Staff, Board & Advisors

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 has worked in non-profit management for over 15 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.


Andi headshotAndi joined VeDA in October of 2019. Andi’s background is in patient support, most recently as a patient advocate at a women’s clinic. She is a new Portland resident, originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her spare time, Andi enjoys yoga, reading, and hiking with her wife, Ashley, and dog, Frankie.



Michelle has worked in the nonprofit world for the past decade, contributing to the success of organizations big and small. As a life-long Portlander, she is very proud of the high level of philanthropy found here.  “I am not a person that can sit by and hope someone else steps up and tackles a problem. My passion has led me to a gratifying career and collaboration with many diverse people.” In her free time, Michelle plays indoor soccer with her husband, avidly reads murder mysteries, and spends as much time with her teens as they will allow.


Karen IlariKaren works for VeDA part time. She has worked in accounting for many years in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Karen enjoys spending 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.


Ryan started with VeDA in 2020, and has worked in data management in the non-profit world since 2012. Born and raised in the Portland area, he enjoys playing bass, watching science videos, and pushing Excel as far as he can.



Peter joined VeDA in June of 2020. His background in nonprofit communications includes managing print and digital communications for the Oregon Association of Nurseries and Tuality Healthcare. Peter curates the educational library and all communications that share VeDA’s mission and raise awareness about vestibular disorders. This position was made possible through a three-year grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.



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.

  • Kathleen Stross, DPT, CHC, President (Pearland, TX)
  • Holly Fisher, EdD, Past President (Coppell, TX)
  • Danielle Tate, DPT, Secretary (Damascus, MD)
  • Dennis Fitzgerald, MD (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Patricia Gerend, MS (San Francisco, CA)
  • Jordan Tucker, DPT (Troutville, VA)
  • Salvatore Gruttadauria, AuD, SLP (Kenmore, NY)
  • Delmar Bloem, MBA
  • Louise Geib, M.Ed., Trustee (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  • Bryce Salvador, Owner, 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.

  • P. Ashley Wackym, MD – Chair, President, Ear & Skull Base Center, Vice President of Research, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Rick Clendaniel, PT, PhD, Doctor of Physical Therapy Division, Duke University of Medicine, Durham, NC
  • Joel A. Goebel, MD, FACS, Director, Vestibular & Oculomotor Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO
  • Timothy C. Hain, MD, Otoneurologist, Professor, Departments of Neurology, Physical Therapy, and Otolaryngology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL
  • Janet Helminski, PT, PhD, Professor, College of Health Science, Midwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • Gary Jacobson, PhD, Professor, Division of Audiology, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Co-Director, Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolargyngology and Communication Services, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Jeffrey Kramer, MD, Neurologist, Clinical Co-Director, Comprehensive Dizziness Center, Chief, Section of Neurology, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Chicago, IL
  • David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • James Phillips, PhD, Associate Professor, Director, Dizziness & Balance Center, Dept. Of Otolaryngology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • Steven Rauch, MD, Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Harvard Medical School, Department of Otology and Laryngology, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Chief Vestibular Division, Otolargyngology Department, Boston, MA
  • Jay Rubinstein, MD, PhD, Professor, Otolaryngology & Bioengineering, University of Washington, Director of Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Michael Schubert, PT, PhD, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dept. of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Baltimore, MD
  • Alain Semont, PhD, Paris, France
  • Neil T. Shepard, PhD, Professor of Audiology, Director, Dizziness and Balance Disorders Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Hinrich Staecker, MD, PhD, Professor, Otolaryngology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Jack J. Wazen, MD, FACS, Neurotologist, Director of Research, Silverstein Institute, Sarasota, FL
  • Yuri Agrawal, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


  • Susan J. Herdman, PT, PhD, FAPTA
  • Conrad Wall III, PhD