Board of Directors

All members of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative Board of Directors have a personal relationship with the disease. They are either patients themselves or have a family member who suffers from it. This intimate connection furthers their commitment to making ME/CFS understood, diagnosable, and treatable.

John NicolsJohn Nicols, Redwood City, CA, President/CEO, Codexis Inc. – SMCI board Chair. John currently serves as President and CEO of Codexis Inc. (; 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 also serves on the publicly listed company’s board of directors.

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, La. 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 has served on numerous trade association Boards during his extensive career, including currently serving on the board of directors of BayBio, the premier biotechnology industry association in the San Francisco Bay Area.

John is married with two children and four grandchildren. His wife, Marcie, has suffered for over 20 years with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia.


Vicki Boies, PsyD, Chicago, IL  SMCI Board Vice Chair.

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.



Michael Atherton, Arlington, VA – SMCI 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.


Beth Garfield, Los Angeles, CA – SMCI Board Secretary. Beth Garfield was a mother with a 1-year-old child and a full-time job when CFS hit in 1985. She took time off to try to recover and eventually went back to work part-time. In 1987, Garfield started her own law firm, specializing in the representation of unions and employment law, which gave her the flexibility to take the time she needed to manage her illness and eventually return to full-time work. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with distinction from Stanford University, where she served as student body president. Garfield earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a past member of the Los Angeles District Community College Board of Directors. At Stanford, Garfield co-chairs the Special Gifts Committee for the Class of 1974 and serves on the Advisory Panel of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. In 1989, she went to see a doctor who was treating CFS with a medicine normally used to treat depression. She says it was a miracle drug for her. Garfield was symptom-free for 22 years before relapsing in February 2011. She joined the board later that year, spurred, in part, by the focus on research. Learn more about Beth through her Catalyst profile.



Christine Williams, M.Ed., Chevy Chase, MD. Chris Williams retired from the federal government after a 30-year career in health policy and health services research. She was diagnosed with ME/CFS in February 2009. With support from colleagues, friends and family, she was able to work full time until June 2011. Williams currently provides support to the Mitchell Scholarship in Maine. Before she retired, she was a special adviser on CFS to the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She served as the Agency’s director for strategic partnerships (2007 -2011) and director of the Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (1995-2006). During her tenure at AHRQ, Williams also represented the Agency on a number of HHS committees including the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC) and the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health – Cessation Subcommittee (co-chair). She served as HHS campaign manager for the 2001 and 2010 Combined Federal Campaigns. From 1982-1994, Chris served as the senior health policy adviser to former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-ME.). She represented Mitchell during the development of and negotiations for comprehensive health care reform legislation in 1993 and 1994, and initiated legislation in Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, public health and outcomes research. Williams has extensive experience working with a broad range of health care stakeholders including clinicians, health systems, purchasers, consumer and patient advocacy organizations and public policymakers to translate research into practice and to inform public policy. Chris holds her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from Boston University. Learn more about Chris through her Catalyst profile.


AaronPaasAaron Paas, New York, N.Y. Aaron is a group product marketing manager at Etsy and has extensive marketing and brand management experience. He recently served as a board member at the Canadian Liver Foundation. Aaron speaks eloquently of his commitment to our mission: “My sister has suffered from ME/CFS and has had her life completely turned on its head because of it for the last five years. It’s been difficult as a family to see her 20s disappear and so many of her life goals go un-achieved because of this syndrome that I understand so little about. Her positivity and determination through these years has been an absolute inspiration to me and I’ve decided that it’s time I give my time to help her and everyone else who is suffering get what they deserve, a victory over ME/CFS.”



Brett Balzer, Chicago, IL. Brett has a background in information technology and web content management. He has earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois, an M.S. of Business Information Technology from DePaul University, and is pursuing an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Brett is currently a consultant for Mavens Consulting, which specializes in delivering cloud software solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. He leads Mavens’ Medical Information practice. Brett’s wife, Tess, has been suffering from ME/CFS for seven years, along with POTS and Hypermobile Ehler’s-Danlos. When they met, Tess was studying to become a teacher, but soon faced an onset of symptoms that forced her away from teaching. After two years of tests and frustration, she was finally diagnosed with ME/CFS, just months before their wedding. They currently live in Chicago with their three dogs. Both Brett and Tess believe that the path to her recovery is through scientific research and believe SMCI is positioned to facilitate a breakthrough.


bean4Diane Bean, Bethesda, MD. Diane Reimer Bean is a retired career Foreign Service officer and attorney who is serving on the board for a second time. She is married to fellow retired Foreign Service officer James W. (Jim) Bean; they have two adult children, daughter Lauren and son Galen. Lauren became seriously ill with CFS as a teenager following a bout of mono and Lyme disease and continues to live at home.. During her 23 years as a diplomat, Diane developed significant expertise in the areas of U.S. citizen services overseas, visa/immigration policy, counter-terrorism, international economic policy and congressional affairs. She and Jim were posted overseas to Mexico City; Bonn, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel, during their careers. She also had numerous domestic assignments, especially after 1998, when Lauren’s illness prevented the family from serving overseas. Diane received several U.S. Department of State awards during her career, and she and Jim continue to work part-time in retired status for the State Department. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she worked as an attorney for the (former) U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the State Department’s Passport Services, an assistant attorney general and a clerk for the Colorado Supreme Court in her native state of Colorado. She is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A.) and the University of Denver College of Law (J.D.). In addition to her service on the board and part-time work, she, Jim and Lauren split their time between Washington, D.C., and Denver.


Carol-NewCarol Head, Los Angeles, CA, President/CEO, Solve ME/CFS Initiative. Carol Head joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) as President and CEO in October 2013. 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 (, 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-20.


sueSue Perpich, Minneapolis, MN. Sue has built a career of successfully bringing people together around a common goal at the top levels of business, industry and government. She has represented diverse industries in the areas of business development and high-level sales, where she has been successful in negotiating within various sectors such as government and multinational business. She currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Eastbridge Strategies in London. Sue previously held senior positions at a range of national and multinational firms, including: Al Khaymah Establishment U.S.A., an international company that forges joint ventures between U.S. and Saudi Arabian companies; The Livingston Group, a Washington, D.C., based lobbying and government relations firm; and Drexel Burnham Lambert, a Wall Street investment banking firm.

As testimony to the value of her business and political connections, Harvey MacKay, internationally recognized motivational speaker, frequent contributor to the New York Times and best-selling author of books that promote the virtues of developing and utilizing business connections, once stated, “I wish I had Sue Perpich’s contact database!”

Sue earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Management from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn., and an MBA from Fordham University in New York.

Sue’s father, the influential and beloved late Gov. Rudy Perpich (D-MN) began public awareness and fundraising efforts on behalf of his son and Sue’s brother, Rudy, who has been debilitated by ME/CFS since graduating from Stanford Law School over 30 years ago. In recognition of Gov. Perpich’s distinguished service to the IACFS/ME, the Board of Directors established a Senior Lectureship Award in his memory. The award is presented to a distinguished CFS/FM scientist, physician or healthcare worker every two years at the IACFS/ME conferences.

Sue continues her father’s good work on behalf of her brother and all of those who suffer from this disease.


Rick Sprout new photoRick Sprout, Fairfax, VA. Director of Civilian Sales, DMI. 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 the Solve ME/CFS Initiative since Rick’s brother Greg was diagnosed in 2004. The Solve ME/CFS Initiative 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.


mdMary Dimmock, Waterford, CT. Mary retired from Pfizer in 2011 after a thirty-one year career spanning drug metabolism research, clinical research, data base administration, systems management, and information systems development. She spent the last ten years of her career working with scientists globally to increase research and development (R&D) effectiveness and efficiency by streamlining and integrating business processes and information flows across the organization.

Mary became involved in the ME community when her son was stricken in 2010 following a backpacking trip he had taken in Asia shortly after graduating college. He is unable to work and, at times, has been largely bedbound. Mary retired when her son became ill and has since devoted her time to federal disease advocacy to change the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) public health policies toward this disease. She is the author of Thirty Years of Disdain, an in-depth analysis of the history—and lack of government response to—this disease over the last thirty years. She has also led numerous community-wide efforts to advance specific changes in HHS policies, with a particular focus on disease definition, research funding and programs, and medical education. She has served on a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC) workgroup and a Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) medical education initiative and has also lobbied congressional leaders to gain their support for needed changes.

Mary graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in anthropology, completed additional courses to earn the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and also completed course work toward a master’s degree in information sciences.


Steve Curry, Pine River, MN, President/Owner, Curry Sales. Steve is president and owner of Curry Sales and has more than thirty years of experience leading a successful business in the retail industry. Since founding his company in 1981, he has acquired three businesses while maintaining a culture of customer focus, research, and analysis. Steve received his BS in business and marketing from St. Cloud State University and is president of another nonprofit organization: Friends of Lower Hay Lake Association.

A father of four, Steve has been disabled with ME/CFS since 2007 and is a longtime supporter of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI). Before joining SMCI’s board of directors, Steve was a member of SMCI’s Gold Circle Leadership Group.



Bill Hassler, Washington, DC, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP. 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 Cominzind, a former student at Stanford University, became severely ill and bedbound as a result of ME/CFS.


Janice Stanton, Harrison, NY. CFA joined the Solve ME/CFS Initiative 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.


Andrea Bankoski, MPH, Chapel Hill, NC.  Andrea is a data manager at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She developed ME/CFS after contracting Epstein-Barr virus in 1995. Andrea has worked in public health and clinical research at the state and federal levels of government for over a decade. She specializes in leading data efforts to inform public health policy and implementing data governance to prioritize best practices for data quality, accessibility, analysis, and dissemination. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and disease surveillance reports. Andrea received her master’s degree in public health with a certificate in biostatistics from George Mason University and her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.