Board of Directors

The COPD Foundation is proud to have such a diverse Board whose members come from various backgrounds, all of whom bring unique specialties to help advance the common cause: encourage, empower, and engage individuals with COPD in order to improve the qualities of life of all those who are affected by the disease and ultimately find a cure. Members of the Board include researchers, physicians, health care activists, and individuals with COPD, all of whom help guide the Foundation’s efforts. Members serve three-year terms on the Board and serve on the Foundation’s various committees. Below, you will find a list of the Members of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer, with their short biographies.


Board Chair and Interim CEO

JAMES D. CRAPO, M.D.plus

James D. Crapo, M.D., is Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health Denver, Manager of BioMimetix JV, LLC, and Principal Investigator for the COPDGene clinical epidemiology project. From 1992-1993, Dr. Crapo was President of the American Thoracic Society. He was also President of the Fleischner Society between 2004 and 2005. For six years beginning in 2003, Dr. Crapo served as a member of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. EPA. In 2007, Dr. Crapo joined the COPD Foundation’s Board of Directors due to his connection to John Walsh, his research, clinical interest in COPD, and his role as co-principal investigator of the COPDGene project. Since joining the Board of Directors, Dr. Crapo has served on the Executive Committee, Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC), and the Development Committee. Dr. Crapo has 7 children and 25 grandchildren. His interests include gardening and roses.

Board Members

RICHARD CASABURI M.D., Ph.Dplus

Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D. 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 Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and is an M.D., 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.

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.

LEONARD FROMER, M.D.plus

Leonard Fromer, M.D., 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 M.D. 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.

RUSSELL L. GANTTplus

Russell Gantt currently serves as President and CEO of Argo Navis BioPharm Advisors, LLC., a firm providing management consulting to the biopharmaceutical and allied healthcare industries. Most recently, Mr. Gantt led the North America Corporate Development hub for AstraZeneca PLC. Mr. Gantt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee. For over 30 years, Mr. Gantt has worked for various pharmaceutical companies within the human respiratory product franchises and development efforts, where he was first connected to the COPD Foundation. In addition to his years within the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Gantt has witnessed first-hand, through members of his family, the debilitating effects that can be experienced by those with COPD. Mr. Gantt joined the COPDF Foundation Board of Directors in 2019 and serves on the Audit and Development committees. He is a passionate skier and cyclist.

DONALD GRAYplus

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.

MICHAEL P. MAYERplus

Michael P. Mayer is Principal of the Richmond Hazleton Group, a firm engaged in Executive Search, predominately in the Sales, Human Resources, Manufacturing and Operations functions. Mr. Mayer received his B.S. in Policy and Management and his M.S. in Management from Carnegie Mellon University. After losing his father-in-law, Richard H. Scarborough, to COPD in 2005, Mr. Mayer, and his father-in-law’s brother, Collin, took steps that led to the establishment of the Richard H. Scarborough Bronchiectasis Research Registry and Consortium. In 2010, Mr. Mayer joined the COPD Foundation’s Board of Directors and served as Chairman from June 2018 through June 2020. As board member, Mr. Mayer has served as the Chair of the Finance and Investment committee and as Chair of the CEO Search committee (ad-hoc committee). In addition to his work with the COPD Foundation, Mr. Mayer has formerly held two terms on his church board as well as other non-profit boards and volunteers as a tutor to provide academic support to at-risk youth at the St. James School in Philadelphia. Mr. Mayer participated in and supports the Boy Scouts of America in several capacities and is an Eagle Scout. Mr. Mayer enjoys outdoor sports and spending time with family in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

BYRON M. THOMASHOW, M.D., CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERplus

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.

GERARD TURINO, M.D.plus

Gerard M. Turino, M.D. 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, M.D.plus

Robert (Bob) Wise, M.D. is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary and Critical Care division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 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. Dr. Wise joined the COPD Foundation Board of Directors four years ago and is Chair of the COPD Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MASAC). He enjoys listening to audiobooks, particularly non-fiction history and literary novels.

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.

JEAN WRIGHT, M.D., MBA, SECRETARYplus

Jean Wright, M.D., M.B.A., is the Chief Innovation Officer at Atrium Health, a large integrated delivery system, with over 50 hospitals, 900 care locations, 70,000 employees and 11 billion in revenue. Dr. Wright and her team bring Human Centered Design, Business Model Innovation and Strategic partners (both start-ups and Fortune 100) to accelerate the transformation of healthcare. Dr. Wright received her B.S. from the University of Michigan, her M.D. from Wayne University, and her M.B.A from Emory Goizueta School of Business. Her accomplishments include serving as Board Member of United Way of Central Carolinas and serving as Principle Investigator of the Beacon Community Grant for Southern Piedmont. Four years ago, Dr. Wright joined the COPD Foundation since she is passionate about changing the delivery of care to improve the health of the 30 million Americans with COPD. In addition to seeking to change the delivery of care, she is focused on uncovering the undiagnosed patients using social media, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Currently, Dr. Wright is the Secretary of the COPD Foundation and serves on the Executive Committee, Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, Strategy Planning Committee, and is Chair of the Governance Committee. Dr. Wright has four children she adopted from China. She is committed to her children and to her church. Her hobbies include skiing and playing golf.

HERBERT YARDLEYplus

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.