Meet the people behind the scenes.
VEDA's small but efficient staff understands the difficulties faced by people with vestibular disorders. We are here to help!
Cynthia Ryan MBA, Executive Director
Cynthia has worked in non-profit management for over 10 years, and previously was General Manager and Vice President of a financial research firm. Cynthia's mother, Eileene, suffers from Meniere's Disease. Cynthia enjoys hiking, reading, and volunteering with local animal welfare organizations. She and her husband, Tod, are the proud caretakers of two cats and their loyal pooch, Fionn MacCool.
Christina Conner, Membership & Development Administration Coordinator
Christina has worked with members in several different organizations, most recently as the Membership and Special Events Manager at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. Christina has volunteered with organizations like the Girl Scouts and AmeriCorps. Christina recently moved to Portland, Oregon from the Greater New York City area and is looking forward to experiencing all the City of Roses has to offer. “It is my mission to help make the world a better place,” says Christina. “I am very excited to become a part of the team at VEDA and work to increase its impact.”
In her spare time, Christina is an avid reader who also enjoys knitting and hiking.
Karen Ilari, Bookkeeper
Karen works for VEDA part-time. She has worked in accounting for many years in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Karen spends the rest of her time on her other love - painting. She sells her paintings on her online store and teaches painting through online videos. She and her husband, Bill, are empty nesters with four children, three grandchildren (so far!) and one very spoiled kitty named Pooty.
Matthew Hushbeck, Development Manager
“I want to help people,” says Matthew. “I enjoy talking with patients and hearing their stories. I never realized how disabling vestibular disorders can be, but I can relate to many of the challenges vestibular patients face. When I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with a nerve disorder that left me in constant pain. I met with more than a dozen specialists during my diagnostic journey, and was often told that my pain was all in my head. When I was finally diagnosed I was told there was no cure, that I would have to learn to manage the pain. I am fortunate that my condition has stabilized, but every day I wonder if my nerves will be set off and the pain with return.”
Cassey Parish, Patient Support Coordinator
Cassey uses her experience as an Intake Coordinator for Hospice to lend an empathetic ear for support to vestibular patients while educating them about VEDA's resources. She has had her own struggles finding a diagnosis for a chronic illness, and she understands how frustrating that can be.
Melissa Page, Adminstrative Assistant
Melissa works for VEDA part-time. She brings twenty years’ experience working as an Administrative Assistant in various industries; this is here first position working for a non-profit. Melissa is a diehard San Francisco Giants fan and is the proud guardian of a cute pup, Willie Mae (named after the great Willie Mays).
Fionn MacCool, Canine Morale Officer
Fionn enjoys walks, pets, and belly rubs. He also enjoys riding in his bike cart and waving his tail in greeting at the people who pause to watch. Fionn takes his role of morale officer very seriously, using his smile, wag, and generally happy demeanor to lift the spirits of everyone he meets. While in the office Fionn greets each employee periodically throughout the day to make sure they have taken a break to pet him and smile. Fionn promotes awareness about cats, dogs, and rabbits with vestibular disorders, and encourages pet owners to spay and neuter their four-legged family members.
VEDA's board of directors is composed of people who have been diagnosed with one or more vestibular disorders, friends and family members of vestibular patients, and medical specialists in the vestibular field. Their focus is to expand awareness for vestibular disorders while improving care and treatment for patients suffering from vestibular dysfunction.
- Louise Geib, M.Ed., President (Atlantic Beach, FL)
- Kathleen Stross, PT, MS, Secretary (Pearland, TX)
- Gary Breitbord, Acting Treasurer (Holliston, MA)
- Dennis Fitzgerald, MD (Baltimore, MD)
- Sheelah Woodhouse, BScPT (Calgary, Alberta - Canada) - On Leave
- Matthew Crowson, MD (Durham, NC)
- Holly Fisher (Coppell, TX)
- Rebecca Rubin (Sherman Oaks, CA)
- Rose Dunn (Maryland Heights, MO)
- Sandy Egge (Portland, OR)
- Esteban Medina Orgaz, PhD, MBA (Pontevedra, Spain)
- Bryce Salvador, Owner XHockeyProducts.com, NHL Player/Captain, Ret. (Westfield, NJ) - Honorary
VEDA's medical and scientific advisors represent the best and most well-respected professionals in the vestibular community. Our advisors hail from such notable institutions as Massachusettes Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the Mayo Clinic, Northwestern University Medical School, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Oregon Health Sciences University. With experience in direct patient care, research and teaching, our advisors provide oversight to VEDA's published materials, ensuring data that is accurate, timely and scientifically relevant.
Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
Washington University School of Medicine
Saint Louis, MO
Professor, Departments of Neurology, Physical Therapy, and Otolaryngology
Northwestern University Medical School
Clinical Co-Director, Comprehensive Dizziness Center
Chief, Section of Neurology
Vestibular Rehabilitation Center
Director, Dizziness and Balance Disorders Program
Director of Research, Silverstein Institute
Director, Division of Physical Therapy
Director, Vestibular Rehabilitation
Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary