The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) Board of Directors is a highly motivated group of individuals who are determined to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease. Each of them has personally felt the devastating effects of Parkinson’s, many by being diagnosed with the disease themselves and others because of a loved one who has Parkinson’s. With their strong voice, both in Washington, DC and across the country, Board members lead our advocacy efforts as we work together to get closer to better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Ed Weidenfeld, JD, Chair – Washington, DC
Ed Weidenfeld has practiced law in the Washington, DC area for over 40 years. He began his career as an attorney for Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York, and in 1971 he moved to Washington, DC and served as the counsel and staff director for the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs for the House of Representatives. After his work in the House of Representatives, he joined McKenna, Connor & Cunio where he practiced corporate matters and administrative litigation. In 1983, he started his own firm, Ed Weidenfeld Law, P.C., where he currently practices. Mr. Weidenfeld was appointed by the President of the United States to the Council on the Administrative Conference of the United States in 1981, 1985, 1988, and 2010. He has previously served as director of the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kay Foundation, and Invision Technologies, Inc. He also served as the chairman of the advisory board for the Center for High Performance Computing, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Weidenfeld is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University Law School. He is admitted to the Bar of New York, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Georgia, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He joined the PAN Board in September 2011.
David R. Higgins, PhD, Vice Chair – California
David R. Higgins earned his doctorate in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Rochester in New York, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute before moving to San Diego in 1990. He has a professional background in biotechnology research, project management, and business development. He has held positions at several biotech companies including Invitrogen, Chiron, Idun Pharmaceuticals and most recently as executive vice president for business development and head of U.S. operations for BioMedica, Inc., a UK-based gene therapy company. He has served as an adjunct associate professor of biology at San Diego State University and as an instructor in the biotech technician-training program at San Diego City College. Dr. Higgins has done consulting work in the biotech industry and has volunteered for various community-oriented organizations. He served as foreman of the 2006/2007 San Diego County Grand Jury, and from 2008-2014 on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, including 2 years as president. Currently he serves on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) as the Parkinson’s Patient Advocate; as president of the Parkinson’s Association (Southern California); and on the Executive Committee of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology. He has been a California Assistant State Director for PAN since 2012. For Dr. Higgins, Parkinson’s disease is a family legacy. His maternal grandmother and uncle suffered from Parkinson’s and in early 2014 his mother died with Lewy Body Dementia after a long and severely debilitating illness. In his late 40s, Dr. Higgins began experiencing Parkinson’s symptoms and in 2011 was diagnosed with Parkinson’s himself. Dr. Higgins began his term on the PAN Board of Directors in October 2014.
Monnie Lindsay, JD, Secretary – Nebraska
Monnie Lindsay has been PAN’s Nebraska state coordinator since 2005 and served as a member of PAN’s grassroots legislative policy committee from 2006-2009. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, she practiced law at Sidley & Austin. She later became assistant general counsel at Loyola University Medical Center, where among other things; she worked with Medicare regulations applicable to the hospital. She has been active with both the Chicago and Nebraska chapters of the APDA. Ms. Lindsay also serves on the committee overseeing the Nebraska Parkinson’s registry. She is a founding board member of the Parkinson’s Health Development program, a new not-for-profit organization in Omaha designed to promote exercise among people with Parkinson’s. She co-authored the Parkinson’s community’s suggested new definition of Parkinson’s disease for the Department of Health and Human Services. She was the recipient of the 2010 Parkinson’s Unity Walk’s Bonander Award for her work on behalf of the Parkinson’s community. Ms. Lindsay joined the PAN Board in September 2006.
Douglas L. DuMond, Treasurer – Connecticut
Douglas L. DuMond has more than 25 years of executive management experience in pension and financial services having served as managing director with Clarion Partners LLC and BlackRock, as well as a divisional president at NATIXIS. He has also served on several industry boards. Currently, he advises several nonprofit and Taft Hartley pension funds. He first became involved in PAN’s advocacy and policy work in February 2014 when he attended the 2014 PAN Forum, an annual gathering of Parkinson’s advocates in Washington, DC. Since February, he has remained active as a PAN volunteer in his home state of Connecticut supporting Associate Director Steve DeWitte. He joined the PAN Board in October 2014.
Robin Anthony Elliott, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation – New York
Robin Elliott has been executive director of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Inc. (PDF) since October 1996. He has been active in development, communications, and non-profit management in New York City for more than 30 years. In that time, he has served as vice president for development and external affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University (1988-95) and (with the same title) at Hunter College, City University of New York (1982-88); as deputy to the chancellor for university relations at the City University of New York (1979-82); and as director of information and education at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (1971-79). Mr. Elliott began his service to the PAN Board in March 1998.
Col. Karl E. Friedl, PhD, Ret. – Maryland
In 2012 Col. Karl E. Friedl, PhD, retired from the US Army after thirty years of service. His last assignment was as the director of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Frederick, Maryland. He received his doctor of philosophy (integrative physiology) from the University of California at Santa Barbara in the University’s Institute of Environmental Stress in 1984. As a research physiologist, he has published 150 papers, book chapters, and other reviews and technical reports. As a research manager and director, he has facilitated research cooperation between government agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture and organized and directed research initiatives such as military women’s health, Gulf War illnesses, bone health, and Parkinson’s research programs. His research focus areas are applications of metabolism and neurobiology technologies, assessment methods and metrics of research success, and strategies to accelerate research translation to practice. He is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, AMSUS, Endocrine Society, and a fellow of AIMBE. His awards and recognition include Legion of Merit (2d OLC), Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service, Ronald and Nancy Reagan Alzheimer’s Research Award, Founder’s Award for the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Order of Military Medical Merit, and Diabetes Technology Society Research Leadership Award. Col. Friedl joined the PAN Board in January 2013.
Robin Katsaros – California
Robin Katsaros is a California Assistant State Director and was elected to the PAN Board of Directors in 2014. She has been a passionate volunteer advocate for the Parkinson’s community as a Michael J. Fox Foundation Fox Trial Finder Ambassador and research advocate for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s PAIR program since her husband, John, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in July 2008. Ms. Katsaros lives with her husband in San Francisco and hopes to utilize her more than 20 years in marketing, public relations, and development at PAN.
Clarence T. Kipps, Jr. – Virginia
Clarence Kipps is retired from the Washington, DC firm of Miller & Chevalier, where he practiced law for more than 50 years. He was a trial and appellate lawyer specializing in government contracts. Lockheed, General Motors, Getty Oil, and Hughes Aircraft were among his favored clients. Mr. Kipps was active in the Bar, having been president of the U.S. Federal Circuit Bar Association and chair of the Federal Circuit and U.S. Court of Federal Claims Advisory Councils. He lobbied a number of bills through Congress, including the Government Contracts Disputes Act of 1978 (provided a statutory base for resolving government contract disputes) and the West Valley Demonstration Act (provided for Department of Energy to remediate a nuclear contaminated site in New York). He was married to the late Mary D. Kipps, who had Parkinson’s disease and died in 2010. Mr. Kipps has served on the Dinner Committee for the Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner for many years. Mr. Kipps began his service to the PAN Board in October 2010.
Morton Kondracke – Washington
A journalist for more than 45 years, Mr. Morton Kondracke has covered nearly every phase of American politics and foreign policy in newspapers and magazines, on TV, radio, and the Internet. From 1991 until his retirement in 2011, Mr. Kondracke was the executive editor of Roll Call, Capitol Hill’s leading newspaper. He wrote “Pennsylvania Avenue,” a weekly column on national politics and foreign policy, syndicated through United Features Syndicate and carried regularly on Realclearpolitics.com. Mr. Kondracke is a regular commentator on the Fox News Channel. He is also the author of Saving Milly: Love, Politics and Parkinson’s Disease, published in 2001. His late wife, Milly Kondracke, lost her long struggle with Parkinson’s disease in July 2004. Mr. Kondracke also serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Communities in Schools for the Nation’s Capital. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and served as a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University (1973-74). He is a member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. Mr. Kondracke began his service on the PAN Board in April 1996.
Jessica Lawrence-Vaca – Virginia
Jessica Lawrence-Vaca is a senior government relations professional and former Capitol Hill staffer with over a decade of experience in government and the private sector in Washington, DC. She is currently a Senior Vice President at the McKeon Group, a lobbying and strategic advisory firm in Washington, DC headed by the former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon. Prior to joining McKeon Group LLC, Jessica was a Vice President at the Podesta Group where she worked with clients in the global, defense, trade and appropriations sectors. Before entering the private sector, Jessica worked for former Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), where she focused on foreign policy and national security issues. As a native of Washington State, Jessica graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in political science and French, and holds a MA in national security studies from The Johns Hopkins University. Jessica is married to Santiago “Rico” Vaca, a lobbyist and retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, and lives in Virginia with their three boys.
Daniel M. Lewis, JD – Maryland
Daniel M. Lewis has been active with PAN since 2007, most recently serving as the congressional coordinator for Maryland’s 8th District. He has also served on the Udall Dinner Committee and PAN’s Grassroots Policy Committee. Dan serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, sits on its executive committee, and has chaired its development committee. Mr. Lewis also founded and continues to lead the Sumner PD Support Group. He was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1994 and had deep brain stimulation surgery in 2005. He is a graduate of Yale University (1966) and Yale Law School (1969). He served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings in 1969-70 and as chief legislative assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie during the 1972 presidential campaign. Mr. Lewis joined the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter in 1972 and practiced there until his retirement in 2006. Working with Arnold & Porter, he has been involved in the defense of the human embryo research funding litigation on behalf of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research. Mr. Lewis established the firm’s corporate bankruptcy practice in 1982 and served on its Policy, Compensation and Lateral Committees. His last major bankruptcy matter was representing U.S. Airlines in its successful reorganization in 2006. Mr. Lewis joined the PAN Board in January 2011.
Cheryl Lynn Prescott – Wisconsin
Cheryl Lynn Prescott began her leadership with PAN as a PAN Congressional Coordinator for the 5th Congressional District of Wisconsin in 2004. Her father, George Prescott, the former owner and chief executive officer of Prescott Supermarkets, Inc., announced his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2001. Ms. Prescott is also on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Parkinson’s Association, an organization of over 7,000 members and 60 support groups. She was first elected to the PAN Board in October 2005 and rejoined the Board in October 2012.
Israel Robledo – Texas
Israel Robledo was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007 at 42 years old. Soon thereafter, he committed to become involved as an advocate for awareness and education of Parkinson’s disease and promote clinical trial participation among the patient community. His areas of interest include new therapies and better treatments for Parkinson’s disease, and focusing on getting the best quality medical care available for those living with Parkinson’s. Mr. Robledo serves as PAN’s Texas State Director and joined the PAN Board of Directors in October 2014. He is a research advocate with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, a Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Fox Trial Finder Ambassador, and executive council member with Parkinson’s Movement, an initiative of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, in England. Most recently, Mr. Robledo served as co-chair of the program committee and chair of the sub-committee on advocacy and government, as well as an inaugural ambassador for the 3rd World Parkinson Congress held in Montreal, Canada in October 2013. Mr. Robledo is a special education teacher in Midland, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Chris. He has three daughters, Amber, Ashley, and Alisha; and two grandchildren, Landon Blake and Harper Grace.
Todd Sherer, PhD, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – New York
Todd Sherer, Ph.D., joined The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research as associate director, research programs in April 2004; he was promoted to vice president, research programs in June 2006 and chief program officer in November 2010. He assumed the role of CEO in May 2011. In this role, he leads a team that proactively manages the world’s largest privately funded Parkinson’s disease research portfolio. Every year, this team reviews up to 800 grant proposals to fund approximately $45 million in Parkinson’s research, with a strong focus on pre-clinical therapeutic development and clinical research. At any given time, Dr. Sherer’s team manages up to 300 active grants, working closely with academic and industry scientists to help speed promising new discoveries from research labs to pharmacy shelves. In addition to research funding, Dr. Sherer’s team leads an effort to engage the pharmaceutical industry in Parkinson’s disease drug development and encourage and expand subject participation in clinical research. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Sherer was a respected Parkinson’s disease bench researcher with over 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He joined the PAN Board in May 2011.
Anne J. Udall, PhD — Oregon
Anne Udall most recently served as the vice president of professional development for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), headquartered in Portland, Oregon. NWEA, a 25-year-old nonprofit, is committed to partnering to help all children learn. Their assessments are used extensively throughout the United States and the world. Helping educators use data to make the best decisions possible for helping students learn is the focus of their growing professional development services. From 2001 until May 2010, Dr. Udall was the executive director of the Lee Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was involved in a number of collaborative efforts in the region focused on education, senior citizens, environment, and health care. Dr. Udall is the daughter of the late Representative Morris K. Udall and serves as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Udall Foundation, a federal foundation dedicated to leadership development and conflict resolution in a number of key policy areas. Dr. Udall has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, facilitator, and trainer. She served as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of New Mexico in education and was awarded a Ph.D. in education from the University of Arizona. Dr. Udall was the founding chair of PAN’s Board of Directors in 1993 and most recently rejoined the Board in October 2010.
Carol Walton, The Parkinson Alliance/Parkinson’s Unity Walk – New Jersey
Carol Walton’s dedication to advocacy started in 1981, when her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 1994, Ms. Walton attended the PAN Forum and became an advocate for research. She spent a lot of time walking the halls of Congress – and helped to get the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Research Act passed in 1997. During the Forum, she met Margaret and Martin Tuchman, who were also advocates and wanted to raise funds for research. They offered Ms. Walton the opportunity to head their foundation, and in 1999 she moved to New Jersey to start the Parkinson Alliance. The Parkinson Alliance is the umbrella organization responsible for: The Parkinson’s Unity Walk – the largest single-day grassroots awareness and fundraising event for PD research; Team Parkinson – an organization whose goal is to raise awareness, raise money for research for a cure, and empower people with PD to take charge of their lives through exercise; and DBS4PD.org – a web-based organization devoted to improving the quality of life in the deep brain stimulation community. Ms. Walton began her service to the PAN Board in February 2006.
PAN Honorary Council
The Honorable Frank C. Carlucci, Chair
Mr. Frank Carlucci has been a Managing Director of the Carlyle Group since 1989, Chairman since 1993 and Chairman Emeritus since January 2003. Mr. Carlucci was Secretary of Defense from November 1987 through January 1989, following his service as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs under President Reagan. Before serving in these positions, Mr. Carlucci was Chairman and CEO of Sears World Trade, a business he joined in 1983. Mr. Carlucci’s career in government service included Deputy Secretary of Defense (1980-82), Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (1978-80), U.S. Ambassador to Portugal (1975-78), Under Secretary of Health Education and Welfare (1973-75), Deputy Director of OMB (1970-72), and Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (1969). Mr. Carlucci was a Foreign Service Officer from 1956 to 1980 and he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1954.
The Honorable Bob Dole
A renowned statesman who spent 35 years in Congress, Senator Bob Dole was first elected to Congress from his home state of Kansas in 1960 and to the U.S. Senate in 1968. He gained national prominence as Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1972. In 1976, President Gerald Ford tapped him to be his vice presidential running mate. He served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981-1985. Elected Senate Majority Leader in 1984, Senator Dole holds the record as the nation’s longest serving Republican leader. Dole resigned from the Senate in 1996 to pursue his campaign for President of the United States. The former U.S. Senate Majority Leader is one of the most sought after advisors in the public policy arena. Senator Dole received PAN’s Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service in 1999.
J. William Langston, MD, The Parkinson’s Institute
Dr. J. William Langston is the founder, CEO, and Scientific Director of The Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Medicine and was formerly a faculty member at Stanford University and Chairman of Neurology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. Dr. Langston gained national and international recognition in 1982 for the discovery of the link between a ‘synthetic heroin’ and parkinsonism. This substance, known as MPTP, is selectively toxic to the same nerve cells in the brain which die in Parkinson’s disease. The discovery of the biologic effects of this compound led to a renaissance of the basic and clinical research in Parkinson’s disease.
Davis Phinney, The Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s
As a winner of the Olympic Bronze and Tour de France stages, Mr. Davis Phinney has celebrated the most victories of any cyclist in American history. Along with Lance Armstrong and Greg Lemond, Mr. Phinney is one of only three Americans to win multiple stages of the Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious bike race. After his retirement from cycling, Mr. Phinney’s career continued as a well-known sportscaster for ABC, CBS, NBC and OLN. In 2000, after years of feeling not quite right, and an almost endless round of tests, he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s. Realizing that there are ways to improve the quality of his day-to-day living, he started the Davis Phinney Foundation as a way to promote and fund innovative research that demonstrates the effects and importance of exercise, speech, and other elements that are critical to quality of life.
The Honorable Janet Reno
Appointed 78th Attorney General of the United States, Ms. Janet Reno became the first woman to lead the nation’s largest law enforcement office of 125,000 employees. A major figure during the Clinton administration, her eight-year term made her the longest-serving attorney general since the Civil War. She is the 2003 recipient of the distinguished Stennis Center’s Lindy Boggs Award for demonstrating the ideals of patriotism, courage, integrity, and leadership through public service. In 2000, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. As a highly visible and active public figure combating a severe illness, she has inspired others who live with Parkinson’s and other serious diseases. Ms. Reno received PAN’s Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service in 2006.
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming. From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. Ms. Roberts also serves as Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. Ms. Roberts has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She holds more than 20 honorary degrees, serves on the boards of several non-profit institutions, and serves on the President’s Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008 the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. Ms. Roberts is the mother of two and grandmother of six.