ourselves the chance to follow our hearts and do the things we know will truly give our lives meaning and make us happy. We often don’t feel useful or worthy in life, which forces us to sink into a despair that is trapping and seemingly impossible to escape from. My goal is to help people break free from this dangerous way of thinking and inspire them to make tangible change and reinvent themselves as a person who is wealthy, happy and gets up every morning with nothing but boundless excitement for the day ahead.”
Miller, a work happiness expert, is the author of the new book, “From DRIFT to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life” and has helped thousands of people find true meaning in their work and in their lives. Her previous positions include investment banker, strategic consultant to Fortune 100 Corporations, CEO of a software startup, assistant producer for a PBS television series, and sales and marketing executive for CBS Television. She is also the author of “HIRED! in 2017” and “Hired! Expert Advice from A Leading Wall Street Recruiter.” These books provide roadmaps for getting hired in today’s competitive job world. Miller contributes to Ignites Financial Times Magazine, LinkedIn and The Huffington Post, and has written numerous articles about job satisfaction, work/life balance and finding meaning. Her books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
Online Press Kit:
Contact: Jennifer Thomas, [email protected]

Pets Help People Heal After Tragedy
Carol Novello
President and CEO
Mutual Rescue
“Jessi’s boyfriend was always the life of the party, so the shocking news of his suicide cast her suddenly into the darkest period of her life. Anxiety, isolation, sleeplessness, and self-doubt immobilized her. Caught in this downward spiral of depression, she happened upon an online photo of an 8-month-old puppy at a local shelter — a lab mix she named Andi. Set against the majestic Colorado Rockies, ‘Jessi & Andi’ is the uplifting Mutual Rescue story of two lost souls whose life-affirming journey together brought them both back into the light.”
Connect with Novello or any of the people featured in a Mutual Rescue film for a compelling first-person adoption story. Novello is founder of Mutual Rescue, a national initiative of Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) that highlights the life-changing power of human-animal relationships. The initiative’s first short film, “Eric & Peety,” went viral around the world with 90 million views, prompting an influx of submissions to be considered for inclusion in the ongoing Mutual Rescue film series. Novello joined HSSV as president in 2010 after a year serving on their board of directors. Her work there has resulted in marked increases in the rescue organization’s adoption numbers, save rates and the number of animals receiving care. A former senior software executive at Intuit, Novello earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and is proud to include three rescue animals in her family: a German Shepherd dog named Tess and two cats, Langley and Bodie.
Online Press Kit:
Contact: Michelle Tennant, [email protected]

Shapeshift Your Life
Ilona Selke
CEO, Co-founder
Living from Vision
“We are here to help co-create our dream of humanity, if we could but remember to shift from solely rational living to realizing the power of our ancient mind, our inner vision. The fabric of life awaits our reentry into an active role of living wisdom.”
Selke is an international bestselling author, seminar leader, lecturer and musician, as well as CEO and cofounder of Living from Vision. Over more than 30 years, Selke has inspired thousands of people worldwide to discover the power of their consciousness and create a successful life. She has written four books, produced 25 music and meditation CDs and coauthored two books, one with Brian Tracy and one with Jack Canfield. Her new book, “Dream Big: The Universe Is Listening,” offers real-life stories of transformation, as well as practical tips anyone can use to shapeshift their lives from the inside out. Selke has a weekly TV program called “Quantum Living,” has appeared on numerous television and radio shows and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of books and films. She is a well-loved speaker for Hay House Summit in America and Germany as well as for a number of other prominent mind-body-spirit conferences. She is fluent in English, German, French and Indonesian. With her husband, Don Paris, Ph.D., Selke has supported new research into quantum physics through a tool called the SE-5 1000. The couple also built the Shambala Oceanside Retreat Center in 2007. Selke has spent more than 1,000 hours in the water with dolphins and written two books about the wisdom she has gained from her time with them. She and her husband divide their time between their home in Ubud, Bali, their retreat center on the north shore of Bali and their geodesic dome house on an island in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Online Press Kit:
Websites: and
Contact: Michelle Tennant, [email protected]

World’s Largest Peace Intention Experiment
Lynne McTaggart
“The American Peace Intention Experiment will target one of the most violent places in America, but it’s been my experience that the act of participation in a peace intention experiment also creates peace in the participants’ lives and makes them more loving and tolerant of ‘the other.’”
McTaggart is one of the central voices in the new consciousness movement. She is the award-winning author of seven books, including worldwide bestsellers “The Field,” “The Intention Experiment,” “The Bond” and the forthcoming “The Power of Eight.” McTaggart is consistently listed in the Watkins’ annual list of the 100 most spiritually influential people in the world. As editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, she publishes one of the world’s most highly praised health publications and runs highly popular health and spirituality teleconferences and workshops. For the third time, What Doctors Don’t Tell You has been awarded “Best” and “Most Popular” website of the year for health and wellbeing. Lynne is also the architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based “global laboratory,” which was prominently featured in the plotline of Dan Brown’s blockbuster “The Lost Symbol.” McTaggart is a member of both the Transformational Leadership Council, launched by Jack Canfield, and the Evolutionary Leaders, launched by Deepak Chopra. She has appeared in many documentaries on the science of spirituality, including “What the Bleep?!: Down the Rabbit Hole,” “The Living Matrix,” “I Am” and “The Abundance Factor.” She is a highly sought after public speaker, speaking at conferences and workshops around the world. McTaggart and her husband, WDDTY co-founder Bryan Hubbard, live and work in London. They have two adult daughters.
Online Press Kit:
Websites: and
Contact: Michelle Tennant, [email protected]

EXPERT ROUNDUP: Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill (11 experts)

Following are experts from the ProfNet network who are available to discuss the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, how it compares to the ACA, and its chances of passing:

Paul Miller
Executive Director
“America needs real solutions that make the healthcare system better. We cannot allow for a program that we do not like to go forward that allows healthcare costs to continue to rise. The bill would cut Medicaid, pulling back on protections for preexisting conditions and be detrimental to seniors.”
Miller can share his views on how the proposed Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill can affect seniors and retirees’ healthcare coverage. Working on Capitol Hill, he is the chief lobbyist and executive director for ProtectSeniors.Org. The group is a national retiree advocacy group focused on achieving legislation and regulatory action to protect 36 million retired and older working Americans against corporate tactics that harm, eliminate, erode the security of their hard-earned pensions and healthcare benefits.
Contact: Victoria Carman, [email protected]

Margaret A. Murray
Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)
“The bill would end the Medicaid expansion, convert the rest of the program to a per-capita allotment and then underfund those allotments. Compared with current funding, the cuts would amount to more than $80 billion nationwide in 2026 alone. What’s more, a funding cliff would kick in the next year as the block grant ends — and cuts would increase to nearly $300 billion in a single year. This would have a devastating effect on health coverage for more than 74 million low-income Americans. Given its erosion of coverage and consumer protections, its steep funding cuts, and the likelihood that it will be voted on without a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, we must oppose this bill.”
Murray is the founding CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP). She has led the organization since its inception in 2001, steering it through tremendous growth from its origins as an association of 14 community health center-owned plans to 60 Safety Net Health Plans across the nation, covering more than 17 million people through Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplaces. Murray is a national expert on health care policy for people with low incomes and is a frequent speaker on these issues at national conferences and in the media. She has published several articles on the German health care system as a result of an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship in Berlin. Prior to leading ACAP, Ms. Murray was the Medicaid Director for the State of New Jersey under the administration of Governor Christine Todd Whitman, where she oversaw the expansion of the FamilyCare program to cover all children under 350% of poverty. She was also a senior budget analyst for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, with responsibility for negotiating the budget neutrality agreements for Medicaid managed care waivers.
Contact: Yakesha Cooper, [email protected]

Chris Dawe
Vice President, Payer Partnerships
Evolent Health
Dawe served as the health care policy advisor at the National Economic Council at the White House, and coordinated the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for President Obama’s economic team. His legislative experience in Medicare/Medicaid and Next Gen ACO from a federal policy perspective provides him with the expertise on MACRA/MIPs and physician/provider alignment, the SMARTER Act – Doj/FTC M&A overhaul and the Medicare/Medicaid payment reform and CMMI.
Contact: Dheeya Somaiya, [email protected]

Ken Wood
Senior Vice President, Health Plan Development
Evolent Health
Wood can discuss health policy and the potential impact on commercial insurers, provider-sponsored health plans and the cost of care, including impact of the cost sharing reduction Trump has given/taken/given.
Contact: Dheeya Somaiya, [email protected]

J.B. Silvers, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
Silvers, a former health insurance company chief executive and a board member of several organizations involved in providing health care, can provide commentary on many potential impacts of Graham-Cassidy, including comparing the bill to the Affordable Care Act.
Silvers is the John R. Mannix Medical Mutual of Ohio Professor of Health Care Finance and professor of banking and finance at Weatherhead School of Management, with a joint appointment in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. His research in the areas of financial management and health services has been published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Finance, Financial Management, Journal of the American Medical Association, Medical Care, Annals of Family Medicine, and the Journal of Business Research, among others. Silvers presents regularly on multiple topics, including the Affordable Care Act and healthcare finance. In 2014, he presented a TED talk, “Overcoming History,” sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Washington, D.C. Frequently, Silvers contributes commentary to NPR’s Marketplace and other national and local print and broadcast media. Professionally, Silvers has testified to Congress, several state legislatures, federal and state courts. He has also served on committees at the National Academies and several national and state commissions. Until recently, he was a board member (12 years) and treasurer of the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (TJC/JCAHO) and a board member of SummaCare Insurance Company (14 years). For seven years Silvers was a commissioner on the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission (now MedPAC), advising Congress on Medicare payment. From 1997 to 2000, while on leave, he served as president and CEO of QualChoice Health Plan and Insurance Company, a subsidiary of University Hospitals of Cleveland. He currently is vice chair of the board at MetroHealth Medical Center.
Contact: Daniel Scott Robison, [email protected]

Arthur Tacchino, J.D.
Chief Innovation Officer
SyncStream Solutions
A health care legislation expert, Tacchino has closely followed the ACA “repeal and replace” efforts from the beginning and has fully dissected the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill. He is available to provide insights how the plan will impact the future of health care and its contrasts to the ACA, especially as it pertains to employers. For instance, the Graham-Cassidy bill will repeal the employer mandate, so Tacchino can discuss what this means for business owners, their employees and the larger implications on the insurance market.
Tacchino spent three years at The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa., where he participated in the creation of the Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) designation. As part of this work, Tacchino designed and taught two courses on the Affordable Care Act — “Essentials of Healthcare Reform” and “The Healthcare Consultant.” Tacchino is a prolific speaker on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act and presents frequently to the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and other organizations. He’s been published in blind peer reviewed publications, such as the Journal for Financial Service Professionals and the Journal of Financial Planning.
Contact, Lindsay Cavanaugh, [email protected]

Patricia M. Boozang
Senior Managing Director
Manatt Health
Boozang is available to discuss state policy and budget impacts of the new Graham-Cassidy Repeal and Replace proposal. Manatt Health (professionals dedicated to healthcare, including former regulators and policy advisors) just developed a new analysis and did state funding estimates on the new Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace bill. Boozang can discuss the conclusions on policy and financial impact, including which states might be impacted the most and how the distribution of federal funds among states would be altered.
Contacts: Ted Mills, [email protected], and Madelaine Clarke, [email protected]

Jocelyn A. Guyer
Managing Director
Manatt Health
Guyer is available to discuss state policy and budget impacts of New Graham-Cassidy Repeal and Replace proposal. Manatt Health (professionals dedicated to healthcare, including former regulators and policy advisors) just developed a new analysis and did state funding estimates on the new Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace bill. Guyer can discuss the conclusions on policy and financial impact, including which states might be impacted the most by this and how the distribution of federal funds among states would be altered.
Contacts: Ted Mills, [email protected], and Madelaine Clarke, [email protected]

Kim Buckey
Vice President, Client Services
Buckey is DirectPath’s key advisor and senior subject matter expert on new and evolving compliance issues that affect employers as a result of the Affordable Care Act. She has more than 40 years of communications experience, 35 of which focus on the delivery of compliance communications for health/welfare and qualified (savings/pensions) plans. Buckey’s team provides strategy, review and analysis, content development and management services for employer and payer customers, providing guidance on new mandates like the required Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC).
Contact: Brianna Quinn, [email protected]

Mónika López-Anuarbe
Assistant Professor of Economics
Connecticut College
López-Anuarbe is a health and inequality economist specializing in aging, caregiving and health-care disparities, and it is these interests that frame López-Anuarbe’s teaching, research and service at Connecticut College. She can focus on the main differences between this bill and the ACA, particularly on financing (Medicaid expansion versus block grants), and coverage/access (removing protections for people with pre-existing conditions). She teaches how to address issues of access, costs and quality of healthcare for different populations, and how strategic behavior among individuals, firms and other economic agents affects those interdependent relationships. Keenly aware of how inequalities operate, López-Anuarbe also uses her teaching and advising to minimize them. In class and in office hours, she constantly mentors and advises her students, working to diminish inequities of information, academic background, socioeconomic disadvantage, under-representation, and cultural unfamiliarity.
Contact: Kerry Meehan, [email protected]

Sean McSweeney
Apache Health
McSweeney can speak to the potential effect of the bill on providers, including impact on revenue cycle management. He is the founder and president of Apache Health, and brings over two decades of industry experience in healthcare general management, marketing, sales, finance, and information systems. Prior to Apache Health, McSweeney was the president of Cobalt Health, a leading medical billing company with over 100 employees; and a director at 4medica, a medical software firm in Los Angeles developing clinical information systems including EMR/EHR for healthcare practitioners. He developed corporate and product strategy, led marketing and communications, managed product development and was responsible for business development. Prior to 4medica, McSweeney managed the CT business for Toshiba America Medical Systems, leading it from $100 million to over $250 million per year in revenues. Before Toshiba, He held various sales roles for GE Medical Systems, where he received awards for regional and national sales performance.          
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Dani Miles, [email protected]



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Reporter, White House – MLex (DC)
  • Executive Producer, Corporate, Tech & World – Wall Street Journal (NY)
  • Biopharma Reporter – MedCity News (US)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • IS SOCIAL MEDIA AND JOURNALISM LINKED? Recently, Cision published the 2017 Global Social Journalism Study, conducted in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, which surveyed journalists on their social media habits, preferences and views. In the first of a series of videos, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and New York Times best-selling author, shares his thoughts on the research. For this first video, Baer asks and answers the important question: Is social media and journalism linked? View the video or read the transcript here:
  • 9 TIPS: DEFEAT YOUR INNER EDITOR TO WRITE BETTER AND FASTER. Our inner editors are sometimes our biggest enemies. These nine reminders may help you write stronger pieces – and become a better, no-holds-barred editor of other people’s work:
  • BLOG PROFILES: WEATHER BLOGS. Each week, PR Newswire’s Audience Relations team selects an industry/subject and profiles a handful of sites that do a good job with promoting and contributing to the conversation. This week, they look at a few weather blogs:


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About the Author: Bob Cooper

Bob Cooper is Canadian Business Tribune''s senior editor. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in London Ontario and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s,, Vice and He also has served as a journalist and consultant on documentaries for CBC and Global News . In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media. He was also a finalist for UCLA's Gerald R. Loeb Award and Syracuse University's Mirror Award. Before becoming a journalist in 2006, Sirota worked in Washington for, among others, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Minority Staff and the Center for American Progress.