New Year, New Board Members!

Dysautonomia International is looking forward to a fantastic 2018, and to kick things off we’re welcoming three new board members and our second employee!

1Dr. Brent Goodman, Director of the Autonomic Lab at Mayo Clinic’s Scottsdale, Arizona campus, has joined our esteemed Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Goodman and our other Medical Advisory Board members perform an important role in the organization, serving as our outreach ambassadors to professional societies, medical schools and medical journals, working with Dysautonomia International to educate fellow medical professionals about autonomic disorders. Our Medical Advisory Board also reviews all medical content and helps us select the best research to fund through our competitive peer-reviewed POTS Research Fund grants process.

Untitled design (1)Christy Jagdfeld of Wisconsin has joined our Board of Directors, and will serve as Board Treasurer.  Christy has been involved with Dysautonomia International for several years, as an active volunteer hosting awareness and education events in Wisconsin, and more recently as co-leader of our Wisconsin Support Group. She brings accounting and business management skills to the Board that will help us continue to grow as an organization. Christy and her daughter, who has POTS, are very passionate about raising awareness and supporting people coping with dysautonomia.

2Jacqueline Rutter Gully of Massachusetts has also joined our Board of Directors, and will serve as Board Secretary. Jackie brings her expertise in communications to the board, and the whole Rutter-Gully family is involved with Dysautonomia International. Jackie’s daughter Hanna serves on our Patient Advisory Board and leads Team Hanna G and Me, one of our most active teams that participates in the Boston POTS Walk. Jackie’s husband Andrew and other children, Jocelyn and Dylan, lend their skills, along with our talented videographer, Evan Carter, who is dating Jackie’s daughter.

As we welcome new board members, we also want to express our sincere gratitude to departing board members Ellen Kessler and Clover Yordanova, who were both members of the original founding Board of Directors of Dysautonomia International. Ellen served as our volunteer Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, and Clover served as our Secretary, since our launch in 2012.  Both ladies plan to remain involved in the organization as volunteers.

We held a cocktail party recognizing Ellen’s five years of service to the board in Washington, DC this fall, presenting her with a Leadership Award for the amazing time commitment she put into managing our organization’s finances, offering pro bono accounting services for the past five years.
Dr. Kamal Chemali, Ellen Kessler, Lauren Stiles, Kirsten Slowey and Dr. Hasan Abdallah during the awards reception recognizing Ellen’s service to Dysautonomia International.

To help us meet our growing accounting and business management needs, we recently hired an experienced professional to serve as our Office Manager, Elena Fries. We’re delighted to have Elena join our team.

While we’re mentioning staff, we should give a special mention to Kirsten Slowey, our Director of Events & Medical Affairs. Kirsten has been the mastermind behind our amazing annual conferences for the past few years, and she joined Dysautonomia International full-time in 2017. Kirsten also coordinates with our state and province based support groups, works with volunteers looking to host fundraisers or educational events, and helps plan Dysautonomia Awareness Month events around the world.

Kirsten and Elena are our only two employees. Amazingly, most of what we have been able to accomplish as an organization has been carried out by volunteers, young and old alike. Our Board of Directors, Patient Advisory Board, Medical Advisory Board, and State Support Group Leaders all serve as volunteers, and many individuals volunteer in other capacities.

Thank you to everyone who made 2017 our most successful year yet.  We have an ambitious agenda for 2018, which includes funding more POTS research than ever before, hosting physician and patient education courses in new cities, taking our annual conference on the road to Nashville (June 22-24 weekend – save the date!), expanding our free monthly webinars, revamping our website, updating our newly diagnosed patient brochure, continuing to grow our regional support groups, and so much more! Consider making a donation today to help us reach our goals in 2018.

If you’re not already signed up, join our email list to find out about the latest dysautonomia research, news and events.

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