COPD Foundation Leadership

Main Number: (866) 731-COPD (2673)


COPD Foundation Executives

  • Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    View Bio
  • Byron Thomashow, MD
    Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer
    View Bio
  • Elisha Malanga, BS
    Chief of Staff
    View Bio
  • Kaleo Curtis, CPA, MSA
    Executive Vice President of Finance
    View Bio
  • Sasha Lavin, MBA, MST
    Chief Financial Officer & Human Resources
    View Bio
  • Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP
    Chief Digital Information Officer
    View Bio
  • Linda Walsh, BS
    Chief Community Engagement Officer, COPD360coach
    View Bio
  • Kristen Willard, MS
    Executive Vice President Public and Professional Education
    View Bio
  • Christine Novak Micka, MA
    Senior Director of Development
    View Bio
  • Carol Johnson, MBA
    Senior Director of Communications and Marketing
    View Bio

Medical and Scientific Leadership

  • Bruce E. Miller, PhD
    Chief Scientific Officer
    View Bio
  • Timothy R. Aksamit, MD
    Bronchiectasis and NTM 360 Medical Director
    View Bio
  • Courtney Crim, MD
    COPD360 Medical Director
    View Bio
  • Alan Hamilton, PhD
    Senior Director of Research
    View Bio
  • David Mannino, MD
    Co-Founder and Medical Director
    View Bio
  • Richard Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR
    Medical Director COPD PPRN
    View Bio
  • Julie Yates, BS
    Senior Clinical Investigation Director
    View Bio

Educators

  • Amanda Atkinson, MSN, RN
    Manager of Patient and Professional Education
    View Bio
  • Michael W. Hess, MPH, RRT, RPFT
    Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education
    View Bio
  • Christina Hunt, BS, RRT
    Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education, BronchandNTM360social
    View Bio
  • Katie Keating, RN, BSN, MS
    BronchandNTM360social
    View Bio
  • Jane Martin, RT
    Respiratory Therapist, Public and Professional Education
    View Bio
  • Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C
    Manager of Public and Professional Education
    View Bio
  • Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT
    Senior Director of Community Education Programs
    View Bio

Flagship Projects

  • Pete Amari, BS, MCP
    Vice President IT Development and Design
    View Bio
  • Cathy Carlomagno, BS
    Managing Editor, Journal of the COPD Foundation
    View Bio
  • Bill Clark, BS
    Vice President of Patient Experience, COPD360social
    View Bio
  • Cara Pasquale, MPH
    Vice President COPD360Net
    View Bio
  • Delia P. Oliver, M.S.Ed.
    Vice President, Bronchiectasis and NTM 360
    View Bio
  • Gretchen McCreary, MA
    Director of Research, Project Lead PPRN
    View Bio
  • Debbie D. Merrill, MBA
    Vice President CBQC and Project Management
    View Bio

Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD
President & Chief Executive Officer


Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, President & Chief Executive Officer at the COPD Foundation, is internationally recognized as an innovative, patient-focused, and highly analytical health care leader and clinical scientist with extensive R&D experience. She has a proven history of successfully leading international public and private partnerships and non-profit organizations through critical advancements and progress of clinical trials and large international observational cohorts. She is adept at building and maintaining global partnerships between pharma, patients, academia, advocacy groups and governments. Her wide-ranging technical and scientific knowledge comprises molecular biology, immunology, application of digital technology, and in vivo disease models. She has authored hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, including highly cited scientific publications that reported important insights on COPD (h-index 68). Until her retirement from GSK in 2019, Ruth was a long-time COPD Foundation collaborator and the founding Industry chair of the COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC). Since taking the helm of the COPD Foundation, she has been a powerful advocate for visionary thinking and transformative approaches to putting the patient at the heart of research, building internal medical and scientific expertise, and catalyzing action in partnership with like-minded global organizations. She is committed to science-fueled research, emerging technology, and innovative approaches to preventing, diagnosing, treating, and ultimately finding a cure for COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacteria lung disease. Recent initiatives include the formation of COPD360Net®, the COPD Foundation’s digital health and therapeutics development accelerator network, the Community Engagement Committee (CEnCo), and Oxygen360.


Close

Byron Thomashow, MD
Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer


Byron Thomashow, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at 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. In July 2018, he took on the role of Chief Medical Officer of the Foundation. He is the medical co-director of the Jo-Ann Le Buhn Center for Chest Disease on the Columbia campus and is medical director of the New York-Presbyterian Lung Volume Reduction program. He chaired the Respiratory Disease Council of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare Network for many years and co-chaired the New York-Presbyterian smoking cessation initiative leading to the 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 COPD7USA in 2011, COPD8USA in 2013, COPD 9USA in 2015, COPD10USA in 2017, and co-chaired the COPD Foundation COPD Readmission Summits in October 2013 and March 2015.

The Byron M. Thomashow Professorship of Medicine Columbia University was established in 2006. Byron 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 JW Walsh 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.

View Columbia Profile


Close

Elisha Malanga, BS
Chief of Staff


In her role as Chief of Staff, Elisha works in partnership with the Foundation’s Executive team to develop and execute the overall strategic direction of the COPD Foundation. Elisha oversees the Foundation's corporate relations and works closely with our corporate partners and collaborators. Her team leads cause marketing efforts and manages specialty grants and the Foundation’s Industry Advisory Board studies, including COPDGene®, SPIROMICS and SOURCE. Elisha continues to nurture and expand Foundation partnerships with like-minded organizations. She is the staff liaison to the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and has extensive experience with Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute-funded and other specialty grant submissions.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Elisha helped to establish the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Research Program and in 2007, she received the ATS Presidential Commendation award. Elisha has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Richmond.


Close

Kaleo Curtis, CPA, MSA
Executive Vice President of Finance


Kaleo Curtis is a licensed CPA with over 12 years of experience in both the public and private accounting sectors, nine years of which were spent leading financial and accounting departments of multiple non-profit organizations. He is the Foundation's Executive VP of Finance. Kaleo enjoys strategic planning and helping organizations better support and serve their communities.

Following his passions for education and healthcare, Kaleo serves on the board of directors for a non-profit focused on providing early childhood education and nutrition services for at-risk families in Nevada. As part of the board, Kaleo served as treasurer for four years.

Kaleo earned a Masters of Accountancy from Southern Utah University. He and his wife met while attending school in Hawaii. They have four children and enjoy spending time with family.


Close

Sasha Lavin, MBA, MST
Chief Financial Officer & Human Resources


Sasha Lavin is the Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer and oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s accounting and financial reporting, cash management, budgeting, and investment portfolio under the direction of the Finance and Investment Committee, human resources, and contract administration. She joined the Foundation in 2013.

Sasha has over 20 years of professional accounting experience working in various organizations and entity types. Before joining the Foundation, Sasha served as the Assistant Controller and Human Resources Director for Beauchamp Construction, Inc., a for profit organization.

Sasha holds both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Miami.


Close

Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP
Chief Digital Information Officer


Vincent M. Malanga is the Chief Digital Information Officer for the COPD Foundation. In this role Vincent serves as the senior technology strategist providing guidance and vision on emerging technologies, technology innovation, digital trends and infrastructure advances as well as defining, implementing, and evolving the technology solutions and procedures that comprise the COPD360 technology platform of which he is the chief architect.

Vincent has over 25 years of experience in software architecture and development, database design, data and systems integration and enterprise architecture, and 15 years of experience in search engine optimization. Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Vincent ran a successful technology consulting company and developed custom business solutions for many Fortune 500 companies including Ralph Lauren, Omnicom Group and Elsevier. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in numerous Microsoft programming languages and development tools, Azure Cloud Services, and Azure AI. He has been a guest blogger on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and has spoken at industry conferences. Vincent is also a co-author on numerous abstracts and publications from various research studies. Vincent has a Bachelor of Science from Hofstra University, continuing education credits from MIT Professional Education in Digital Transformation: From AI and IoT to Cloud, Blockchain and Cybersecurity, and has a Series 7 NASD (FINRA) license - General Securities Representative.


Close

Linda Walsh, BS
Chief Community Engagement Officer


Linda Walsh is the Foundation’s Chief Community Engagement Officer and is currently leading the rebuilding of COPD360coach, the peer health coaching support arm of COPD360Net. Linda directed the C.O.P.D. Information Line from 2011 until 2019 and under her leadership the Information Line Associates were rigorously trained as peer health coaches providing integral support for many Foundation research initiatives. These included the CAPTURE Study, the COPD and Pneumonia Study, the iPArTNER Study, the O2Verlap Study, the PELICAN Study, the Patient-Powered Research Network, and the Pulmonary Education Program. Linda is passionate about educating, empowering, and engaging all stakeholders of the COPD community as many of Linda’s family members are directly impacted by the disease.

Linda has over 25 years of experience in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors in strategic and financial planning, securing corporate funding and sponsorships, and enhancing operations and customer service.

Linda received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lung Transplant Foundation. In addition, she is certified as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist.


Close

Kristen Willard, MS
Executive Vice President Public and Professional Education


Kristen Willard is the Executive Vice President of Public and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this role, Kristen is responsible for overseeing the organization’s educational supports for those with COPD, their family members, and the health care professionals with whom they work. Kristen is particularly passionate about improving the lives of those with these illnesses, having lost both her father and grandmother to COPD.

She is a project lead with more than 20 years of experience in health research and project management. Kristen began her career at Georgetown University in biobehavioral research related to breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. After obtaining her advanced degree in clinical psychology, she worked in research in both epilepsy and chronic pain as well as project oversight in literacy, veterans’ mental health services, medical examiner competence and mental health in disability employment.

Kristen has a Master of Science in clinical psychology degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.


Close

Christine Novak Micka, MA
Senior Director of Development


Christine (Chris) Novak Micka is the Foundation’s Senior Director of Development. In this role, she will help to mobilize financial support for the COPD Foundation’s critical work, by developing long-term strategies for harnessing the power of awareness, activism, and altruism in support of individuals living with COPD and related lung disorders. In addition to managing fundraising events and campaign initiatives, Chris is responsible for donor recruitment, engagement, and stewardship.

Chris has nearly 25 years of experience in philanthropy administration for mission-based movements in the health care, behavioral and mental health, social justice, and community development fields. She has held senior level leadership positions at the Greyston Foundation, Andrus Children’s Center, and the National Eating Disorders Association. In addition to her position with the COPD Foundation, Chris is involved in her local community, providing support for causes addressing pediatric cancer, eating disorders, affordable housing, and education.

Chris has both a Master of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Fordham University.


Close

Carol Johnson, MBA
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing


Carol Johnson joined the Foundation in June of 2021 as Senior Director of Communications and Marketing. In this role, she is responsible for guiding all Foundation communications strategy for the website, social media, newsletters, public messages, and other collaterals, to consistently articulate the COPD Foundation’s mission.

Before joining the Foundation, Carol worked for AMN Healthcare and led key initiatives, including a significant digital transformation effort; an online reputation program for six divisions; the launch of a successful natural language chatbot; and recruitment marketing of an unprecedented number of contract health care professionals before and during the global pandemic. Carol also previously supported fundraising and sponsorship communications for the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and on behalf of military families in her civilian public relations and public affairs role with the U.S. Navy. She has been recognized as the Healthcare Communicator of the Year for San Diego by a panel of industry peers and recently won the Conference Board "Excellence in Communications Award" for her pioneering work to integrate personalized communications across channels.


Close

Pete Amari, MCP
Vice President IT Development and Design


Peter Amari is the Foundation’s Vice President IT Development and Design and works closely with the Chief Information Officer to continuously preserve, update, and secure the Foundation’s online assets — https://www.copdfoundation.org, https://journal.copdfoundation.org, and https://www.bronchiectasisandntminitiative.org. He also manages the Foundation’s information technology (IT) service response team who provide a variety of digital and electronic services and equipment inventory.

In addition, Peter combines his IT skills with 10 years of experience in website and graphic design to serve as a critical member of the Foundation’s medical/scientific journal team, providing ongoing web development and graphic design production for the quarterly, online, peer-reviewed periodical, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Peter worked for 19 years in retail pharmacy. During that time, he was responsible for monitoring and managing the privacy of pharmacy health information as a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance officer. Peter has a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Phoenix.


Close

Timothy R. Aksamit, MD
Bronchiectasis and NTM Medical Director


Timothy R. Aksamit, MD serves as the Bronchiectasis and NTM Medical Director of the COPD Foundation. He oversees bronchiectasis and NTM projects and studies from a clinical perspective, serves as principal investigator, and advises on research strategy, partnership integration, and the development of grant proposals. He serves as author and subject matter expert to educate patients, health care professionals, caregivers, and media on the Foundation’s work and research findings on chronic lung conditions.

Dr. Aksamit is also a Consultant and Associate Professor in the Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine division of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, where he serves as the Mayo Mycobacterial and Bronchiectasis Clinic Director. Prior to accepting his position as Bronchiectasis and NTM Medical Director at the COPD Foundation, Dr. Aksamit served in a voluntary capacity as Chair of the U.S. Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry Consortium for several years. His service as Chair of the Consortium was critical to expanding the Registry and leveraging it to further research in the field, resulting in several published manuscripts and abstracts.

Dr. Aksamit received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL and his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. He received his medical training in internal medicine, pulmonary, and critical care medicine at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he also served as Chief Resident. Before joining the staff at Mayo Clinic in 1998, Dr. Aksamit completed research at Hammersmith Hospital in London, U.K. He will continue his work with the Mayo Clinic while supporting the mission of the COPD Foundation and the Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative.


Close

Amanda Atkinson, MSN, RN
Manager of Patient and Professional Education


Amanda Atkinson, MSN, RN is the Manager of Patient and Professional Education for the COPD Foundation. In this role she designs educational resources for health care professionals, patients, and caregivers, improving awareness of and accessibility to the latest evidence-based research, innovation, and information.

Amanda comes from a diverse clinical background where she provided care to patients with a variety of health conditions. She has held educational roles over the course of her career in both the health care and corporate sectors, including serving as adjunct faculty for the community and technical college system. She also co-authored a curriculum for use in non-profit recovery homes. Amanda has a passion for empowering patients, caregivers, and providers by creating educational tools to improve quality of care, enabling patients to live their best lives.

Amanda is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Science with concentration in Nursing Education from Northern Kentucky University.


Close

Cathy Carlomagno
Managing Editor, Journal of the COPD Foundation


Cathy Carlomagno is the Managing Editor of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation. In this role she is responsible for both the daily operations and long- range planning of this quarterly, peer reviewed medical/scientific journal. This includes management of production, marketing, communications, strategic planning, and business operations of the Journal.

Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Cathy served as Director of Communications and Marketing for the American Thoracic Society where her responsibilities included promoting the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology within medical, trade, and popular press. Cathy also has experience as a primary spokesperson, publications editor, and Director of Communications for a regional pediatric medical center and as a medical communications consultant for various national health care organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Tennessee. She received the American Thoracic Society Presidential Commendation award in 2005.


Close

Bill Clark
Vice President of Patient Experience


Bill Clark is the Foundation’s Vice President of Patient Experience. Recruited by Foundation founder John W. Walsh and with the Foundation since its inception, Bill serves as Community Manager of COPD360social, a social network for patients, caregivers, and professionals. Bill leads Foundation staff in monitoring members’ posts, answering questions, finding resources, and bringing in medical experts, as necessary, to ensure that members of the network have the most accurate and current information available. As a COPD patient himself, Bill is uniquely qualified to ensure that COPD360social members feel supported, comforted, and heard by the larger COPD community. He was instrumental in COPD360social recently reaching an impressive milestone of having 50,000 registered members.

Bill also contributes to many of the Foundation’s educational publications, has been extensively interviewed by national media outlets, and is involved in numerous research initiatives.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2004, Bill was a retired special education teacher in Ohio for 28 years. Bill has a Bachelor of Science in education degree from Western Illinois University.


Close

Courtney Crim, MD
COPD360 Medical Director


Courtney Crim, MD, is the COPD360 Medical Director for the Foundation. In this role he will support COPD360Net, the Foundation’s initiative to facilitate, review, and expedite clinical trials for new therapies and digital health tools while also providing support to the Foundation’s COPD360 Coach program.

In addition to his role with the Foundation, Dr. Crim is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Most recently he served as Group Director in Clinical Development in Respiratory Clinical Sciences at GlaxoSmithKline. He has over 20 years of experience designing Phase 2–4 clinical trials that encompassed developing new medical entities. Earlier in his academic career, he was a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Pulmonary and Allergy Drug Advisory Committee and has also presented submissions for drug approval at U.S., European, and other country regulatory agencies.

Dr. Crim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed post-graduate training in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, with subspecialty training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, and critical care medicine. He serves as a mentor for minority medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School and is currently liaising with a local university and a philanthropic organization to develop a immersion program for underrepresented minorities at a local high school to foster interest in science and medicine.


Close

Alan Hamilton, PhD
Senior Director of Research

Alan Hamilton, PhD, joined the Foundation in January 2022 as Senior Director of Research. He provides strategic leadership for the Chronic Lung Disease Biomarker and Clinical Outcomes Assessment Qualification Consortium (CBQC) and contributes to activities related to the development and evaluation of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for COPD and other chronic lung diseases.

Alan is a clinical scientist by training with extensive experience as a clinical program leader. Prior to joining the Foundation, he held several senior scientific positions with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) (1997 - 2021), highlighted by his role as Global Clinical Program Lead for the once daily long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) olodaterol (Striverdi), and the once daily long-acting muscarinic antagonist /lABA fixed-dose combination, tiotropium/olodaterol (Stiolto) (2004 - 2015). Throughout his academic and industry career, Alan has shown a particular passion for the development and evaluation of interventions that target the alleviation of breathlessness and associated activity limitation in COPD. Between 2013–2021, Alan represented BI in the CBQC as Industry Co-Chair for the Constant Work Rate Exercise Working Group. In 2020, Alan succeeded Ruth Tal-Singer as the Industry Co-Chair for the CBQC Steering Committee (2020/2021). Alan has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the area of respiratory research.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Nottingham University in the United Kingdom, a Master of Science degree in sports science from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom and a PhD in physiology/pharmacology from McMaster University in Canada.


Close

Michael W. Hess
Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education


Michael W. Hess is the Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education and leads the Oxygen360 project for the Foundation. The goal of the project is to facilitate oxygen equipment innovation and research, promote policy improvements surrounding oxygen reimbursement, and enhance clinician education on the appropriate use of this critical therapy. The Foundation aims to redesign the oxygen infrastructure into a robust, resilient system that works for all stakeholders, from manufacturers to equipment distributors to the patients at the heart of our mission.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike served in a unique position at WMed Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator, he provided patient education, diagnostic testing, care coordination, and other respiratory care services as part of a primary care clinic while also designing and implementing community outreach programs to enhance respiratory health.

Mike is a registered respiratory therapist and has a Master of Public Health degree from Western Michigan University. In 2019 he received the Ambulatory and Post-Acute Care Specialty Practitioner of the Year from the American Association for Respiratory Care.


Close

Christina Hunt
Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education


Christina Hunt is the Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education for the Foundation. In this role, Christina creates patient educational resources and assists with research projects that are part of the Bronchiectasis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) initiative, a program started by the Foundation several years ago because of the significant overlap between COPD and these two chronic lung diseases.

She is a registered respiratory therapist and has worked in the field of respiratory care for more than 20 years including in adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units; critical care transport teams; and most recently, pulmonary rehabilitation. Christina has worked as a respiratory department clinical educator at a local hospital, and as both adjunct faculty and a clinical instructor for respiratory care students at a local community college. In 2018, she developed a successful blog, BreatheLiveFit.com, to help people with chronic lung conditions live happier, healthier lives. She also serves on the board of directors for Breath Matters Support Group of Virginia.

Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in human food, nutrition, and exercise degree from Virginia Tech.


Close

Katie Keating
BronchandNTM360social Co-moderator


Katie Keating, RN, MS, is a BronchandNTM360social contributor for the Foundation and in this role she writes blog articles and responds to inquiries on BronchandNTM360social, providing information and educational resources to patients and caregivers.

As a nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease patient for many years, she has constantly gathered information on ongoing NTM and bronchiectasis research, exploring the best ways to manage NTM effectively. Considered one of the pioneers in NTM research advocacy, Katie was involved with the NTM Info and Research organization (Coral Gables, FL) since its infancy in 2002 and was an active member of the New York City NTM Support Group (2002–2016). She has lobbied and advocated to secure funding for research and new drug development and has made numerous professional presentations on NTM, including to the 2016 Food and Drug Administration panel to expedite NTM drug development.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Katie worked as a long-term care administrator, a health care business development professional, a charge nurse in a New York City emergency room, and a primary nurse planner for national continuing education programs. She has a Master of Science degree in health services administration from the New School for Social Research (NY, NY), and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ). She completed a fellowship in health care advocacy from the American Nurses Association (Washington, DC).


Close

David Mannino, MD
Co-Founder and Medical Director


David Mannino, MD, is the Medical Director and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation. In 2004, at an airport meeting room in Denver, he was also part of the original team that launched the COPD Foundation and has served the Foundation in multiple roles, including chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Chief Scientific Officer, and as an Associate Editor of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPDF Foundation.

David is a Philadelphia native who went to Penn State and Jefferson Medical College before completing his medical residency (Lankenau Hospital, Philadelphia) and pulmonary fellowship (West Virginia University, Morgantown). After his fellowship, he took a position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he helped to launch the National Asthma Program and worked on the epidemiology of COPD. In 2004, he retired from the U.S. Public Health Service and started his academic career at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he was part of the international Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) team, with the only U.S. site. Following a three-year stint as a U.S. Medical Expert at GlaxoSmithKline, with a focus on COPD, he returned to the Foundation as a Medical Director in November 2020.


Close

Jane Martin, RT
Respiratory Therapist, Public and Professional Education


Jane M. Martin is Respiratory Therapist, Public and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this position she writes patient educational materials and blog posts, working with physician experts to ensure the content is accurate and up to date. Jane also assists pulmonary rehabilitation and breathing support group program coordinators across the country in selecting COPD Foundation educational materials that will be most beneficial for their purposes.

Known as a trail blazer and fierce patient advocate, Jane is a certified respiratory therapist with over 35-years’ experience across the continuum of care, including establishing and coordinating pulmonary rehabilitation and breathing support group programs.

Jane is also a teacher and writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and language arts from Hope College and a certification in respiratory care from the California College for Health Sciences. She is the author of over 200 COPD-related articles and two books on living with chronic lung disease.


Close

Gretchen McCreary
Director of Research, Project Lead PPRN


Gretchen McCreary is the Director of Research at the Foundation. In her role, she leads and supports patient engagement activities within the research department in coordination with other Foundation staff. Gretchen manages the COPD Patient-Powered Research Network, striving to bring the patient voice to research endeavors, ensuring that patients are driving the research, in both participation and as patient investigators. Gretchen is also the moderator of the Foundation’s BronchandNTM360social site. She has coauthored abstracts and publications from multiple studies involving the COPD PPRN.

Previously, Gretchen taught earth and space science as well as worked in the counseling department of an online school, the Electronic Classrooms of Tomorrow after working for the home office of Abercrombie and Fitch, in Columbus, Ohio. Gretchen has volunteered for various veteran organizations, including the Coalition to End Veteran Suicide. She also teaches yoga and yoga workshops.

Gretchen has a Master of Arts in psychology, with a focus on leadership, peace building and conflict resolution from Atlantic University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communications from Ohio State University.


Close

Debbie D. Merrill
Vice President CBQC and Project Management


Debbie Merrill is the Foundation’s Vice President of the CBQC and Project Management. As program director of the Chronic Lung Disease Biomarker and Clinical Outcome Assessment Qualification Consortium (CBQC), Debbie ensures that the consortium works to accomplish its mission of qualifying drug development tools (biomarkers and clinical outcome assessments) with regulatory agencies, including publishing scientific details of the collected evidence.

In addition, Debbie consults on other projects for the Foundation, including a shingles vaccine survey study (ShiPPS) and the COPD Foundation Nebulizer Consortium (CNC).

Prior to joining the Foundation, Debbie was an executive leader in clinical research and project management for Astra (now known as AstraZeneca) and Merck. She led multiple drug/vaccine projects through the development cycle to marketing. For 4 years, she also was acting Chief of Operations for Chiromics, a small chemistry biotech associated with Princeton University.

Debbie has dual Bachelor of Art degrees in biology and psychology from Middlebury College, and a Master of Business Administration in management from Temple University. She holds certifications in project management (CPM) and process management (Hammer).


Close

Bruce E. Miller, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer


Bruce Miller, PhD, is the Chief Scientific Officer for the COPD Foundation. He also represents the Foundation on committees that oversee the COPDGene and SPIROMICS studies.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Bruce held senior scientific roles at several pharmaceutical firms including Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline(GSK). During his 15 years at GSK, Bruce led several COPD drug development projects and was involved in numerous public-private collaborations that significantly contributed to disease understanding in COPD. He was the industry co-chair for the CBQC’s Fibrinogen Working Group, an effort that resulted in the first regulatory qualification with the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for a biomarker as a drug development tool to support COPD clinical trials.

Bruce has authored or co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of respiratory research and inflammation/immunology.


Close

Cara Pasquale
Vice President COPD360Net


Cara B. Pasquale is the Foundation’s Vice President COPD360Net. Cara joined the Foundation in 2014 and initially focused on establishing and growing the COPD Patient-Powered Research Network and engaging with patient and caregiver partners. In her current role she oversees several research projects and is focused on building the COPD360Net program, the Foundation’s initiative to facilitate, review, and expedite clinical trials for new therapies and digital health tools.

Cara has several years of public health experience including working with researchers to translate their work into action, community interventions, systematic literature reviews and engaging stakeholders. Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Cara worked as a paralegal at Covington & Burling LLP, the Institute of International Education on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology program, University Research Co., LLC on the USAID Translating Research into Action initiative, and was a Global Health Service Fellow at the World Health Organization at the Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health division.

Cara holds a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University and is a certified project management professional (PMP).


Close

Richard Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR
Medical Director COPD PPRN


Richard Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR, is the Medical Director for the Foundation’s Patient-Powered Research Network (PPRN). He was a co-founder of the PPRN with John W. Walsh (COPD Foundation founder) when they secured infrastructure funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in 2014. He has continued as a co-principal investigator and has guided many of its studies as well as serving on its Governing Board and Proposal Review Committee. He also serves on the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and the COPD360Net Steering Committee.

In addition to his role with the Foundation, Dr. Mularski leads health services research as a Distinguished Investigator in the areas of obstructive lung disease, palliative care, and delivery science at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. He is a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Senior Scholar of Ethics at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Professor of Health Systems Science at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. He has served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the northwest Kaiser region, Regional Clinical Quality Lead for COPD, and Medical Director of Inpatient Respiratory Care. Among his extensive research experience, he is a founding steering committee member of CONCERT, the COPD Outcomes-based Network for Clinical Effectiveness & Research Translation collaboration. He is a recent past president of the Oregon Thoracic Society.

Dr. Mularski is a Phoenix, Arizona native who completed undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, worked as a mechanical engineer for Motorola, and then completed medical school at the University of Arizona. He has advanced degrees in health services from the University of California-Los Angeles and clinical research from OHSU where he also completed his residency and fellowship. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, palliative and hospice medicine, pulmonary diseases, and critical care medicine. He maintains a vigorous practice in pulmonary and critical care medicine as a Senior Physician for Northwest Permanente in Portland, Oregon


Close

Delia P. Oliver
Vice President Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative


Delia P. Oliver is Vice President Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative at the COPD Foundation. She has been involved with the Foundation since 2009 and joined the team full-time in 2011. In her role at the Foundation, she manages several of the Foundation’s research programs including the Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry and BronchandNTM360social. Delia also serves as the primary staff liaison to the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, the COPDGene Industry Advisory Consortium, and the SPIROMICS Industry Advisory Consortium.

Delia has extensive experience managing patient registries and research consortia, and serves a critical role in connecting patients, health care providers, researchers, and industry partners to work collaboratively in an effort to advance research in the fields of COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease.

She has a Master of Science in education degree from the University of Miami.


Close

Kristen Szymonik
Manager of Public and Professional Education


Kristen Szymonik is the Manager of Patient and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this role she develops and edits educational materials for patients and community outreach projects.

Kristen is a registered respiratory therapist, certified asthma educator, and medical writer. Prior to joining the Foundation, she designed and implemented one of the first comprehensive asthma education programs in the Chicago suburbs, providing inpatient, outpatient, and community-based education for patients and families. Kristen served a term on the National Asthma Educator Certification Board, where she collaborated with medical professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds. As a medical writer, she developed numerous continuing education classes for health care providers, wrote study guides for national level board exams, and has presented lectures for health care providers on the management of asthma and allergies. Kristen also serves as an author and faculty member on a web-based nursing education forum.

Kristen has Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care from National-Louis University.


Close

Stephanie Williams, RT
Senior Director of Community Education Programs


Stephanie Williams is the Senior Director of Community Education Programs for the COPD Foundation. In this role she works to make the COPD Foundation programs accessible to those in the COPD community. This includes managing the COPD Readmissions Institutes for health care professionals, designing programs such as virtual Harmonicas for Health, and engaging the COPD community through educational webinars, social media events, blog posts, and more.

Over the course of her career, Stephanie has designed and implemented pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory programs in a variety of patient care settings. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stephanie was the Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Effectiveness at Alana HealthCare in Nashville, Tennessee where she ensured staff respiratory therapists’ education was current while also developing educational programs for patients enrolled in both the home and facility-based non-invasive ventilation program. Stephanie was also the Director of Cardiopulmonary for White County Community Hospital where she started a pulmonary rehab program, a support group for COPD patients in the community, and a smoking cessation program.

She is a registered respiratory therapist and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Tennessee Technological University.


Close

Julie Yates
Senior Clinical Investigation Director


Julie Yates is the Foundation’s Senior Clinical Investigation Leader. In this role, Julie currently works with the COPD Foundation Nebulizer Consortium and several of the COPD360 research activities including the Early COPD study with MeiLan Han, MD, and the COPD Patient-Powered Research Network.

Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Julie was a Senior Director of Clinical Development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharmaceuticals. During her career at GSK, she managed key global outcome and disease understanding studies in the respiratory therapeutic area including the TORCH, SUMMIT and ECLIPSE studies. Julie has significant experience in collaborating with external experts on study oversight activities as well as on Food and Drug Administration interactions.

Julie has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Close