Staff, Board & Advisors

Meet the people behind the scenes. Staff Board of Directors Medical and Scientific Advisors STAFF 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 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 BLOOM, DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Andi 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, […]

Meet the people behind the scenes.

STAFF

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 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 BLOOM, DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

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 EYRES, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

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 ILARI, BOOKKEEPER

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 MARQUARDT, WEBSITE AND DATABASE MANAGER

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.

 

 

JENNIFER PAULSEN, COMMUNITY SUPPORT COORDINATOR

Jennifer joined VeDA in August of 2020 as the Community Support Coordinator. She is a lifelong Portland resident other than her time in Eugene when attending the University of Oregon. Jennifer finished her undergraduate degree at Portland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development. Before working for VeDA she was the front desk coordinator for another Portland nonprofit which provided financial and other support services for low-income and houseless families in the area. Jennifer is passionate about helping communities come together and advocate for what they need to live satisfying and healthy lives, and she is excited to use her skills and knowledge to help the VeDA community grow. She has enjoyed hearing all of the stories from the VeDA community and being able to help people just starting their journey of navigating life with a vestibular disorder. During her free time, Jennifer enjoys reading, backpacking, and exploring the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest.  

PETER SZYMCZAK, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Before joining VeDA in June of 2020, Peter was senior writer and editor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. 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.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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)
  • Kamran Barin, PhD, Vice President (Columbus, OH)
  • Danielle Tate, DPT, Secretary (Damascus, MD)
  • Dennis Fitzgerald, MD (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Rebecca Rubin, MPP (Sherman Oaks, CA)
  • Patricia Gerend, MS (San Francisco, CA)
  • Jordan Tucker, DPT (Troutville, VA)
  • Louise Geib, M.Ed., Trustee (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  • Bryce Salvador, Owner XHockeyProducts.com, NHL Player/Captain, Ret. (Westfield, NJ) – Honorary

MEDICAL & SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD

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

TRUSTEES:

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