Board of Directors

All members of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (Solve M.E.) Board of Directors have a personal relationship with post-infection diseases. They are either patients themselves or have a family member who suffers. This intimate connection furthers their commitment to making these diseases understood, diagnosable, and treatable.

(in alphabetical order)

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Cynthia Adinig

DC Capitol Area

Cynthia is a marketing specialist, equity policy advisor, and co-founder of the BIPOC Equity Agency. She developed Long Covid in March 2020. Cynthia has had a long career in community service and business. She has been working as a marketing specialist for over a decade in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Cynthia specializes in brand uniformity, optimization, content development and strategic planning, and implementing innovative social media campaigns. She is the co-founder of a graphic design company. In these capacities, she has worked with charities, small businesses, tech companies, politicians, musical artists, and more.

Cynthia is an advocate for both ME/CFS and Long Covid and has been featured in multiple national news media and asked to speak at international conferences in this capacity. She is also the creator of a digital guide for medical care for Longhaulers of color.

For nearly a decade, Cynthia has been actively engaged in community service, with an emphasis on serving low income communities of color, for which she received a community service award in 2017. Cynthia has also worked on political campaigns in various aspects including as campaign manager and policy advisor, and was part of the team that helped introduce the Covid-19 Long Haulers Act.

Cynthia has a son who still experiences Long Covid and ME/CFS symptoms, and who became a member of Mensa at 5 years old. 

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Michael Atherton

DC Capitol Area – Solve M.E. Board Treasurer

Mike is the founder and principal of the management consulting firm Latitude Associates.  His background is in application software and eBusiness technologies combined with operations management experience and strategic planning skills.  He was one of four initial team members of xTuple LLC, an Enterprise Resources Planning software firm, graduating the firm from incubation stage to the world’s leading open source ERP software company. Mike lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Christine.  They met at William and Mary where both were athletes – Mike played football and Christine was on the softball team.  After graduating, they both received their MBAs.  Soon after Christine started working, however, she became ill with ME/CFS.  Mike schooled himself in the research and issues surrounding ME/CFS and eventually found our organization.  For the last several years, both Mike and his parents have been stalwart supporters of our work.

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Kenya Beckmann

California

Kenya Beckmann has been a leading fundraising professional for more than twenty years in higher education and healthcare. Kenya joined Providence in September 2019 and serves as the regional chief philanthropy officer for Southern California. In her role and as a member of the regional executive leadership team, Kenya leads a team that is responsible for fundraising in each of Providence’s Southern California hospital foundations. Since July 2020, Kenya has worked, alongside her peers, to support specific projects focused on reducing health disparities throughout Southern California. This critical work has impacted thousands of lives throughout Orange County, the High Desert and Los Angeles.

Prior to joining Providence, Kenya was executive vice president at Hoag Hospital Foundation. At HHF, she led Hoag Promise, a comprehensive, $627 million fundraising campaign that reached its goal 18 months ahead of its scheduled completion. In addition to healthcare fundraising, Kenya was a leader in higher education philanthropy at UC Irvine and the University of Michigan.

Kenya’s non-profit commitment extends to work with other charitable organizations. She is an active board member at Providence High School and Solve M.E. and has served as a project volunteer for non-profit organizations throughout Southern California. As a lead volunteer at Vista Verde School, she created the school’s first recognition of Black History Month, including creating a multigrade, state standard approved curriculum. Kenya also founded Family Service Team, a program that empowers families to integrate community service into busy family lives through organized, age-appropriate service activities.

Originally from Oklahoma City, received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and her master’s from the University of Michigan. She moved to Orange County in 2004, where she and her husband, Matthew, have two sons, 19 and 15, and a 14-year-old daughter.

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Vicki Boies, PsyD

Illinois 

Vicki Boies and her husband, Bill, have been active supporters of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative since 1995, out of concern for a close family member who has been ill for more than 20 years. Vicki received her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Brown University, her Master of Arts from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, where she was on the faculty for several years. Vicki spent most of her career as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Chicago before retiring in 2010. Prior to joining the board, she served on numerous local boards and commissions, including most recently as president of a community mental health board with taxing and grant-giving authority.

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Stewart Gittelman

New York

Stewart  was CEO of Advanced Care, Inc. (ACI), which he owned with his wife Nancy for 25 years. At the time of its sale in 2014, ACI was the largest, independently owned acute care home infusion provider in New York State. He sold ACI to a private equity firm in 2014 and it was subsequently sold (as part of a national platform) to a subsidiary of United Health Group (OptumRx) in 2015. At the time that Stewart sold the business, ACI consisted of approximately 180 employees and provided hi tech nursing and pharmacy coverage throughout NY state.

Prior to ACI, Stewart was owner and president of a sales and marketing company that specialized in consulting vertical software developers, throughout the nation, on how to sell relatively high ticket ($20,000 to $80,000) vertical software without face to face contact. While this is a common practice today, it was not very common in the 1980’s.

Stewart is a classic small business entrepreneur with a great deal of experience managing and developing sales talent, clinical and administrative personnel, and problem solving regarding strategic business concerns.

Stewart has lived in Lloyd Neck, NY with his wife Nancy since 2016. Stewart is 64 years of age. Their two children are 28 and 29 years of age. Stewart now enjoys managing his investments, mountain biking, sailing and skiing. He received his BA in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1978.

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Bill Hassler

DC Capitol Area

William (Bill) Hassler is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, one of the leading litigation firms world-wide. Prior to joining the firm’s Washington DC office, Bill served as a prosecutor for the Office of Independent Counsel investigating the Iran/Contra affair, and in the Environmental Crimes Section of the US Department of Justice.  He is a former Special Assistant to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Bill received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. in International Studies from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bill joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative after his nephew, Tom Camenzind, a former student at Stanford University, became severely ill and bedbound as a result of ME/CFS.

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Carol Head

California

Carol Head joined Solve M.E. as President and CEO in October 2013 and retired from the position in May 2019. Carol experienced ME/CFS for many years and is largely recovered. Carol is an executive with more than 25 years of success in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She’s an experienced business owner, corporate executive, communicator and problem-solver. In the private sector, she most recently served as CEO of two companies. Previously, she served as vice president of marketing for two Internet-based companies. Carol also spent eight years as an executive at the Los Angeles Times in a variety of marketing and strategy roles. She served as associate vice president of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Carol has been active in community affairs with an emphasis on human rights for women and girls and amelioration of extreme poverty, serving on three national nonprofit boards, including service as a board chair. Carol is a founder of Project Redwood (www.projectredwood.org), a venture philanthropy fund that supports creative approaches to alleviating extreme global poverty. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wellesley College, and earned an MBA from Stanford University. Carol is married and has two sons in their mid-20s.

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Emily Taylor

President, Chief Executive Officer

Emily Taylor brings over two decades of unwavering commitment and expertise to her role as CEO of Solve M.E. With a career deeply rooted in health policy, grassroots advocacy, and community empowerment, Emily has dedicated herself to advancing medical research and patient voices in the realm of ME/CFS, Long Covid, and other infection-associated chronic conditions and illnesses.

A key member of Solve’s leadership team since 2016, most recently as Vice President of Advocacy and Engagement, Emily has been instrumental in driving impactful change, including the publication of pivotal white papers, advocating for increased NIH research funding, and successfully securing $1.25 billion for Long Covid research. She serves as a policy and advocacy advisor, fostering critical partnerships with Members of Congress and federal agencies to amplify the voice of those with ME/CFS, Long Covid, and infection-associated chronic conditions on Capitol Hill.

Emily’s signature programs include “Solve Advocacy Week,” a nationally recognized campaign that has evolved into a cornerstone event in the field, “EmPOWER M.E.” and the Long Covid Patient Leadership Advancement Network (LC-PLAN). She has also spearheaded legislative efforts, including the introduction of H.R. 7057, The Understanding COVID-19 Subsets and ME/CFS Act, the first-ever legislation for ME/CFS research funding.

Prior to her tenure at Solve, Emily served as the director of policy and advocacy for an award-winning autism organization, where she achieved remarkable success in overhauling disability, early intervention, and education policies. Throughout her career, Emily has been a catalyst for change, celebrating legislative victories, securing millions grant funding, and building groundswell to address the most pressing challenges facing communities.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Emily is deeply connected to the mission of Solve through her lived experience as a caregiver, inspired by her mother’s courageous battle with ME/CFS and chronic autoimmune conditions. She received a B.A. with honors in politics and international relations from Scripps College in Claremont and earned her M.A. in American politics from Claremont Graduate University.

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Gurdyal Kalsi, MD, MFPM

DC Capitol Area

Gurdyal is a seasoned executive in the pharmaceutical industry with over 22 years in Global transformational R&D leadership responsibilities resulting in several human medicinal products in-clinic and subsequent commercialization. He has held multiple executive leadership positions over the years and remains active on various technology, healthcare and faculty advisory panels globally.

Gurdyal is a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine with initial training in internal medicine and critical care medicine. He earned his MFPM from the UK Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians and Medical degrees in Medicine & Surgery from the Glancy Medical School.

He has been a Principal Investigator and Program Director on several clinical studies.
Gurdyal is intimately engaged in SARS CoV2 ARDS and Long COVID syndrome. He started his industry career in the development of CNS treatment strategies.

Visit his LinkedIn here.

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Rona E. Kramer

DC Capitol Area

Rona was sworn in as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging on March 13, 2015, as a member of Governor Larry Hogan’s cabinet.  During her time as Secretary, she has focused on establishing Maryland as an attractive location for older adults through vibrant communities and supportive services that offer residents the opportunity to live healthy and meaningful lives.

Secretary Kramer is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Maryland.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Secretary Kramer comes from a long career in both government service and business.

In November 2002, she was elected to the Maryland Senate, representing Montgomery County, and served for eight years.  She served on the Budget and Taxation Committee during her entire tenure, which included serving on the Capital Budget subcommittee and Pensions subcommittee.  During her tenure, she was a committed advocate for seniors.  She was a lead sponsor for bills establishing the Silver Alert Program, reverse mortgage protection for seniors, and protection of seniors from financial exploitation through the use of undue influence,

As Secretary of the Department of Aging, she leads the Department’s efforts in protecting the rights and quality of life of our elder residents, most importantly to provide the services necessary to allow them to age at home and in their community.  Her mantra for the older adults in our communities is to Live Well and Age Well.

Barbara Lubash Updated Headshot 2023

Barbara N. Lubash

California – Solve M.E. Board Vice Chair

Barbara is a Director and Advisor for corporate and non-profit boards. She serves on boards of HicuityHealth, Clew Medical, and CareConnectMD. Ms. Lubash is a member of the MassGeneralBrigham Innovation Growth Board, the Health Policy and Management Executive Council of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, ICER Advisory Board, and STEMAdvantage Advisory Board. In her prior careers as a health care executive, and later as a venture capitalist, Ms. Lubash led and advised innovative healthcare technology and service organizations, and served on multiple corporate boards. She was co-founder and Managing Director of Versant Ventures, and before that a Venture Partner at Crosspoint Ventures. She was Board Chair of the California HealthCare Foundation where she led the formation of the Foundation’s PRI Impact Investment strategy (Innovation Fund). She received a BS from Tufts University, and a Master’s in Health Policy and Management from Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Ms. Lubash completed Board of Directors training at Stanford Directors College, and is a member of the Corporate Directors Roundtable of Orange County and the National Association of Corporate Directors.

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John Nicols

Pennsylvania – Solve M.E. Board Chair

John served as President and CEO of Codexis Inc. (www.codexis.com; Nasdaq:CDXS), a leading San Francisco Bay Area biotechnology company that engineers and markets proprietary proteins for the world’s pharmaceutical industry. John started as CEO of Codexis in June of 2012 and served at the helm of the company for over a decade before retiring in August of 2022.  Currently, in addition to increasing his time and energy to support Solve M.E., John also serves as a Board member and Strategic Advisor to a range of innovative biotechnology companies.

Prior to Codexis, John held roles of increasing responsibility over a 22-year career at Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a globally leading specialty chemical company headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before leaving Albemarle, John was responsible for the corporation’s strategic development department as well as the company’s flagship $1+ billion global catalyst business. During his tenure at Albemarle, John and his family resided for three years in Tokyo.

A native of New York City, John earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the NYU Polytechnic University. 

John is married with two children and four grandchildren. His wife, Marcie, has suffered for over 30 years with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia.

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Fern Oppenheim

New York

Fern is the President and founder of Applied Marketing Innovations, a marketing consulting firm. She is also the co-founder of a non-profit organization that helps various locales with branding, marketing and strategic communications.

In these capacities, she has worked with national organizations, educational groups, think tanks, communications experts, market research firms, government officials, tourism professionals, philanthropic foundations, media personalities, etc. and has been asked to speak at numerous national and international conferences.

She has an extensive marketing, media and management background with blue chip advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam and Fortune 500 companies.

She is the co-author of a math text book.

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Rick Sprout

DC Capitol Area — Solve M.E. Board Secretary

Rick is currently a Director of Civilian Sales at DMI. Prior to joining DMI he was with IBM for over 14 years. Rick retired from the Marine Corps as a Major in September 1996. He started his Marine Corps career as an Infantry Officer stationed at Twenty Nine Palms California. He later transitioned to become a Communications Officer, upon his retirement from the Pentagon Navy staff in 1996. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.

Rick and his wife Barbara have been active supporters of Solve M.E. since Rick’s brother Greg was diagnosed in 2004. Solve M.E. gave them significant information and insight when Greg was first diagnosed and has provided a network of medical insights assisting Greg in his ongoing medical challenges. In addition to support of his brother, Barbara and Rick are supporters of the Helping Children Worldwide organization making a difference in the lives of children and women in Sierra Leone. In addition to other philanthropic support for children in Nakuru, Kenya and Rwanda. Rick and Barbara are active in their local Northern Virginia community as well.

As residents of the Washington DC area, Rick and Barbara look forward to enhancing the advocacy through our government to truly solve ME/CFS, providing a better future for others at an early onset of the disease. They support research initiatives that will find the answers to return Greg and others to fully active and productive lives.

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Janice Stanton

New York

Janice joined the Solve M.E. board of directors for a loved one who is afflicted with ME/CFS. Ms. Stanton is a founding member and President of Contrarian Capital Management, L.L.C. She has 30 years of experience in distressed securities. Prior to co-founding Contrarian, Ms. Stanton was the Founder and Head of the Bank Debt and Trade Claims desk at Oppenheimer & Co. She was an Associate in the Corporate Finance Department of Lehman Brothers (“Lehman”). Prior to business school, Ms. Stanton was an Analyst with Booz Allen Hamilton, focusing on business strategy consulting. She has served on numerous bank debt committees, including Audio Visual Services, Pillowtex and Warnaco. She has also chaired and served on Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors. Ms. Stanton received her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Stanton is a CFA charter holder.

Joseph Barrera

California

Hunter Howard

Texas

Amrit Shahzad

California

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