Catholic Hospice Leadership Team

Dian Backoff, Executive Director of Catholic Hospice has over 30 years of Healthcare and Hospice management experience. For the past 6 years she served hospice and home health clients within her own consulting business and previous to that she was the Vice President of Operations at Vitas Healthcare Corporation.

Ms. Backoff began her South Florida hospice career in 1985 as a clinician providing care at the bedside. Since then, she went to perform multiple hospice operation management positions including sales, marketing, and executive of operations. Ms. Backoff has successfully grown and streamlined hospices and healthcare foundations throughout the United States.

“It is with great confidence that I can say at this time in my career with all of my previous experience in the Hospice and Healthcare industry have prepared me to be able to provide optimal care for the families and patients of Catholic Hospice."

She resides in Wellington with her husband.

Melinda Diaz, RN, BS, LHRM, CHPN, CHPCA, Senior Director of Operations, comes to Catholic Hospice with over 30 years nursing experience and 12 years of Hospice experience. She started her hospice career as a Director of Education and Quality for Hospice at Home in St. Joseph, Michigan. Melinda then moved to Florida where she worked with HospiceCare of Southeast Florida as the Chief Compliance Officer.

Melinda is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. She also holds her Florida license as a Risk manager as well and a Registered Nurse. She is a certified hospice nurse, a certified hospice administrator as well as an HPNA trainer.

As Senior Director of Operations Melinda serves as an integral member of the senior management team and is responsible for the development of Catholic Hospice palliative care strategy and the overall development of the organization’s strategic goals.


Rita Kathalynas, RN, MSN, CHPN, assumed the responsibilities of Director of Professional Services on October 27, 2011. Ms. Kathalynas, who has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry with specific knowledge of hospice care in particular palliative approaches to symptom management and pain control has been working in hospice care since 2001.

“We are pleased that Rita has joined the leadership team of Catholic Hospice. She brings her experience and passion for quality to the team”, said Ms. Bonnie Alkema, Executive Director.

Ms. Kathalynas, who has extensive clinical, educational and management experience comes from the Vitas Innovative Hospice Care where she was a team manager. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from George Mason University.

“It is a privilege to serve on behalf of patients and families in the compassionate and loving spirit of Jesus Christ”, said Ms. Kathalynas.


Dale Williams, RN, BSN, assumed the responsibilities of Director of Professional Services on May 19, 2014. Mr. Williams, who has 14 years of hospice experience, previously worked as an Administrator for Heartland Home Health and Hospice.

“I am very pleased to have Dale Williams join the leadership team of Catholic Hospice. His knowledge, experience, and commitment to providing quality hospice care will support our mission of care within the Broward community,” commented Bonnie Alkema, Executive Director.

Mr. Williams received his Bachelors of Science in Biology and Nursing from Wichita State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration and Health Care Management. He is certified as a Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator and Nurse.

“To honor, serve and provide excellence for our patients, their loved ones, and our community is a privilege and my calling.  I am proud to be a part of Catholic Hospice,” said Mr. Williams.

Laura Ryan assumed the responsibilities of Director of Business Development on April 2nd, 2017. Mrs. Ryan has over 10 years of healthcare and provider relations experience and started at Catholic Hospice as a marketing representative. Previous to joining Catholic Hospice, she was the administrator at Brookdale Senior Living.

“I am very pleased to have Laura Ryan join the leadership team of Catholic Hospice. Laura brings years of experience and passion to her position. She is dedicated to supporting our mission of care within the community”, said Ms. Bonnie Alkema, Executive Director.

Mrs. Ryan started her career with John Hancock in financial planning.

“It is my honor to represent Catholic hospice and Palliative care, as well as our L'chaim program. I am blessed to be part of this amazing group of individuals, together we work to enhance the lives of our patients and families. Leaving them with hope and comfort,” said Mrs. Ryan.

Paul Rozynes, M.D., FAAHPM, Medical Director comes to Catholic Hospice with over 40 years of medical experience and was previously the Medical Director of Vitas Healthcare in Broward County. He assumed the responsibilities of Medical Director on June 19th, 2017.

"We welcome Dr. Rozynes to our leadership team. We feel his knowledge and experience will support the Catholic Hospice mission. He is a great addition to Catholic Hospice, and we look forward to working with him,” said Ms. Bonnie Alkema, Executive Director.

Dr. Rozynes received his Bachelor’s Degree in Science, with Honors in Chemistry from the University of Florida. He went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Miami where he proceeded to do his residency in the affiliated hospitals, Jackson Memorial and the VA.  He is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Hospice and Palliative Care.

“I cherish the opportunity to work with a great organization and with devoted individuals,” said Dr. Rozynes.