RICHARD CASABURI, MD, PhDplus
Richard Casaburi, PhD, MD is an investigator at the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and is Medical Director at Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, working on mostly COPD focused clinical research. He has a PhD in biomedical engineering and is an MD, with board certification in Internal and Pulmonary medicine. For over 30 years, Dr. Casaburi has focused on developing strategies to improve the lives of those with COPD. Currently, he serves as President for the Pulmonary Education and Research Foundation and is the immediate past chair of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society. Prior to joining the Board of Directors at the COPD Foundation, he served on the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) for the COPD Foundation and continues to support the Foundation in this capacity. Since joining the COPD Foundation Board of Directors in 2017, Dr. Casaburi has served on the Policy and Advocacy Committee, Governance Committee, Nominating Committee, and Compensation Committee. Dr. Casaburi has two children and two grandchildren (with one more on the way) with his wife of 43 years, Mary.
VALERIE CHANG, JDplus
Valerie (Val) is currently the Executive Director of the Hawaii COPD Coalition, www.hawaiicopd.org, which she founded in 2007. Prior to that, she was a part-time district court judge in Hawaii.
"I'm a COPD Advocate because I need to help make a difference for over 92,030 Hawaii adults and 24 million Americans with COPD. As an advocate I help our elected leaders including Congress, better understand our COPD community and how to best meet our needs."
Val has been active in the COPD community to varying degrees since her diagnosis at age 42 in 2000. She has moderate to severe emphysema from no known cause. Val is vice-chair of the US COPD Coalition and has participated in PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) as well as CMMRP (Congressionally Mandated Medical Research Program), representing COPD and lung conditions.
She has also been involved in the COPD Patient Powered Research Network (PPRN), as well as the Coalition for Tobacco Free Hawaii. Val has met with local and national leaders about COPD and lung health issues for many years. She has partnered with pharmaceutical companies as a patient advocate and has been active with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) as a patient advocate.
Her father died in 2020 at age 95, at least partially from complications of chronic bronchitis, which made the last 5 or so years of his life, in his words, “lousy.” He was also a lifelong non-smoker. Sadly in the 20 years since her diagnosis there hasn't been as much progress in treating COPD as she had hoped.
Val has a husband and two wonderful children in their 30s. When the global health permitted, she loved traveling and dining out. Now she is re-discovering the joys of cooking, including the wonders of the Instant Pot, unglazed Clay Pot, gardening, and yes, even sewing.
STEW COGAN, ESQ.plus
Stew Cogan, Esq. is an arbitrator and mediator. He received his B.A., with distinction, at the University of California Berkeley. After receiving his B.A., Mr. Cogan attended Harvard Law School and earned his J.D. For the past 21 consecutive years, Mr. Cogan has been named a Super Lawyer in Washington. Additionally, Mr. Cogan has been identified in Best Lawyers in America for his role as an arbitrator and mediator. He has served as President for several organizations including American College of Civil Trial Mediators, King County Association, King County Bar Foundation, and Institute for Family Development and has served as fellow for American College of Civil Trial Mediators and College of Commercial Arbitrators. In May 2010, Mr. Cogan joined the COPD Foundation Board of Directors after his role as Vice Chair at the Alpha-1 Foundation. Mr. Cogan was recruited to the Alpha-1 Foundation by the founder and remained on the board for 10 years, until he joined the COPD Foundation Board of Directors. During his time on the COPD Foundation Board, Mr. Cogan has been on the Executive Committee, Audit Committee, Finance and Investment Committee, Governance Committee, and Bylaws Revision Task Force. One of Mr. Cogan's interests is traveling. He has been to all 50 states and over 40 countries. Genealogy is another one of Mr. Cogan's interests.
MARK DRANSFIELD, MDplus
Mark Dransfield is currently the William C. Bailey Endowed Chair in Pulmonary Disease and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and staff physician at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. In addition, he serves as the Medical Director of the UAB Lung Health Center.
Dr. Dransfield's primary clinical and research interest is COPD and directs the UAB/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid COPD Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative. He is principal investigator for multiple translational studies and clinical trials at the UAB Lung Health Center including the Department of Defense-sponsored Beta-Blockers for the Prevention of Acute Exacerbations of COPD study as well as the National Institutes of Health-sponsored COPDGene and SPIROMICS studies.
He completed his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed by residency in internal medicine and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at UAB where he served as chief fellow.
Dr. Dransfield has been named one of America's Best Doctors from 2010 to 2018. He is active with the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians. He is also a member of the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) and serves as Editor in Chief of the COPD Foundation Journal.
LEONARD FROMER, MDplus
Leonard Fromer, MD, FAAFP, is President of Healthcare Initiatives at Turner Impact Capital and Executive Medical Director at The Kinetix Group. In his role as President of Healthcare Initiatives, Dr. Fromer heads up a team that builds community-facing healthcare infrastructure in underserved communities across the United States. Dr. Fromer received his MD from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and his Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California, Brittingham Social Enterprise Laboratory. He is a past member and Chair of the Commission on Healthcare Services for AAFP. Currently, he is a member of the Scientific Program Committee of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group. Over the years, Dr. Fromer has lost patients and relatives to COPD. It is his mission and passion to work to improve quality in diagnosis and treatment of COPD. During the five years as a board member for the COPD Foundation, he has served on several committees, including the Policy and Advocacy Committee, and has served as liaison to the primary care medical community. Dr. Fromer has been married for 45 years and has two children and one grandchild. He is an avid tennis player and bicyclist.
Donald Gray is a Board Member of the COPD Foundation, as well as the Atlantic Legal Foundation. He received the President's Award for Excellence from Concordia College in 2006 and is Co-Chair of the Bronxville Men's Book Club. Additionally, he is also the Co-Chairman of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy and serves on the President's Advisory Council at Concordia College Bronxville. Mr. Gray has served as a Board Member for the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, as member of the Governors/Finance Committee at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, and as President and CEO of the Community Fund of Bronxville. He was Managing Director at Morgan Stanley for 14 years and is now retired.
MEILAN K. HAN, MD, MSplus
MeiLan K. Han, MD, MS, is professor of internal medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System and director of the Michigan Airways Program. After graduating from the University of Washington School of Medicine, she completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Michigan. Dr. Han has also completed a Master's of Science degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Han is a clinician and researcher who is a passionate advocate for COPD patients. Her research has focused on identifying subtypes of COPD, particularly through the use of imaging. In 2017, she received the European Respiratory Society Gold Medal Award for her research in COPD. Dr. Han is also a member of the American Thoracic Society where she completed a term as Chair of the Clinical Problems Assembly and member of the Board of Directors. She is currently an associate editor for the journal American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and the Journal of the COPD Foundation. She is also a member of the Global Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) scientific committee. Prior to joining the Board of Directors at the COPD Foundation, she served on the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) for the COPD Foundation and continues to support the Foundation in this capacity. She is the author of, "Breathing Lessons," a book that helps patients and the lay public understand how their lungs work and how to protect them.
Jim Harris is an attorney in private practice. Jim served on the Board of a LREI, a prominent independent school in New York City, from 2008-2023 and was Chair from 2018-2023. Jim is the former Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of GFA Brands, Inc., the company that developed and marketed a number of food brands including the Smart Balance family of functional foods. The Smart Balance Brand was spun off into a publicly traded company in 2007 at which time Jim and his family exited the business. Jim received a B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and his J.D. from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
During his time on the LREI board and as Chair, Jim led the effort to raise well over $50m for the school as well as leading the successful refinancing of the school's long-term debt during the '22/'23 school year. In addition to his non-profit board work, Jim served on the board of Flywheel Sports and is currently on the board of Pantheon Group Holdings, a real estate investment firm, in Chicago.
MARK METERSKY, MD, FCCP plus
Mark L. Metersky, MD, FCCP is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut. He also serves as Director of the UConn Center for Bronchiectasis Care. Dr. Metersky is a graduate of the New York University School of Medicine. He completed training in Internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and in Pulmonary and Critical Medicine at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. His research interests focus on pulmonary infections including pneumonia and bronchiectasis. He has published and presented extensively on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pneumonia and bronchiectasis.
WILLIAM PILKINGTON, DPA, MPA, MAplus
William F. Pilkington is a Research Professor and Director of the HOPE Program at North Carolina Central University, an HBCU. From 1981-2019, Dr. Pilkington was the Chief Executive Officer and Public Health Director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) located on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. During his tenure at CHA, the entity received over 60 million in grant funding. Dr. Pilkington has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, The George Washington University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Appalachian State University. From 1986-89, he served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Dr. Pilkington joined the COPD's Foundation Board of Directors in 2023. He has three children, and his interests include fútbol and swimming.
Cindy Praeger is a Serial Entrepreneur who has a passion for helping companies scale and developing win-win partnerships. She is the Co-Founder of Rhythm Systems, a SaaS company that helps middle market firms use Rhythm's patented software to execute their growth plan, hit their numbers and lead in their market space.
Over the last 17 years at Rhythm Systems, her company has worked with over 625 middle market clients, and she has gained deep experience in the working patterns of companies that are scaling.
Cindy is an enthusiastic and engaging speaker and loves sharing top lessons from CEOs as a speaker at conferences and events.
In 2022, Cindy launched Veranda Partners and is the CEO. Veranda Partners invests in a select few entrepreneurs and Cindy and her team help these and other companies to scale by sitting on their Boards and providing operational support when needed. Passionate about giving back, Veranda Partners also has a social impact arm that consists of three funds focused on helping individuals achieve independence. The Financial Success Program helps individuals learn the financial discipline necessary to buy a new house, save for retirement or launch a new business. The Bridge Fund supports individuals with a clear path for their success, but they need a boost to get there. The Healthcare Freedom Fund helps individuals overcome a specific challenge with their health, so they no longer have a barrier to live their daily life.
Cindy enjoys her board positions at Kinematics - the leader in smart torque technology solutions, Acacia Mental Health - the leader in TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) technology that treats depression and anxiety and Launch CLT - an organization that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow via mentorship, investment, and education.
Cindy is a graduate of the EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Master's Program. She helped create and develop five new, small schools in Charlotte via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Cindy loves to read and among her favorite business books are Switch, Outliers, and Influence. She also enjoys learning Spanish and spent her son's junior and high school years as a Basketball Mom and Mentor.
Mike Rogers is an award-winning marketing communications specialist whose breakthrough ideas have helped to transform businesses and brands. Having served as the top creative executive for several international advertising agencies as well as owning two advertising think tanks, he credits his many successes to his belief in the power of curiosity.
Mike is a what if person, who pokes and prods, digging beyond the obvious to find advantage in the new and unexpected. He believes that open minds open doors, and that curiosity leads us down new paths and moves possibilities forward, excavating ideas that deliver increased value to companies, their brands, and the lives of people everywhere.
Mike is known in the industry for his business development skills and is the recipient of major creative and marketing awards and numerous industry accolades for which he credits his client partners who embraced his "thinking different" approach and his better ideas, better results mantra. He has been called an enemy of the ordinary, which he considers the ultimate compliment, given his belief that only extraordinary ideas and thinking that come from a compelling insight have the power to change human behavior.
Before founding his previous two agencies, Mike was Vice Chairman, Chief Creative Officer of DDB (the agency often depicted in Madmen) as well as Vice Chairman of Dentsu America, (part of the global Japanese holding company).
Mike is best known for creating the famous Baby-in-the-tire campaign for Michelin as well award-winning campaigns for Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Hershey, IBM, and New York State Tourism (I Love New York).
Mike currently serves as a member of the Emerson College Board of Advisors and is on the college's Board of Trustees' Investment Committee. He has also served as the Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. In addition to his current agency responsibilities, Mike is a librettist and lyricist, his latest musical making its debut at festivals around the country.
RISA STACK, Ph.Dplus
Risa has a Ph.D in Immunology from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. Her undergraduate degree is in Genetics, and she was an NCCA athlete during college. Her Linked-in page states: "CEO with 20 years of board of directors' experience. Co-founder of Veracyte and Menlo Microsystems. Leadership roles in both small and large companies; areas of expertise include strategy, business development, operations, and corporate governance. Transaction history encompasses financing, M&A, and IPOs. Held board roles on life sciences companies and industrial businesses. Board committee roles include compensation, nomination and governance, and audit. Extensive network in the life sciences sector."
Risa has been head of new business creation for GE Ventures, and a Partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. Prior to that she was at JP Morgan specializing in life sciences.
Risa is currently the Executive in Residence at RA Capital. She has her own consulting company, RS Bioventures. She is Co Found and member of the board of Menlo Micro, and a Board Member for Drawbridge Health.
Board experience includes Avitas Systems, a BHGE venture; Vineti, a cloud based platform; Xcellerex (acquired by GE Healthcare); Veracyte, genomic tests for thyroid, lung cancer and IPF (She cofounded this company); Corthera (Acquired by Novartis) for patients with decompensated heart failure.
Volunteer Work: Steering committee member, The Coalition for the 21st Century
BYRON M. THOMASHOW, MD, CO-FOUNDERplus
Dr. Byron Thomashow is a Professor of Medicine Columbia University Medical Center and an Attending Physician at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He helped found the COPD Foundation in 2004 and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for ten years. As of July 2018, he took on the role of Chief Medical Officer of the Foundation. He is the medical co-director of the Jo-Ann LeBuhn Center for Chest Disease on the Columbia campus and is medical director of the NewYork-Presbyterian Lung Volume Reduction program. He chaired the Respiratory Disease Council of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare Network for many years, and co-chaired the NewYork-Presbyterian smoking cessation initiative leading to campus going smoke free. He has served as co-chair for the NY State COPD Coalition, co-chaired the New York State COPD Summit in 2010, co-chaired COPD7 USA 2011, COPD8USA 2013, COPD 9USA 2015, COPD10 USA 2017, and co-chaired the COPD Foundation's COPD Readmission Summits in October 2013 and March 2015.
The Byron M. Thomashow Professorship of Medicine Columbia University was established in 2006. He was awarded the 2013 American Thoracic Society Public Advisory Roundtable Excellence Award. In 2016, he received the Columbia University Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. In 2017, he received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, he received the JWWalsh Visionary Award from the COPD Foundation. He was a member of the steering committee and the co-primary investigator at the Columbia site for the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and has been and remains actively involved in multiple national clinical research projects.
WAYNE E. "CHIP" WITHERS, VICE-CHAIRMAN, TREASURERplus
Wayne E. Withers, Jr. (Chip) of Withers Worldwide is a business executive. Presently, he is President of Withers Transfer & Storage of Coral Gables, Inc., Withers Worldwide Forwarders Inc. and Withers Transportation Systems. Withers Transfer & Storage specializes in the transportation and storage of household goods and commercial goods. Withers Worldwide is a licensed FMC freight forwarder and handles the movement of goods and products worldwide. Withers Transportation Systems is a freight management company specializing in third party logistics and project management. In 1973, Mr. Withers received his a B.S.B.A. Finance degree from the University of Florida. He serves as Coral Gables City Commissioner and as Trustee Member of the Tobacco Advisory Council of Florida. Both of Mr. Withers' parents died from COPD, leading him to be one of the Founding Board Members of the COPD Foundation. Since helping to found the Foundation, Mr. Withers has served in every capacity at the COPD Foundation, with the exception of Chairman. Currently, he is the Vice Chairman and Treasurer, serving on the Executive, Finance and Investment, and Development committees. Mr. Withers is married to Cindy Snyder Withers and has four children and ten grandchildren. Watching college sports, playing basketball, snowboarding, and fine dining are a few of Chip's favorite activities.
Herbert G. Yardley owns the Yardley Car Company in Plantation Florida. He received his B.A. from the University of Florida and attended a Graduate Business Program at the University of Michigan. In 2019, Mr. Yardley joined the COPD Foundation. He currently serves on the Development committee and the Finance and Investment Committee. In addition to his role as Board Member of the COPD Foundation, Mr. Yardley has been Mayor of Sea Ranch Lakes Florida, Chairman of PBS Miami, President of Volunteer Broward and a member of the University of Florida Foundation.
GERARD TURINO, MDplus
Gerard M. Turino, MD is Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and Senior Attending Physician for Mount Sinai St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital. He is a John H. Keating Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition to his role as Professor of Medicine and Attending Physician, Dr. Turino is the Founder and Director of the James P. Mara Center for Lung Disease at St Luke's-Roosevelt, which is devoted to research in COPD, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, asthma and intensive care. Research supported by the James P. Mara Center has resulted in the development of a Biomarker for COPD and a potential therapy, which is undergoing a clinical trial. Additionally, the research from this center has shown the clinical effects of second smoker exposure. Dr. Turino was a Founder and is a Member of the American Thoracic Society Foundation Board of Directors. He was also a Founder and First Director of the Alpha-1 Foundation. With John Walsh, Dr. Turino founded the Board of Directors for the COPD Foundation and was the first Chairman. He has remained on the Board of Directors for the COPD Foundation and maintains a strong interest in its programs and attempts to find a cure. In his vacation town of East Hampton, Dr. Turino is the voluntary President of the East Hampton Health Foundation, an organization providing healthcare to East Hampton and surrounding communities. He enjoys vacationing in East Hampton and is very close with his family of three sons and four grandchildren.
ROBERT WISE, MDplus
Robert (Bob) Wise, MD, is an internationally recognized expert on COPD, asthma, and research on respiratory diseases. Dr. Wise's expertise and commitment to the Foundation as a member of the board of directors since 2015 have been important in helping to guide the COPD Foundation's patient-centric mission. Dr. Wise also served in a critical role as the Chair of the COPD Foundation's Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC) from 2015 - 2022.
Dr. Wise was instrumental in supporting the formation of COPD360Net and in supporting the Foundation and community through the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr. Wise is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary and Critical Care division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. His role at the University involves patient care, research, and teaching. During his entire professional career, Dr. Wise has cared for patients with COPD and conducted research to establish evidence-based treatments that improve the functional status and quality of life for those who suffer from COPD. He was involved in many of the landmark trials for COPD.
GRACE ANNE DORNEY KOPPEL, Esq., MA, JDplus
Grace Anne was diagnosed with very severe COPD in 2001 which led her on the path to COPD patient advocacy and activism. Since 2006, she has devoted her training as an attorney, teacher and behavioral scientist to achieving better outcomes and quality of life for the 30 million Americans (only 16 million diagnosed) and the 250 million worldwide who have COPD.
She has been President of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation since 1999. One of its missions is, together with its partners, to provide start-up funding and strategic guidance for pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) clinics in areas of high COPD prevalence, primarily in rural America. The Foundation has co-founded 11 Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic in 5 states and will open its 12th PR Clinic at Georgetown Medstar Hospital in Washington, DC in early spring of 2024. The Foundation has also been a founding partner of a recent COPD Awareness Campaign-- copdsos.org.
Grace Anne is presently a Director Amerita of the COPD Foundation and had served on its Board of Directors for twelve years. She is a Past President of the COPD Foundation and a past member of its Board of Governors of its Patient Powered Research Network. She has served as a Council Member on the National Institute of Health's NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute) Advisory Council; has also served on Georgetown University's Board of Regents and the Board of the Intercommunity Telecommunications Project.
She has been featured in numerous national print/ radio/ television/ cable programs: Newsweek, Woman's Day, Johns Hopkins Magazine, New York Times, publications of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), NIH's Medline Plus Magazine and the Digest of the COPD Foundation. Grace Anne has also advocated for COPD on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, CBS Morning Show, ABC Good Morning America, PBS Evening News, PBS Second Opinion, the Aspen Institut's Spotlight on Health, as well as numerous local television and national and local radio interviews.
Grace Anne was NHLBI's National Patient Advocate for its Learn More Breath Better Campaign; has keynoted at major annual conferences for the American Thoracic Society (ATS) President's Lecture; the National Rural Health Association (NRHA); the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR); the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC); the AARC's Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit; the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); NHLBI's COPD National Action Plan Workshop Conference; as well as for Johns Hopkins Woman's Journey and Stanford's MedX Conference-Grand Challenge CHANGE COPD.
She is a graduate of Fordham University (BA), Stanford University (MA,), studied for and completed course requirements for her PhD at Stanford University but did not complete orals and dissertation. She is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Law and holds a Juris Doctor degree. She has been honored with a PhD Honoris Causa in Humane Letters from her alma mater, Fordham University. She is an ATS member and active in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation PR Assembly of ATS and in its working group on pulmonary rehabilitation reimbursement.
Grace Anne has received awards from many organizations—COPD Foundation - First Annual Award: Commitment to Awareness and Health Policy COPD; AARC- Honorary Life Member for Outstanding Service to the Organization; National Rural Health Association (NRHA)- Outstanding Advocate Award; AACVPR- Presidential Recognition Award; American Thoracic Society's (ATS) Assembly on Pulmonary Rehabilitation's-Lifetime Achievement Award.
Grace Anne is most happily married to the journalist Ted Koppel; is the mother of four and the grandmother of seven grandchildren.