Board of Trustees

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is able to fulfill its mission and continue its battle against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis because of our dedicated board of trustees.

You can learn more about each of our current board members below:

OFFICERS

Maura Breen, Chairman

Maura Breen is a highly accomplished executive known for her transformative and tenacious leadership at critical junctures in the telecommunications industry.As General Manager of  Verizon New York, Verizon’s largest wireline  P&L ($5B), Maura aggressively moved Verizon into Broadband and Video laying the groundwork for future revenue growth, launched competitive new bundling strategies, and won the largest cable franchise in the United States – New York City.  She reduced a $1B expense budget by over $150M in just over two years, while simultaneously improving customer service and employee productivity. As President & CEO of Verizon Long Distance, Maura led the team of executives charged with developing what became one of the nation’s largest long distance companies.  She achieved 40% market share and EBITDA positive results within 3 years of launching the business before being promoted to Chief Marketing Officer Retail Markets.  In the CMO role, Maura continued to manage the Long Distance Business and built industry leading communication bundles incorporating Verizon’s entire product line. During her career, Maura has held a number of roles with increasing responsibility and size.  Leading teams from the very small to well over 18,000,  her career has spanned across more than eight key functions within Verizon, allowing her to play key leadership roles in marketing, sales and operations as well as running key business units like the New York Region. Maura currently serves on the Board of  Directors and Chairs the Compensation Committee for Express Scripts, the second largest pharmacy benefits management company in the United States.  She is a member of the Committee of 200, the New York Women’s Forum, Corporate Director’s Group and Women Corporate Directors. Maura is a David Rockefeller Fellow Alumnus and has been recognized for her achievements by the Academy of Women Achievers in New York, Telephony Magazine, Ad Age, St. Patrick’s Home for the Aging, Diversity Magazine, and Irish Today.She is a graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and resides in North Falmouth, Ma. with her husband Jay and son Ryan.  

Vance Gibbs, Esq., General Counsel

Mr. Gibbs is a partner in the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. He has practiced in commercial litigation and the health care industry for over 25 years and was named to the 2009 Best Lawyers in America in the field of medical malpractice defense. Mr. Gibbs is a dedicated volunteer and a parent of a child with Crohn's who worked with CCFA in rebuilding the Louisiana/Mississippi Chapter after Hurricane Katrina. President of his local CCFA Chapter Board, he led the chapter to Chapter of the Year in 2008 and helped to double its revenue twice over the last four years.

Paul Salerno, Treasurer

Mr. Salerno is the managing partner of the Melville, Long Island Office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a global accounting and professional service organization. He is a hands-on financial professional who has provided services to both public and privately held companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and services industries. He has demonstrated board leadership in various organizations and his expertise in accounting, financial reporting, and oversight and controls will be of value to the Foundation. Mr. Salerno fosters a collaborative approach in dealing with his clients as well as with his fellow board members at various organizations. He is a Crohn's disease patient and was diagnosed with the disease in 1978.

Jim Lewis, MD, MSCE, Chair, National Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Lewis is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and Associate Director of the Penn Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program. He has been actively involved in research related to inflammatory bowel diseases since 1996 and has published more than 170 scholarly articles. His research covers a broad range of topics, but primarily focuses on issues related to medication safety and optimizing medical therapies. Examples include a series of studies investigating whether patients treated with various medications for IBD are at increased risk for cancer, infections, neurologic diseases, and death, and whether such risks are warranted given the effectiveness of the therapy.

Dr. Lewis is one of a limited number of investigators to lead NIH funded clinical trials of novel therapeutic strategies for IBD. He has directed two clinical trials of rosiglitazone to treat ulcerative colitis and a trial of using biomarkers to adjust medical therapy for ulcerative colitis. He is currently on the steering committee of an NIH funded trial examining the efficacy of methotrexate for ulcerative colitis. In recent years, Dr. Lewis and his colleagues have begun to focus their research on how diet and the microorganisms that inhabit the human intestine may influence the course of IBD. Dr. Lewis hopes that this research may help to identify novel strategies for treating IBD that are not based on systemic immunosuppression.

Richard Geswell, President and CEO, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

Mr. Geswell has had a distinguished career in nonprofit health agency management. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Geswell worked in all areas of resource development and field operations. His experience incorporates leadership positions in the American Heart Association, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His background covers all aspects of development: major gifts, special events, direct response, planned giving, e-giving and corporate development. In addition to his impressive fund raising track record, he has served as a chapter director, regional director, Regional VP and National VP for Field Operations. Most recently, Mr. Geswell served for seven years as the Executive VP, Revenue and Marketing for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where he more than doubled revenue during his tenure from $109 million to $225 million. He is dedicated to the principle of strategic planning and has both participated and led the strategic planning and business planning process. Mr. Geswell's professional accomplishments are only surpassed by his family focus. He and his wife Jackie have two sons, Matt and Ryan.

FOUNDERS

Shelby Modell, Co-Founder

Mrs. Modell serves as Vice President for Modell's Sporting Goods. As National Co-Founder, she has devoted her life to CCFA. As the Greater New York Chapter's Annual Dinner Co-Chair for more than 40 years, she raised many millions of dollars for the Foundation's research program. She also founded CCFA's Long Island Chapter and its Florida Chapter. Her distinguished career in philanthropy has benefited the fields of health, education, and the arts. Along with her husband Bill Modell (1921–2008), she is a founding member of the American Digestive Disease Society, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation for immunological research, the Gilda Radner Foundation, "Gilda's Club," and Hewlett House, a breast cancer resource center. She also is a former member of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center's prestigious National Health Council and was responsible for raising $150 million to build its Psychiatric Institute. Her commitment to the arts is equally impressive. She is a founding patron of the Metropolitan Opera and served as chairman of the Five Towns Development Fund for Lincoln Center. In 1987 she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Mrs. Modell to the negotiating committee of the U.S. Panama Canal Treaty. Two years later, Mayor Abraham Beame appointed her as a commissioner on the New York City Youth Board. Mrs. Modell received her BA from Brooklyn College and an MA from Columbia University's Teachers College. She continues to serve as a vital member of CCFA's National Board of Trustees.

Irwin M. Rosenthal, Co-Founder and President Emeritus

Mr. Rosenthal has been in the leadership of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) since its inception in 1967 when he co-founded CCFA with his wife, Suzanne (1935–2013), William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D. Mr. Rosenthal served for 10 years as Founder and National President of CCFA and its predecessor organizations: the Foundation for Research in Ileitis (1963) and the National Foundation for Ileitis & Colitis. He devised its corporate, chapter and financial structure. He established the working partnership with the Foundation's lay and medical leadership and with the NIH adopting its peer review scientific system still used by CCFA today to evaluate research applications for its grant awards program. Mr. Rosenthal served, simultaneous to his CCFA leadership, as the Co-Founder of the American Digestive Disease Foundation. A corporate lawyer, he received his law degree from Yale University Law School and serves as a Partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP. Over his lengthy career, Irwin has been involved with over 500 public offerings and Private Placements and has represented hundreds of companies in their corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and actively negotiates domestic and foreign licensing and joint venture agreements. Mr. Rosenthal's most recent significant involvement has been with newly organized biomedical and energy companies involved in R & D projects in cutting-edge science and technology. He is a former adjunct professor of Securities Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School and was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

NATIONAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Donald Burke

Mr. Burke currently serves as an independent trustee for the Goldman Sachs mutual fund complex, consisting of approximately 100 registered mutual funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management L.P. and certain affiliates. Don also serves as a director of Avista Corp., an energy company headquartered in Spokane, Washington. He has been an active member of CCFA for more than 15 years, since the time his son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of seven. Prior to assuming his board positions, Mr. Burke was a Managing Director of BlackRock and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the BlackRock US mutual funds. In addition, Mr. Burke held several positions at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), including Managing Director of the firm as well as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the MLIM US mutual funds. He started his career with Deloitte and Touche (formerly Deloitte, Haskins and Sells). Mr. Burke is a certified public accountant and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Economics from the University of Delaware and a Masters of Business Administration in taxation from Pace University

John Crosson

Mr. Crosson is an accomplished executive with a varied background. For the past five years, he has worked at Scientific Imaginetics, a start-up medical device company in which he was an angel investor, CEO, and President. Responsible for all facets of the company and product launch, Mr. Crosson has worked to acquire FDA clearance to market and manufacture medical technology; has developed substantive product improvement and evolution (co-inventor on five pending patent applications in support of these technological advancements); and has directed marketing and sales/distribution staff to successfully introduce devices to the medical community. Mr. Crosson also had a notable career in marketing and advertising. He was the President of Grey Advertising in Los Angeles from 1998 to 2005. At the time, Grey was the largest advertising agency in the United States and one of the six largest advertising agencies in the world. Prior to joining Grey, he spent 14 years developing his career at Dailey & Associates holding various positions including Executive Vice President at the time of his departure. As EVP, Mr. Crosson oversaw client relationships on accounts representing approximately half of the agency's revenue. He directly supervised several service departments, chaired the agency's operations committee, oversaw the agency's training and internship programs, and was responsible for leading all new business development activity

Jennifer Feikin

Ms. Feikin serves as an advisor to start-ups and major media companies as well as several non-profit organizations in Los Angeles.  Prior to being an independent advisor, Ms. Feikin was at Google, Inc.  She joined Google in 2002 and negotiated some of Google's first and largest search and advertising deals.  She then conceived of the idea for Google Video, which launched in 2005, and she managed the business side of the product including the content partnership team.  Ms. Feikin joined Google from AOL Time Warner's strategic development group.  Prior to AOL, Ms. Feikin worked in Hollywood in theatrical business affairs at Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures as well as Morgan Creek Productions.  She began her career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York.  Ms. Feikin holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1993) and a B.A. from Duke University (1989).  She also was a Henry Luce Scholar.  Ms. Feikin, who is an ulcerative colitis patient, brings to CCFA a commitment to improving treatment effectiveness for each individual with Crohn's or colitis and ultimately finding a cure for these diseases.

Steve Goodman

Mr. Goodman founded MeetingAdvice LLC, specializing in both high-end incentives and corporate and association meetings worldwide including unique destinations such as China, Turkey, and Italy. A graduate of Georgia State University with a B.S. in Business Administration, Mr. Goodman is an active member in the healthcare and professional communities, and has received various awards recognizing his many contributions throughout the years to nonprofit organizations.

John Hasenauer

Mr. Hasenauer is a founder and partner of Orion Advisors, LLC, an executive search and human resources consulting firm. The firm's focus is on senior level engagements on a global basis serving the investment management industry. Prior to founding Orion Advisors, Mr. Hasenauer spent 15 years in various positions of increasing responsibility in the financial services industry. He holds a BS degree from the University of Bridgeport and a MS in Financial Management from Fairfield University. Mr. Hasenauer has served on the board of advisors of various non profit and for profit organizations including Life Harbor Investments and the Fairfield Museum and History Center.  His family's experience with Crohn's disease has led him to become actively involved with CCFA.  He and his wife Jacqueline reside in Connecticut with their two children.

Maria Oliva-Hemker, MD

Maria Oliva-Hemker, M.D., is director of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and  Stermer Family Professor of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Her clinical practice focuses on inflammatory intestinal disorders such as IBD, autoimmune enteropathy and eosinophilic gastroenteritis although she diagnoses and manages the full spectrum of pediatric gastrointestinal conditions.. Dr. Oliva-Hemker has been named among “America’s Top Doctors” by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. for more than 10 years and is among Marquis’ “Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare.” She has been named a Baltimore “Top Doc” and has received a U.S. News and World Report “Top Doctor” designation for being in the top 1 percent of pediatric gastroenterologists in the nation. Dr. Oliva-Hemker began the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center at Johns Hopkins in 1998, which provides medical care to hundreds of children and adolescents with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis from all over the world. She is the inaugural recipient of the Stermer Family Professorship in Pediatric IBD and is also a Professor of Pediatrics. She is an active clinical researcher who has co-authored numerous articles, and reviews and has served on multiple editorial and organizational boards including the Pediatric Gastroenterology Subboard of the American Board of Pediatrics. She is editor-in-chief of the book, Your Child with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Family Guide for Caregiving. She received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics and did a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty in 1993. 

Paula J. Hilbert

Paula J. Hilbert is Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Synchronoss Technologies, a world leader in cloud solutions and software-based activation serving communication service providers across the globe. Prior to that position,  Hilbert served as Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Service Officer for  Synchronoss. Prior to that position, Ms. Hilbert served as a Managing Director/Global Client Service and Offshoring at JP Morgan Chase Treasury and Securities Services and a number of senior positions at AT&T, including Vice President-Customer Relationship Management.  Hilbert holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Clarion University and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

Matt Leavitt, DO, FAOCD

Dr. Leavitt is a Board Certified dermatologist and the founder, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of ADCS, the nation's largest dermatology practice that currently has more than 53 locations and 71 medical providers. Additionally, he is Founder and Chairman of Ameriderm, a division that provides billing and collections services for 72 dermatology practices outside of ADCS. He founded Medical Hair Restoration, a surgical hair transplantation group that became the second largest hair restoration company in the USA which had more than 77 offices at the time of its merger. Dr. Leavitt now holds the office of Executive Medical advisor with Bosley, the largest hair restoration group in the world. Dr. Leavitt has served as President of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) and on the Board of Governors of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. He is a founding father of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons , where he served as its first vice president. The group administers board examinations and establishes standards for hair transplant surgeons. He was also the founder of the World Hair Society and the Hair Foundation, of which he is currently President. He has received countless prestigious awards, ranging from the Golden Follicle from the ISHRS, to the Smart Award for the Orlando Business of the Year. An avid contributor to the sciences and research community, he has been awarded numerous grants and recognition for his various research endeavors. Dr. Leavitt is a Clinical Assistant Professor in dermatology for University of Central Florida, University of Florida and NOVA Southeastern University

David N. Levenson

Mr. Levenson is a principal with Edward Jones in St Louis with responsibility for retirement, insurance, banking and trust.  Prior to Edward Jones, Mr. Levenson was president of the Wealth Management division for The Hartford. Mr. Levenson has a BSE from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a DBA from the School of International Corporate Strategy from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.  Mr Levenson is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a  Chartered Financial Analysis.

Jeffrey Margolis

Mr. Margolis is the chairman and CEO of the TriZetto Group, the leading supplier of software and related services for the healthcare insurance industry, based in Newport Beach, CA. He has architected information technology solutions for some of the nation's largest and most innovative healthcare organizations, earning broad recognition as a futurist in the application of health care information technology. He is author of a book entitled "The Information Cure" and he is currently educating the industry about Integrated Healthcare Management, a new model for optimizing the coordination of benefits and care for consumers. Margolis serves on the boards of Hoag Hospital, The University of California at Irvine's Center for Healthcare Management & Policy, and a number of other corporate, not-for-profit and advisory boards. He also is a guest faculty member at Harvard School of Public Health's Forces of Change program. Mr. Margolis holds a B.S. in Business Administration--Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Jeffrey P. Nedelman

Mr. Nedelman is co-head of US Shares Sales for Goldman Sachs and has responsibility for the Pensions, Endowments and Foundations business in New York. He is also sales captain, responsible for all Equity Capital Markets transactions for the US franchise. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1993 as an associate in Private Client Services in Los Angeles. In 1997, he joined US Research Sales. In 1999, Mr. Nedelman relocated to San Francisco and was named co-head of the Pacific Area Institutional Department in 2001. He was named managing director in 2001 and partner in 2004. Mr. Nedelman earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1993. He and his wife live in New York City with their three children.

Michelle Rubin, APN, CNS, CGRN

Ms. Rubin is a Certified Gastrointestinal Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at the University of Chicago Medical Center ranging from positions in nursing leadership and IBD research, to Clinical Nurse Specialist. Caring for patients with IBD has become her passion over the years as she worked closely with a multidisciplinary IBD patient management team at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Ms. Rubin is currently in a collaborative practice as an Advanced Practice Nurse with three IBD surgeons, managing the pre- and post-surgical care of patients. She manages the long-term follow up of patients recovering from complex IBD surgeries including the Ileal Pouch Anal Anastomosis procedure. Rubin believes in empowering patients with the knowledge and support they need to become active participants in decision-making with their plan of care and to ensure a safe and successful surgical recovery. Ms. Rubin is on the Foundation's National Scientific Advisory Committee, Professional Education Committee, Patient Advocacy Committee, and the Chapter Medical Advisory Council as the nurse liaison. She has chaired the Chicago CCFA Advances Conference for the last 3 years. Ms. Rubin is committed to building a strong CCFA alliance with the nursing community. She is starting a Nursing Task Force to increase nursing's participation and membership as well as build a network of IBD nurses committed to advancing IBD nurse education and research, patient education, and the development of nursing standards of care and support to IBD patients. She currently is the Chair of the Advanced Practice Nurse Group at the University of Chicago Hospitals and is on the Research Committee of the Society of Gastrointestinal Nurse Associates. She holds a Master's degree in Nursing from St. Xavier College in Chicago, IL and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She resides outside Chicago with her husband Lance and two children.

Eric M. Stone

A veteran marketer, Stone is  a founder of Creative Vascular.  Before starting his own medical device company, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for MolecularHealth, an oncology personalized medicine firm, and prior with Abbott (NYSE: ABT), he launched a series of pioneering medical technologies while based in Brussels, Belgium and the Bay area.  Stone a founding member of Model Nʼs (NYSE: MODN) Life Sciences division, and began his career in Marketing with Austin, Texas-based Trilogy Software. Stone is active in the social sector, co-founding Harvardʼs Student-Alumni Mentoring Initiative and Wharton’s Health Care Board Fellows Program, and is former Committee Chair and Director of Harvard University’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.  He currently serves as a Director of Vigilant Biosciences and as an Advisor to 3NT Medical, Empower Interactive, and PENNʼs MyHeartMap Challenge.  Stone received an MBA in Health Care Management from The Wharton School, a Master’s degree from Harvard University, and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.  He and his wife live in New York City.

Francisco Sylvester, MD

Dr. Sylvester has a long and distinguished history with the Foundation. He received his first Senior Research Award in 1997 and a second award in 2002. Dr. Sylvester has been a member of the organization's National Scientific Advisory Committee's Pediatric Affairs Committee for many years. He served as Chair from 2005-2008, and is still actively participating as Immediate Past Chair. He has participated in many national fundraising events and has played an important role in growing the Foundation's pediatric research and education programs. His leadership and diplomatic skills have played critical roles in not only encouraging the various pediatric groups to form the Pediatric Network, but also to building trust within the pediatric community that CCFA is committed to advancing pediatric IBD research. He is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT and Attending Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT. Especially important to CCFA's mission are his expertise in pediatric Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis research.

Paul Tartell, MD, FACS

Dr. Tartell is the owner and founder of Paul B. Tartell, MD, PL, a private medical practice dedicated to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in southeast Florida; in addition, he's co-founder of the South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center and a founding Governor of the Weston Outpatient Surgical Center. Upon establishing his private practice in Florida, Dr. Tartell joined the Otolaryngology clinical faculty at the University of Miami School of Medicine. In addition to former official laryngology duties for vocal artists performing at the Bank Atlantic Center, Dr. Tartell was also one of the team physicians for the Florida Panthers NHL hockey club. He was one of only ten candidates accepted into the inaugural class of the Scholar's Program in Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine in 1984. After completing his residency in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at UCLA, he became Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology, at the Tufts University School of Medicine and New England Medical Center, where he was Director of Head and Neck Surgery, Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Co-Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at the Boston Floating Hospital for Children. While there, he helped administer and teach medical students, interns, residents and visiting physicians at the Boston University-Tufts University Combined Residency Program in Otolaryngology. He is a Diplomate of both The American Board of Otolaryngology and The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. While teaching in Boston, he was honored with the "Teacher of the Year" award. Dr. Tartell has been a research grant recipient, an invited lecturer at both national and international meetings, and, an author/co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications. He maintains fellowship and membership status in many professional societies and organizations. Over the past several years, IBD awareness, research and treatment have become significant interests of his, and, accordingly, Dr. Tartell has become increasingly active in CCFA efforts at the local, regional and national levels.

Bishop Walter Scott Thomas

Bishop Walter Scott Thomas has served as the pastor of the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland since 1975. Under his leadership, the church body has grown from 200 to more than 7,000 active members. The church also has a national television broadcast, Empowering Disciples, which can be viewed on the Word Network and on WJZ TV in Baltimore. He is a highly regarded executive and personal coach with more than 30 years of experience in working with church leaders, pastors, church staffs in addition to being an accomplished author.  Bishop Thomas has served as the past president of the Hampton University Ministers. He has received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland in Economics. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Howard University School of Religion in Washington, D.C. and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Saint Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Virginia Seminary and Bethune Cookman College.